Newly spacious. The 2022 Acura MDX skips a model year and comes back with a (nearly) complete redesign. As Acura’s flagship SUV, the MDX competes with an increasingly formidable cadre of luxury crossovers. These include established favorites like the BMW X5 as well as newcomers like the Hyundai Palisade or Genesis GV80.

The new platform is slightly longer and wider than the outgoing model. The cabin benefits from the extra space, and four adults fit comfortably in the first two rows. The second row starts with an average 38.5 inches of leg room, but the bench slides a few inches forward and back to maximize either comfort or cargo capacity. Head room is good, and the seats are supportive enough for long trips.

The MDX comes with a third row that seats two, but it’s best reserved for smaller passengers. The middle seat of the second row is removable, which is a nice touch that makes the MDX even more versatile. Cargo space is another high point, with an impressive maximum capacity of 95 cubic feet.

Same heart, new bones. The one carryover from last year’s MDX is the base engine. The 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood is a familiar powerplant, also found in the Honda Pilot and Odyssey.

Luckily, it’s a good one. Plenty of low-end grunt makes the MDX peppy off the line, and a new ten-speed automatic transmission makes the most of the power. Front-wheel drive is standard, but a sophisticated optional all-wheel drive system can shuttle up to 70% of power to the rear for better traction.

The chassis, on the other hand, is all-new. This is one area where the MDX sets itself apart from the pack — the ride is taut and confident without ever becoming uncomfortable. The steering doesn’t provide much feedback from the road, but it’s pleasantly quick and precise.

If performance is a priority, take heart: a 355-horsepower Type S trim is slated for release sometime this year.

Acura MDX

Design upgrade. The 2022 MDX gets a new look, and in our opinion it’s a success. The superman-esque pentagonal grille is striking but not gaudy, sandwiched between thin headlights and sweeping creases. The shape is broad, sleek, and gently rounded as it tapers toward the rear.

The interior is equally pleasant, if not quite as polished. The center console is wide and full of storage nooks, matched by a generous infotainment display. In the upper trims, stitched leather and open-pore wood trim will give a Mercedes a run for its money.

Tech troubles. In most cases, the MDX is up to date on all the latest tech. Safety is a strong point, with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control included on every model.

Infotainment is a mixed bag. The screen is large and sharp, smartphone compatibility is baked in, and the available sound systems are powerful. But Acura has opted not to allow touch inputs, leaving drivers with a console-mounted touchpad, wheel-mounted controls, or voice commands. The touchpad isn’t wide enough to navigate menus without multiple swipes, which can make for a frustrating process.

The MDX’s other weakness is fuel economy, which remains mediocre. The EPA estimates that the MDX will do 22 mpg combined (or 21 with all-wheel drive). That was once commonplace for an SUV, but as the market drifts toward alternative powertrains, the MDX starts to look old-fashioned. The previous generation offered a hybrid powertrain, but Acura hasn't yet confirmed that a new one is in the works.

Final thoughts. The 2022 Acura MDX does well to separate itself from a crowded field of crossover SUVs. It drives nicely, carries lots of people and cargo, and looks sharp inside and out. Our few complaints (fuel economy and infotainment interface) aren’t enough to prevent it from earning a high overall score.

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