Behind the Wheel of the New 355-hp Acura MDX Type S | Edmunds

  • New Type S trim level for the three-row MDX
  • Turbo V6 generates 65 hp and 87 lb-ft of torque more than base MDX
  • Upgraded brakes, unique styling and a specially tuned transmission

The redesigned 2022 Acura MDX is one of our favorite three-row SUVs. It’s comfortable, spacious and big on value for the money thanks to a long list of standard features. You can read all about it in our review of the 2022 Acura MDX. But we have criticized the MDX for lacking the kind of power we expect from this class of vehicle. So now Acura has come out with a sportier MDX Type S. Is this new higher-horsepower MDX Type S the perfect antidote to the MDX blahs? We’d say so.

What’s under the hood?

The standard MDX packs a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. That’s adequate, but it doesn’t make the driving experience very exciting or dramatic. The Type S uses an entirely different 3.5-liter V6 that’s turbocharged. It’s good for 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Like the standard MDX, the Type S has a 10-speed automatic transmission but this one is strengthened and retuned for the Type S. All-wheel drive is standard.

The MDX Type S is also the first Acura to have an adjustable air suspension. The air suspension can lower the MDX’s ride height by 15 millimeters to allow for easier entry and exit, or it can also raise the suspension by as much as 50 mm for rough road conditions like snow or gravel. The Type S also gets more powerful front brakes courtesy of exclusive Brembo four-piston calipers matched to bigger brake rotors.

What’s it like to drive?

Power from the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 comes on quickly as you pull away from a stop, and there’s ample midrange thrust to be had when prodding the gas pedal. The Type S’ turbocharged powerplant doesn’t feel overly aggressive or raw. Instead, it’s smooth and consistent in its power delivery.

The MDX Type S is better to drive than the regular model when it comes to handling and comfort too. Click the MDX over into the selectable Sport or Sport+ driving mode and you get a stiffer ride but not one that’s punishing or harsh. In the corners, it’s impressively stable and has much more grip than you likely expect from such a sizable SUV. It’s not upset by midcorner bumps either. You can dart between corners with remarkably surprising speed for a vehicle of this size and truly enjoy any curvy mountain road with confidence. The upsized Brembo brakes provide impressive, fade-free stopping power, even when used in taxing conditions such as driving enthusiastically along a twisty mountain road.

Some automakers tune their air suspension-equipped SUVs to ride softly, and we’d noticed that sometimes this results in an overly floaty or bouncy ride on the highway. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the Type S. The air suspension is soft and compliant on the highway and soaks up big and small bumps alike. It strikes an excellent balance between performance and comfort, and it’s a big step forward for this three-row Acura SUV.

Edmunds says

The Type S is the MDX we’ve been waiting for. The standard MDX has a lot of virtues when it comes to family comfort, value for the money, and interior space, and now the Type S gives it the extra personality it was missing. This is a thoroughly improved SUV that simultaneously elevates the MDX as a model and our hopes for what other future Type S models will be like in the future.

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