Acura’s MDX mid-size luxury SUV is the carmaker’s top-seller, and there are a lot of them on the roads. Many of them, if you’d take notice, are being driven by females. In fact, our daughter and daughter-in-law both own MDXs. And the reason for that is that they are not only stylish, but come with top safety scores, are reliable, have Acura’s/Honda’s renowned quality and are competitively equipped with great resale value.
For 2024, MDX Type S offers conservative yet sporty design with its large front air intakes, Brembo-like red brake calipers and an active quad exhaust tips. There’s also a roomy, lavish cabin with fine detail. And the Type S we tested came with a racy flat-bottomed steering wheel and brushed aluminum pedals. And for a large or growing family, MDX is offered with three-rows.
A 12.3-inch infotainment display serves a host of apps, features, functions including rearview and surround view cameras, Wi-Fi, Amazon Alexa compatibility, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and AcuraLink that allows remote lock/unlock/start,
Find My Car, automatic collision notification, roadside assistance, schedule maintenance, voice control, texting and lots more. Most of these functions can also be operated via a smartphone.
Operationally, there’s a mouse pad on the console that controls the display. It’s very sensitive and not easy to use while driving, and in fact could be unsafe in driving in heavy, high speed traffic.
The heated/ventilated front seats are a work of art and are nicely supportive and heavily padded. MDXs vertical stack and console have a jet cockpit type look with push buttons for the 10-speed automatic transmission, a wireless phone charging pad, a mode selector switch for Lift, Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual modes.
In Sport Plus, the exhaust note changes to a sweet rumble and performance is more robust. In Lift mode, the MDXs air suspension lifts the chassis from 12.5 to 14 inches for increased ground clearance for deep snow, carrying a heavy load or when towing a trailer. This offers a ground clearance of from 6.7 inches at its lowest setting to 9.4 at its highest setting.
Over on the digital gauge cluster, an embedded driver information display gives alerts, features and driving functions. When crossing the roadway center line, a warning displays on the cluster and the steering wheel shakes as a warning.
Second row seats slide fore/aft and slide far enough forward to allow easy access to the third row that are mainly for youngsters. There is an appreciable 38.5 inches of leg room with the second row well rearward and head room is generous, even for tall folks.
MDX also has Cabin Talk that allows front seat riders to send their voices through the sound system so rear or third row passengers can hear them.
Back in the cargo area and with the third row upright, there’s 18.1 cubic feet of space that measures 22 inches deep, 22 wide and 29.5 high. Flip the third row and space expands to 48.4 cubic feet for 48.5 inches of loading depth. With the second row folded there’s 95 cubic feet for 80 inches of depth. And beneath the cargo floor is a full-width, deep bin for small item storage. Lift-over into the cargo area is a thigh-high 31 inches. MDXs tailgate is unique in that not only does it have hands-free opening, its Walk-Away close feature closes the hatch automatically when you walk away with the fob in your pocket.
Shod with 10-inch wide, 21-inch tall Continental tires, MDX rides heavenly and quietly. And its firm poise provides stability in sharp turns, plus it parks easily. The wide tires will offer added traction on slippery, snow-covered roads. And if the going gets really tough, or getting stuck in snow, a rear lock switch on the dash offers added traction.
MDX Type S gets its grunt from a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with a potent 355-hp and 354 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, the combination has an impressive tow rating of up to 5,000 pounds and EPA mileage estimates of 17 city, 21-highway mpg. Grant it these numbers aren’t miserly but consider that this is a hefty (4,788 pounds) three-row SUV so there is a compromise of sorts by having a solid, AWD that comes with top government safety scores of a full four stars for driver/passenger frontal crash, five for front/rear seat side crash. Rollover was not tested.
With a long list of features and safety items such as collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning lane keeping assist system, road departure mitigation and more, MDX had but one extra cost option of $800 for Apex Blue Pearl paint. With a delivery charge of $1,195, the base price of $73,500 escalated to $75,295. This is about the going price of its comparably priced competitors.
MDX is covered by a 4 year/50K mile warranty, powertrain for 6/70k and free scheduled maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles.
All in all, MDX Type S fulfills the need for a sporty, performance SUV that has a dedicated following and is a compelling choice for a family luxury midsize SUV.