What’s the Best 2022 Acura MDX Trim? Here’s Our Guide

The Acura MDX is the flagship of the brand’s lineup and its best seller. Redesigned for the 2022 model year, the three-row SUV boasts sharper exterior styling, a premium-feeling first row, more cargo room, and a new Type S trim. But it’s also the luxury brand’s second most expensive model, and the redesign hasn’t significantly elevated the MDX’s refinement. If the MDX is on your shortlist and you aren’t sure which one to get, keep reading for our trim review.

2022 Acura MDX Base Pros and Cons

Starting under the hood, base model 2022 MDXs get a 290-hp 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. They come standard with FWD, and AWD is available. Power output is on the low side when compared to segment rivals such as the 2022 Buick Enclave, which makes 310 hp with its marginally larger 3.6-liter non-turbo V-6, or the 2022 Lincoln Aviator, which develops 400 hp with its smaller but turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6.

The MDX FWD is rated at an EPA estimated 19/26 mpg city/highway and the MDX AWD at a nearly identical 19/25 mpg, giving it advantages over the SUVs from Buick and Lincoln. The Aviator’s ratings were the worst of the trio but not by much: 18/26 mpg for the RWD and 17/24 mpg for the AWD.

Every 2022 MDX is outfitted with AcuraWatch, which is what Acura calls its suite of active safety technologies. Under that umbrella is automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic monitoring, and traffic sign recognition.

Acura’s largesse doesn’t end with the MDX’s active safety tech. Exterior features of the 2022 MDX base model include 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high-beams, LED taillights, heated side mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature, a power liftgate, and rear camera washer. Keyless entry and remote-operated windows and moonroof are also standard.

Interiors feature push-button start, three-zone climate control, power adjustable steering column, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Front seats are 12-way power adjustable and heated, and second-row seats are four-way manually adjustable and come with one-touch third-row access. Seats are trimmed in leatherette, and the rest of the interior gets brushed aluminum accents. We appreciate the way the first row is equipped but are much less impressed by the flat and unsupportive second and third rows of seating. We also think center console space is poorly used.

Standard infotainment system specs for the MDX base model include a 12.3-inch display, nine speakers, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The cabin also boasts a 12.3-inch gauge cluster display, wireless device charging, and five USB ports, three for the first row and two for the second. CabinControl audio file sharing is also standard, which allows passengers who are not already connected to the vehicle’s infotainment system to share their music via app.

The 2022 MDX FWD base model is the least expensive way to get into the SUV line. It’s less powerful than some of its rivals and less luxurious. Although it’s grown, it doesn’t offer as much cargo space or towing capacity. It does, however, provide decent fuel economy, the largest infotainment screen compared to the Enclave and Aviator, and standard adaptive cruise control. The 2022 MDX FWD base model stickers for $48,245; the MDX AWD is priced at $50,245.

That’s less than the 2022 Aviator RWD standard’s $52,560 and AWD’s $55,060, but the Lincoln provides greater engine output, cargo and passenger space, and upscale features including a standard second-row climate control touchscreen and the most speakers of the trio at this trim grade. We don’t yet have 2022 pricing for the Enclave, but the FWD-only 2021 Preferred base model has been eliminated for 2022, which means the lineup starts with the Enclave Essence trim level. Pricing for the 2021 Enclave Essence FWD is $43,495 and $45,495 for the AWD.

2022 Acura MDX With Technology Package Pros and Cons

Acura doesn’t offer traditional trim levels, instead allowing buyers to choose different packages to add bundles of available features. For the MDX, you can’t select the highest packages (A-Spec and Advance) without also including the Technology package.

Opting for the 2022 MDX’s available Technology package adds front and rear parking sensors and trades up for rain-sensing windshield wipers, power folding side mirrors, and 20-inch wheels, features the Aviator has on its standard grade. Inside, seats switch to perforated Milano leather with package-exclusive contrast stitching, while ambient lighting and second-row sunshades are added. Infotainment is upgraded with 12 speakers total and navigation.

The 2022 MDX’s Technology package retails for $4,700, bringing the sticker price of the MDX FWD up to $52,945 and MDX AWD to $54,945. The 2021 Buick Enclave Premium FWD stickers for $49,595 and the AWD for $51,795 but doesn’t offer wireless device charging or adaptive cruise control. The 2022 Lincoln Aviator Reserve is priced significantly higher at $58,450 for RWD and $60,980 for AWD and features more speakers than the MDX (14) and a four-zone climate control system that the Acura never gets.

2022 Acura MDX With A-Spec Package Pros and Cons

Add the A-Spec package, and AWD becomes standard on the MDX, as do LED foglights and package-specific exterior badges. A-Spec kit in the cabin includes a flat-bottom steering wheel, black headliner, and geometric patterned brushed aluminum accents.

Drivers of the 2022 MDX with the A-Spec package also get a metal footrest and pedals, and front seats gain ventilation. Seating formerly just wrapped in Milano leather picks up Ultrasuede trim as well as contrast piping to go with the contrast stitching. With this package, speakers grow to 16 and the MDX gets CabinTalk, Honda’s in-car PA system for SUVs and minivans.

The A-Spec package for the 2022 MDX is priced at $3,500, but remember, you can’t select it or the Advance package without first adding the $4,700 Technology package, too. As that’s the case, the 2022 MDX AWD with the A-Spec package (and by default, the Technology package) stickers for $58,445.

In terms of pricing, the MDX with the A-Spec package and the range-topping Enclave Avenir are competitors. The Enclave Avenir gets heated outboard seats that aren’t available on the MDX until the next higher package. At this grade, the Buick SUV is still outfitted with standard FWD and stickers for $55,295, while the Enclave Avenir AWD is priced at $57,495. In the case of the Aviator, the Reserve trim level is still the closest rival, as the range-topping Black Label trim is far more expensive, and the Grand Touring is a hybrid model. The Aviator Reserve is equipped with a hands-free liftgate and 360-degree view camera system that’s available on the MDX with the Advance package and second-row captain’s chairs that the MDX never gets.

2022 Acura MDX With Advance Package Pros and Cons

The Advance package of upgrades for the 2022 MDX includes hands-free power liftgate, roof rails, exterior LED door handle lights, and remote start. A head-up display, 360-degree view camera system, and two third-row USB ports are also included.

Front seats go from 12- to 16-way power adjustable and pick up power lumbar, thigh extensions, and side bolsters. Outboard rear seats become heated, as does the steering wheel, and the cabin is trimmed in open-pore wood accents.

The Advance package retails for $7,050, and once you factor in the price for the Technology package, the 2022 MDX with the Advance package stickers for $61,995. As described earlier, both the Enclave Avenir and Aviator standard have most of the features of the MDX with the Advance package at a lower price.

2022 Acura MDX Type S Pros and Cons

The 2022 Acura MDX Type S swaps the standard model’s naturally aspirated V-6 engine for a smaller but more powerful 355-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6, the same unit that powers the 2021 Acura TLX Type S. The MDX Type S keeps the base model’s transmission and is only available in AWD, and to complement the added grunt, Acura fits the SUV with Brembo front brakes and a trim-specific Sport+ drive mode. The power output is still not more than the Aviator’s, though.

The MDX Type S is outfitted with 21-inch wheels, quilted leather seating surfaces, massaging front seats, and a 25-speaker premium sound system. That’s all we have to go on at the moment, as the brand hasn’t disclosed anything more on the vehicle’s price and feature content. Acura says it plans to share more about the model as the Type S-badged SUV’s late 2021 on-sale date draws closer.

Which 2022 Acura MDX Trim Is Best?

It isn’t often we recommend the base model in our trim guides, but in the case of the MDX it’s the right call. Acura stuffs many features into the base model, and while each package adds a little more, none of them deliver enough extra luxury. This would be less of an issue if the MDX was competing against only other premium three-row SUVs, but in today’s world, non-premium brands like Kia are producing three-row crossovers like the Telluride that are just as compelling and, critically, less expensive. Although it has some ground to make up before it can challenge the best, we think the base model 2022 MDX is sexy enough and loaded enough to make most buyers happy.

2022 Acura MDX Trim Levels

  • 2022 Acura MDX Base
  • 2022 Acura MDX with Technology Package
  • 2022 Acura MDX with A-Spec Package
  • 2022 Acura MDX with Advance Package
  • 2022 Acura MDX Type S

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