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The 2022 Acura MDX, the fourth-generation of America's best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all-time, undergoes its most radical transformation since the launch of the first generation model 20 years ago. A quantum leap forward with a bold exterior design and sophisticated and elegant new interior, MDX achieves its highest level of performance, technological and premium appeal to assume its new role as the flagship of the Acura lineup.
Designed from the outset for the performance demands of the upcoming MDX Type S, all 2022 MDX grades benefit from the all-new, performance-focused and ultra-rigid light-truck platform. Every fourth-generation Acura MDX features a chassis that includes the first double wishbone front suspension on MDX, an all-new multi-link rear suspension, and available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®). As a result, MDX offers a new level of sporting performance and handling agility, fulfilling its Precision Crafted Performance mission.
Communicating performance through design, the bold exterior styling inspired by the Acura Precision Concept and enabled by the new platform features a wider and more aggressive stance, and powerful proportions highlighted by a longer hood and upright front fascia. MDX features all-LED lighting for the first time, including JewelEye® LED headlights with Chicane™ LED daytime running lights and Chicane™ LED taillights.
Inside, the new Acura MDX raises the bar for Acura interior design, craftsmanship, sophistication and technology. The new platform enables a roomier cabin, with all three rows bathed in natural light thanks to the standard ultra-wide panoramic moonroof. The 2022 MDX showcases a new, all-digital Acura Precision Cockpit™, which replaces physical gauges with a customizable 12.3-inch HD display with a smooth 60-Hz refresh rate. It also gains the latest generation of Acura's intuitive and driver-focused True Touchpad Interface™ with an ultra-wide, 12.3-inch center display, and an updated Integrated Dynamics System that tunes chassis reflexes and activates the available IconicDrive™ interior lighting system with the simple twist of the Dynamic Mode Dial.
Under the hood, the standard 3.5-liter i-VTEC® 24-valve V6 engine is mated for the first time with a new-to-MDX Sequential SportShift 10-speed automatic transmission with racing-inspired shift paddles. The MDX is available with front wheel drive or with the latest generation of torque-vectoring Acura Super Handling All Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) with faster response and greater torque capacity.
Safety advancements include eight airbags, including a new advanced passenger front airbag designed to reduce brain injuries in angled front crashes. Additionally, Acura MDX features multiple new safety and driver assistive technologies such as Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), a Driver Attention Monitor, Pedestrian sensing and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Pedestrian AEB), and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). The new MDX is targeted to achieve a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2022 Acura MDX launches with four distinct grades: MDX, MDX with Technology Package, MDX A-Spec and MDX with Advance Package. Along with the standard Lunar Silver Metallic and Fathom Blue Pearl are six premium colors: Phantom Violet Pearl (new), Liquid Carbon Metallic (new), Platinum White Pearl, Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, Apex Blue Pearl exclusively for A-Spec®. Interior color schemes, depending on grade and exterior color, include Ebony, Expresso, Graystone, Parchment and, for A-Spec, Ebony or Red with Black Ultrasuede® inserts.
Design and Packaging
As the most emotionally styled MDX ever, the fourth-generation's new platform provides the foundation for a striking dimensional change in the dash-to-axle ratio, which has been extended by more than 4 inches, lengthening the hood line significantly and giving MDX a premium "cab rearward" proportion. The bold, sculpted grille and hood, with a wide, aggressive stance, is based on the Acura Precision Concept that redefined Acura design when it was first unveiled in 2016. Dimensionally, the new MDX sits on a 2.8-inch longer wheelbase, with a track that's 1.4 inches wider in the front and rear. The bold and sporting new look is accentuated by new four-element JewelEye® LED headlights with embedded Chicane™ LED daytime running lights.
MDX's wide stance and long wheelbase pushes the wheels to the edges of the bodywork. The three-dimensional surface details can be seen in the pronounced shoulder line that defines the upper portion of the vehicle, and the sculpting along the lower portion of the doors. In the rear, the wide-set LED taillights have their Chicane™ design set in an eye-catching light-blade, and serve to define and enhance the width and stability of the pronounced rear fenders.
For the first time, the 2022 MDX applies an Active Shutter Grille. In certain conditions, shutters in the lower grille close to divert air around the vehicle, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag. When the demand for cooling air increases, the shutters reopen.
Exclusive New Body and Chassis
The MDX's all-new light truck platform underpinnings target the driving dynamics of a sports sedan. Designed for the pursuit of aggressive performance, MDX features double-wishbone front suspension for the first time, delivering a larger tire contact patch through corners to increase grip, while improving ride quality with greater vertical freedom of movement. The new multi-link rear suspension also improves stability and response, and together they give MDX a world-class combination of agility and ride comfort. Quick, precise variable-ratio electric power steering (EPS) and more powerful brakes with a new electric brake booster (EBB) excel in driving scenarios from daily commutes, to road trips, to twisting canyon roads.
The new platform is the most rigid SUV platform ever produced by Acura, and this rigidity pays dividends in handling and ride comfort. In front, the dampers connect to new cast-aluminum housings that are 45-percent stiffer overall than the previous generation, and along with the additional 7-percent increase in lateral torsion from a new rigid-mounted subframe, contributes to significantly better handling. Replacing the previous floating-type subframe, the new front subframe translates steering inputs to the tires with greater fidelity. The rear body uses a new dual-balanced load path for the rear damper mounting points, contributing to a 41-percent improvement in stiffness for an 80-percent torsion improvement that benefits handling and improves noise isolation.
Advanced Powertrain and Torque Vectoring SH-AWD®
The fourth-generation Acura MDX debuts with an advanced and improved 3.5-liter direct-injected i-VTEC®™ V6 engine rated at 290 peak horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. peak torque (both SAE net), teamed for the first time with a 10-speed automatic transmission with Sequential Sport Shift and shift paddles on the steering wheel. The 10-speed automatic features faster and smoother shifts than the previous 9-speed automatic, with rapid four-gear downshifts for quick passing power when drivers need it.
The available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system for MDX uses Acura's industry-leading torque-vectoring all-wheel drive technology. Now in its fourth generation, SH-AWD® has 40-percent more rear torque capacity and 30-percent quicker front-to-rear torque transfer than the third-generation system in the previous MDX. The Acura SH-AWD® system can transfer up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear axle during normal driving conditions, while continuously apportioning up to 100 percent of that rear-axle torque between either the left or right rear wheels. Continuously overdriven by 2.9 percent, the rear axle amplifies the yaw moment effect of left-to-right torque transfer for even sharper and more accurate turn-in, and improved cornering traceability. SH-AWD® is available on MDX and MDX with Technology Package, and standard on MDX A-Spec® and MDX with Advance Package.
Versatile, Luxurious Cabin
The new fourth-generation 2022 Acura MDX sets a new high-water mark as the most premium and sophisticated cabin Acura has ever created. The low and wide instrument panel features a clean, horizontal design theme that creates a strong structural feel, and the seven-passenger interior is enriched with high-grade authentic materials including available open-pore wood, brushed aluminum and soft-touch Milano leather. Next-generation Acura sport seats set the stage for performance driving and all-day comfort in a control layout designed around the needs of the driver.
Even with the addition of a standard ultra-wide panoramic moonroof, the all-new platform's innovative roll-hemmed roof construction, wider body and longer wheelbase offers more headroom for the first and third-row occupants, in addition to more legroom, shoulder room and total passenger volume in all three rows. In the second row, MDX features a first-in-class multifunction second row with removable middle seat, which, when removed, enables easy passenger access to the third row, even when child seats are installed in the outboard second row seats.
Cargo carrying versatility is enhanced in the new MDX as well, with more available cargo volume behind each row of seating, a new under-floor cargo area behind the third row that's nearly twice as big as before, and smart new features such as a power tailgate with available Hands-Free Access and Walk Away Close that make loading/unloading and locking easier than ever.
The new MDX debuts the all-digital Acura Precision Cockpit™, replacing physical gauges with a customizable HD digital display. Measuring 12.3-inches and with a 60-Hz refresh rate for a smooth experience, the large HD screen offers two driver-selectable gauge layouts that are linked to the user's key fob. The new MDX also features the latest generation of Acura's intuitive and driver-focused True Touchpad Interface™, featuring an ultra-wide, 12.3-inch, full-HD center display, Acura's largest yet.
New to MDX is an expanded range of cutting-edge technologies and premium features that includes standard wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration, standard wireless charging, available full-color Head-Up Display, and the latest generation of AcuraLink® cloud-based services and Amazon Alexa Built-In. Also new for MDX is the CabinTalk® in-vehicle public address system and a new smartphone-based available CabinControl® app that lets passengers control select interior features and share audio playlists.
Three different audio experiences are available including the award winning ELS STUDIO 3D® premium audio system with four ceiling-mounted Highline speakers and a total output of 710 watts. Both ELS STUDIO® and STUDIO 3D® systems were tuned and perfected by eight-time Grammy® award-winning music producer and sound engineer, Elliot Scheiner, for whom the ELS system was named.
Integrated Dynamics System
With its new Integrated Dynamics System, the 2022 Acura MDX offers a more engaging and personalized driving experience. The NSX-inspired Dynamic Mode Dial on the center of the dash allows drivers to easily switch between Normal, Sport, Comfort, Snow and Individual settings. Each mode offers unique settings for engine and transmission performance including Idle Stop, transmission and throttle response and steering settings, as well as SH-AWD® responsiveness when so equipped. The new Individual mode enables drivers to tailor their driving experience by customizing settings according to their personal preferences.
With the available Technology Package, the Integrated Dynamics System also includes Acura's IconicDrive™ interior lighting system. Three are automatically linked to the Normal, Sport, Comfort and Snow driving modes. Drivers can further customize the interior lighting using the Vehicle Settings menu with an additional 24 illuminations themed for iconic roads and race circuits around the world, such as Pacific Coast and Suzuka.
Advanced Safety and Driver Assistive Technologies
All 2022 MDX models come with an expanded suite of AcuraWatch™ advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including updated Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) plus new technologies like Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), a Driver Attention Monitor, Pedestrian sensing and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Pedestrian AEB), and Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR). The MDX also offers a new front and rear automatic braking system, Low Speed Braking Control, that uses sonar-based parking sensors to sense solid objects at low speeds and warn the driver or apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate a collision.
First introduced in the all-new 2021 TLX, the new 2022 MDX incorporates Acura's award-winning next-generation passenger front airbag technology. With three inflatable chambers and an uninflated "sail panel" stretched between the two side chambers, the new airbag is designed to initially catch and decelerate the occupant's head with less force prior to contacting the lower chamber, cradling helping protect the front seat passenger's head to mitigate potential injury, especially in angled frontal collisions.
The 2022 MDX also features the latest generation of Acura's Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, with enhanced occupant and pedestrian frontal collision protection capabilities. Side impact performance, assessed using the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's side impact protocol, is further improved with a 34-percent reduction in cabin intrusion thanks to a redesigned ultra-high-strength side door ring and center roof pillar.
The 2022 MDX targets a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and incorporates anticipated future testing requirements, including oblique frontal collisions, pedestrian safety, and forward warning and automatic emergency braking tests. In addition, the new MDX targets a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including the highest available rating of GOOD in all collision tests and SUPERIOR for frontal crash prevention, with new headlights designed to achieve a GOOD rating in the rigorous IIHS headlight standard.
Design, Development and Manufacturing
The 2022 Acura MDX joins its three predecessors in being designed, engineered and developed in America. Styling was led by the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif., while full platform and vehicle development was led by engineers in the company's development center in Raymond, Ohio. The all-new MDX will continue to be built exclusively at the company's auto plant in East Liberty, Ohio, using domestic and globally sourced parts, while the 3.5-liter V6 is produced at the company's Anna, Ohio, engine plant. Acura's 10-speed automatic transmission is built exclusively at the company's Tallapoosa, Ga., transmission plant.
Debuting in 2000 as the North American Truck of the Year and Motor Trend SUV of the Year, the original 2001 Acura MDX was the industry's first three-row crossover SUV, defining an entirely new category of vehicles that now dominates the segment. Over the past 20 years, across three generations of development, MDX has established itself as perennial best seller with more than 1 million units sold, earning its place as America's all-time best-selling three-row luxury SUV. MDX also recently surpassed the TL as the best-selling Acura model of all-time.
2022 MDX: Powertrain
The fourth-generation Acura MDX debuts with an updated 3.5-liter i-VTEC® 24-valve V6 engine rated at 290 horsepower and 267 lb.-ft. torque (both SAE net), teamed for the first time in MDX with Acura's Sequential SportShift 10-speed automatic transmission.
With direct injection, a range of advanced friction-reducing technologies and carefully refined engineering, this performance-focused V6 offers an exceptional blend of power and fuel efficiency. In MDX, Acura's i-VTEC® (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) for the intake valves is combined with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®). VCM® varies the working displacement of the engine to match the driving requirements for greater efficiency.
New for MDX, the in-house developed 10-speed automatic transmission brings the V6 engine to life with responsive, smooth shifts befitting a performance-focused driver's SUV. The transmission can be operated via an electronic shift-by-wire push-button gear selector, and drivers can manually select gears using Acura's Sequential SportShift paddles located on the steering wheel. The 2022 MDX is available with front-wheel drive or with the fourth-generation of Acura's torque-vectoring Super Handling All Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) with faster response and greater torque capacity.
Engine Block and Crankshaft
With its 60-degree V-angle, the 3.5-liter V6 engine in MDX is inherently smooth and has compact overall dimensions that allow efficient packaging within the vehicle. For the fourth-generation MDX, there are minor changes to the block casting and oil pan. The V6 has a die-cast lightweight aluminum alloy block with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. Made with a centrifugal spin-casting process, the thin-wall liners are high in strength and low in porosity. The block incorporates a deep-skirt design with four bolts per bearing cap for rigid crankshaft support and minimized noise and vibration, and a high-strength steel crankshaft is used for minimum weight.
A cooling control spacer positioned in the water jacket surrounding the cylinders helps control warm-up and cylinder liner operating temperatures to reduce friction. Plateau honing of the cylinder lining further reduces friction between the piston skirts and the cylinder walls by creating an ultra-smooth surface. The 2-stage machining uses two grinding processes instead of the more conventional single-stage honing process. Plateau honing also enhances the long-term wear characteristics of the engine.
Pistons and Connecting Rods
The engine has pistons with cavity-shaped crowns that help maintain stable combustion and contribute to efficiency. The lightweight pistons have a carefully optimized skirt design to minimize reciprocating weight, which reduces vibration and increases operating efficiency. Ion-plated piston rings help reduce friction for greater operating efficiency. Lightweight, high-strength steel connecting rods are heat-forged in one piece and then "cold cracked" to create a lighter and stronger rod with an optimally fitted bearing cap.
Cylinder Heads and Valvetrain
The MDX engine's 4-valve cylinder heads are a single-overhead-camshaft design, with the cams driven by the crankshaft via an automatically tensioned toothed belt. Made of low-pressure cast, low-porosity aluminum, each cylinder head incorporates a "tumble port" design that improves combustion efficiency by creating a more homogeneous fuel-air mixture. An integrated exhaust manifold cast into each cylinder head reduces parts count, saves weight, improves flow and optimizes the location of the close-coupled catalysts.
i-VTEC® with 2-Stage Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®)
The Acura MDX SOHC V6 combines Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC®), which changes the lift profile, duration and timing of the intake valves. A switching mechanism allows each cylinder to operate with low-rpm valve lift and duration or high-rpm lift and duration. The rear cylinder bank's valve gear closes all intake and exhaust valves to minimize pumping losses while operating in three-cylinder mode.
The "intelligent" portion of the system is its ability to vary valve operation based on the driving situation and engine rpm. At low rpm, the i-VTEC® intake valves use a low lift and short duration profile optimized for increased torque, allowing a wide range of three-cylinder operation when VCM® is activated (see VCM® Operation below). As engine speeds build past 5,350 rpm, the i-VTEC® system transitions to a high-lift, long-duration intake cam profile for superior high-rpm engine power.
To help improve fuel efficiency, Acura's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM®) is used. The i-VTEC® system combines with Active Control Engine Mounts (ACM) to allow the VCM® system to operate with three cylinders in a wide range of situations to maximize fuel efficiency and lower emissions. When greater power is needed, the system switches seamlessly to six-cylinder operation. VCM® deactivates specific cylinders by using the i-VTEC® system to close the intake and exhaust valves while the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) simultaneously cuts fuel to those cylinders. The spark plugs continue to fire in inactive cylinders to minimize plug temperature loss and prevent fouling induced from incomplete combustion during cylinder re-activation.
The MDX's Drive-by-Wire™ throttle uses smart electronics that "connect" the accelerator pedal to a throttle valve inside the throttle body. Acura's Drive-by-Wire™ throttle evaluates and responds to varying driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, engine rpm and road speed.
Based on the Integrated Dynamics System setting, one of three different drive-by-wire maps is used. Normal and Comfort use a map suited for all-around driving, while Sport mode uses an aggressive map for performance driving. The new Snow mode features a gradual map to aid driving in slippery conditions.
New to Acura: Engine-Mounted Air Intake System
The fourth-generation MDX has a new engine-mounted air intake system that is designed to simplify engine compartment packaging and improve NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) performance. Fresh air is ducted from the front of the vehicle to the engine mounted air intake system, which is insulated to mitigate heating from the engine and radiator, providing cool air to the engine for maximum performance.
MDX's engine features a direct-injection system that enables increased torque across the full operating range, along with high fuel efficiency. The system features a compact, high-pressure, direct-injection pump that allows both high fuel flow and pulsation suppression, while variable pressure control optimizes injector operation. Multi-hole injectors deliver fuel directly into each cylinder, allowing for more efficient combustion and help MDX achieve CARB LEV III ULEV-70 and EPA Tier 3/BIN 70 emissions standards.
Direct Ignition and Detonation/Knock Control
MDX's Electronic Control Unit (ECU) monitors engine functions to determine the best ignition spark timing. Two engine block-mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensors "listen" to the engine, and based on this input, the ECU can retard the ignition timing to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The 3.5-liter V6 has an ignition coil unit for each cylinder that is positioned above each spark plug's access bore.
To help improve fuel efficiency, Acura MDX is equipped with Idle-Stop capability that automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver releases the brake pedal after a stop or pushes the accelerator pedal if the Automatic Brake Hold is active. The system is engineered to operate as to be virtually unnoticeable to the driver and passengers. When stopped, a special cold storage evaporator in the air conditioning system helps maintain a comfortable cabin temperature even in warm weather. The MDX's active engine mounts help smooth the restart. Idle-Stop operation is fully integrated into MDX 's Brake Hold system and its Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system.
The 2022 MDX uses new control logic for more intuitive Idle-Stop operation. Previously, when the driver brought the vehicle to a stop, the MDX engine would automatically stop; however, when the driver selected "P" (Park), the engine would sometimes restart. Now, in this situation, the engine remains off.
The exhaust manifolds of the 3.5-liter V6 are cast directly into the aluminum cylinder heads to reduce weight, decrease parts count and create more under-hood space. The result of this casting design is that the two primary catalytic converters are positioned much closer to the combustion chambers, enabling extremely rapid converter "light-off" after engine start. A significant weight savings is realized by eliminating traditional exhaust manifolds. Downstream of the close-coupled catalytic converters, a hydroformed 2-into-1 collector pipe carries exhaust gases to a secondary, underfloor catalytic converter.
Noise & Vibration Control
With its 60-degree V-angle and compact, rigid and lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block assembly, the 3.5-liter V6 powerplant is exceptionally smooth during operation. Other factors that help reduce engine noise and vibration are a rigid forged-steel crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts and a stiff cast-aluminum oil pan that reduces cylinder block flex.
Additionally, the new engine-mounted air intake system design has been specifically tuned to reduce noise. The exceptionally stiff design is constructed of glass- and mica-reinforced polypropylene, which reduces variation in noise suppression performance as under-hood temperatures change.
Active Control Engine Mounts and Active Noise Cancellation
A 34-volt Active Control Engine Mount system (ACM) is used to minimize the effects of engine vibration as the VCM® system switches between three- and six-cylinder operation. The ACM system is a key factor in the broad range of operation of the VCM® system. Sensors alert the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to direct ACM actuators positioned at the front and rear of the engine to cancel engine vibration using a reverse-phase motion. In the cabin of the MDX an Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) system further mitigates low frequencies that can occur during three-cylinder operation.
10-Speed Automatic Transmission
For the first time, the 2022 MDX is equipped with Acura's in-house developed 10-speed automatic transmission (10AT) that yields notable improvements in engine performance and efficiency and shift performance.
Engineered for high efficiency with low internal inertia and an exceptionally wide ratio range, the 10AT maximizes performance and fuel efficiency. Compared with the previous 9-speed automatic (9AT), the 10AT has a 3.3-percent wider overall ratio range with an 8.9-percent lower (numerically higher) first gear.
The 10AT is designed to be lightweight and compact. It features four planetary gear sets that work together to provide an exceptionally wide ratio spread of 10.139:1 compared with 9.82:1 on the previous generation MDX's 9AT.
The 10-speed also has substantially faster shift performance than the 9AT transmission in the previous generation MDX. For greater responsiveness, the 10AT can make four-gear direct downshifts, such as from 10 to 6, or from 7 to 3, enabling quick acceleration for merging or passing.
Shift-By-Wire Gear Selector
The 2022 Acura MDX uses a fully electronic, shift-by-wire gear selector. Park, Neutral and Drive are selected with the push of a button. Reverse is selected by pulling back a dedicated switch. Indicator lights on or next to the buttons show the selected mode. Also, if the vehicle is brought to a stop in Drive or Reverse, the system will automatically select Park if the driver's seatbelt is unbuckled and the driver's door is opened. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let the driver take manual control of transmission gear selection.
The 10-speed automatic transmission can be operated in two fully automatic modes: The D (or "Drive") mode is ideal for most driving situations and combines fuel efficiency with smooth operation and responsive power when needed. The S (or "Sequential" mode) is meant for more spirited or demanding driving in first through eight gears and features more aggressive shift mapping to keep engine speeds higher for greater acceleration and pulling power.
Based on the Integrated Dynamics System setting, one of three different transmission maps is used. The default Normal and user-selectable Comfort modes have shift programming aimed at all-around driving, while Sport mode has a more aggressive shift map that targets performance driving. Snow mode, new to MDX, features a gradual response map suited for slippery road conditions.
In D mode, the transmission incorporates an advanced Grade Logic Control System, Shift Hold Control and Cornering G Shift Control - all of which reduce unwanted shifting and gear hunting. The result is smart transmission operation that optimizes fuel efficiency and keeps the transmission in the appropriate gear for driving conditions, offering excellent performance and smooth operation.
Grade Logic Control
While ascending or descending hills, Grade Logic Control alters the transmission's shift schedule to reduce shift frequency and improve speed control, helping to minimize driver workload. The transmission ECU continually measures throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration to determine when the vehicle is on a hill. The shift schedule is then adjusted to hold the transmission in lower gears both during ascents to boost climbing power, and during descents to provide greater engine braking.
Shift Hold Control
Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) gear ratio during aggressive driving, as in the case of decelerating at a corner entry. Shift Hold Control leaves the chassis undisturbed by eliminating excess shifting and ensures that power will be more immediately available (without a downshift) at the corner exit.
Cornering G Shift Control
Cornering G Shift Control monitors the speed of each rear wheel independently to determine when the MDX is turning. When the system detects a sufficient speed differential between the rear wheels, it will suppress any unwanted upshifts. This prevents both the transmission from upshifting during a corner which could upset the chassis balance and then require downshifting again at the corner exit when the throttle is applied.
The MDX features steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Particularly useful during spirited driving or in mountainous terrain, the paddles give the driver greater control and a sportier option over standard automatic transmission operation. On long downgrades, the driver can command downshifts with the paddles that allow increased engine braking to reduce the load on the brakes and help control MDX's downhill speed. MDX with A-Spec® features paddle shifters with a metal finish.
Paddle Shifter Operation in Drive Mode
While in Drive mode, special transmission logic programming allows the use of the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. When the driver operates the paddle shifters, the transmission responds to the driver's shift command and then returns to its normal fully automatic mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a few seconds, depending upon driving conditions. This special logic makes it easy for the driver to command a quick downshift without leaving the convenience of Drive mode. This temporary manual mode can be cancelled at the driver's will by holding the right-side paddle for two seconds, and the transmission will resume "Drive."
Paddle Shifter Operation in Sequential Mode (Sequential SportShift)
By selecting the "S" position, Sequential mode is engaged. This mode offers automatic operation with more aggressive shift mapping and locks out operation of ninth and tenth gears. A pull on either of the paddle shifters places the transmission in fully manual mode with access to all 10 gears until another mode of operation is selected. A digital display on the lower left of the Acura Precision Cockpit™ screen indicates which gear the transmission is in. The Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system creates a "blip" of the throttle to help match gear speeds while downshifting.
Transmission Operational Backstops
To prevent harm to the powertrain when the transmission is paddle shifted by the driver, the system will inhibit potentially damaging shifts. As an added safety measure, the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) also can cut off fuel to the engine to prevent over-revving. If fuel cutoff is insufficient to prevent engine over-revving, as might be possible when the vehicle is on a steep downhill, the transmission will automatically upshift to prevent damage. On downshifts, the transmission will not execute a driver command that will over-rev the engine.
For improved stop-and-go performance and to help prevent "lugging" the engine, the transmission will automatically downshift even though the transmission has been left in a higher gear as the vehicle comes to a stop.
Both shift performance and smoothness are improved by cooperative control between the Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and the electronically controlled transmission. The engine is throttled by the engine management system during upshifts and downshifts so the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for faster, smoother shifting. As a result, peak g-forces (or "shift shock") are reduced significantly during upshifts and downshifts.
Front-wheel drive is standard on both MDX and MDX with Technology Package. With its efficient design and reduced weight, Acura MDX with front-wheel drive receives EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined.
Super Handling All-Wheel Drive System™ (SH-AWD®)
Acura's fourth-generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) is available on both MDX and MDX with Technology Package, and standard on A-Spec and Advance Packages. The acclaimed SH-AWD® system, also available on RDX and TLX, progressively distributes optimum torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels for more precise and exhilarating handling response across a wide variety of road conditions, while still receiving EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 21 mpg combined.
The new fourth-generation SH-AWD® rear differential has enhancements to upgrade its torque capacity and response. Compared to the previous-generation MDX, maximum rear axle torque capacity has been increased by 40 percent. In normal conditions, up to 70 percent of torque can be sent to the rear axle, and 100 percent of that torque can be distributed to either the left or right rear wheels. The rear wheels also receive torque 30-percent faster than the previous-generation MDX.
When cornering, SH-AWD® distributes more torque to the outside rear wheel, creating a yaw moment to help turn the vehicle through corners - making for more accurate turns, reducing understeer and improving controllability. With cornering forces more evenly distributed between front and rear tires, the ability to utilize more torque is increased - on wet or dry roads. The system also overdrives the rear axle by 2.9 percent, which amplifies the yaw effect of lateral rear-wheel torque distribution when cornering.
Electronic Controls and Parameters
The SH-AWD® system works in cooperation with MDX's Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) system and Agile Handling Assist to optimize torque distribution for superior handling and traction utilization. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) provides information on engine rpm, airflow and transmission gear-ratio selection, while the VSA® ECU provides wheel-speed data. The SH-AWD® ECU also monitors steering angle, lateral g-forces, vehicle yaw rate and electrohydraulic clutch engagement for the right and left rear axle shafts. Drive torque is calculated by the ECU, and then the acceleration, wheel spin, lateral g-force and steering angle are used to determine the front-to-rear torque distribution and the torque split between right and left rear wheels.
Based on the Integrated Dynamics System setting, one of three different SH-AWD® maps is used. Normal and Comfort modes have SH-AWD® programming aimed at all-around driving, while Sport mode has a more aggressive SH-AWD® programming that targets performance driving. Snow mode features a response map that targets confident and secure performance in low-traction situations.
SH-AWD® System Layout
The MDX SH-AWD® system is a full-time all-wheel-drive system that requires no driver interaction or monitoring, thanks to a torque-transfer unit bolted directly to the front-mounted transaxle. The torque-transfer unit receives torque through a spline connection that is part of the front differential housing. A set of helical gear shafts and a hypoid gear set within the torque-transfer unit sends power to the propeller shaft, which in turn transfers power to the rear differential.
To optimize the unique packaging needs of the fourth-generation MDX, a new "low mount" torque-transfer unit from the front transaxle is used. This layout reduces the driveshaft angle to the rear wheels, allowing a flatter passenger compartment floor, a lower passenger hip point and in turn, the lowest possible roofline.
The MDX's lightweight SH-AWD® rear differential uses an electric motor that powers a pair of hydraulic pumps, one for each clutch pack. A pair of linear solenoids controlled by the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) selectively sends pressure to the clutch packs, which in turn control the amount of power sent to each rear wheel.
The hydraulically operated clutches can be controlled as a pair to alter the front/rear torque split, or they can be controlled independently to allow up to 100 percent of rear-wheel torque to either rear wheel, giving the system the ability to create a yaw moment that increases cornering grip and line traceability.
The fourth-generation SH-AWD® system offers 30-percent quicker front-to-rear torque transfer compared to the third-generation SH-AWD® system, achieved by the adoption of a shorter hydraulic circuit and a higher-torque electric motor that drives the rear differential's twin hydraulic pumps. The hydraulic circuit was also optimized for more consistent response time at the left and right rear wheels.
100,000-Mile Tune-Up Intervals
The 3.5-liter V6 requires no scheduled maintenance for 100,000 miles or more, other than periodic inspections and normal fluid and filter replacements. The first tune-up includes water pump inspection, valve adjustment, replacement of the camshaft timing belt, and the installation of new spark plugs.
To eliminate unnecessary service stops while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, Acura MDX has a Maintenance Minder™ system that continually monitors the vehicle's operating condition. When maintenance is required, the driver is alerted via a message on the right side of the Acura Precision Cockpit™ screen.
Available Trailer Hitch and Trailer Hitch ATF Cooler Kit
A dealer-installed receiver-style trailer hitch accommodates a variety of trailer coupler designs, and includes a draw bar, retaining pin, clip and wiring harness with a 7-pin round-style connector. Trailer hitch balls of 1 7/8-inch or 2-inch are available separately. When so equipped, front-wheel drive MDX models have a 3,500 lb. tow rating; MDX SH-AWD® models have a 5,000 lb. tow rating when equipped with the optional Trailer Hitch ATF Cooler Kit.
Remote Engine Start with Vehicle Feedback
The MDX with Advance Package provides the ability to start the vehicle's engine remotely using just the key fob. Drivers can start their MDX and activate the climate control system before they get to the vehicle on hot or cold days. The remote function is designed to have a range of operation of at least 300 meters, with the key fob providing feedback through red, yellow, and green LEDs. To start the engine remotely, the owner presses the LOCK button and then holds the ENGINE button for a few seconds. When the engine is started remotely, the wipers, lighting and audio systems remain off, and the security system remains set. The engine will run for up to 10 minutes after remote starting, and then shut off automatically if the owner doesn't reach the vehicle within that time; the sequence can be reset twice before shutting off entirely. When the owner does reach the vehicle within 10 minutes, the engine will keep running while the owner unlocks their MDX and enters the vehicle.
2022 MDX: Body & Exterior
The new MDX represents the first application of an all-new light truck platform, a "clean sheet" design from the ground up, that delivers premium proportions, more athletic handling performance, refined ride comfort, exceptional cabin quietness and improved collision performance throughout all MDX trims. Built on the foundation of this new platform, the fourth-generation MDX offers the most technologically advanced design and construction in Acura SUV history.
Overall, the new body is stiffer in every key measurements, with 32-percent greater torsional stiffness. This makes it the most rigid SUV in Acura's history, allowing fine-tuning of the new suspension systems to make the fourth generation the best-handling Acura MDX ever. The MDX body is comprised of 60.9 percent high-strength and press-hardened steel, and 8.8 percent aluminum - the most ever for the model - which helps minimize curb weight, optimize front-to-rear weight bias and fuel efficiency, and improve handling agility and ride quality.
The new platform also allowed a fresh approach to the fundamentals of stance and proportion, resulting in an MDX with aggressive proportions that are longer, lower and wider than the previous generation, befitting its flagship status. The upright and bold fascia, longer dash-to-axle ratio, and sharply sculpted hood highlight the powerful and premium look of MDX. The pronounced beltline emphasizes the strong stance of the 19-inch wheels (and available 20-inch wheels) and wider tires pushed to the corners thanks to the longer wheelbase and wider track.
New all-LED lighting plays an important part in the more emotional look, with wide-set next-generation JewelEye® LED headlights and Chicane™ LED daytime running lights, echoed by LED brake and taillights with a Chicane™ design. Decisive applications of chrome trim and garnishes (gloss black on A-Spec®) tie together the new body forms, with two new paint colors joining the eight-color palette: Phantom Violet Pearl which debuted on the 2021 TLX, and all-new Liquid Carbon Metallic, making its debut on the 2022 MDX.
The new light-truck platform also benefits frontal crash safety performance in the form of the newest generation of Acura's Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. The extensive use of high-strength steel includes safety enhancements such as an ultra-high-strength steel front door stiffener ring on the driver and passenger side and a new front end designed to help reduce pedestrian injuries.
All-New Light-Truck Platform
The all-new light truck platform underpinning the 2022 MDX benefits nearly every aspect of the new SUV's performance, styling, packaging and safety performance. Such an undertaking gave the engineering and design teams the freedom of a fresh approach to every characteristic of the vehicle.
The new platform is incredibly rigid, with improvements in every measure of bending and torsional rigidity. The resulting stiffness allowed the suspension engineers to create new double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspensions that provide Type S-levels of handling performance to the entire MDX lineup, while simultaneously improving on the ride quality that is an MDX hallmark.
Longer and wider than its predecessor, the new light-truck platform pays benefits in both exterior styling and interior room. With the most dramatic and boldest Acura MDX design to date, the 2.8-inch longer wheelbase and 1.4-inch wider track afforded by the new light-truck platform are put to good use in the bold and dramatic exterior styling. The platform was designed from the outset to incorporate the design influences of the Acura Precision Concept in SUV form, such as a long dash-to-axle ratio.
The new platform pays dividends to the interior of the new MDX as well, with the expanded width and extended wheelbase improving legroom and shoulder room in all rows and also increasing overall passenger volume and cargo space significantly. The new platform also allowed for advancements such as the new removable center section in the second row of seats, and the newly expanded under-floor cargo area behind the third row of seats. Additionally, despite the addition of a new standard panoramic sunroof, headroom was improved in the first and third rows thanks to a roll-hemmed roof structure, which also contributes to increased rigidity.
The new rigid platform also incorporates the next generation of Acura's Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure with enhanced occupant and pedestrian frontal collision protection. With improved overlap protection with smaller and lower-riding vehicles, the new MDX features better frontal collision compatibility, along with improved absorption and distribution of crash loads around the passenger cabin. The new structure also improves side impact performance thanks to a redesigned ultra-high-strength side door ring and B-pillar. Additionally, the front area has been designed with an eye toward pedestrian safety performance, with deformable hood, hood hinges and upper fenders combining with new lower and upper leg protection in the front fascia.
Rigid Body Structure
The 2022 MDX's body is by far the strongest and most advanced in the model's history, with 32-percent greater global torsional (twisting) stiffness and 5-percent greater rear bending rigidity. Dynamically, this new structure was foundational to supporting the new suspension systems and enabling MDX's finely tuned ride and handling qualities. Another benefit of the rigid body structure is a quiet and more comfortable cabin environment, with less noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) over a wide range of driving conditions, including rough roads and certain off-highway excursions. The new body also was designed to be more tightly sealed acoustically, further banishing noise from the cabin environment.
Additionally, the new body structure features Acura's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™). This exclusive new structure is a key component to achieving top NHTSA and IIHS safety ratings. Additionally, the new MDX incorporates new front pedestrian safety engineering, a new rear dual load-path structure, the most high-strength steel ever in an MDX, expanded use of structural adhesives and more.
Key Acura MDX body engineering advancements include:
Advanced High Strength Steel
To aid safety performance and long-term durability, the 2022 MDX uses three different grades of press-hardened and high-strength steel (HSS) in 60.9 percent of its body structure by weight, up from 54 percent in the outgoing MDX. This high-grade, high-tensile strength steel is applied to improve both dynamic and collision safety performance while mitigating weight. Altogether, 69.7 percent of the MDX body is composed of press-hardened steel, high-strength steel or aluminum - more than in any previous generation of MDX.
Aluminum stampings, extrusions and castings are used in key locations to help minimize MDX's curb weight and provide benefits in handling, fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. Altogether, aluminum body components comprise 8.8 percent of MDX's body weight.
Premium, Emotional Design
Styled at the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif., the fourth-generation MDX follows Acura's Precision Crafted Performance® brand DNA to become the boldest and most dramatic MDX yet. Incorporating key design cues from the Acura Precision Concept from 2016, the new light-truck platform's inherent advantages to styling include a 2.8-inches longer wheelbase and 1.4-inches wider track. The final sculpted exterior design inspired by the wind-shaped rocks in Arizona's Antelope Canyon. The resulting Acura MDX is radically evolved from its predecessors to be more powerful, dynamic and personal, with the most dramatic styling evolution a more than 4-inches longer dash-to-axle dimension that, combined with the vehicle's 2.2-inches greater body length, creates a side profile that looks powerful, fast, sleek, and thoroughly modern.
Up front, MDX is instantly defined by Acura's signature multi-faceted Diamond Pentagon grille surrounded by chrome trim (gloss black on A-Spec®), framing a large Acura badge, and flanked by brighter new four-element JewelEye® LED headlights and wing-shaped Chicane™ daytime running lights (DRL). On the lower corners of the dynamically sculpted fascia are available three-element LED fog lights. Slender, stylish and bright, these lights make up the forward elements of MDX's all-LED exterior lighting package. Broad chromed trim defines the corners of this multidimensional front end.
With its long and sculpted hood, rakish greenhouse surrounded by chrome trim (gloss black on A-Spec®), and muscular, crisply edged wheel houses, the MDX communicates athleticism in both FWD and available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) versions. A defining shoulder center line streams rearward from the front LED positioning lights to the LED Chicane™ 3D taillight array, simultaneously defining and visually linking the aerodynamic greenhouse and the strong, bold bodysides. The broad doors are defined by black B- and C-pillars, body-color handles (LED illuminated on Advance Package), chrome trim (gloss black on the MDX with A-Spec®), and a pronounced lower contour extending from front to rear.
The rear of the vehicle expands on signature Acura design cues first introduced on the Acura Precision Concept, and features arresting new all-LED Chicane™ taillights with 3D light-blades, a broad power tailgate, a stylish lower character line defined by chrome trim (gloss black on A-Spec®), dual polygonal exhausts with bright finishers, and a spoiler.
Aerodynamic development was driven by the NSX's total airflow management program, and then proven both with computational fluid dynamics and 25-percent, 40-percent and full-scale wind-tunnel testing. The broad grille and a hidden cold-air intake finely apportion airflow to the radiator and engine, respectively. For the first time, MDX uses an Active Shutter Grille system to reduce airflow through the radiator at highway speeds, optimizing aero efficiency. Behind the air dam, a broad panel directs airflow smoothly toward the rear of the vehicle. New 2-piece front strakes bend airflow around the front tires and induce drag-cutting vortexes along the bodysides.
A summary of MDX aerodynamic details include:
Active Shutter Grille System
In a first for MDX, the Active Shutter Grille system located in the lower grille opening reduces aerodynamic drag - especially at cruising speeds - which directly helps to improve fuel efficiency. The system uses an electric actuator controlled by a processor that monitors ambient air temperature, the climate control setting, and the temperature of the engine coolant and automatic transmission fluid. Depending on these factors, the system either opens or closes the four shutters simultaneously to control the amount of air flowing through the engine's radiator and the air conditioner's condenser. The system is designed to keep the shutters closed as much as possible, even in city driving, and they remain closed until the vehicle's regular operating temperature is reached. This also benefits fuel economy as it keeps the engine and associated systems within their most efficient temperature range.
Fitted ahead of the front tires, specially designed two-piece strakes help sweep air around the tires and create vortexes down the vehicle sides to reduce pressure, improving aerodynamic efficiency. Measuring approximately 12.3 inches wide by 3.3 inches high, the molded strakes are mounted beneath the outside corners of the fascia. The polyurethane material is flexible to help avoid breakage if it contacts curbing or other obstacles. The strakes do not interfere with towing or flatbed trucking the MDX if ever required.
The exterior of the Acura MDX A-Spec® is distinguished from all angles from the standard MDX by unique appearance cues. The A-Spec® front end is defined by a black grille surround, black headlight and taillight trim and LED fog lights. The side profile includes dramatic 20-inch Shark Gray wheels with a machined finish, A-Spec® badges on the front quarter panels, black side window moldings, black door mirror housings, and gloss-black lower garnishes. A third A-Spec® badge adorns the left side of the tailgate.
Apex Blue Pearl paint is exclusive to A-Spec®, while Liquid Carbon Metallic, Platinum White Pearl, Majestic Black Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, and Lunar Silver Metallic are also available. A-Spec® also includes exclusive interior features.
Next-Generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) Body Structure
The new MDX's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure is designed to enhance occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal collisions with a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle and reducing the forces transferred to the passenger compartment. ACE™ also helps reduce the potential for override in collisions between two vehicles of differing heights, and by offering additional strength and protection in small overlap frontal collisions, which are among the most severe.
The MDX's ACE™ body structure features crash stroke technology. In a severe frontal collision, the lower section of the front vehicle frame is designed to deform in a manner that helps direct the engine downward to minimize cabin intrusion.
Under Floor Load Path -To further enhance occupant protection, the 2022 MDX has two underfloor longitudinal members made of high-strength steel that connect to the side frames. This ultra-rigid structure channels crash loads into and through the longitudinal members, away from the passenger cabin.
Ultra-High Strength Door Ring
The 2022 MDX features a redesigned 1-piece 1500 MPa press hardened steel side door ring on the driver and passenger side produced from a 4-section tailor laser-welded blank that is significantly stronger than conventional steel, and it is designed to help better protect occupants in a frontal or side impact.
High-Performance Structural Adhesive
The 2022 MDX makes widespread use of structural adhesives - 35 meters in total - throughout the unibody, supplementing structural welds and significantly increasing rigidity and aiding collision performance. Applied before certain overlapping body panels are welded together, the high-performance adhesive material is used in the front suspension towers, front side frames, rear side sills, B-, C- and D-pillars, roof panel, central roof arch, rear wheelhouses, rear floor pan, and lower rear unibody corners.
Rear Ring Structure
To improve ride quality, handling and interior quietness, a dual balanced load path structure feeds rear suspension loads into both C- and D-pillars, instead of solely into the D-pillars as previously. Incorporated into this new structural engineering is a steel rear stiffening ring that connects the left and right C-pillars with the roof and floor, forming an immensely strong continuous "ring" that provides enhanced body rigidity in a critical area of the vehicle. The new rear ring structure contributes to the MDX's 32-percent increase in global torsional (twisting) stiffness.
Cast Aluminum Front Damper Mounts
Compared to typical steel mounts, the 2022 MDX's lightweight cast aluminum front damper houses (shock tower mounts) provide a 45-percent more rigid upper mounting point for the suspension, which improves the operating efficiency of the damper, allowing engineers to optimally tune suspension performance for sharper handling and improved ride compliance. Combined, the new aluminum mounts weigh 20.5 pounds less than typical steel mounts, and they also aid in the reduction of vibrations transmitted into the cabin and help optimize the new Acura MDX's front-to-rear weight bias. The mounts attach to the steel unibody using structural adhesive and self-piercing rivets.
New to MDX: Panoramic Moonroof with Tilt and Slide Function
Standard on all 2022 MDX model is an ultra-wide panoramic tilt and slide moonroof offers. Its top-slide, bottom-load design also minimizes intrusion on interior headroom. Comprising two panes of 4.0 mm tempered glass, the panoramic moonroof opening measures about 3.1 feet wide and 4.4 feet long. The tilting and sliding front panel is 37 inches wide and 27 inches long, and the fixed rear panel is 36 in. wide and 26 in. long.
Particularly for second- and third-row passengers, the panoramic roof provides an enhanced feeling of spaciousness. A power sunshade can be extended or retracted across both panoramic roof sections to provide either an unobstructed sky view, full shade, or anywhere in between. The panoramic moonroof also can be controlled by passengers seated in the second and third rows using the CabinControl® app on a connected smartphone.
The application of a panoramic moonroof required new roof design and engineering in order to retain the necessary stiffness and safety performance, without increasing vehicle height and frontal area. A key part of this new design is a roll-hemmed roof structure. A first for MDX, with its optimized steel and narrow tailor-welded flanges, the roof structure significantly stiffens the exterior roof panel, enabling the large panoramic moonroof to be added without sacrificing roof strength or overall unibody stiffness. An Acura first, the roof structure also features a six-piece tailor-welded steel roof stiffener, further optimizing weight and rigidity.
New: Soft Close Windows
An Acura first, a new power window control unit regulates window closing speed and slows the windows before closing to achieve a nice, soft close. The control unit also balances the window closing speeds across all four doors; this allows all four windows to close simultaneously (if selected by the driver) as well as softly, adding to the overall luxury feeling of the 2022 MDX.
Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Design Features
Extensive noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) features include strategically placed body sealants, structural adhesives and other measures to reduce vibration and the transmission of noise. These measures include: