Acura let me borrow the MDX Type S for a week, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was primarily used for wedding-related tasks, such as transporting people or items. The front seat with the massaging feature became a hot commodity – everyone in my family wanted a turn. I may have also persuaded a few people to consider the MDX for their next purchase just by having it around that week. One potential buyer even owns a 2021 Audi Q7, which speaks volumes about how impressive this Acura SUV is. On the last day, it was parked next to a Jaguar F-Type right near the entrance of the wedding hall, with the suspension lowered to the lowest setting, and it received a lot of compliments.
The MDX Type S stands as evidence that 3-row SUVs don’t have to be dull. Acura has been excelling with its new Type S lineup, and the MDX Type S is a testament to that success. This luxury SUV is an ideal choice for those in search of the perfect blend of performance and comfort, all wrapped in the long-established reliability synonymous with Japanese craftsmanship.
The MDX Type S stands out as an impressive 3-row SUV with its eye-catching design. It effortlessly embodies the essence of a performance SUV, featuring prominent Quad-Round Exhaust, striking red Brembo brakes, and sleek 21’’ Berlina Black Alloy Wheels. However, beyond appearances, the MDX Type S doesn’t just look the part—it performs admirably as well. While it may not be the quickest compared to some competitors, it excels in overall performance. It’s essential to recognize that performance extends beyond straight-line speed, and the MDX Type S rightfully earns its badge by delivering a compelling and well-rounded driving experience.
What sets the MDX Type S apart is its exceptional handling. The steering in the MDX Type S is precise and responsive, although it may lack the sporty feel preferred by some car enthusiasts. Despite a noticeable “floaty” sensation, which is common among many SUVs, the MDX Type S handles remarkably well. It’s enjoyable to push this 3-row SUV on twisty roads, showcasing its impressive handling and maneuverability. Acura has consistently delivered underrated handling in its vehicles, and the MDX Type S is no exception. With features such as SH-AWD, adaptive dampers, and an air suspension capable of adjusting the MDX’s height, this SUV offers a dynamic driving experience.
The adjustable air suspension works well, showcasing the versatility of this performance SUV. This feature allows drivers to manually adjust the ride height for various purposes. Whether prioritizing comfort during daily drives or seeking performance on winding roads, the dynamic air suspension proves to be a valuable feature on the MDX. In Sport modes, the suspension system can lower the ride height, contributing to a sportier driving experience. On the other hand, the Lift mode raises the vehicle by approximately 2 inches, providing additional ground clearance for situations that demand it. While Lift mode looks impressive with the SUV raised, it’s specifically designed for low-speed driving.
The MDX Type S is equipped with striking red-painted Brembo 4-piston front calipers. Beyond their contribution to the SUV’s aesthetic appeal, these calipers play a crucial role in enhancing braking performance—a necessity for an SUV of this size, especially when driving at high speeds.
The combination of dynamic air suspension and selectable drive modes not only enhances the overall appeal of the MDX but also reflects Acura’s commitment to delivering a customizable and engaging driving experience for its customers.
Interior and Technology
The MDX Type S not only delivers when it comes to performance but also has a sophisticated and luxurious cabin. While it shares similarities with the regular MDX, it comes with features not found on the platinum elite trim. One of them is the quilted leather-trimmed seating for the 1st and 2nd rows, which aren’t just visually appealing but also provide an incredibly comfortable experience—making this SUV ideal for long road trips. In addition to these seats, the first-row passengers are treated to an additional layer of comfort with massaging seats offering three levels and various massage types.
The cabin showcases high-quality materials that align with the vehicle’s price point, creating an upscale atmosphere inside. The first and second rows offer ample space and comfort, but the third row is best suited for children. While adjusting the second-row seats forward can accommodate adults in the back, it may not be the most comfortable for long journeys. The MDX provides a decent amount of storage space upfront for smaller items. However, there’s room for improvement in the design of the center console, which could be refined to optimize space.
The Type S is also equipped with the ELS Studio Signature Edition premium audio system, ensuring exceptional sound quality without any distortion even at high volumes. The front door speakers have a unique feature—they illuminate at night. An internal light within the speaker adds a stylish touch, especially during nighttime drives.
Regarding connectivity, the MDX offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ensuring seamless integration with your mobile devices. The cabin is equipped with multiple USB ports placed throughout to ensure everyone’s devices can stay charged. For added convenience, a wireless charger is conveniently located in the front. However, it’s worth noting that the wireless charger may not work perfectly with newer iPhones, likely due to the large camera bump that prevents the phone from fully connecting with the charging pad.
The MDX holds a competitive position in the luxury 3-row SUV market, with prices starting at $65,908 for the Tech trim and $72,908 for the Platinum Elite (Disclaimer: Prices include a $1,500 manufacturer discount. For the most updated prices, please visit the OEM website). However, the MDX Type S represents a significant leap compared to the Platinum Elite, making it the priciest vehicle in Acura’s lineup. Opting for the Type S comes with an additional cost of nearly $15,000 over the Platinum Elite trim, a factor buyers should carefully consider based on their individual needs.
Despite the steep price increase, buyers need to recognize that the Type S is, in a sense, an entirely different vehicle. The most notable upgrades are the more powerful 3L turbocharged V6 engine and adjustable air suspension. In addition to that, buyers also get more luxurious additions such as the ELS Studio Signature Edition premium audio system, quilted leather-trimmed seating for the 1st and 2nd row, and massage seats— one of my favourite features.
While the price difference is considerable, if you’re in the market for a performance-oriented 3-row SUV and prioritize reliability, the MDX presents good long-term value.