Experienced by Leon Brittain
My 2024 Acura MDX Type-S Advanced model with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) arrived at the opportune time for a week of testing over Thanksgiving. Our schedule was jam-packed with errands, shopping, and people to haul around, especially for a Turkey Day boxing session with seven family members. Of course with three rows of seating everyone was accounted for. And since I had the uplevel Type-S model, we were all cruising in style in this premium performance SUV.
The MDX is Acura’s top-of-the-line SUV and the largest you can purchase from the portfolio, which includes a redesigned RDX. This three-row luxury SUV is aesthetically welcoming, performance-focused, and technologically sophisticated, especially the digitized cockpit which feels like one of Acura’s race cars. The Japanese automaker utilizes copious amounts of shared parts, experiences, and componentry from its motorsports department with the goal of building its consumer vehicles with athletic handling in mind while still offering luxury amenities and comfortable ride quality.
To move you around with elevated energy, the 4th generation MDX Type-S features a 355-horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque 3-liter Turbo 6-cylinder engine that pairs with Acura’s performance-tuned 10-speed automatic transmission. Highway driving was pure and stable while in-town runs were thrilling and entertaining with this powertrain. Moreover, I always enjoy a set of quick-reacting paddle shifters to control shift points. Front 4-piston red Brembo calipers indicate that the MDX Type-S is ready for all types of action, whether high-speed braking or corning efficiency. Similar to the Acura TLX Type S, standard torque vectoring SH-AWD also plays a factor in the sporty SUV’s maneuverability as it provides torque to the wheels with grip for dynamic driving.
The utility vehicle’s stability and balance come in the form of an air suspension system with adjustable ride height and an Adaptive Damper System with three different Type S-specific damping settings. Additionally, Acura blessed the MDX Type-S with a 7-mode Integrated Dynamics System with Type S-exclusive Sport+ mode to optimize shift speeds and suspension settings and a new Lift Mode for additional ground clearance. The 21” rims are visually appealing and pair with 275/40 R21 Continental CrossContact RX ContiSeal high-performance all-season self-sealing tires. The SUV also tows 5,000 pounds.
The Type-S rendition of the MDX drastically stands out from the base model in various facets including the front-fascia which shows off an open-surface Diamond Pentagon grille in black that also increases cooling for the Turbo’s power. More importantly, Type S-signature quad exhaust tips with active exhaust valves demonstrate the SUV’s level of bravado. To top it off, my loaner was thoroughly accentuated with contrasting gloss black body molding, mirror caps, window frames, rear bumper surround, tailgate spoiler, roof rails, and the 10-spoke two-tone aluminum alloy Berlina Black rims. The Jewel Eye LED lights are pretty sinister as well.
Not only is the MDX Type-S a beauty to admire externally, but internally it’s just as impressive. The Orchid-hued 9-way massaging sport seats with perforated Milano premium leather seats (16-way powered) are complemented by a 25-speaker ELS Studio 3D Signature Edition premium audio system with PrecisionDrive carbon fiber speakers, metal sport pedals, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, and a 12.3” True Touchpad interface. A wireless charging pad, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Wi-Fi hotspot, and Alexa Auto add more digital amenities to the MDX Type-S cockpit.
But as savvy as the cabin is I have gripes with a few things. One is the second row, which was tight for my passengers even when you slide the seat back a little. Two, the touchpad to control everything is an outdated platform because it requires too much time and accuracy to select your inputs. At least make the display a touchscreen. Third, Acura still uses USB-a connections.
MSRP pricing for the 4th-generation MDX starts at $49,850, but my Type-S SH-AWD Advanced model increased to $73,500 (minus $1,195 destination and handling), which is quite a leap. Selecting a premium color such as Apex Blue Pearl, will run you another $600. However, Acura owners will be pleased with the Acura Maintenance Package which provides complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 24,000 miles. Plus, you receive three years of AcuraLink on the house.
The latest MDX Type-S is pleasurable to drive and excites with rousing behaviors thanks to sedan-like handling that is appealing to both large families and young couples. Combine this formula with the added convenience of a high-tech interior, and be prepared to maneuver your way around town gracefully.