In 2022, Acura unleashed a wave of excitement among families with its revamped three-row SUV. I had the privilege of experiencing it firsthand. This generation of the Acura MDX arrived with an impressive array of updates. It boasts a more powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine than the previous generation, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, a revamped body design that exudes confidence with its enhanced rigidity, and a suspension system fine-tuned to elevate your driving experience. But what really caught my attention was the MDX Type S Advance, which I had the pleasure of test-driving. This stylish performance SUV packs a punch with its turbocharged 355-hp 3.0-liter V-6 engine.

This is not your average three row luxury suv; suitable for moms but built for performance.
family suv, best family suv, great family suv, three-row suv, best three row suv luxury

Believe it or not, there’s more to this SUV than meets the eye. As an owner of the smaller RDX, I was eager to explore how Acura has seamlessly integrated elements from its RDX into the MDX, giving it a distinctive and stylish edge that sets it apart from your typical family SUV. Join me as we delve into the 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance. I will uncover the standout features that make it a top contender for the best luxury three-row midsize SUV for families. And, I’ll share why I’m contemplating making the leap from my cherished RDX to the enticing MDX.

I drove the Acura MDX Type S Advance: Read why It's our top pick for a luxury three-row family SUV, & why it's making us consider an upgrade!family suv, best family suv, great family suv, three-row suv, best three row suv luxury
This beauty boasts an Apex Blue Pearl Exterior that’s pure eye candy. Don’t you think?

Acura MDX – The Epitome of Family-Friendly Luxury

When it comes to the ideal family SUV, the checklist is extensive—practicality, safety, reliability, and the ability to turn heads. The 2022 Acura MDX ticks all those boxes and more. From the moment I laid eyes on it, I was captivated by its exquisite design and spacious interior. I enjoyed the sumptuous leather seats that cradled me in comfort. But the real surprise came when I took the wheel.

The MDX Type S Advance proved it’s no ordinary family car with its powerful 3.5-liter V6  engine pushing out 355 hp engine; it’s a nimble powerhouse. With six distinct drive modes, including options like Lift, Snow, Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Sport+, this SUV adapts effortlessly to your every need. I even had a taste of its sporty side during a highway drive to Atlantic City. While I daydreamed about 400 hp, the MDX’s performance exceeded my daily driving demands.

This beauty boasts an Apex Blue Pearl Exterior that's pure eye candy
Sport and sleek exterior with just enough power a mom like me needs for daily use.

The Ride Experience: A Dynamic Transformation

As I sat at a stoplight, I noticed a subtle rise in the SUV’s demeanor, a clue that this vehicle had something special hidden beneath its sleek exterior. Switching between the driving modes – Comfort, Normal, and Sport – brought about distinct changes in ride height and handling, offering a driving experience that adapted to my mood and surroundings. And let’s not forget the cushiony suspension, which provided a sensation akin to floating on a cloud.

I drove the Acura MDX Type S Advance: Read why It's our top pick for a luxury three-row family SUV, & why it's making us consider an upgrade!family suv, best family suv, great family suv, three-row suv, best three row suv luxury
The second row is spacious and has heated seats and the center seat can be removed to allow easy access to the third row.
The third row is comfortable too! Easily accessible with the push of a suv, best family suv, great family suv, three-row suv, best three row suv luxury
The third row is comfortable too! Easily accessible with the push of a button.

A Family SUV with Versatility

The Acura MDX Type S is a testament to versatility. With the capacity to comfortably seat six to seven passengers, it accommodates a family’s evolving needs effortlessly. The second-row seats on adjustable rails enhance the layout options, while the removable middle seat grants easy access to the third row. Practicality extends to underfloor storage, perfect for concealing surprise gifts from curious little ones. The third row is easily accessible with the push of a button, making family outings a breeze. Not only does it accommodate, but it also performs admirably, with a silky-smooth engine and a responsive transmission.

Cargo space, like most three row suvs is limited in the 2022 Acura MDX. family suv, best family suv, great family suv, three-row suv, best three row suv luxury
Suitcases packed for a weekend in Atlantic City. Limited Cargo space with the third row up. But that’s expected with three-row SUVs. But this is where the hidden storage comes in handy.

Interior Comfort and Cargo: Where Style Meets Utility

The MDX’s interior is a testament to premium comfort. Milano leather sports seats with quilted contrast stitching and piping provide an elevated look and feel. The abundance of legroom, 41.6 inches in the front row, and the flexibility of the second-row seats on rails ensure a comfortable journey for all. A 12.3-inch HD Center Display, strategically positioned for easy access, simplifies navigation and infotainment. Cargo space is generous, with 39.1 cubic feet behind the second row and a whopping 71.4 cubic feet with both rear rows folded down. It’s a harmony of style, comfort, and practicality.

Rearfacing car seat installed behind 2nd row passenger in the 2022 Acura MDX
A rear-facing car seat was installed in the MDX. Seats are on rails making more room for the front passenger. But you cannot fold the seat forward to allow third-row entry.

Safety and Technology: Acura’s Commitment to Families

For families, Acura embodies safety and reliability. The MDX, proudly awarded the 2022 TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating by the IIHS and a five-star safety rating by the NHTSA demonstrates Acura’s dedication to passenger protection. It has a suite of standard driver-assistance features, including automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Additionally, it simplifies the chaos of child seats with LATCH installation capabilities and a rear passenger reminder. The abundance of charging ports and tech-savvy amenities, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cater to modern families’ connectivity needs.

2022 Acura MDX the controversial touchpad plus a place to store keys
I don’t mind using the touchpad. Plus there is a place to rest your arms while using it, and a place to store keys.

Getting Acquainted with the MDX: What You Should Keep in Mind

The Acura MDX, while impressive in many ways, doesn’t escape a few noteworthy idiosyncrasies. One of the recurring complaints among Acura owners, including myself, is the matter of fuel efficiency. Yes, it’s a known fact that SUVs tend to be thirstier at the pump, but the fuel economy of both my RDX and the MDX left me wanting more. During my test drive with the MDX, it averaged a real-world 14-16 mpg in the city and 18.6 mpg on the highway, falling short of its advertised 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway figures. It’s a step down from the previous generation’s more fuel-efficient ratings, leaving me somewhat puzzled as to why Acura hasn’t prioritized improvement in this area.

Another point of discussion revolves around the absence of a hybrid or fully electric MDX model on the horizon. Like many Acura enthusiasts, I yearned for the option of a hybrid powertrain, but it appears Acura is bypassing hybrids in favor of an all-electric future, as evidenced by the upcoming release of the two-row, five-passenger 2024 Acura ZDX.

Now, here’s where personal preferences come into play. The MDX boasts a touchpad interface rather than a traditional touchscreen, which some people dislike. Personally, I’ve found the touchpad to be user-friendly with a short learning curve. As a Virgo, seeing fingerprints on the screen is annoying. But I understand that some folks prefer the simplicity of a touchscreen.

The second-row seating in the MDX is a mixed bag. While it allows for adjustable legroom in the front and second rows, courtesy of the seats being on rails, you compromise third-row legroom. If accommodating third-row passengers is a priority, you’ll need to slide the second row forward, which somewhat mitigates this concern.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The MDX’s warranty package matches other brands in its class like, but it lacks the first maintenance visit. Acura, unfortunately, requires the owner to pay out of pocket for that service. I hope this is something they will cover going forward. Even my Nissan Murano covered initial maintenance and it’s not considered a luxury SUV.

  • The limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • The powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles

Choosing the Right Acura Package for Your Family SUV

When it comes to selecting the perfect Acura, it’s not just about the vehicle but the package that suits your needs. With Acura, you start with a base model and build on it with various packages, tailoring your experience to your preferences. For the front-wheel-drive (FWD) models, you have two trims: the base and the Technology package. On the other hand, the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) lineup offers a variety of six packages:

  1. Base
  2. Technology
  3. A-Spec
  4. Advance
  5. Type S
  6. Type S Advance

It’s worth noting that the fuel economy takes a slight dip in the SH-AWD versions compared to the FWD counterparts. In my experience, the Technology package strikes the perfect balance between features and cost, elevating the driving experience with heated leather sports seats, a premium sound system, GPS-linked climate control, and parking sensors.

2022 Acura MDX key fob with remote start
The keyfob with remote start is only available in the Advance and Type S packages. I love this versus having to use the app which can be finicky at times.

Why the MDX with Advance Is My Preferred Choice

My initial choice of the Acura RDX was based on factors like comfort and size. It served me well, but as my family grew, I couldn’t help but reflect on the practicality of my decision. Hindsight is 2020, right? In retrospect, opting for the MDX from the beginning seems like the wiser choice, especially considering the current state of car prices. The allure of the MDX is undeniable. It offers the perfect blend of space, style, and technology. However, two factors give me pause in making the switch: fuel economy and cost. The MDX starts at $49,550 (FWD) or $51,750 (SH-AWD) and can top out at a hefty $73,200 for the Type S Advance, the model I test-drove.

The road to choosing the right Acura package is paved with thoughtful contemplation and a keen understanding of your family’s needs. It’s a decision that requires careful consideration. However, the MDX with the Advance package currently stands as my preferred choice, primarily due to the inclusion of three must-have features that the Technology package doesn’t have:

  1. a 360-view camera
  2. a heated steering wheel
  3. key-fob activated remote start versus using the Acura app on my phone
2022 Acura MDX Super comfortable leather seats, hug my body and they massage.
Super comfortable Perforated Milano Premium Leather Sport Seats in Orchid, featuring Quilted and Contrast Stitching and Piping, hug my body and they massage! The massage option only available with the Type S package

Embracing the MDX: A Luxury SUV with Style and Substance for Families

The 2022 Acura MDX Advance Type S emerges as a strong contender for the title of the best family SUV. Its blend of style, versatility, safety, and technology makes it an appealing choice for families on the go. While it has its quirks, it shines as a luxury three-row midsize SUV that offers a thrilling driving experience while accommodating the demands of family life. As I weigh my own decision about upgrading from my RDX, I can’t help but be drawn to the allure of the MDX and the comfort, space, and style it promises for my family’s adventures ahead.

Learn more about the Acura MDX here:

The 2022 Acura MDX Type S Advance is a three-row suv, a family SUV in the midsize luxury SUV class. This is the Apex Blue Pearl