Acura is going back to its roots. Quickly.
Its latest models have been instilled with plenty of the sporty attitude the brand was born with over three decades ago.
That includes the 2022 MDX three-row crossover, which follows the recently redesigned RDX and ILX down this performance-oriented path.
Pricing starts at $47,925, which puts it on the low end of a range of competitive vehicles that includes the Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Audi Q7 and BMW X7.
The all-new MDX gets a platform that better sets it apart from the Honda Pilot it is related to. Key among the changes is the use of a double-wishbone front suspension like the ones used on many high performance and racing cars.
It’s also longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model with more chiseled bodywork and a stretched hood to create a more athletic profile.
Under that hood you’ll find a 290 hp 3.5-liter V6 sending power through a 10-speed automatic transmission. The MDX is offered with front-wheel-drive or Acura’s excitingly named Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive, with respective tow ratings of 3,500 pounds and 5,000 pounds.
It is primarily a luxury vehicle, however, and the interior is finished in LED accent lights, piano black trim and leather worthy of its price. Seven passenger seating is standard, but the second-row middle seat can either be folded down and used as a console with cup holders, or completely removed to create a faux-captain’s chairs layout, unfortunately without inner armrests.
The third row gets a boost in legroom compared to the previous MDX, making it suitable for adults on short trips, and the cargo area is also larger, the stylish raked roofline trimming a bit off the top.
The front seats feel big and wide, but in my fully-loaded $61,675 test car were equipped with adjustable bolsters to help you get a tailored fit.
The MDX comes standard with a panoramic sunroof and a suite of driver aids that includes automatic emergency brakes, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and a Traffic Jam assist that can control the speed and help with steering in stop and go conditions.
Three step-up packages are available that add comfort and convenience features like a head-up display, 360-degree parking camera, a voice amplifier to help talk to the back seat passengers and a 16-speaker ELS Audio system that’s as crystal clear as the MDX’s full-digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment system display.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE FOX NEWS CAR REVIEWS
The latter isn’t a touchscreen, however, and relies on Acura’s True Touchpad Interface on the center console that can be tricky to use. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are provided, however, and are as good as you think either of those platform’s voice recognition systems are.
All of this provides the "premium" experience expected of an Acura, but what about that sporty thing?
You’ll have to turn up the dial to find out.
The MDX comes with standard computer-controlled dampers that adjust the stiffness of the suspension, which is plush as anything in comfort mode. Twist it to Sport and it noticeably firms up along with an increase in the aggressiveness of the steering feel, throttle response and transmission, which sticks to the lower gears more often.
It doesn’t completely transform the MDX into an oversized Integra, but does liven things up and offers a hit at what’s to come.
Later this year, Acura is putting an exclamation point on the performance thing by introducing a 355 hp MDX Type S model later this year with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6.
Current MDX owners should be more than satisfied with the run-of-the-mill 2022 model, however, which doesn’t mind going for a run.
2022 Acura MDX
Base price: $47,925
As tested: $61,675
Type: 7-passenger, 4-door all-wheel-drive SUV
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Power: 290 hp, 267 lb-ft
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
MPG: 19 city/25 hwy
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not." (The Cow 30)