2024 Acura MDX Type-S Review - The Solution

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

Fast Facts

2024 Acura MDX Type S Advance Package Fast Facts

Powertrain
3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (355 horsepower @ 5,500 RPM, 354 lb-ft @ 1,400 RPM)
Transmission
10-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPG
17 city / 21 highway / 19 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, L/100km
13.8 city / 11.2 highway / 12.4 combined (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$74,695 (U.S.) / $88,408 (Canada)
As Tested
$75,295 (U.S.) / $88,908 (Canada)
Prices include $1,195 destination charge in the United States and $2,728 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Spend any time on various social media subcultures populated by car enthusiasts and you’ll certainly be confronted by the discussion topic known as “The Two Car Solution.” Sometimes, the phrasing is different, and sometimes, you’ll be presented with limiting factors such as “Pick the two best cars for all driving tasks from the same automaker,” but invariably, it assumes the respondent shall choose to sate each and every driving need with these two vehicles.


For the record, my response to “Ultimate Two-Car Garage from British Leyland after the Ryder Report” will be a 3500-powered Rover SD1 and an ’80 MGB with lowering springs and de-smogged with twin SU carburetors.


Now that I’ve cleared out the Thatcherite Anglophiles, let’s move on in recognition of a serious flaw in the above thought experiment. Most people can’t have more than one vehicle. Whether it’s down to simple parking logistics or budgetary constraints, it’s hard for people who enjoy driving to have more than one horse in their stable–especially if one or more of those horses needs to be a family hauler. It’s not reasonable to expect an enthusiast to do all that a parent needs to do with a car in a two-seat roadster. While I hardly doubt anyone in any official capacity will pick up this tagline, might I suggest for the 2024 Acura MDX Type-S: The Vehicle For Those Who Aren’t Completely Dead Inside.

I’m not looking to strain credulity here. The MDX Type-S isn’t the greatest driving vehicle in the world, nor is it the roomiest and most comfortable three-row crossover I’ve ever driven. It’s not going to be a track-day toy, nor will you want to seek out every twisty road between here and there. But it is a credible family vehicle that is rewarding to drive. These days, that’s not the easiest thing to find.

It doesn’t hurt that the MDX is pretty easy on the eyes. While there’s no getting around the fact that it is a slab-sided box on wheels like any other big crossover, the details make it look deceptively small. There are times when I’ll see an MDX on the road and quickly mistake it for the smaller RDX. It hides its bulk well. I particularly love the texture in the big smiling pentagonal grille, giving a sense of motion to the fascia even while stationary.

That diminishing style to the exterior sadly does carry over to the interior, where the third row is unsurprisingly tight for adults. The middle row and front are plenty comfortable, but only children and pets will be happy for longer drives in the wayback. I do appreciate the bench seat in the middle row, however. While many premium crossovers tend to put captain’s chairs in that middle row to give passengers a sense of extra comfort, there are many times when a temporary third passenger may be shunted to the third row. Here, that stray friend of the kid doesn’t get relegated to steerage, and the middle row proves to be cushy for all three when needed.

I applaud the daring red leather appointments here on the Type S. A splash of color is welcome in any car that isn’t specifically destined for hearse duty, but Acura went all out here. The perforated hides are buttery soft, with heating and cooling up front alongside surprisingly effective massage functions. It’s a pleasant place for a road trip.

The auxiliary controls leave much to be desired, however. While the ELS sound system fitted here sounds incredible–with twenty-five speakers, it ought to–accessing the infotainment is finicky at best. Acura currently fits the MDX with a weird touchpad rather than the usual intuitive touchscreen, and the controls are herky-jerky and hard to manipulate while driving. I’d suggest choosing a long playlist and setting your navigation well before you press the button that selects drive. The screen is bright and clear, but since you can’t touch it it’s aggravating to deal with.

Thankfully, it’s been reported elsewhere that the 2025 MDX will be ditching that touchpad and fitting a real touchscreen. If that’s something of concern, wait until next year.

It drives quite nicely, with minimal road noise but maybe a bit more wind noise around the A-pillar than I’d expect. The 21-inch wheels with their matching 40-section tires do transmit a fair bit of vibration through the steering wheel, but impact harshness is much better than you’d expect. Turn-in feel is great considering you’re hauling 4788 pounds of wagon behind. The 355 horsepower turbo V6 responds nicely to throttle inputs and feels well suited to making good time. You’ll be stopping for fuel pretty frequently, however, as the 19mpg combined EPA rating feels a bit optimistic if you’re enjoying your time dipping into the boost.

And you will enjoy it, that I’m assured of. The 2024 Acura MDX Type-S simply makes you not dread your next drive, which can’t always be said of every family vehicle out there.

[Images © 2024 Chris Tonn/TTAC.com]

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Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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2 of 55 comments
  • Tylanner Tylanner on Jan 30, 2024

    I truly admire Acura's ambition and design with the TLX and MDX but the fuel efficiency is just unforgivable although not completely out of character for the brand.


    It just makes it a complete non-starter for a daily driver.

  • Brenton Brenton on Jan 30, 2024

    If you would like a 79 mgb that just needs the springs please reach out, i could be persuaded to sell mine for the right price (way more then its worth) :)

  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.
  • ToolGuy Lose a couple of cylinders, put the rest in a straight line and add a couple of turbos. Trust me.
  • ToolGuy Got no money for the Tasman, it is going to the Taxman. 🙁
  • ToolGuy They should have hired some Ford Motor Company employees. No, I'm kidding -- they should have hired some Ford Motor Company executives. 😉
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