Expert Reviews

2024 Acura MDX Type S Review

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
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When it went on sale in the year 2000, the Acura MDX enjoyed the distinction of being the first three-row SUV based on a unibody platform instead of the more traditional truck-style body-on-frame setup.

Completely redesigned just a couple years ago, the MDX soldiers on in its fourth generation with more competition than ever before. The 2024 Acura MDX Type S has a few go-fast goodies to set it apart from its peers, although this is an SUV that prioritizes luxury appointments over outright performance.

Styling: 8/10

The MDX looks like most of the rest of the Acura lineup, with slim headlights and a large diamond-shaped grille. The Type S gets a more open version of the grille that the company claims allows 10 per cent more air to flow through to the engine’s radiator. Two additional bumper cutouts feed dedicated radiators behind them for even more cooling.

In the back, a diffuser and quad-exhaust tips distinguish the Type S from the standard MDX. Like the TLX sedan, this sport utility features a long hood and a cab rearward design that looks naturally athletic.

The cabin can at first feel like a confusing blend of levels, textures, and materials, but it starts to make sense once you spend a bit of time with it. There are more physical buttons in here than most of its competitors offer – a boon to user-friendliness. The touchpad controller for the infotainment system is a bit of a sore point, but we’ll get into that a little later.

Power: 6.5/10

The MDX Type S uses a 3.0L turbocharged V6 that makes 335 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque – 65 hp and 87 lb-ft of torque more than non-Type S trims. It’s hooked up to a strengthened version of the 10-speed automatic transmission used in the rest of the MDX lineup.

While it boasts a healthy bump in output, the Type S doesn’t feel much quicker – and it’s certainly not as quick as its contemporaries from the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Judged on its own merits, the Type S has enough power to pass slower traffic and get to highway speeds quickly, but this isn’t the same kind of performance SUV as the BMW X5 M, let alone the lesser X5 M60i.

Driving Feel: 7/10

The Type S badge is supposed to represent the ultimate in street performance, but the MDX’s handling is a bit lukewarm. It starts with vague steering that doesn’t really inspire confidence to push it in the corners, and it ultimately feels too heavy and ponderous when driven aggressively.

The Type S’s standard air suspension does an admirable job of soaking up rough, broken roads but it doesn’t firm up as much as it should even in its sport+ setting. However, the standard Brembo brakes provide excellent stopping power.

Features: 9.5/10

The Type S is the most luxurious version of the MDX, with its air suspension – the first ever such system on an Acura. It also gets seven drive modes: comfort, normal, sport, sport+, snow, lift, and a customizable individual setting.

There’s also a very good massage program for front-seat occupants, and a thumping 25-speaker stereo that fills the cabin with crisp highs and boomy lows. Heated and ventilated seats are standard, as is a head-up display, and there’s sumptuous leather upholstery with unique quilting and red stitching that ties in the Type S’s sportier intentions.

User-Friendliness: 7/10

It seems like Acura was trying to reinvent the wheel with its touchpad-controlled infotainment system. The screen doesn’t respond to touch inputs; instead, the touchpad on the centre console is used to control the system. It’s not a trackpad but rather more like a big button that’s separated into imaginary quadrants that correspond to a function on the screen. It works, but it’s annoying and requires practice. Thankfully, Acura makes up for it with lots of real buttons for the climate controls and the seats.

Comfort: 8/10

Acura calls it a seven-seater, but the MDX is more like a roomy two-row with emergency seats in the back. However, it’s still handy to have those seats when they’re needed.

Either way, there’s quilted leather everywhere, and the driver and front passenger thrones are supportive and coddle in all the right places. The massage function, another first for Acura, has multiple modes and extends down into the bottom cushion. It’s one of the better systems around.

The air suspension helps provide a cushy ride over even the most broken roads, and the Type S is very stable at highway speeds. This is cruiser first and performance vehicle second.

Practicality: 8/10

While the third row isn’t the most practical, stowing it down opens up 1,107 L – otherwise known as a lot of space stuff. You can also fold the second row, with the figure rising to 2,021 L as a result. This is a large-ish family SUV and a comfortable one to spend time in.

Fuel Economy: 7.5/10

The MDX Type S is a large and heavy SUV with a turbocharged V6 and all-wheel drive. It was never meant to be fuel efficient, and it isn’t. Rated to consume a combined 12.4 L/100 km, this tester averaged 12.9.

Safety: 10/10

All MDXs come with a suite of driver-assistance systems that includes lane departure warning and keeping assist, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. The MDX also has a low-speed automatic braking system that can detect solid objects in front or behind it.

Value: 8.5/10

The MDX Type S comes fully equipped in Canada, with no options aside from paint and accessories. Its asking price of $85,680 – plus $2,595 for freight – is similar to that of a base BMW X5, with the M60i version adding nearly $25,000 to the bill. Meanwhile, the X5 M starts at $142,000. Looking in the other direction, the MDX Platinum Elite that gets most of the same non-performance features found here starts at $71,680 before freight and tax.


On its own, the 2024 Acura MDX Type S is an excellent luxury SUV that’s perfect for family life. It’s comfortable, quiet, and drives well, but ultimately doesn’t live up to its Type S badge. Instead of being sporty and engaging, it’s soft and isolated. Ultimately, the Type S is tough to recommend because the standard MDX is already an accomplished product that’s nearly as good in every category, and costs far less.

Engine Displacement 3.0L
Engine Cylinders V6
Peak Horsepower 355 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Peak Torque 354 lb-ft @ 1,400–5,000 rpm
Fuel Economy 13.8 / 11.2 / 12.4 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space 462 / 1,107 / 2021 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row
Model Tested 2024 Acura MDX Type S Ultra
Base Price $85,680
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,595
Price as Tested $88,375
Optional Equipment