HomeCar Culture2025 Acura MDX Type S Builds on 25 Years of History

2025 Acura MDX Type S Builds on 25 Years of History

The original “multi-dimensional cross-trainer”


It’s hard to believe that nearly a quarter-century has passed since the Acura MDX was born. This October will mark 25 years since the MDX first launched for the 2001 model year as a three-row luxury crossover. Since that time, it has sold over 1.2 million units and been the best-selling model since the Acura Division of American Honda first launched 38 years ago.

MDX History

Verbiage taken from the 2001 MDX press kit holds true even today: “The MDX was created to define a new era in the evolution of luxury class sport-utility vehicles, treading beyond the limits of existing SUVs in terms of handling, packaging efficiency, and environmental impact.” The vehicle’s name was coined to mean “Multi-Dimensional Cross Trainer,” or, an athlete who can excel in various playing fields.

2001 MDX, photo via Acura

Key to the original MDX’s engineering was its advanced “VTM-4” automatic all-wheel drive system, which allocated torque to the rear wheels in proportion to forward acceleration. The 3.5-liter V6 at the time was rated at 240 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque. Right out of the gate, the success of the MDX was undisputable – and the vehicle set a standard for the decades of crossovers to follow it.

Modern-Day MDX

The current generation of the MDX, its fourth, was brought to market in model year 2022. Building upon what engineers had been learning – and customers had been saying – for the prior two decades, meant that the newest MDX was positioned to “level up” the driving experience. Mamadou Diallo, Vice President of American Honda Auto Sales, said, “It’s simply the best MDX we’ve ever made.”

I was invited to get up close and personal with the 2025 MDX Type S in Southern California during a media event that offered a roughly 130-mile drive through some of the San Pasqual Trails and the Ramona Grasslands. The terrain included freeway stretches, twisty canyon roads, and urban surface roads to create a well-rounded experience. My takeaway was that the MDX was a pleasure to drive in all of them; its multi-dimensional capabilities are indeed still evident.


Positioned as a midsize crossover, the fourth-gen MDX rides on the Honda PF7 platform and is manufactured in East Liberty, Ohio. Since the discontinuation of the RLX luxury sedan a few years ago, the MDX assumed the position as the Acura brand’s flagship offering. As a result, its appointments, handling, capability, and design need to deliver more than ever before. Among its features are a double-wishbone front suspension and a rigid body with towing capability of up to 5,000 pounds.

The MDX and the MDX Type S have distinct engines:

  • MDX: 3.5-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque
  • MDX Type S: 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 rated at 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque

Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic, although the Type S has unique “sport” tuning. Both front-wheel drive and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) versions are offered. The MDX Type S comes standard with AWD, an adaptive air suspension, and Brembo four-piston front brakes.

Updates for 2025

Calling the mid-model update for 2025 just a “facelift” hardly does it justice, because Acura did more than just alter the aesthetics for this latest model. Here are a few of the updates:

  • More aggressive front fascia
  • Redesigned “Diamond Pentagon” signature grille
  • Darker headlights and taillights
  • Modified trim and wheel variations for select packages
  • 12.3-inch center touchscreen with Google built-in
  • Enhanced AcuraWatch safety technology
  • Redesigned center console with USB-C ports and increased storage
  • Noise reduction via laminated glass
  • “Active lane change” feature

Concert-Level Audio

This topic merits its own subsection: The MDX Type S’ audio system is bangin’ – Bang & Olufsen, to be more precise. Matias Markou, who works on the engineering team at B&O in the Detroit-based facility, has been a part of the MDX’s sound system development. He knows a thing or two about music because he grew up playing instruments including the cello. I caught up with him for a short Q&A and he told me he’s most proud of what they call the “Beosonic” one-touch sound control interface. Also included in the system are “Acoustic Lens” tweeters, an 8.8-inch subwoofer, two amplifiers, and 24 channels.

Key Takeaways

Some of my favorite characteristics of the MDX Type S were:

  • Aesthetics both inside and out
  • Audio system
  • Confidence in power delivery
  • Nimble, agile handling for a vehicle of its size
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Quality fit and finish
  • Steering effort and feedback

Some aspects I didn’t care for were:

  • In certain settings, the air suspension can feel disconnected
  • Lane-keeping assist can be intrusive when activated on city streets

Both of the above are adaptive according to customization in the vehicle menus.

The bottom line: Acura has a home run on its hands with the latest MDX. For families, it confidently the MDX serves as a handy transporter thanks to a multitude of USB ports, loads of storage, and comfortable three-row seating. For driving enthusiasts, it delivers a hefty dose of “fun factor” thanks to a sport-tuned suspension, robust powertrain, and impressive audio system. Pricing for the newest MDX spans a wide range, running between $50,900 and $74,950 (plus destination) depending on packaging.

To say that the modern-day luxury three-row crossover segment is competitive is a massive understatement. But the MDX brings the credentials to set it at the front of the pack.

Stay tuned to the Journal for a thorough review in the future!

Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie is a Phoenix-based automotive enthusiast who has been writing for The Journal since 2016. His favorite automotive niche is 1980s and 1990s Japanese cars, and he is a self-diagnosed “Acura addict” since he owns a collection of Honda and Acura cars from that era. Tyson can usually be found on weekends tinkering on restoration projects, attending car shows, or enjoying the open road. He publishes videos each week to his YouTube channel and is also a contributing author to Arizona Driver Magazine,, NSX Driver Magazine, and other automotive publications. His pride and joy is a 1994 Acura Legend LS coupe with nearly 600,000 miles on the odometer, but he loves anything on four wheels and would someday like to own a 1950 Buick Special like his late grandfather’s.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts