2024 Acura MDX Type S Ultra

The Type S treatment really does spice up the MDX, but if you really want one, wait until next year
The Type S treatment really does spice up the MDX, but if you really want one, wait until next year

by Ben So | June 10, 2024


North American car-buyers love a fast SUV. This is not news; the Germans have been doing this for over two decades now, but for some reason, this idea never really took off with Japanese automakers. We have seen smaller sporty crossovers come and go over the years, like the V8-powered Infiniti FX45 and the Japan-only Subaru Forester STI, but nothing really stuck. Now, the 2024 Acura MDX Type S Ultra enters the picture.

The MDX has been around since 2001, positioned as the slightly sportier option over crossovers from Lexus and Infiniti — at least until the FX45 and 50 came and went. With the launch of the Type S version in 2022, Acura has officially made the MDX spicy and we can see traces of this. You can see some of that spiciness outside with a subtle but noticeable front lip, a sportier front grille, blacked-out trim, 21-inch wheels with low-profile tires, and four oversized exhaust tips finishing off the rear end. Personally, I would have loved to see a more aggressive look like the Integra Type S, but I understand why Acura took a more cautious approach. A fast SUV is uncharted territory for the brand, and not to mention the MDX is a very popular three-row family hauler.

The interior also receives a sporty dress-up. There is contrast stitching everywhere, the seats feature Ultrasuede inserts, and the flat-bottom steering wheel is exclusive to the Type S. For the first time ever in any Acura, you also get massaging front seats that are strong enough to rejuvenate you for longer drives. Unlike the exterior, where I would prefer a more shouty treatment, I appreciate the subtlety inside. It focuses more on comfort over outright athleticism, which is perfect because the standard MDX is already an excellent space to relax in.

The MDX is also roomy, albeit for five adults. The third row is best reserved for children or short trips, but the rest of the seats are comfortable especially the front buckets, which are more supportive than the standard MDX’s but not overly restricting. Cargo volume is rated at 461 litres with all seats up, expanding to 1,107 with the third row folded, and 2,022 with everything down. Maximum towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds.

The biggest drawback inside the MDX is Acura’s True Touchpad Interface that controls the infotainment system. To control the infotainment, you place your finger on a small touchpad on the centre console, and where you place your fingertip corresponds to the location of what you want to select on the screen. It is a tedious and confusing process especially when you’re in motion. Fortunately, Acura feels the same, as they will be switching to a tradtional touchscreen display next year as part of the MDX’s mid-cycle refresh.

Where the standard MDX uses a normally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, the Type S gets an upgraded turbocharged 3.0L V6. This powerplant puts out 355 horsepower, and more importantly, 354 pound-feet of torque at a user-friendly 1,400 RPM. It accelerates effortlessly in any situation with a very strong mid-range push, but it is not quite the forceful surge we have observed in many European go-fast SUVs. When not pushed, the Type S feels as smooth as its normally aspirated siblings.

Power aside, Acura put a lot of work into the spiced-up MDX to have it handle as well as the Type S badge suggests. Another first-for-Acura included with the MDX Type S is an air suspension setup that allows it to automatically adjust ride height based on whichever drive mode you have selected, including a unique Lift setting that raises the MDX by 51 millimetres for extra ground clearance when you need it. The air suspension pairs with a double-wishbone setup up front, as well as adaptive dampers all around for more dynamic reflexes.

In fact, the MDX Type S Ultra handles noticeably better than most three-row SUVs. The thick steering wheel feels great in hand, and there’s good weight to it especially when you dial up the drive modes. Response is quick and accurate, but not ultra-sharp; otherwise the MDX would feel twitchy. The suspension favours comfort over sportiness in all modes except for Sport+, where it soaks up road imperfections pretty nicely without feeling too wallowing. Understeer is evident when you enter into a corner hot — not surprising for a vehicle of the MDX’s size and weight — but the limits are well-communicated and the Brembo brakes inspire confidence.

Acura officially rates the MDX Type S at 13.8 L/100 km in the city, 11.2 highway, and 12.4 combined. These are respectable numbers for a performance-oriented crossover, and our observed figure of 13.2 L/100 km was not far off. The most impressive part is that while Acura recommends premium-grade gasoline to fill the MDX Type S’ 70-litre tank, it can also accept regular.

Tech-wise, the Type S Ultra comes with Acura’s full suite of driver and safety assists. These include Collision Mitigation Braking that can even detect pedestrians, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning and Keeping Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Monitor, and of course, Adaptive Cruise Control. These features have become standard in most modern vehicles, and the MDX is no exception. For 2025, Acura will add a few other assists including Active Lane Change Assist, which will enable the MDX to change lanes for you, if the condition allows.

The MDX Type S Ultra starts at $85,860. Our tester tops out at $86,180 as-tested, with the only option being the Majestic Black Pearl paintwork. It’s a sizeable $14,000 premium over the Platinum Elite trim, which sits one level below the Type S. You will need to decide for yourself whether the extra performance and bells-and-whistles, such as massaging seats and the excellent 25-speaker ELS Studio audio system, is worth it.

The 2024 Acura MDX Type S is on the right track. Buyers will like its luxurious appointments and expansive features list, and it is certainly sportier than the Lexus TX and the Infiniti QX60. But if you can wait, we suggest waiting for next year’s facelifted model; you can get a fresher design, more tech, and most importantly, a much easier-to-use infotainment system.


Vehicle Specs
Three-row luxury SUV
Engine Size
3.0L twin-turbo V6
Horsepower (at RPM)
355 hp @ 5,500 RPM
Torque (lb-ft.)
354 lb-ft @ 1,400 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
461/1,107/2,022 L (third row up/third row down/all seats down)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Ben So


Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '18 Odyssey Touring