THE 2025 ACURA MDX IS BETTER WITHOUT THE TRACKPAD

The updated infotainment system makes the MDX Type S better, but it’s still not a true match for its competitors.

Acura is a curious brand that competes in a bloodbath arena. Names like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus form the hulking mass of its competition. Over the years, Acura hasn't always been in the same conversation as those true luxury brands. But sometimes Honda's luxury arm earns itself a spot as a segment leader.

The lightly refreshed 2025 Acura MDX Type S isn't that. Despite tossing the old trackpad-based infotainment system in the trash, and giving the MDX some minor nipping and tucking, Acura's $76,900 MDX Type S still feels like a fourth or fifth option in one of the hottest segments of the car market.

Quick Specs 2025 Acura MDX Type S
Engine Turbo 3.0-liter V-6
Output 355 Horsepower / 354 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH 6.4 Seconds
Weight 4,741 Pounds
Base Price / As Tested $52,250 / $76,900

There isn't much ground to cover because the changes for 2025 are so minimal: A new fully digital gauge cluster adds some much-needed clarity to the instruments, new front and rear fascias keep the MDX contemporary looking, and a 31-speaker (not a typo) Bang and Olufsen system replaces the 25-speaker ELS Studio stereo. Plus the aforementioned trackpad infotainment controller is finally, mercifully, long gone.

The Type S model is jam-packed with more features: Extremely decent massaging front seats that are also heated and cooled, the 31-speaker (again, not a typo) Bang and Olufsen system that doesn't bang so much as it replicates a sonically perfected concert hall, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, a full driver's assistance suite, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Mechanical updates: None. This is essentially the same MDX with some critical areas addressed. The Type S has a 355-horsepower turbocharged V-6 and a height-adjustable air suspension—and that's about it.

On paper, at least, the 2025 MDX Type S is mighty impressive. It certainly has the chops to keep up with the likes of the BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, Lexus RX, and Genesis GV80. But the MDX falls flat in execution. Not totally flat, but it doesn't have the seamlessness and effortless elegance that a luxury product should have.

Starting with the good: On long highway drives, the MDX is hard to fault. It's quiet and comfortable and staves off fatigue effectively. The massaging seats are genuinely impressive, the best my 26-year-old ass has experienced this side of a Bentley Continental GT. The same goes for the stereo system. Touch points are high-quality and generally well-placed, though the new volume knob is awkwardly out of reach on the center console while everything else lives upright on the dashboard.

Pros: Good Range Of Features, Massaging Seats, Excellent Stereo

But there are some annoying aberrations in the experience, ones that are easily correctable with simple tweaks. The 10-speed automatic transmission is dimwitted, even in its sportiest modes. It also maddeningly argues with itself about whether to start from first or second gear and gets particularly confused at quick stop-and-goes. Instead of committing to either gear, it settles for a torque-disrupting awkward shift that sends a small shock into the cabin. Then the brake-by-wire brakes are touchy and non-linear, making it easy to jar passengers.

While the new infotainment is a colossal improvement, almost anything would've been better than the previous one. It's responsive and easy, though some of the art choices are bizarre. Most of the displays are colored with deep blacks to show off the excellent quality, but the permanent menu bar is in a rather municipal blue that stands out compared to the rest of the menus. And while the seats are visually great, the rest of the cabin doesn't have the wow factor of its closest competitors—though that might be a positive for some customers.

It's also not incredibly sporty and feels laborious to corner. The MDX doesn't hide any of its weight—which is a trick almost everyone else has mastered. But it also doesn't wield its weight for good; With the adaptive dampers at max stiffness and the air suspension at its lowest, the Type S crashes into bump stops on canyon roads.

The MDX Type S is best experienced in Comfort mode over Sport Plus. Even then, the suspension can get overwhelmed over broken pavement and permit too much roughness into the cabin. The single-turbo V-6 has some punch but also feels overtaxed in a way the BMW, Benz, and Genesis sixes don't.

Cons: Underpowered, Not Sporty, Inconsistent Ride, Expensive

Execution is the critical point here. Because the MDX Type S has the parts to compete with everyone, and it could be extremely good with some simple tweaks and engineering. The interior is high quality and usable, with buttons for every function. It's smooth and quiet with a perfectly adequate, if not impressive, drivetrain.

But it also has some unacceptable wrinkles for its near $80,000 price tag. The gearbox calibration is poor, there's no unified infotainment art style, and brake-by-wire doesn't work properly. Selling an experience is everything, so it doesn't really matter how many features you pack into one car.

The MDX Type S is good but not a true contender at $76,900. However, a standard MDX starts at $51,500, and a mid-level trim sits around $66,000. Both have most of the same features of the Type S, except you get Honda's aging but great naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6. That price range is where the MDX starts making more sense.

But truthfully, when the Genesis GV80 is very well equipped at $70,000, and the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE exist with better engine options and nicer interiors, it's hard to see the top-end MDX as anything but a tough sell.

More Acura Reviews

Get the best news, reviews, columns, and more delivered straight to your inbox, daily.
Sign up

For more information, read our

Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

2025 Acura MDX Type S
EngineTurbocharger 3.0-liter V-6
Output355 Horsepower / 354 Pound-Feet
Transmission10-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeAll-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH6.4 Seconds
EfficiencyTBD
Seating Capacity7
Towing5,000 Pounds
Cargo Volume16.3 / 39.1 / 71.4 Cubic Feet
Base Price$52,250
Trim Base Price$76,300
As-Tested Price$76,900
On SaleNow

2024-07-09T13:17:27Z dg43tfdfdgfd