The Acura TLX is all-new for 2021. It's built on a new architecture that we're told is the brand's most rigid other than the NSX. In our first-drive review, we called it "a true enthusiast's sedan." Now, we know that another benefit of the car's redo is improved crash performance, as the new TLX has earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The 2021 TLX bettered its predecessor in the challenging driver's-side small-overlap front crash test, achieving a Good score versus the previous model's Acceptable rating. The 2021 TLX also garnered a Good score for the passenger-side small-overlap front crash test (the previous version was not tested) and for the agency's other crash tests as well: moderate-overlap front, side-impact, roof crush and head restraints and seats.
Besides an entirely new platform, suspension, and a turbocharged Type S model coming soon, the 2022 Acura MDX is new in another way: it seems to be losing its hybrid trim level. During a media roundtable, Acura's global development lead confirmed that there are no plans for a hybrid version of the new MDX.
Part of the reason for the lack of a hybrid for the new MDX is the aforementioned Type S model. The Acura development lead noted that the outgoing MDX Sport Hybrid is the current sporty, high-output version of the crossover. That mantle is now being taken over by the Type S with its turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The new Type S makes 355 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque, which also represents a large power increase over the Sport Hybrid's 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet.
The 2022 Acura MDX has finally been unveiled in production guise, and no surprise, it looks just like the prototype that was shown a couple months ago. Inside and out, there doesn't seem to be any difference. It also turns out that most of the details given regarding the prototype are the same for the production car. But we do have some more details and specifications, and we even have pricing.
The MDX is completely redesigned from the ground-up. It is the first vehicle to use a new platform for light-truck use, and is not shared with the also recently redesigned Acura TLX sedan. There are similarities, though, as the MDX has a double-wishbone front suspension and multilink independent rear suspension as the TLX has. Acura notes that the chassis is the stiffest crossover/SUV chassis the company has ever created. Acura also added larger front brake rotors; they're 1.2 inches larger in diameter.
With its 573-horsepower hybrid powertrain and 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds, there's no doubt that the Acura NSX is an impressive machine. As its production numbers and pricing adjustments attest, however, it's not a big seller. And this month, Acura's high-end coupe has a larger monetary discount than any other vehicle in America.
Buyers of the 2020 Acura NSX are scoring an average cut of $19,659 off the car's $159,530 sticker price. That equals a 12.3% savings for an average transaction price of $139,871. That's still a hefty chunk of change, but it's a reasonable sum for a vehicle with the NSX's performance chops.
Acura will unveil the 2022 MDX in production form next Tuesday, Dec. 8, promising it will be "the most premium, performance-focused and technologically advanced SUV in Acura history." Acura will host the debut on its web site at 11:30 a.m. EST.
If you thought we already saw the 2022 Acura MDX, it's because we did. Acura showed the TLX-inspired design back in October with a "prototype." Like parent company Honda, Acura tends to show "prototypes" that are dead-ringers for their production variants, and this appears to be no different.
The 2021 Acura TLX has a 13.5-cubic-foot trunk according to the spec sheet. That would be comparable to a typical compact mainstream sedan despite the TLX's exterior dimensions being more akin to a midsize sedan (its 194.6-inch length is right smack between a Toyota Camry and Honda Accord). Luxury cars usually sacrifice utility for style, and by adapting cab-rearward proportions for this latest generation, it shouldn't be surprising that the TLX follows the trend.
However, how much utility does the new TLX sacrifice and is the trunk still useful? Let's find out.
Catalin Matei, principal designer at Acura, was the exterior design lead for the original 2001 MDX and had the same job for the new MDX Prototype. That's just plain cool, and it makes him the MDX person of record when it comes to design.
Thankfully, Acura put him in front of a camera with the original and the new Prototype to talk design. That video is at the top of this post.
Acura announced it's expanding the NSX's color palette with a heritage-inspired hue named Long Beach Blue for the 2021 model year. The color was inaugurated during the 2002 model year by the first-generation NSX.
Shake the thoughts of the Pacific Ocean and its sandy beaches out of your head; the color is named after the Grand Prix of Long Beach, which Acura sponsors, not after a surfing spot. It joins other motorsport-themed colors, including Indy Yellow and Thermal Orange, and is a reformulated version of the first Long Beach Blue released some 18 years ago. It looks a little bit lighter than the color that inspired it, though it's just as eye-catching.
The next-generation Acura MDX is here, almost. This three-row crossover you're looking at is technically being called the MDX Prototype by Acura, but it's about as close to production as any prototype can get.
And what a looker it is. Acura has followed up the slick TLX sedan with another attractive design. With the MDX now the best-selling Acura nameplate of all time, this one was even more important for Acura to get right. Just like the TLX, it benefits from a much longer dash-to-axle dimension, measuring in six inches longer than the outgoing MDX. The pentagon grille, and Chicane-shaped DRLs in the headlights now grace a much wider car. Acura gave this MDX a wider track and a three-inch longer wheelbase, both aiding in making it appear far more graceful and sporty.