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The Acura MDX is Honda's luxury-brand three-row SUV, and with the recent launch of the 2022 model, the MDX now supports wireless CarPlay. The MDX is Acura's first vehicle with wireless CarPlay, and I recently had a chance to check out the updated model and some of its new features.

2022-mdx.jpg

The MDX starts at $47,200, but my test vehicle was equipped Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, Technology Package, and sporty A-Spec Package, which pushed the sticker price over $57,000. A high-end Advance Package with a few additional features would see the MDX top out at just over $60,000.

2022-mdx-cockpit.jpg

Acura Infotainment System

The Acura infotainment system remains fairly similar to the system I tested in the 2019 version of the RDX, Acura's smaller two-row SUV, although the MDX comes with a slightly larger 12.3-inch main infotainment screen compared to the 10.2-inch screen in the RDX.

2022-mdx-infotainment-main.jpg

Aside from the size, however, the overall look and control systems are very similar, with the most notable aspect being the lack of a touchscreen. Acura is one of a few brands that has prioritized putting the main infotainment screen fairly high on the dashboard and set back rather far from the driver.

This keeps the screen closer to the driver's line of sight and helps limit the amount of time the driver needs to take their eyes off the road when glancing at the screen. But it also means that it's not feasible to operate the system by directly touching the screen.

2022-mdx-nav.jpg

True Touchpad Interface

Acura's solution to the lack of a touchscreen is its True Touchpad Interface, a fairly small clickable touchpad on the center console, which is surrounded by a few extra control buttons. What sets the True Touchpad Interface apart from other infotainment touchpad controls is that it uses absolute positioning. Touching the lower right corner of the pad, for example, corresponds to the lower right corner of the screen, so you can activate elements of the infotainment system by a simple touch and press rather than having to swipe a cursor or highlight around the screen until it lands on the right spot.

2022-mdx-console-touchpad.jpg

Swipes are still used for some actions like switching between screen pages on the system, but on a given page, you can use the pad to simply touch the spot corresponding to the desired location on the screen. The touchpad has a slightly concave design, which also helps you locate where your finger is on the pad without needing to look at it, and a prominent palm rest on the console keeps your hand in just the right position.

The main infotainment screen on the MDX is a widescreen design, with two-thirds or so of it dedicated to the main system functionality. The remaining portion on the right functions as a separate display that can be configured to show your current audio information, a small map with navigation info, or a clock. A small strip next to the touchpad lets you swipe vertically to easily change among these views.

2022-mdx-siriusxm.jpg

Additional buttons surrounding the touchpad include a home button, a back button, and a dedicated button for seeing and selecting among the available views for the secondary window rather than just swiping through them one by one. Another small rocker button near the trackpad makes it easy to skip forward or backward among audio tracks or radio presets, and there's a volume knob also in easy reach.

There's one significant downside to the True Touchpad Interface that I noted on the 2019 RDX, and it's still present in the 2022 MDX. It's not supported in CarPlay, with the touchpad instead requiring traditional swipes to move the cursor highlight around the CarPlay interface. This is almost certainly a limitation on Apple's part, and it's too bad it hasn't been addressed yet, as it's a bit of an inconvenience having to adjust your thinking about how the touchpad works as you swap back and forth between CarPlay and the native Acura system.

2022-mdx-carplay-dashboard.jpg

Wireless CarPlay

The 2022 MDX is the first Acura with wireless CarPlay, and as I've said a number of times before, it's really a game-changing feature. On short car trips when I know where I'm going and not worried about getting traffic information, for example, I usually don't find it worth digging my phone out of my pocket and plugging it in to get CarPlay up and running. Wireless CarPlay eliminates any bit of friction entirely, with CarPlay just automatically popping up each time you start up the car.

2022-mdx-carplay-home.jpg

With the MDX's widescreen display, CarPlay takes up the majority of the screen, with the right side available to display your preferred information from the native system: audio data, built-in navigation, or a clock.

2022-mdx-carplay-maps.jpg

The generous 12.3-inch main display offers plenty of room for a large CarPlay view with the supplemental info from the native system displayed alongside, and its position high on the dashboard indeed keeps everything very glanceable and very close to your line of sight while driving.

2022-mdx-carplay-now-playing.jpg

One welcome surprise I discovered with CarPlay in the MDX is that Apple Maps navigation is supported in the standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. I've noted in a couple of recent reviews like the Volkswagen Tiguan and ID.4 that Apple rolled out support for this feature back in iOS 13, but car manufacturers are only just starting to support it.

2022-mdx-cluster-nav.jpg

It's not a full-featured Apple Maps view, but basic text prompts for upcoming turns are included, which can be handy if you want to have the main infotainment screen displaying a different app. These Apple Maps navigation prompts are presumably also available in the head-up display, but that's an Advance Package feature that wasn't included on my tester.

2022-mdx-cluster.jpg

Phone Charging and Ports

In addition to wireless CarPlay, which is standard on all trims, the MDX also includes a standard wireless phone charging pad. It sits right on the center console, partially tucked under the palm rest for the infotainment system touchpad, and it fits even my iPhone 12 Pro Max with Apple's leather case. Acura's specs say the wireless pad offers up to 15 watts of charging power, but presumably this is limited to Apple's standard 7.5-watt limit for iPhones as it's not a MagSafe solution.

2022-mdx-charger.jpg

While the charging pad is convenient and a nice feature to have, I did find placement to be a bit finicky, and I frequently had to move my phone around on the pad a few times before it registered and began charging.

2022-mdx-charger-phone.jpg

If you're looking for wired connections, the MDX offers quite a few options, with the main one being a USB-A charge and data port located inside the center console compartment so you can keep your phone or other device tucked away while connected to the system. One USB-C port and one USB-A port are located right on the console in a pop-up housing, but these are charge-only ports for some reason.

2022-mdx-console-usb.jpg

For second-row passengers, there is a pair of USB-A charge-only ports on the rear of the center console. The top-end Advance Package adds a 120V outlet in the second row and a pair of USB-A charge-only ports for the third row, but my test vehicle did not come equipped with those features.

2022-mdx-rear-usb.jpg

Primary climate controls remain thankfully separate from the infotainment system with a pair of easy-to-find rockers that can be moved up or down to adjust the temperature setpoints and a row of buttons to control other settings. Controls for the heated and ventilated front seats for both driver and passenger are located in a separate row below.

2022-mdx-climate.jpg

Wrap-up

The overall Acura infotainment hasn't changed a lot in the last couple of years, and I still find it to be a bit of a mixed bag. I'm definitely a fan of widescreen displays like this one that can show CarPlay and native information side-by-side, and the 12.3-inch infotainment screen offers plenty of real estate. It does mean that CarPlay is more of a standard aspect ratio than a widescreen one that could show more expansive map views, for example, but overall CarPlay looks good on the screen.

I'm very glad to see the addition of wireless CarPlay and a wireless phone charger, both of which thankfully come standard and don't require a higher-level or trim or package that includes thousands of dollars in extras you might not want or need.

Acura has had a few issues with its infotainment system in recent years, but the company has been pushing software updates to address them and hopefully things are pretty well ironed out at this point. I certainly didn't have any issues with it during my time with the MDX.

I'm still not sold on the touchpad interface for the infotainment system, although I do give Acura credit for trying something a bit different with the True Touchpad Interface. I appreciate that manufacturers like Acura and Mazda are seeking what they feel is the safest positioning for the infotainment screen by placing it high and set back on the dashboard, but in my opinion, the loss of direct touchscreen manipulation more than offsets the benefits of screen positioning when it comes to distractions.

Perhaps the biggest shortcoming with the touchpad interface for iPhone owners is simply the fact that the absolute positioning feature doesn't work in CarPlay, so your brain has to mentally switch gears depending on whether you're controlling CarPlay or the Acura system. I imagine it becomes a bit more natural over time, but it was a definite hurdle for me, even having previously tested the feature out on the 2019 RDX.

Still, if that's not a dealbreaker and you think it's something you can get used to, I think Acura's infotainment system is now pretty solid with good functionality and a clean look, as well as very good CarPlay integration.

Article Link: Review: 2022 Acura MDX Adds Wireless CarPlay to a Touchpad-Driven Infotainment System
 

cgaw23

macrumors member
Oct 17, 2015
43
26
The 2022 civic touring has wireless CarPlay and a wireless charge pad but I have a hard time getting it to stay connected with a 12 pro max. Im trying out different placements and may have found one that works but both Apple and Honda had told different customers to contact the other party for resolution
 
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scheinderrob

macrumors 6502
May 6, 2021
309
994
What about it is barely functional?

only supports spotify and nowhere close to feature parity with native/carplay.

the navigation system is like a 90's era garmin with simple top down navigation and no advanced routing

terrible UI, clearly not design tested for vehicles. carplay has large, easy to see icons and text with minimal text.

i can't think of anything the tesla infotainment system can do that carplay can't do better.
 
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DeepIn2U

macrumors G4
May 30, 2002
11,257
5,489
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Although this post is interest and a cure Mazda but it’s all car manufacturers with an infotainment system with the touch panel Display why is it such a huge borders being used like your pain tens of thousands of dollars for the car you figure at least they can do is give you a proper touchscreen not some rinky-dink thing that’s smaller than a regular tablet
 

AllergyDoc

macrumors 68000
Mar 17, 2013
1,896
6,885
Utah, USA
Reminds me of a patient who sold Acuras eons ago. He said they had to train many (mainly older folks, which includes me now) how to use the infotainment system in their RL. (It was easy in my TL). He said quite a few, when they showed up for the training, asked him, "How do we turn it off?" Not sure if it's improved much since then (~20 years ago).
 
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entropys

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2007
1,001
1,850
Brisbane, Australia
Lack of a proper touchscreen is the deal killer here. I think it is not as a result of positioning, I suspect the position of the screen is a result of anti touchscreen philosophy as a safety issue. And that philosophy is also why Honda has been slow to adopt carplay compared with other car manufacturers.
Mazda, also slow to adopt carplay, similarly uses a dial rather than a touchscreen while driving, but can use a touchscreen while stationary.

It also means that carplay, built for a touchscreen, is a less satisfactory experience. Personally, I would not buy a car without full, proper carplay implementation.
 

red elma

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2019
68
99
Silicon Valley
Not a fan of the "Tablet sticking out of the dash" look a lot of new cars are going for. There is so much room to just integrate it into the dash.
Agreed! Absolutely Horrible Integration!
Looks like they placed a tablet in a cupholder.
Dust and debris will get stuck in and all around the housing.
Will scratch in no time for those using sunshades.
 

prizm

macrumors regular
Oct 29, 2007
141
133
Lack of a proper touchscreen is the deal killer here. I think it is not as a result of positioning, I suspect the position of the screen is a result of anti touchscreen philosophy as a safety issue. And that philosophy is also why Honda has been slow to adopt carplay compared with other car manufacturers.
Mazda, also slow to adopt carplay, similarly uses a dial rather than a touchscreen while driving, but can use a touchscreen while stationary.

It also means that carplay, built for a touchscreen, is a less satisfactory experience. Personally, I would not buy a car without full, proper carplay implementation.
I actually like the Mazda system after getting used to it. Constantly reaching out to mess with a touchscreen while driving is really, really distracting.
 

lewchenko

macrumors regular
Jun 8, 2004
246
238
Hope it works better than the wireless car play used in my Audi Q5.

50/50 odds it connects. Really annoying. Will probably go back to plugging in a USB cable.

Which is a shame as the Audi sat nav is pretty bad at finding places so if car play not working properly too … screwed! Whole towns missing when entering into its search!
 

cale508

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2015
474
709
IL
I have a 2021 Kia Sorento and it has wireless CarPlay and a touchscreen. I'm still baffled that luxury companies are not making the touchscreen standard on the vehicles. It's an awesome feature to have.
 
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Daniel325991

macrumors newbie
Sep 25, 2018
5
2
only supports spotify and nowhere close to feature parity with native/carplay.

the navigation system is like a 90's era garmin with simple top down navigation and no advanced routing

terrible UI, clearly not design tested for vehicles. carplay has large, easy to see icons and text with minimal text.

i can't think of anything the tesla infotainment system can do that carplay can't do better.
I agree all of these are better on carplay. but the UI is super functional just there's more of a learning curve than the simplicity of apple
 
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vegastime

macrumors 6502
Jun 14, 2010
280
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Virginia
I have a 2021 Kia Sorento and it has wireless CarPlay and a touchscreen. I'm still baffled that luxury companies are not making the touchscreen standard on the vehicles. It's an awesome feature to have.
Except the higher trim Kia's and Hyundai's don't have wireless CarPlay. Only get wireless CarPlay with the smaller touchscreen. Once you go to the bigger screen is in not wireless. Have not been able to figure that out.
 
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simplyHuman

macrumors newbie
Sep 7, 2021
17
5
Well I own 2021 MDX, I had 2 MDX in the past, This is amazing Vehicle, I drove in 6 inch Snow and crazy rain. No one can beat Acura SHAWD, Well I do not have Wireless Car Play or Touch control screen and I miss that a lot initially after driving my Maxima with Touch control Car Play. But I did 2 things, a). I learned how to use Siri and trust me, I do not find a need to touch anything, not even voice control button on steering, because hey Siri world great.
b). I bought car2play air adaptor, I was very skeptical at first but it works now flawlessly. with no delay or using Music with looseness quality. Once I start my car, give it a few second and Car Play screen pops up on my screen underneath dash. Yes I HATE these popup screen on cars, These screen should be absolute, It is a big stress on your view. I will never buy a car with these standing screen.

I did look at the 2022 video on Acura site, and found the touch control is absolutely rubbish. after using touch control in my Maxima, it was the most easy control. until I leaned to make Siri my friend while driving and it is a breeze.
 

cale508

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2015
474
709
IL
Except the higher trim Kia's and Hyundai's don't have wireless CarPlay. Only get wireless CarPlay with the smaller touchscreen. Once you go to the bigger screen is in not wireless. Have not been able to figure that out.
Supposedly an update will fix that.
 

entropys

macrumors 65816
Jan 5, 2007
1,001
1,850
Brisbane, Australia
Except the higher trim Kia's and Hyundai's don't have wireless CarPlay. Only get wireless CarPlay with the smaller touchscreen. Once you go to the bigger screen is in not wireless. Have not been able to figure that out.
Yeah. bought a wireless carplay dongle for my 2021 Santa Fe Highlander. Not perfect, a bit flaky compared with the wireless CarPlay kenwood head unit I bought in our old Mazda. Sometimes I have to pull it out and put it back in the port again and reconnect. The dongle can be slow to connect, about 10 to 15 seconds longer than the Kenwood, which does it in about 20 seconds.

Care play is marvellous on that big screen though. I just wish Apple Maps could be integrated with the heads up display as I never use the built in satnav.
 
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simplyHuman

macrumors newbie
Sep 7, 2021
17
5
Although this post is interest and a cure Mazda but it’s all car manufacturers with an infotainment system with the touch panel Display why is it such a huge borders being used like your pain tens of thousands of dollars for the car you figure at least they can do is give you a proper touchscreen not some rinky-dink thing that’s smaller than a regular tablet
Well said. This has become a fashion in BMW and Benz also use it, I will never buy a car with these type of screen I am glad I have 2021 ASpec MDX. that screen is just placed right underneath the dashboard. so in a sunny day, I have no issue looking at the screen.
 
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