A quirk leaves Acura with no hybrid models, down from two last year. (Unless you count the NSX.)
2021 Acura MDX courtesy Acura News
BREAKING: The MDX has been delayed to the point where the entire model will be a 2022.
The MDX is all-new for 2021. Available in early 2021, the new MDX will retain the 3.5 V6, but its transmission will get one more gear for a total of ten. Those looking for more power can wait until Summer of 2021, when the new MDX Type S will offer a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged 355-horsepower V6, also with a ten-speed and standard SH-AWD driving all the wheels. The Type S will be a 2022 model year. The MDX Sport Hybrid and its 3.0-liter hybrid V6 are gone. Our best guess would be a later debut in a few model years of a plug-in version.
The exterior redesign isn't radical: the grille is a little more prominent, the headlights similar but lower profiled, the lower air intakes are now distinctly broken up into middle, left and right. The fog lights now peak out of a little triangular opening outlined by a chrome "V."The best and most different feature, the side character lines and concave door curves, a soft, compound curve that stretches almost the entire length of front and rear doors and includes a thick chrome moulding that tapers, slopes upward towards the rear and has a gentle hook at the end.
2021 Acura MDX interior courtesy Acura News
The interior is nicely refined. Unfortunately, the primary interface is a multi-touch trackpad in the center console. The screen for the infotainment is not tall, but wide and touch can be used on it directly, possibly a better method than the touch pad. At least there is a physical on/off volume knob. Toggles and buttons on the steering wheel and traditional voice control may be the way to go, or just do everything you need to at a stop light or while parked.
Rumors of a Type R version with 650 horsepower indicate that such a model would be a 2022. This year, no changes, except a $195 increase in base price and a return of "Long Beach Blue" from the original NSX color palette.
2021 Acura TLX A-Spec courtesy Acura News
For starters, the TLX goes from a no turbo lineup to an all-turbo lineup. The base 2.4-liter engine has been eliminated and for all intents and purposes (or all intense porpoises) the new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder replaces the 3.5 V6. Its only shy 18 horsepower of the V6's output, but it makes 13 pound-feet more twist. Sadly, the new turbo 4-cylinder weighs more than the old V6, over 90 pounds more. Front-wheel drive is standard and SH-AWD (super handling all wheel drive) is optional. Either way, it uses Honda's great 10-speed automatic, the same one on the Accord with the 2.0 turbo engine. Fuel mileage is only marginally better than last year's V6: 22 city/32 highway FWD and 21/29 for SH-AWD.
Then, there's the new Type S. Not a "Type R" (it doesn't qualify for that, I guess), the Type S uses an all-new 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V6 and features standard SH-AWD all-wheel drive. With 355 horsepower, the new engine puts the TLX squarely in sport sedan territory, along side the Audi S5 Sportback (349 HP), BMW M340i (382 HP) and Cadillac CT5-V (360 HP). The 10-speed automatic is also packaged with the Type S.
An A-Spec will provide the standard 2.0-liter engine, but with larger tires and sportier pretensions without breaking the bank as much as the Type S. It also offers an exclusive color: Apex Blue Pearl, which will also be offered on the Type S.
Larger brakes come on the standard TLX: 13-inch front and rear rotors, but only the fronts are ventilated discs. The Type S will have even bigger brakes, but we don't have the specifications on them, yet.
The wheelbase on the new TLX grows by nearly four inches and so does overall length. The wheel track is wider by 1.2 inches in front and 1.5 inches in back, with overall body width up by 2.2 inches. Height, the only exterior dimension to shrink, is a little over half an inch shorter at 56.4 inches. Turning diameter is marginally smaller than before, at 38.9 feet, curb-to-curb. Base curb weight is 3709 pounds for the base FWD, over 200 pounds more than a 2020 4-cylinder.
Prices range from $38,000 to $48,800 with the 2.0-liter; pricing for the Type S will go up from there.