Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 Acura MDX VS 2011 Volvo XC90 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 Acura MDX

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VS

2011 Volvo XC90

Safety Comparison

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the MDX deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The MDX’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The XC90’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The MDX offers optional crash mitigation brakes, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The XC90 doesn't offer crash mitigation brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All Wheel Drive is standard on the MDX. But it costs extra on the XC90.

Both the MDX and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Instrumented handling tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and analysis of its dimensions indicate that the MDX is 3% less likely to roll over than the XC90.

Warranty Comparison

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Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the MDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the XC90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the XC90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

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The engine in the MDX has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the XC90 have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the MDX has a 550 amp battery. The XC90 only offers a standard 520 amp battery.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the MDX’s reliability will be 62% better than the Volvo XC90 6 cyl. and 75% better than the Volvo XC90 V8.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 10th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

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The MDX’s 3.7 SOHC V6 produces 60 more horsepower (300 vs. 240) and 34 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 236) than the XC90 3.2’s standard 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Acura MDX is faster than the XC90 V8:

MDX

XC90

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

15.9 sec

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The MDX stops much shorter than the XC90:

MDX

XC90

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the MDX has larger tires than the XC90 (255/55R18 vs. 235/60R18).

The MDX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC90’s standard 60 series tires.

The MDX offers an available full size spare tire so your trip isn’t interrupted by a flat. A full size spare isn’t available on the XC90, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The MDX offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The XC90’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MDX is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3.6 inches wider in the rear than on the XC90.

The MDX handles at .86 G’s, while the XC90 AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The MDX goes through Motor Trend’s slalom 2.1 MPH faster than the XC90 V8 AWD (60.3 vs. 58.2 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the MDX’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the XC90’s (37.6 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 pounds less than the Volvo XC90.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the MDX is quieter than the XC90 V8 AWD:

MDX

XC90

At idle

42 dB

51 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

77 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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The MDX has 11.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the XC90 (142.2 vs. 131).

The MDX has .2 inches more front legroom, 3.6 inches more front hip room, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 4.1 inches more rear legroom, 5 inches more rear hip room, 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room, .2 inches more third row headroom and 3 inches more third row shoulder room than the XC90.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the MDX’s middle row seats recline. The XC90’s middle row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The MDX’s cargo area provides more volume than the XC90.

MDX

XC90

Behind Third Seat

15 cubic feet

8.8 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the MDX easier. The MDX’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.3 inches, while the XC90’s liftover is 32 inches.

The MDX’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The XC90’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the MDX has a standard power rear liftgate, which opens and closes completely automatically by pressing a button on the key fob. The XC90 doesn’t offer a power tailgate.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The MDX offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The XC90 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the windows are left down on the MDX the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the XC90 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The MDX’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The XC90’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the MDX’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the XC90’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The MDX has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The XC90 doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the MDX has standard extendable sun visors. The XC90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the MDX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The XC90’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the MDX offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The XC90 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

With optional voice command, the MDX offers the driver hands free control of the radio, climate controls, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The XC90 doesn’t offer a voice control system.

The MDX offers an optional 115 volt a/c outlet in the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters which can break or get misplaced. The XC90 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the MDX owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the MDX with a number “8” insurance rate while the XC90 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the XC90, including $317 less for an alternator, $46 less for front brake pads, $6 less for fuel injection, $229 less for a fuel pump, $196 less for front struts and $178 less for a timing belt/chain.

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