Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2014 Ford Explorer VS 2014 Acura MDX Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2014 Ford Explorer

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VS

2014 Acura MDX

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The MDX doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The MDX doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Explorer’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The MDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Explorer and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Acura MDX:

Explorer

MDX

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

209

283

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Stress

159 lbs.

177 lbs.

Neck Compression

31 lbs.

113 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

440/468 lbs.

467/511 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Acura MDX:

Explorer

MDX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

44

72

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

32 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

524 lbs.

757 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 14 times as many Ford dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Explorer has a standard 175-amp alternator (200-amp - Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport). The MDX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer Sport’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 75 more horsepower (365 vs. 290) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 267) than the MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The MDX doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:

Explorer

MDX

Front Rotors

12.8 inches

12.6 inches

The Explorer’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MDX are solid, not vented.

The Explorer stops shorter than the MDX:

Explorer

MDX

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (255/50R20 vs. 245/60R18).

The Explorer’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MDX’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The MDX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the MDX (112.6 inches vs. 111 inches).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (7.6 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 19.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (151.7 vs. 132.3).

The Explorer has 3.3 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear headroom, 3.2 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.2 inches more third row headroom, 5.1 inches more third row legroom and .1 inches more third row hip room than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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

Explorer

MDX

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

15.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.8 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

The Explorer has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The MDX doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Limited’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The MDX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s exterior keypad. The MDX doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the MDX only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Explorer Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The MDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Explorer owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Explorer will cost $375 to $2605 less than the MDX over a five-year period.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford Explorer will be $5615 to $12206 less than for the Acura MDX.

Recommendations Comparison

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Explorer as the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. The MDX was Truck of the Year in 2001.

The Ford Explorer outsold the Acura MDX by almost four to one during 2013.

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