For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura MDX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.
For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Acura MDX doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.
Both the Q7 and MDX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q7 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The MDX’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q7 has a standard Audi Backguard System, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The MDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q7. But it costs extra on the MDX.
Both the Q7 and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
The Audi Q7 weighs 924 to 1452 pounds more than the Acura MDX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
The Q7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MDX’s (12 vs. 5 years).
The camshafts in the Q7’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The MDX’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the MDX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Q7 has a standard 190-amp alternator. The MDX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
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 Q7’s reliability will be 8% better than the MDX.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 25th, below the industry average.
The Q7 3.0T’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 267) than the MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Q7 3.0 TFSI Prestige’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 43 more horsepower (333 vs. 290) and 58 lbs.-ft. more torque (325 vs. 267) than the MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6.
The Q7’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 139 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 267) than the MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6.
On the EPA test cycle the Q7 TDI gets better fuel mileage than the MDX SH-AWD (19 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).
The Q7 has 6.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX (26.4 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Q7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:
The Q7’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.
For better traction, the Q7 has larger standard tires than the MDX (255/55R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Q7 Prestige’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (295/35R21 vs. 245/60R18).
The Q7’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 MDX’s standard 60 series tires. The Q7 Prestige’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the MDX’s optional 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q7 Prestige offers optional 21-inch wheels. The MDX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
The Q7 offers an available 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 MDX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The Q7 Prestige has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Q7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The MDX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q7’s wheelbase is 7.2 inches longer than on the MDX (118.2 inches vs. 111 inches).
For greater off-road capability the Q7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8.1 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Q7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Q7 air suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.1 inches higher than on the MDX (9.4 vs. 7.3 inches).
The Q7 has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom and 1.8 inches more third row legroom than the MDX.
The Q7 has standard second and third row seats which fold flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The MDX doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
The power windows standard on both the Q7 and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q7 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.
The Q7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The MDX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Q7 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The MDX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Q7 Prestige offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The MDX doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Q7 Prestige has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.
To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Q7 has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The MDX doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Q7 has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.
A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q7 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The MDX doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
Insurance will cost less for the Q7 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Q7 with a number “8” insurance rate while the MDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.
The Q7 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the Q7 will retain 52.45% to 55.77% of its original price after five years, while the MDX only retains 52.35%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q7 is less expensive to operate than the MDX because typical repairs cost much less on the Q7 than the MDX, including $1269 less for a power steering pump.