Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 Acura MDX VS 2017 Ford Explorer Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 Acura MDX

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VS

2017 Ford Explorer

Safety Comparison

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The MDX’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Explorer doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The MDX has a standard Collision Mitigating Braking System, which uses 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 Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The MDX offers an optional Surround View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the MDX and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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

 

MDX

Explorer

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Explorer:

 

MDX

Explorer

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

13 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.4/.9 kN

3.7/2.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.55/.55

.87/.61

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Ford Explorer:

 

MDX

Explorer

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

72

73

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

113 G’s

159 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

133

144

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

17 inches

HIC

396

407

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

481 lbs.

909 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Explorer was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2017.

Warranty Comparison

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The MDX comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the MDX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Explorer. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Explorer ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

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

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 75 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 31st.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 6 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine Comparison

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As tested in Motor Trend the Acura MDX 3.5 V6 is faster than the Ford Explorer turbo 4 cyl.:

 

MDX

Explorer

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

84.5 MPH

As tested in Car and Driver the Acura MDX 3.5 V6 is faster than the Ford Explorer Sport V6 Turbo:

 

MDX

Explorer

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.2 sec

6.3 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. 4WD (26 city/27 hwy vs. 18 city/25 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the MDX gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer:

 

 

MDX

Explorer

 

2WD

 

n/a

19 city/27 hwy

Turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

V6 w/Start-Stop/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

 

V6/Auto

19 city/27 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

V6/Auto

4WD

 

n/a

18 city/25 hwy

Turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

V6 w/Start-Stop/Auto

19 city/26 hwy

n/a

 

 

V6/Auto

18 city/26 hwy

16 city/23 hwy

V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

16 city/22 hwy

Turbo V6/Auto

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the MDX’s fuel efficiency. The Explorer doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the MDX Sport Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Explorer doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the MDX offers an optional system to automatically turn off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Explorer doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The MDX’s standard fuel tank has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Explorer (19.5 vs. 18.6 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The MDX stops shorter than the Explorer:

 

MDX

Explorer

 

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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The MDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Explorer doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The MDX 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 Explorer’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Explorer Limited 4WD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Explorer Limited 4WD (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the MDX’s turning circle is tighter than the Explorer’s:

 

MDX

Explorer

AWD 4dr Sport Utility

38.4 feet

39.8 feet

Chassis Comparison

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The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 450 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the MDX Sport Hybrid has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Explorer uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The MDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Explorer doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the MDX SH-AWD is quieter than the Explorer Sport 4WD (36 vs. 37 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

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The MDX has .2 inches more front hip room, 1 inch more rear hip room and 3.9 inches more third row shoulder room than the Explorer.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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

 

MDX

Explorer

Second Seat Folded

90.9 cubic feet

81.7 cubic feet

The MDX’s cargo area is larger than the Explorer’s in almost every dimension:

 

MDX

Explorer

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.05”/47.3”/81.7”

19.7”/49”/79.8”

Max Width

55”

48”

Min Width

45.3”

40”

Height

29.5”

45.5”

Ergonomics Comparison

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The MDX’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Explorer, and is not available on all models.

The MDX offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Explorer doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The MDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Explorer’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Explorer can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The MDX has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Explorer doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The MDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum.

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 Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The MDX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.

The MDX’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the Explorer because typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the Explorer, including $558 less for a water pump, $246 less for an alternator, $124 less for fuel injection, $244 less for a fuel pump, $35 less for front struts and $653 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

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The Acura MDX has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

MDX

Explorer

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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