Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 Acura MDX VS 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2017 Acura MDX

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Safety Comparison

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 Atlas doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the MDX and the Atlas have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Atlas has not been tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

The MDX comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years 50,000 miles. Acura will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Atlas.

Reliability Comparison

The engines in the MDX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Atlas 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 10 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine Comparison

The MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 55 more horsepower (290 vs. 235) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 258) than the Atlas’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 14 more horsepower (290 vs. 276) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6. The MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid produces 45 more horsepower (321 vs. 276) and 23 lbs.-ft. more torque (289 vs. 266) than the Atlas’ optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Atlas V6 4Motion (26 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy).

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







V6 w/Start-Stop/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

18 city/25 hwy




19 city/27 hwy




V6 w/Start-Stop/Auto

19 city/26 hwy

17 city/23 hwy




18 city/26 hwy



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

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

The MDX 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 Atlas doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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 Atlas doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The MDX has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The MDX has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the MDX flat and controlled during cornering. The Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Atlas’ suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Chassis Comparison

The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Volkswagen Atlas.

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 Atlas 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 Atlas doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Ergonomics Comparison

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 Atlas doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The MDX’s standard 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 Atlas’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

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. The Atlas has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

The MDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen only offers heated mirrors on the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium.

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 Atlas’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The MDX offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Atlas offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 Atlas and isn’t available on the Atlas S.

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 Atlas S doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Recommendations Comparison

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




Consumer Reports® Recommends



Car Book “Best Bet”



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