Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 Toyota Highlander VS 2017 Acura MDX Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2017 Toyota Highlander

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VS

2017 Acura MDX

Safety Comparison

The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The MDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander’s 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 Highlander 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Toyota Highlander is safer than the Acura MDX:

 

Highlander

MDX

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Compression

55 lbs.

113 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

387/392 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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota Highlander is safer than the Acura MDX:

 

Highlander

MDX

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

54

72

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

88 G’s

113 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

111

133

Spine Acceleration

41 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

440 lbs.

757 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

372

396

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

Warranty Comparison

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the MDX.

There are almost 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Highlander’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the MDX’s camshafts. If the MDX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Highlander’s reliability 35 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Highlander first among midsize SUVs in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The MDX isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Acura is ranked 12th.

Engine Comparison

The Highlander’s optional 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 5 more horsepower (295 vs. 290) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

 

 

Highlander

MDX

 

2WD

V6/Auto w/Start/Stop

21 city/27 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

V6/Auto w/Start/Stop

 

V6/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

19 city/27 hwy

V6/Auto

4WD

V6/Auto w/Start/Stop

20 city/27 hwy

19 city/26 hwy

V6/Auto w/Start/Stop

 

V6/Auto

20 city/26 hwy

18 city/26 hwy

V6/Auto

 

LE V6/Auto

19 city/26 hwy

n/a

 

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

 

Highlander

MDX

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

The Highlander stops shorter than the MDX:

 

Highlander

MDX

 

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Highlander’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Highlander more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the Highlander has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Highlander to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The Highlander is 3.7 inches shorter than the MDX, making the Highlander easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the MDX can only carry 7.

The Highlander has 12.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (144.9 vs. 132.7).

The Highlander has 2.6 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom, .5 inches more rear shoulder room, .3 inches more third row headroom, 5 inches more third row hip room and .3 inches more third row shoulder room than the MDX.

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

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Highlander’s optional rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The MDX’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics Comparison

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

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

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Highlander owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Highlander will cost $125 less than the MDX over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Highlander is less expensive to operate than the MDX because it costs $216 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Highlander than the MDX, including $17 less for front brake pads, $46 less for a starter and $822 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander will be $13143 to $16229 less than for the Acura MDX.

Recommendations Comparison

The Toyota Highlander has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Highlander

MDX

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

TRUE

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Acura MDX by over three to one during the 2016 model year.

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