Both the Discovery Sport and MDX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Discovery Sport 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.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Discovery Sport. But it costs extra on the MDX.
The Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury’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 Discovery Sport and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Discovery Sport’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MDX’s (6 vs. 5 years).
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Discovery Sport’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.
Regenerative brakes improve the Discovery Sport’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The MDX doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
For better stopping power the Discovery Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:
The Discovery Sport HSE/HSE LUX’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MDX’s optional 50 series tires.
The Discovery Sport offers an optional 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.
For better maneuverability, the Discovery Sport’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the MDX’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).
For greater off-road capability the Discovery Sport has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8.3 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Discovery Sport to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The Discovery Sport is 1 foot, 3.1 inches shorter than the MDX, making the Discovery Sport easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Discovery Sport has 2.1 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom and 2.7 inches more rear legroom than the MDX.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Discovery Sport with 5+2 Seating’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Discovery Sport’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MDX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MDX, the Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The power windows standard on both the Discovery Sport and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Discovery Sport 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 Discovery Sport’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.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Discovery Sport 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 Discovery Sport HSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Discovery Sport HSE/HSE Luxury’s optional 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.