2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Ford Expedition

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Expedition doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the MDX uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Expedition uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the MDX and the Expedition have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.

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 Expedition:

 

MDX

Expedition

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

32%

Neck Stress

244 lbs.

361 lbs.

Neck Compression

34 lbs.

147 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

283

326

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Injury Risk

29%

35%

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 post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Ford Expedition:

 

MDX

Expedition

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

13 inches

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

481 lbs.

569 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, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MDX the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Expedition has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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 Expedition’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 Expedition. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Expedition ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 5 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Expedition 4WD (26 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/22 hwy).

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

 

 

 

MPG

MDX

 

FWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

Sport Hybrid 3.0 V6 Hybrid

26 city/27 hwy

 

 

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

 

 

A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/25 hwy

Expedition

 

RWD

3.5 turbo V6

17 city/24 hwy

 

AWD

3.5 turbo V6

17 city/22 hwy

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

Transmission and Drivetrain

The MDX offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Expedition doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The MDX has a true all-wheel drive system, which uses a four wheel traction control system to redirect engine power to the axle and wheel that still has traction to keep the MDX moving if even only one wheel still has traction. The Expedition doesn’t offer a true four-wheel drive system; it could get stuck while one or more wheels still have traction.

Brakes and Stopping

The MDX stops shorter than the Expedition:

 

MDX

Expedition

 

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The MDX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Expedition’s standard 65 series tires.

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 Expedition doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Expedition XLT 4x4 pulls only .76 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 Expedition XLT 4x4 (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the MDX Sport Hybrid’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Expedition’s (38.4 feet vs. 41 feet). The MDX’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Expedition’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1200 to 1400 pounds less than the Ford Expedition.

The MDX is 1 foot, 1.8 inches shorter than the Expedition, making the MDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MDX is 9.2 inches shorter in height than the Expedition, making the MDX much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Unibody construction lowers the MDX’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Expedition uses body-on-frame design instead.

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

Ergonomics

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 Expedition.

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 Expedition 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 Expedition’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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 Expedition doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Expedition.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MDX will cost $405 to $1375 less than the Expedition over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the Expedition because it costs $162 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the Expedition, including $340 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura MDX will be $3558 to $8307 less than for the Ford Expedition.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura MDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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