2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Lincoln Navigator

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 Navigator 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 Navigator uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the MDX and the Navigator have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 Lincoln Navigator:

 

MDX

Navigator

 

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 Lincoln Navigator:

 

MDX

Navigator

 

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 Navigator has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The engines in the MDX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Navigator has 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 Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 7 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura MDX 3.5 V6 is faster than the Lincoln Navigator:

 

MDX

Navigator

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

91.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Navigator 4WD (26 city/27 hwy vs. 16 city/21 hwy).

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

 

 

 

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

Navigator

 

RWD

3.5 turbo V6

16 city/23 hwy

 

AWD

3.5 turbo V6

16 city/21 hwy

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

Transmission

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 Navigator doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The MDX stops much shorter than the Navigator:

 

MDX

Navigator

 

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 Navigator doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Navigator Black Label 4x4 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Navigator Black Label 4x4 (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

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

Chassis

The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1350 to 1650 pounds less than the Lincoln Navigator.

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

The MDX is 9 inches shorter in height than the Navigator, 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 Navigator uses body-on-frame design instead.

Ergonomics

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 Navigator doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MDX will cost $2040 to $3195 less than the Navigator over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the Navigator because it costs $189 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the Navigator, including $6 less for front struts, $545 less for a timing belt/chain and $146 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura MDX will be $22912 to $26839 less than for the Lincoln Navigator.

Recommendations

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

The Acura MDX outsold the Lincoln Navigator/Navigator L by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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