2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Tesla Model X

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 Model X doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The MDX offers an optional Surround View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model X only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the MDX’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model X doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The MDX offers optional AcuraLink, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model X doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the MDX and the Model X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and blind spot warning systems.

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 Model X has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The MDX’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model X’s (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are over 4 times as many Acura dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MDX’s warranty.

Reliability

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 MDX’s reliability 27 points higher than the Model X.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 14 places higher in reliability than Tesla.

Fuel Economy and Range

The MDX’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 526.5 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model X’s range is only 238 to 295 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The MDX has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model X doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

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 Model X doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The MDX SH-AWD has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model X; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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

For better maneuverability, the MDX Sport Hybrid’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Model X’s (38.4 feet vs. 40.7 feet). The MDX’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Model X’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the MDX has a 1.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Model X (7.3 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the MDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1250 pounds less than the Tesla Model X.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the MDX SH-AWD is quieter than the Model X (36 vs. 44 dB).

Passenger Space

The MDX has .2 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.1 inches more third row hip room and 14.7 inches more third row shoulder room than the Model X.

Cargo Capacity

The MDX’s cargo area provides more volume than the Model X.

 

MDX

Model X

Third Seat Folded

43.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

26 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.9 cubic feet

88 cubic feet

The MDX’s available rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Model X 6-Passenger doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

A Maintenance Minder is standard on the MDX to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush and transmission fluid replacement based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model X.

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. The Model X doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Model X doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the MDX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Model X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the MDX has a standard rear wiper. The Model X doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The MDX’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model X doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the MDX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model X doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The MDX has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Model X doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

The MDX offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Model X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The MDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Model X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the Model X because typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the Model X, including $509 less for a water pump, $22 less for front struts and $196 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Acura MDX outsold the Tesla Model X by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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