2019 Audi Q7 vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Audi Q7 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura MDX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the Q7 and MDX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q7 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.

The Q7 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The MDX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Q7 offers an optional backup collision prevention system which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The MDX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Q7. But it costs extra on the MDX.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the Q7 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The MDX doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Q7 and the MDX 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Audi Q7 is safer than the Acura MDX:

 

Q7

MDX

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

290

396

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

Warranty

The Q7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MDX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

There are over 11 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Q7’s warranty.

Reliability

The camshafts in the Q7’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The MDX’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. 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 Q7’s reliability 26 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 6 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The Q7 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The Q7 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 produces 8 more horsepower (329 vs. 321) and 36 lbs.-ft. more torque (325 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Q7 55 TFSI 3.0 supercharged V6 is faster than the Acura MDX V6:

 

Q7

MDX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.2 MPH

94.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q7 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Q7 has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Q7 has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Q7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:

 

Q7

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The Q7’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MDX are solid, not vented.

The Q7 stops much shorter than the MDX:

 

Q7

MDX

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Q7 has larger standard tires than the MDX (255/55R19 vs. 245/60R18). The Q7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (285/45R20 vs. 265/45R20).

The Q7’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MDX A-Spec’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q7 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The MDX’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Q7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The MDX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q7’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the MDX (117.9 inches vs. 111 inches).

The Q7’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Q7 more stable handling and braking.

The Q7 Prestige handles at .85 G’s, while the MDX SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Q7 Premium Plus executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the MDX SH-AWD (26.4 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Q7 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8.3 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Q7 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Q7 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.4 inches higher than on the MDX (9.7 vs. 7.3 inches).

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Q7 Prestige is quieter than the MDX SH-AWD (70 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space

The Q7 has .3 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more third row headroom and 1.1 inches more third row legroom than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Q7’s third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q7’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The MDX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The Q7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MDX’s (4400 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Acura MDX SH-AWD is only 5000 pounds. The Q7 offers up to a 7700 lbs. towing capacity.

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Q7 can tow a minimum of 4400 pounds.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Q7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MDX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 26% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MDX, the Q7 Prestige offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position 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 Q7 and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Q7 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 Q7’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 Q7 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The MDX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Q7 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Q7 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the Q7 has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The MDX doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Q7 has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q7 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The MDX doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Q7 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Q7 with a number “5” insurance rate while the MDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Q7 is less expensive to operate than the MDX because typical repairs cost much less on the Q7 than the MDX, including $126 less for a water pump, $40 less for front brake pads, $574 less for fuel injection, $215 less for a fuel pump and $474 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi Q7, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura MDX isn't recommended.

The Q7 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The MDX hasn’t been picked since 2001.

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

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