2019 GMC Acadia vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the GMC Acadia’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Acura MDX doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Acadia are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The MDX doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Acadia has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The MDX doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Both the Acadia and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, 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 GMC Acadia is safer than the Acura MDX:







5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

162 lbs.

244 lbs.

Neck Compression

16 lbs.

34 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

112/392 lbs.

134/382 lbs.

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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Acadia is safer than the Acura MDX:





Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

52 G’s


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

37 G’s

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


The Acadia’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MDX’s (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Acadia. GMC will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the MDX.

There are over 6 times as many GMC dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Acadia’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the MDX’s camshafts. If the MDX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 18th in reliability. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.


The Acadia’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (310 vs. 290) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Acadia uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Acadia AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (21.7 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the GMC Acadia higher (5 to 6 out of 10) than the Acura MDX (3). This means the Acadia produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MDX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Acadia’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 Acadia stops much shorter than the MDX:





70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Acura MDX only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Acadia’s wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer than on the MDX (112.5 inches vs. 111 inches).

The Acadia Denali AWD 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.

For greater off-road capability the Acadia All Terrain has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (7.8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Acadia to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.


The front grille of the Acadia FWD 4 cyl. uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The MDX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Acadia has 11.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (143.8 vs. 132.7).

The Acadia has 2.2 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom, 1.6 inches more third row headroom, 3 inches more third row legroom and 2.3 inches more third row hip room than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Acadia’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 Acadia Denali’s liftgate 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 liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.


While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Acadia can tow a minimum of 1000 pounds.


The power windows standard on both the Acadia and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Acadia 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.

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the MDX because typical repairs cost much less on the Acadia than the MDX, including $42 less for a water pump, $111 less for a muffler, $33 less for front brake pads, $180 less for a starter, $1023 less for fuel injection, $172 less for a fuel pump and $105 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the GMC Acadia will be $9121 to $11128 less than for the Acura MDX.


The GMC Acadia outsold the Acura MDX by 72% during 2018.

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

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