2019 GMC Yukon vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the GMC Yukon are height-adjustable, and the middle and rear 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 or rear seat belts.

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

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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

The GMC Yukon weighs 893 to 1711 pounds more than the Acura MDX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the GMC Yukon is safer than the Acura MDX:

 

Yukon

MDX

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

223

323

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/244 lbs.

134/382 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Compression

74 lbs.

113 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

97/333 lbs.

467/511 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 Yukon is safer than the Acura MDX:

 

Yukon

MDX

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

23

72

Abdominal Force

107 G’s

113 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

244 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

107

133

Spine Acceleration

26 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

208 lbs.

757 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

355

396

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

Warranty

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

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Yukon for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). 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 Yukon’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshaft in the Yukon’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.

The Yukon has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The MDX doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

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 Yukon’s reliability 22 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Yukon second among large suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The MDX isn’t in the top three in its category.

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.

Engine

The Yukon’s standard 5.3 V8 produces 65 more horsepower (355 vs. 290) and 116 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The Yukon’s 5.3 V8 produces 34 more horsepower (355 vs. 321) and 94 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid. The Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali’s standard 6.2 V8 produces 99 more horsepower (420 vs. 321) and 171 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Yukon uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali for maximum performance). The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Yukon has 6.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (26 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Yukon has 6.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (26 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Transmission

A ten-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the MDX.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Yukon

MDX

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The Yukon’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.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Yukon has larger standard tires than the MDX (265/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Yukon’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (285/45R22 vs. 265/45R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Yukon offers optional 22-inch wheels. The MDX’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

The GMC Yukon’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.

The Yukon has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the MDX, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling

The Yukon offers an optional automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Yukon’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The MDX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Yukon’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the MDX (116 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Yukon is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the MDX.

The Yukon’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52% to 48%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Yukon more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the Yukon has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Yukon to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Yukon 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 Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the MDX can only carry 7.

The Yukon has 4.7 inches more front headroom, 3.9 inches more front legroom, 3.3 inches more front hip room, 3.7 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom, 2.5 inches more rear hip room, 6 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.5 inches more third row headroom, 8.7 inches more third row hip room and 7.9 inches more third row shoulder room than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Yukon

MDX

Third Seat Folded

51.7 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

94.7 cubic feet

90.9 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Yukon SLT/Denali’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Yukon’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The MDX’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Yukon SLT/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.

Payload and Towing

The Yukon’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the MDX’s (6300 vs. 3500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Acura MDX SH-AWD is only 5000 pounds. The Yukon offers up to a 8500 lbs. towing capacity.

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Yukon can tow a minimum of 6300 pounds.

The Yukon has a much higher standard payload capacity than the MDX (1650 vs. 1173 lbs.).

The Yukon has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the MDX (1690 vs. 1173 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Yukon 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.

Ergonomics

The Yukon’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The MDX does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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

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

Economic Advantages

The Yukon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Yukon will retain 52.03% to 54.5% of its original price after five years, while the MDX only retains 42.09% to 45.69%.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Yukon second among large suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The MDX isn’t in the top three in its category.

The GMC Yukon/Yukon XL outsold the Acura MDX by 57% during 2018.

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

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