2020 Audi e-tron Sportback vs. 2020 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

Both the e-tron Sportback and MDX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The e-tron Sportback 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 e-tron Sportback’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The MDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The e-tron Sportback 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.

To allow off-road and deep snow capability, Four-Wheel Drive is standard on the e-tron Sportback. But it costs extra on the MDX.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the e-tron Sportback helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights 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 e-tron Sportback and the MDX 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 and rearview cameras.

The Audi e-tron Sportback weighs 1268 to 1722 pounds more than the Acura MDX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The e-tron Sportback’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MDX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

There are over 12 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the e-tron Sportback’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 22nd in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 47 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 14 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The e-tron Sportback’s electric motors produce 112 more horsepower (402 vs. 290) and 223 lbs.-ft. more torque (490 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The e-tron Sportback’s electric motors produce 81 more horsepower (402 vs. 321) and 201 lbs.-ft. more torque (490 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the e-tron Sportback gets better fuel mileage than the MDX Sport Hybrid (76 city/78 hwy MPGe vs. 26 city/27 hwy).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi e-tron Sportback higher (10 out of 10) than the Acura MDX (3). This means the e-tron Sportback produces up to 36.3 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MDX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The e-tron Sportback’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The MDX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the e-tron Sportback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:

e-tron Sportback

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

15.7 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The e-tron Sportback’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

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For better traction, the e-tron Sportback has larger standard tires than the MDX (255/50R20 vs. 245/60R18).

The e-tron Sportback’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MDX’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the e-tron Sportback has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the MDX. The e-tron Sportback’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the MDX.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the e-tron Sportback uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the MDX, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The e-tron Sportback has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The e-tron Sportback’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 e-tron Sportback’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the MDX (115 inches vs. 111 inches).

Chassis

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The e-tron Sportback is 3.2 inches shorter than the MDX, making the e-tron Sportback easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the e-tron Sportback 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.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers the e-tron Sportback’s rear 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 e-tron Sportback’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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MDX, the e-tron Sportback Prestige has a 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 e-tron Sportback and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the e-tron Sportback 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 e-tron Sportback’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 help drivers see further while navigating curves, the e-tron Sportback has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

The e-tron Sportback Prestige has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the MDX.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Audi e-tron Sportback has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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