2020 Hyundai Palisade vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Palisade 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 Palisade’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The MDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Palisade 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Palisade comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The MDX’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Palisade 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Acura covers the MDX. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the MDX ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

The Palisade’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the MDX’s (7 vs. 5 years).

There are over 3 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Palisade’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Palisade’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 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 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 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 3 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

Palisade

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Suspension and Handling

The Palisade offers an optional automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The MDX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Palisade’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the MDX (114.2 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Palisade is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the MDX.

For greater off-road capability the Palisade has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (7.9 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Palisade to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Palisade has standard seating for 8 passengers; the MDX can only carry 7.

The Palisade has 2.6 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, 5.8 inches more rear legroom, 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.2 inches more third row headroom, 3.3 inches more third row legroom, 3.1 inches more third row hip room and .5 inches more third row shoulder room than the MDX.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Palisade’s middle and third row seats recline. The MDX’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

Palisade

MDX

Behind Third Seat

18 cubic feet

15.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

45.8 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Palisade easier. The Palisade’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.6 inches, while the MDX’s liftover is 31.5 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Palisade’s second and third 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, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Palisade’s liftgate, 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 Palisade’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MDX’s (5000 vs. 3500 pounds).

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Palisade can tow a minimum of 5000 pounds.

Ergonomics

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

Optional air-conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Palisade’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The MDX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Palisade (except SE) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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

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