2020 Lincoln Aviator 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 Lincoln Aviator 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 Aviator and MDX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Aviator 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 Aviator has standard Post Collision Braking, which automatically apply 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 Aviator (except Base) offers an optional Reverse Brake Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The MDX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Aviator’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 Aviator and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

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

Reliability

The Lincoln Aviator’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the MDX’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

The Aviator 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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Aviator has a standard -amp alternator (250-amp - Aviator optional). The MDX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, 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 Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 19th in reliability. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

The Aviator’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 110 more horsepower (400 vs. 290) and 148 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The Aviator’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 79 more horsepower (400 vs. 321) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (415 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid. The Aviator’s optional 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 173 more horsepower (494 vs. 321) and 341 lbs.-ft. more torque (630 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 Lincoln Aviator uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Aviator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the MDX.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Aviator has larger tires than the MDX (255/55R19 vs. 245/60R18).

The Aviator’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 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 Aviator has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the MDX. The Aviator’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the MDX.

Suspension and Handling

The Aviator has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Aviator’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 Aviator’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the MDX (119.1 inches vs. 111 inches).

Chassis

The front grille of the Aviator 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 Aviator has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (144.7 vs. 132.7).

The Aviator has 3.4 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 3.5 inches more rear legroom, .5 inches more rear hip room, 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.3 inches more third row headroom, 1.1 inches more third row legroom and .3 inches more third row hip room than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

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

Aviator

MDX

Behind Third Seat

18.3 cubic feet

15.8 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Aviator’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, the Aviator’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.

Servicing Ease

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

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The MDX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Aviator’s exterior PIN entry system. The MDX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Aviator’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 Aviator offers optional 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 Aviator has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the Aviator’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 Lincoln Aviator (except Base) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Aviator (except Base)’s optional Active Park Assist Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The MDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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