2020 Mercedes E-Class Wagon vs. 2020 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes E-Class Wagon 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the E-Class Wagon. But it costs extra on the MDX.

The E-Class Wagon’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 E-Class Wagon 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure 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 Mercedes E-Class Wagon is safer than the Acura MDX:

E-Class Wagon

MDX

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

180

283

Neck Stress

105 lbs.

177 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

232/126 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 Mercedes E-Class Wagon is safer than the Acura MDX:

E-Class Wagon

MDX

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

223 lbs.

244 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

594 lbs.

757 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

11 inches

13 inches

HIC

326

396

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

Warranty

© 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 2020/02/29

There are over 41 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the E-Class Wagon’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the E-Class Wagon has a standard 180-amp alternator. The MDX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

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 E-Class Wagon’s reliability 32 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 16 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 Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 7 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The E-Class Wagon’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 72 more horsepower (362 vs. 290) and 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The E-Class Wagon’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 41 more horsepower (362 vs. 321) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The E-Class Wagon has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The E-Class Wagon has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes E-Class Wagon higher (5 out of 10) than the Acura MDX (3). This means the E-Class Wagon produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MDX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the E-Class Wagon’s brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:

E-Class Wagon

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The E-Class Wagon’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 E-Class Wagon stops much shorter than the MDX:

E-Class Wagon

MDX

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The E-Class Wagon’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MDX’s standard 60 series tires. The E-Class Wagon’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the MDX A-Spec’s 45 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the E-Class Wagon can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The MDX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The rear suspension of the E-Class Wagon 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-Class Wagon has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The E-Class Wagon’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.

The E-Class Wagon’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The MDX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the E-Class Wagon’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the MDX (115.7 inches vs. 111 inches).

The E-Class Wagon’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the E-Class Wagon more stable handling and braking.

The E 450 4MATIC Wagon handles at .87 G’s, while the MDX SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The E 450 4MATIC Wagon executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the MDX SH-AWD (25.7 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

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The E-Class Wagon is 6.4 inches narrower than the MDX, making the E-Class Wagon easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The E-Class Wagon is 9.7 inches shorter in height than the MDX, making the E-Class Wagon much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Passenger Space

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The E-Class Wagon has .3 inches more front legroom and 1.3 inches more rear headroom than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

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The E-Class Wagon has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The MDX doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the E-Class Wagon’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 E-Class Wagon’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

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The engine in the E-Class Wagon 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 4% lower rating, Acura is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MDX, the E-Class Wagon has standard driver and 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-Class Wagon and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the E-Class Wagon 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-Class Wagon’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The MDX’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The E-Class Wagon’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.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the E-Class Wagon to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The MDX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The E-Class Wagon offers optional 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 Mercedes E-Class offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The E-Class Wagon’s optional Active Parking Assist 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.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Acura MDX isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or sedan.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the E-Class Wagon owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the E-Class Wagon with a number “5” insurance rate while the MDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the E-Class Wagon is less expensive to operate than the MDX because typical repairs cost much less on the E-Class Wagon than the MDX, including $127 less for front brake pads, $852 less for fuel injection, $203 less for a fuel pump and $3 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/02/29

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes E-Class Wagon, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura MDX isn't recommended.

The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The MDX has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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