2020 Toyota Sequoia vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Sequoia are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Acura MDX doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle or rear seat belts.

The Sequoia’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 Sequoia 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, 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 and available four-wheel drive.

The Toyota Sequoia weighs 1244 to 1968 pounds more than the Acura MDX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.


Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sequoia for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the MDX.

There are almost 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sequoia’s warranty.


To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Sequoia 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 Sequoia’s reliability 30 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sequoia second among large suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The MDX isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 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 Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 63 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Acura is ranked 13th.


The Sequoia’s 5.7 DOHC V8 produces 91 more horsepower (381 vs. 290) and 134 lbs.-ft. more torque (401 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The Sequoia’s 5.7 DOHC V8 produces 60 more horsepower (381 vs. 321) and 112 lbs.-ft. more torque (401 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 Toyota Sequoia uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sequoia has 7 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (26.4 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Sequoia has 6.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (26.4 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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

Brakes and Stopping

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



MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.9 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The Sequoia’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 Sequoia has larger tires than the MDX (275/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Sequoia SR5’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (275/65R18 vs. 265/45R20).

The Sequoia 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 Sequoia 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 Sequoia’s wheelbase is 11 inches longer than on the MDX (122 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sequoia is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the MDX.

The Sequoia’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.4% to 49.6%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Sequoia more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Sequoia’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.4 feet). The Sequoia’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the MDX’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Sequoia Platinum has a 2.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (9.6 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Sequoia to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Sequoia’s minimum ground clearance is 2.7 inches higher than on the MDX (10 vs. 7.3 inches).


As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Sequoia Platinum 4x4 is quieter than the MDX SH-AWD (71 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space

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

The Sequoia has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 5 inches more front hip room, 5.3 inches more front shoulder room, 4.3 inches more rear legroom, 2.1 inches more rear hip room, 6.5 inches more rear shoulder room, 7.2 inches more third row legroom, 9.8 inches more third row hip room and 11 inches more third row shoulder room than the MDX.

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

Cargo Capacity

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



Behind Third Seat

18.9 cubic feet

15.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

66.6 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

120.1 cubic feet

90.9 cubic feet

The Sequoia’s cargo area is larger than the MDX’s in almost every dimension:



Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Sequoia’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Sequoia’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.

Payload and Towing

The Sequoia’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the MDX’s (7100 vs. 3500 pounds).

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Sequoia can tow a minimum of 7100 pounds.

The Sequoia has a higher standard payload capacity than the MDX (1250 vs. 1173 lbs.).

The Sequoia has a higher maximum payload capacity than the MDX (1350 vs. 1173 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Sequoia 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.


The Sequoia’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.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Sequoia has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The MDX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sequoia is less expensive to operate than the MDX because it costs $118 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sequoia than the MDX, including $55 less for a water pump, $396 less for a muffler, $125 less for front brake pads, $1064 less for fuel injection, $1 less for a fuel pump and $844 less for a power steering pump.


Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Sequoia, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura MDX isn't recommended.

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

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