2021 Chevrolet Tahoe 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 2020/08/09

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 Tahoe 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 Tahoe has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The MDX doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Both the Tahoe and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Tahoe’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the MDX’s (6 vs. 5 years).

There are almost 11 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Tahoe’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Tahoe’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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Tahoe has a standard 220-amp alternator (250-amp - Tahoe Diesel). 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 Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 25 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 Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 56 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Chevrolet 3 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The Tahoe’s standard 5.3 V8 produces 65 more horsepower (355 vs. 290) and 116 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The Tahoe’s 5.3 V8 produces 34 more horsepower (355 vs. 321) and 94 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid. The Tahoe High Country’s standard 6.2 V8 produces 99 more horsepower (420 vs. 321) and 171 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

The Tahoe’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 193 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The Tahoe’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 171 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Tahoe uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Tahoe High Country for maximum performance). The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Tahoe offers optional 22-inch wheels. The MDX’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

The Chevrolet Tahoe’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Acura MDX only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Tahoe 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

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The Tahoe Z71/High Country has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Tahoe’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 Tahoe’s wheelbase is 9.9 inches longer than on the MDX (120.9 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Tahoe is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the MDX.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Tahoe 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

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The Tahoe offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the MDX can only carry 7.

The Tahoe has 35.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (168.3 vs. 132.7).

The Tahoe has 4.2 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more rear headroom, 5.4 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more third row headroom and 6.8 inches more third row legroom than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

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

Tahoe

MDX

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

15.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.6 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

122.9 cubic feet

90.9 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Tahoe’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.

Towing

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The Tahoe 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Tahoe can be unhitched and driven around locally. The MDX can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Tahoe 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

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The Tahoe’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.

The power windows standard on both the Tahoe and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Tahoe 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 Tahoe’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 intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Tahoe LT/RST/Z71/Premier/High Country has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 2020/08/09

The Chevrolet Tahoe outsold the Acura MDX by almost two to one during 2019.

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