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2023 Acura MDX vs. 2023 Honda Pilot Specs

Comparison of 2023 Acura MDX and 2023 Honda Pilot Specs

1. Introduction

Honda focuses on six main points to highlight their new Pilot. The fuel efficiency of Pilot is greatly improved by using Variable Cylinder Management System (VCM) technology that increases gas savings. Honda offers a comfortable and spacious cabin with Pilot having a three-row seat to accommodate 8 passengers. An easy-to-use advanced technology and entertainment are a plus point for the driver. Economic but still fun to drive becomes Honda's target for their new Pilot anyway. With all the advanced safety and driver assistant features, Pilot earns the top safety pick from IIHS. Lastly, the price, of course, is the best value in its class. With the huge offer that Honda Pilot offers, no wonder Pilot earns a great review in the United States.

The competition between Acura MDX and Honda Pilot is quite interesting because it is not only a battle of luxury but also a battle of the stable car market. Honda Pilot itself is almost a perfect SUV in terms of practicality, reliability, and value. Meanwhile, Acura MDX is a luxury brand for Honda itself, focusing on making a luxury version of Honda. This comparison will show what Acura can offer compared to its own mother company. This era is the start of the 3rd generation Honda Pilot, while Acura MDX is on its 2nd generation. Acura MDX is a specialty SUV of the new Acura's image while still having its reliability compared to other Acura series. Step by step, Honda tries to match MDX with their high-end Pilot trim because the price difference is not too much if we compare the top-level Pilot with the lowest MDX.

1.1 Key Features

Led headlights and taillights Jewel Eye LED headlights come standard on all four packages of the 2023 Acura MDX to provide a bright white light with exceptional color. The illuminated Acura logo projected by the front door lights gives off a tailored, distinct look. The MDX also comes standard with LED-ignited dragon tail taillights that animate on and off with a progressive enticing sequence. The 2023 Honda Pilot also comes with LED headlights and taillights high on the trim levels. LED headlights are available on the Special Edition, Black Edition, and Touring 7P. They provide a similar bright white light and energy efficiency. Honda taillights are full LED lights and are available on the Elite & Black Edition models. LED lights are known for being longer lasting, more efficient, and quicker illuminating. These benefit safety as well as rear-end accidents occur when the driver behind you does not have enough time to brake. The quicker illumination of LED taillights may provide the following driver more time to stop.

1.2 Performance

The 2023 Acura MDX cleverly combines a luxurious and dynamic driving experience, making it a very attractive three-row SUV. Agile Handling Assist refines the SH-AWD system of the 2023 Acura MDX by applying the brakes to the inside wheels, enhancing controllability and making the SUV easier to handle. The system delivers improved corner traceability, better line control, and stability in low-traction road conditions. The 2023 Acura MDX features a double-wishbone front suspension, a first for an Acura SUV, and the return of 4-wheel independent suspension, which replaces the previous MDX front-strut/rear-multilink setup. The double-wishbone front suspension provides increased lateral rigidity for handling precision and ride quality while improving collision performance. Dual Pinion Variable Ratio Electric Power Steering with a quicker ratio and a new type of rigid mounting increases steering precision and feel. The combination of the new suspension, steering, and SH-AWD provides the most dynamic and engaging driving experience in an Acura SUV. In fact, the 2023 Acura MDX recently posted a lap time of 8:32:624 at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, making it the quickest 3-row SUV around the legendary circuit.

1.3 Safety

The 2023 Acura MDX was chosen as a top safety pick+ by the IIHS, delivering the perfect score of "Good" in nearly every test for crashworthiness. It received a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AcuraWatch, a suite of advanced security and driver-assist systems, comes standard on the 2023 MDX and has been enhanced with artificial intelligence to offer improved performance. Traffic Jam Assist, a new feature, combines the capabilities of Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist System to decrease driver stress in highly congested traffic situations. This significantly reduces the amount of driver input and can help alleviate driver fatigue. Acura has increased the number of safety features available on the new MDX together with an enhanced body structure, passive and active safety features to provide a total of 28 safety features available on higher trims of the 2023 MDX. The 2023 Honda Pilot is also rated highly for crashworthiness with good scores in crashworthiness from the IIHS and a five-star NHTSA rating. Like the MDX, the new Pilot comes with a multitude of safety features with standard advanced driver-assist systems on all trims. Honda Sensing, a collection of safety and driver-assistive technologies, comes standard and has received an update for the 2023 Pilot. High and Low Speed Braking Control has been introduced to Collision Mitigation Braking System and traffic sign recognition has been added to the already extensive list of Honda Sensing features. This model of the Pilot also uses the latest generation of Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. This may give the Pilot an edge in terms of safety compared to competitors.

2. Interior and Comfort

The Honda Pilot has always been one of the best vehicles in its class in terms of interior space and flexibility, and that continues to be the case with the current generation. It’s restyled and reconfigured the interior for easier access to the third row and it now has more cushioning and a third row that’s not too small for adults. (Honda claims best in class.) The seating capacity is offered in both seven- and eight-passenger configurations, depending on whether you opt for the second-row bench. This time, promises Honda, the bench and the captain’s chairs allow easy walk-through to the third row. The angle of the second-row seat has been increased for even easier access to the third row, and a push-button feature makes sliding it forward for access that much easier. The third row has a three-way split back (now easy to fold thanks to levers in the cargo area) and like the MDX, the second row is still the place to be, thanks to comfortable seats and adjustable positions. Comparing MDX’s high-end advances in comfort and luxury with the Honda is a little difficult, since the features and trims of the 2012 Pilot have not been announced, but we’d expect the differences in comfort and convenience to narrow somewhat.

Seats in the MDX are good enough for seven adults, with space in every row that should see much less arguing on longer journeys. And that’s a useful thing, because this is a vehicle that would serve well as a family taxi. An inch of additional headroom and wider door openings for the second row, plus a seat that slides five inches fore and aft, give easier access to the third row, and when you get back there you’ll find it easier to get comfortable with a bit more space all around and a seating position that’s not as knees-up as before. The second-row bench has a 60/40 split-folding arrangement, and the one-touch walk-in feature makes getting into the third row easy. The second-row captain’s chairs is an option we’re glad Acura includes, and they’re nearly as comfortable as the front seats, trimmed in perforated leather.

2.1 Seating Capacity and Design

The 2023 Acura MDX and 2023 Honda Pilot will feature subtle design changes to both interiors. The changes to the MDX evoke a more luxurious feel with authentic materials like open-pore wood with infused metallic flake, soft-touch Milano leather, and aluminum accents. The high-grade interior seen above will come standard on the MDX Advance package. Honda's approach to the Elite Pilot shows effort to add more soft-touch surfaces and trim, climaxing with the Elite's perforated leather and wood grain trim. However, any step below Elite (EX-L, Touring) will use simulated wood and the feel of a lower grade interior. And unfortunately, the change in trim only amounts to an MSRP increase without adding features such as second-row captain chairs.

The 2023 Acura MDX will come standard with second-row bucket seats on all trims except the base model, which offers a choice between bench and bucket seats. This changes the seating capacity to seven on all but the base model. The bench second-row can sit three passengers, but the bucket seats limit the maximum to six. Meanwhile, the 2023 Honda Pilot offers an eight-passenger capacity on all trims. Both second-row seats can slide forward and backward to favor third-row entry or second-row legroom. While the interior dimensions are surprisingly similar between these two vehicles, the third-row occupants in the Pilot have considerably more room to stretch with both head and legroom. Coming from the 2019 Pilot, Patrick's impression of the MDX was that it was "smaller" despite there being less than 1 inch differences in length and width, and even a few inches favoring MDX legroom in the first and second rows.

2.2 Technology and Infotainment

The MDX comes with Acura's True Touchpad Interface, which has an ultra-wide full-HD resolution display, a first for a touchpad interface. The 7-inch touchpad is precisely mapped to the 12.3-inch screen, and with the shallow design of the touchpad, it feels more like using your finger to directly control the screen. There's also handwritten character recognition. Audio is channeled through a 9-speaker system and Acura is offering an Els Studio 3D 16-speaker audio system. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Qi wireless charging come standard. The Honda Pilot is in a much-needed transition phase, as it makes do with an awkward 8-inch upper display and a 7-inch lower display. There are redundant physical buttons for audio and climate control, and the infotainment interface is not the most user-friendly. Honda Sensing will come standard on all Pilots, and some Pilot aficionados are speculating that it may get an update to the interface before the 2023 model year is released. Music will be played through a 215-watt 7-speaker audio system, unbeatable by the 9-speaker system standard in the base MDX. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be wireless on all trims save the base, which is a major win over Acura's entertainment tech. A Rear Entertainment System is an option on all Pilots but not the base trim, costing $2,040 and upping the quantity of audio speakers to 10.

2.3 Cargo Space

Enter the adaptable usefulness, both models are furnished with 2nd and 3rd row seats that can make a standard 60/40 split. The Pilot has an advantage with its ability to crease down the third row from the freight territory with levers, a particular favorable position during groceries on a rainy day. The MDX investment can consistently set up the inside into the ideal load mode utilizing a one-touch switch on the Drove electric seats. This will make the ideal solace to control the seats without the need for contacting the wet seats during a downpour. Both the MDX and Pilot are likewise furnished with underfloor space to store little things, and a handy tallness flexible intensity of the rear end. With no excessive exertion to space and a simple logical capacity arrangement, Blu-ray will never again have to do convoluted add and reduce stuff with no unmistakable result just to put up a tent outdoors.

The cargo space offered by a vehicle is a segment that will dependably pull in a ton of potential purchasers, and this is likewise valid for the MDX and Pilot. Both are offering an edge in load business as usual. To give you a clearer picture, the measurements of the MDX freight space are 18.1 cubic feet behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet behind the subsequent column, and 95 cubic feet behind the second row. As for the Pilot, there are 16.5 cubic feet behind the third row, 46.8 cubic feet behind the subsequent row, and 83.9 cubic feet when the second row has been collapsed. Considering most of the unexpected second with a 50/50 third seat to build payload space.

2.4 Comfort and Convenience

For the new Pilot, the seating has been upgraded to include an eight-way power driver seat and two-position memory function on EX-L trims and higher, ensuring the comfort of the driver and providing easy entry/exit. This comes in addition to standard tri-zone climate control, making it more competitive to the MDX compared to past Pilots. Both climate and seat memory functions will allow for easy transition between drivers, ultimately providing convenience for the driver. Another key feature is the available one-touch walk-in second-row seat, which can tilt and slide forward, ensuring easy access to the third row. Areas of additional comfort include the available heated rear seats and steering wheel, rear door sunshades, and power tailgate, making it more competitive in terms of luxury.

The Acura MDX features standard front heated seats and dual-zone climate control to provide more luxury compared to the Honda Pilot while also offering the convenience of standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to streamline connectivity. Additionally, the MDX has an available 16-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, which can be upgraded to a sport seat with perforated premium leather and high bolsters. An additional climate comfort third row with three-level heating and tri-zone climate control is available to ensure all passengers are comfortable. This far surpasses the Pilot's optional front-seat 10-way power driver adjustment and four-way power lumbar support and nine-speed automatic dual-climate control, which will appeal to families with children. MDX drivers can also enjoy the convenience of the available keyless access system with Acura personalized settings, which can automatically adjust driver seat, side mirror, audio, climate, and navigation settings based on which key fob is used.

3. Exterior Design and Style

The 2023 Acura MDX represents the latest in Acura SUV design, capturing the brand's "Chicane" design concept of "Purity and Performance." The vehicle evokes an image of performance and functionality with its longer, lower, and wider exterior dimensions. The front-end appearance showcases the new face of Acura, with the signature "Jewel Eye" LED headlights, the Chicane LED daytime running lights, and the iconic Acura logo, which has been positioned at the center of the redesigned diamond pentagon front grille. The striking character lines along the hood and front fenders expose the vehicle's performance potential, while the rear Chicane LED taillights, exposed dual exhaust finishers, and an integrated rear spoiler provide a finishing touch that is race-inspired and represents the vehicle's dynamic movement in any situation. The A-Spec variant elevates the sportiness of the MDX with its more aggressive appearance package consisting of 20-inch Shark Grey alloy wheels, larger and wider dual exhaust finishers, gloss black and dark chrome accents, and an interior with sport pedals, metal trim, and A-Spec specific leather and ultrasuede trimmed seats.

3.1 Overall Appearance

In each of the cars, Honda and Acura offer distinct design details and styling cues. The 2023 MDX is larger in dimension and has more of a presence on the road. The 2023 Honda Pilot shares a platform with the MDX, but is shorter and matches that in its wheelbase. The front end has been restyled to give a more aggressive look featuring Acura's signature grille, Jewel Eye headlamps, and "floating" separated turn signals. Lower trim models will feature 18" wheels, while top trims will come with huge 20" wheels. The rear end features twin exhaust finishers and LED tail lamps. The total look is said to have an "Executive Family" image. The 2023 Pilot features a front grille that is similar to the MDX's. Headlamp and tail lamp trim offered in black or chrome will most likely be used to differentiate models of the same trims. This will be the case for the MDX as well. The tail lamps are LED and the MDX and Pilot will share the same wheel size and style options. All in all, the MDX is said to cater to a luxury liking and the Pilot will appeal to those who desire an SUV with a rugged outdoor and go anywhere image.

3.2 Exterior Features

Some vehicles can blend in with the crowd, while others grab attention wherever they go. Both the Acura MDX and the Honda Pilot are bound to fall into the latter category, but one aims to up the ante on style more than the other. The 2023 Acura MDX, in top-spec Platinum Elite trim, is arguably the flashier of the two. Up front, it wears a version of Acura's brand new Diamond Pentagon grille that features a dark chrome finish that is surrounded by five LED headlamps per side. The hood, which also appears somewhat sportier than the previous unit found on the 2022 MDX, has deep body lines that follow through to front fenders which add some muscle to the vehicle's overall profile. In contrast, the 2023 Pilot's facelift is more subtle. Its headlights are the LED variety but are found in a cluster of four per side with no LEDs placed in the lower bumper. Like the MDX, the grille has been reworked and the hood also features more defined lines, but the end result isn't quite as aggressive looking. Turning to the sides of the two vehicles reveal an interesting contrast. The Acura MDX strongly prioritizes a level of visual sophistication. Its window trim is embellished with chrome and leads to sharp rearward lines just above the door handles. As for the rest of the lower body, there isn't too much flash going on, but an indent located just above the lower trim can be seen trailing off into the rear wheel well, adding a high-brow touch of sportiness to the profile. Meanwhile, the Pilot has taken a bold step away from its predecessor in embracing a more rugged, off-road SUV look. Gone are the days of the round and bubbly exterior design and in its place are square front and rear wheel wells covered in aggressive black cladding. The greenhouse area features a new kick-up in the window trim near the third row area which follows a nice shoulder line towards the rear of the vehicle. This change gives the Pilot a bit more visual interest and makes it less like a minivan than the previous generations. Lastly, the rear fenders also feature an indent to enhance the sporty look, but the Pilot's is considerably more pronounced than that of the MDX.

3.3 Wheel Options

With the 2023 Honda Pilot, you will have to choose between 18 or 20-inch wheels. The differentiating factor between these wheel options is the trims of the vehicle. The 18-inch wheels will be available on the LX, EX, EX-L, and Special Edition models. While the 20-inch wheels will be available on the Touring, new Elite, and Black Edition trims. All of these LX, EX, EX-L, and Special Edition models will share the same steel wheel design with wheel covers. The 18-inch wheel options come in a silver or grey painted alloy wheel. Remember, these options are dependent on the trim. The 18-inch Pilot will not have a 20-inch wheel option, and vice versa.

You will have up to 8 different wheel designs to choose from if you opt for the 2023 Acura MDX. These will be 20-inch wheels to give the vehicle a sportier look. The standard wheel design will be a noise-reducing wheel exclusive to Acura. This technology will make its way into the market for the first time. This means the vehicle will be quieter than ever and provide a smooth ride. Option two is an upgraded version of the first, allowing you to have a sportier look of the same wheel with a different color and finish. Step three is a 10-spoke Shark Grey wheel, which is quite self-explanatory. Option four is a 5-split spoke wheel with a pewter grey metallic finish. Step five takes you to a 5-twin spoke machined rim. Next, we have an A-Spec wheel and an unknown wheel labeled as option 8.

4. Pricing and Value

The initial savings on a Pilot can be deceiving. When comparing standard features between the two autos, it becomes clear that the MDX offers more bang for the buck. The MDX has standard features such as heated front seats and Bluetooth streaming audio, both of which are unavailable on the Pilot. Both autos have tri-zone climate control as a standard feature. The Pilot has an advantage in the area of standard audio. While both autos have an 8 speaker system and satellite radio, the Pilot comes equipped with the subwoofer and amplifier. This advantage quickly disappears when one compares audio upgrades, which is explained in more detail in section 4.3. The only area that the Pilot truly outshines the MDX is the rearview camera. The Pilot camera has 3 different angles and a guideline feature. The MDX has a multi-view camera with even more features, but for the price, the Pilot camera is unparalleled.

The average buyer considers pricing and value to be the most important factors when choosing a car. Autos such as the Acura MDX and Honda Pilot compete just as much in terms of price as performance. With a $43,015 starting price for the MDX and $41,870 for the Pilot, one would think that the MDX is priced higher. However, this is not the case. The MDX holds its value considerably better than the Pilot. A 2009 MDX with 50,000 miles, for example, fetches around $26,000. A Pilot in similar condition would only get about $17,000. When it comes to pricing, the MDX wins hands down.

Section "4. Pricing and Value"

4.1 Starting Price

The 2023 Honda Pilot and 2023 Acura MDX are going to arrive in the market at a different price point. Honda has priced the 2023 Honda Pilot at a very affordable price that ranges from $36,700 to $48,200 based on five trim levels. Meanwhile, the 2023 Acura MDX has a starting price of $42,000 and it can reach up to $67,700 based on four trim levels, which includes the A-spec package and an Advance package. The top-end model of the 2023 Acura MDX is more expensive compared to the 2022 Acura MDX. In terms of value for money, the Honda Pilot gives you the same reliable all-wheel drive system and 9-speed automatic transmission (for all models) shared with the 2023 Acura MDX. However, the best value for the 2023 Acura MDX would be the base model, which has a $42,000 starting price tag. You will get a premium seven-seater SUV with the option to add a super handling all-wheel drive to give this vehicle more agile handling compared to its predecessor and the 2023 Honda Pilot. Unfortunately, the base model of the 2023 Acura MDX won't have the second-row bench seat configuration, but the company claims to include this feature for the 2024 model year.

4.2 Standard Features

The 2023 Acura MDX is equipped with 5 standard features not found on the 2023 Honda Pilot. The Acura leads off with a Homelink system, which is a remote transmitter that can be programmed to activate up to three devices, including garage doors, estate gates, outdoor lighting, home security systems, and more. It's a very convenient feature. A 10-speaker sound system featuring speed-sensitive volume control and a subwoofer will provide enjoyment to users. The third feature and most significant driver's mechanism is a standard Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. It is Acura's latest generation of their exclusive all-wheel drive system, which further increases the MDX's handling performance in dry and slippery conditions. This is ideal for off-road travels. The system optimizes torque transfer between front and rear wheels, along with the left and right rear wheels, further enhancing the MDX's handling. After explaining this feature alone, Acura is looking to change the consumer's perception of the word "minivan". The SH-AWD system would work perfectly for their family, but would also perform stunningly better than many cars or SUVs owned beforehand. Acura also has the advantage of the MDX featuring High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights with an Auto-On/Off feature. Compared to the Pilot's halogen headlights, the HID headlights provide twofold more brightness on the road. This feature, combined with the fifth standard feature of rear privacy glass, will provide convenience in the safe usage of the vehicle. Acura's new standard features on the 2023 MDX further emphasize their new vision of luxury performance and versatility in a clean-sheet rendition of a luxury SUV.

4.3 Optional Packages and Upgrades

The CX-5 offers a technology package on the base model. This package makes the advanced i-Activsense safety and driver assist features available at a lower price point than other trim levels. It includes features such as Smart Brake Support, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop and Go function, and more. The CX-5 also offers a Touring Preferred SV package on the Touring trim. This package provides high value by including a Bose 10-speaker audio system, a power liftgate, a power moonroof, and rear parking sensors. Finally, the Grand Touring trim model has a Premium Package available. This package offers a windshield-projected Active Driving Display, a 360° View Monitor and overhead view technology, and parking sensors. All in all, the CX-5 offers a wide range of packages that provide a lot of value at every trim level. The Pilot has a wide range of individual accessories that can be purchased. These accessories are separated into different categories such as Exterior, Interior, Electronics, and Towing. There are a few accessory packages as well, such as the Black Edition Package which includes a fresh set of wheels, a slick looking running board, and an ultra-soft plush blanket with the Black Edition logo. There is also a Skid Plate Package available that includes a front and rear skid garnish and has an attractive discount when purchased as a set. Accessories allow the Pilot owner to customize their vehicle to fit more personal needs. However, there are no actual packages that come with a mix of different accessories.