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2024 Acura MDX vs. 2024 Honda Pilot

Comparison between 2024 Acura MDX and 2024 Honda Pilot

1. Design and Exterior Features

On the other hand, the Pilot is currently comparable in design to the boxy but practical design of older years Land Rovers. Its design isn't particularly bad, but it's quite obvious that it's aimed to look more rough and rugged than the MDX. The brushed metal and matte black detailing on the front with the large honeycomb grille make the Pilot look like a dependable workhorse, and the black alloy wheel and tire combo available on higher trims only adds to this aesthetic. In basic terms, the MDX takes on the image of a rich businessman compared to the Pilot's rugged handyman.

Both the new 2024 Acura MDX and 2024 Honda Pilot are three-row crossovers, but they look rather different in their concept. The first appears to take a more enlightened (which we are all for) and elegant approach in design. It's beak-less, and Acura's new aesthetic approach for grilles is well received, whereby it's not attempting to hard to be look tough or bold. The MDX gives off an air of luxury in place of toughness as if to clearly separate it from the Pilot. The most striking and eye-catching detail about its design is the option of an illuminated grille which shines to give an extremely regal and outstanding look at night, it's likely to turn heads everywhere it goes.

1.1. Acura MDX design

The appearance of Acura MDX 2024 comes with a new, more attractive and modern design concept. At the front, there's a new grille that's shorter and taller than the old version with a very thick chrome accent. Acura MDX's front face looks more stylish and luxurious, this section is also supported by the presence of new Jewel Eye 4 lamp LED technology, this lighting design looks very modern and luxurious. The MDX A-Spec variant looks even more attractive because it has a more aggressive front face. Changing the body of 2024 Acura MDX, now the new MDX has a body size that is larger and longer than the old version. The wheelbase is stretched for 192.6 inches (+3.8 inches), which gives a significant increase in space in the cabin section and the Acura claim that the new MDX has easier access to the third-row seat. Changes to the posture of 2024 Acura MDX may also affect the design of the stern, which looks like it has a longer rear overhang. For the 2024 Acura MDX, Acura presents a new trim namely the MDX Type S which is the first time the MDX has a Type S variant. The presence of the Type S variant makes the appearance of the MDX even more stylish and aggressive. This Type S variant comes with a few differences in the exterior. Acura MDX Type S has a different front face from the other variants, the front grille is black and decorated with a touch of gold color. It looks more aggressive and stylish. Acura also provides a set of more stylish alloy wheels.

1.2. Honda Pilot design

The 2022 Honda Pilot has received a facelift following the end of its lifespan in 2021. The 2022-2024 Honda Pilot will be the same generation as the last model as it is essentially a carryover. Despite no major changes, the last generation of the Pilot was presented a bold and rugged new look. The redesign did much to separate the Pilot from the belt of minivan-styled SUVs in its class and create an identity of its own. Hence, you can expect the new look to be the same until the next generation. Keen-eyed motorsport enthusiasts will note that this latest Pilot's front fascia shares some styling cues with those found on the closed course ready Acura RDX configuration. With that said, there are wide differences in execution of similar ideas which, in this case, are for the better. From a bird's eye view, the hood and front fenders have been redesigned and raised, creating more dynamic lines down the side of the vehicle. The headlight and grille configuration give the Pilot a determined look, especially with the higher trim LED and fog lights giving off the impression of an encore. At the rear of the vehicle, Honda's crisp and sharp lines used on a variety of its recent products are in full effect and are once again meant to create a bold and wide stance from the rear. Honda also offers a variety of rim designs that vary depending on trim level on the Pilot, ranging from 18 to 20 inches. For accessories, there are available running boards, a front grille, and black emblems meant to add an extra personal touch to the vehicle. Step rails have been added to enhance access to roof side rails and crossbars to help with carrying extra cargo or gear.

2. Interior Comfort and Technology

The MDX with the Technology package will now start at $43,950. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 to any model. The SH-AWD system with the popular Entertainment Package comes in at $45,950. The front-wheel drive with the MDX Advance and Entertainment Package will total $57,400. Pricing for the upcoming A-Spec package and the MDX with that option have not yet been announced. Optional for the first time is the next-generation Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which instantly and continually determines the optimal torque split front to rear and allocates up to 70% of torque to the rear wheels. This is twelve percent more torque capacity to the rear wheels than the previous system. With the torque increase, the system overdrives the outside rear wheel up to 100%, creating a yaw moment. This provides the MDX with a more precise and better handling experience in multiple types of weather.

Acura has also updated the MDX with more noise-insulating materials to create a hushed cabin, including thicker front door glass, an acoustic windshield, and more insulation throughout. To assist with the reduction of noise in the cabin, the active noise control technology cancels certain unappealing sound waves. This is accomplished via the use of the MDX's speakers to emit the sound waves which cancel the unappealing noises.

The Acura MDX comes with high-quality materials as expected from Acura. The A-Spec and Advance packages have more solid materials such as open-pore wood with aluminum or wood trim. Inside, MDX comes with features like three-zone climate control; eleven-way power seats for the driver and front passenger; heated front seats, and new nine-speed automatic transmission with push button gear selection, electronic precision shift.

2.1. Acura MDX interior features

Featuring upscale materials and a modern design, the Acura's MDX cabin is a luxurious and comfortable place for up to seven passengers. Leather seating is standard for the first and second rows, while the available bench seat for the second row increases seating to eight. The available massaging front seats are a nice touch and also help to differentiate the MDX from its Honda sibling. A 12.3-inch center display is the main attraction within the MDX's cabin. Not only does it offer touchpad control (Acura has decided to keep the volume knob), it also features an ultra-wide format to give a split-screen effect. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability are standard features, and the system also runs a wireless connection for over-the-air updates and a WiFi hotspot. An electronic gear selector frees up additional space on the center console, and a 25.0-inch full-color head-up display is now available for the first time. Acura has worked hard to mitigate NVH, and it has added acoustic glass for the windshield and front side windows as well as thicker front door glass. An isolated rear subframe and active noise control features all work in unison to improve interior cabin quietness. All of these improvements allow the MDX to feature the ELS Studio 3D premium audio system that has been designed specifically for Acura and delivers studio-quality audio. High-grade interior materials feature LED ambient lighting, an open-pore wood with infused metallic flake, and soft full-grain Milano leather with available quilted seats. A panorama ultra-wide dual-pane sunroof is now the largest that Acura has ever put into an MDX, and it allows for more light and air to enter the first and second rows. Lastly, the second-row captain seats have been designed for functionality that allows passengers to easily get to the third row with one-button access and the ability for the seat to slide and tilt through tiltable application. This level of second-row functionality is something that the luxury SUV segment does not currently offer, and it is an aspect that the MDX outpaces the Pilot and even Acura's direct competitors in. All of these interior features allow the MDX to offer an interior ambiance that is not only more high-tech but also more luxurious and enjoyable than the outgoing third-generation MDX, and Acura hopes that it pushes the new MDX into consideration for those who are shopping for a premium 3-row SUV.

2.2. Honda Pilot interior features

A lack of a push-button start and conventional automatic climate control (other than the Touring/Elite tri-zone system) are small disappointments given class rivals have this as standard equipment. Nonetheless, this is still a functional and easy-to-use system. The MP3/auxiliary input jack and available HDMI input will be popular features with tech-savvy families, but the absence of HDMI input on lower trims is contrary to Acura’s integration of this feature on all MDX trims. High-level safety is to be expected and for this, 2016 Pilot will not disappoint with Honda SENSING on Touring and Elite trims.

Standard tech features include Bluetooth audio and phone, a 200-watt 7-speaker stereo with subwoofer, and an 8” i-MID display. Upper trims offer a range of high-tech features including a power tailgate, wide-angle rear DVD entertainment system with wireless headsets, rear camera, and power sunshades.

Given the 2023 MDX has the class exclusive front passenger wide mode function with a 10-way power seat, it’s easy to say the Pilot will carry over this feature and the top-end Touring and Elite trims ought to offer a similar spec front seat and memory function. Although wheel and seat memory settings are uncommon in this class, it’s an expectation given Pilot’s competitors are offering a similar feature with some even having driver’s side memory linked to the key fob, which still far exceeds the class.

Space is abundant and there’s an integrated feel to the seating. Although the front seats are supportive, they’re not to the same extent as the MDX and it lacks a memory function. Second row occupants are given plenty of room with a large, comfortable bench and easy walk through to the third row. The third row is still one of the more spacious in the segment and easily fits an average adult. All Pilot models now include three seat rows making it a versatile 8 passenger SUV.

To Honda’s credit, the 2023 Pilot’s interior layout is ergonomically sound and, like its Acura sibling, looks and feels good for the price. Quality materials are found throughout the cabin and the switchgear is firmly put together. Though a base LX cabin doesn’t carry the upscale appearance, it still features the same quality parts. Control layout is simple and the buttons, knobs, and dials are very easy to use.

3. Performance and Engine Specifications

Acura MDX Performance The 2024 Acura MDX has earned quite an impression on the automotive segment. The 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine, which boasts Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to ensure a smooth transition from 6 to 4 to 3 cylinders for improved fuel efficiency, is the staple of the vehicle. With the capability of delivering 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm, this engine has been known to serve well through the models of the Acura RL, TL, and the MDX. It is proven to be a reliable and competent powerplant for a luxury SUV. The engine is matched with a 5-speed automatic transmission, which gives the MDX the ability to tow up to 5000 lbs. For 2012, the MDX has received a significant refresh and for the first time has an optional Advance package, which includes an all-new Active Damper System (ADS). This system uses magnetorheological (MR) technology to adjust damper force within 5-20 milliseconds, providing a more responsive and smooth transition between Comfort and Sport modes compared to the previous system. The reduced body movement provides improved road handling while enhancing ride quality and body control. It has been reported to deliver better ride quality than the previous system while maintaining or improving handling and cornering. This is a significant breakthrough for damper technology in SUVs, and ADS has only been featured on very high-end sport sedans and SUVs. The Advance package also includes the Collision Mitigating Braking System (CMBS), which is able to anticipate collisions and at low speeds can effectively bring the vehicle to a stop, all while having a minimal impact on insurance costs compared to the system's competitors. Ballistic injury mitigation has also been added to the MDX to lessen passenger injury in a collision event. These features have advanced the safety features of the MDX and put it at the top in terms of safety equipment offered in a vehicle in its class.

3.1. Acura MDX performance

The 2024 Acura MDX is reported by Honda to have a faster revving and more fuel-efficient 3.0 V6 turbo engine to be manufactured in Ohio. In answer to a reporter's question, Mr. Tsutamori revealed that the Acura MDX will have a turbo, and he went on to say that it will be designed to have the most "refined and responsive" driving experience in its class. While Mr. Tsutamori's statements certainly are not make or break the way an MDX enthusiast would feel about their vehicle, sometimes having corrections to misinformation that becomes widespread on the internet can be beneficial for the brand. Another tidbit revealed about the 3.0 turbo was reported by Automotive News: "The 3.0-liter V6, which will be built at Honda's Anna, Ohio, engine plant, and moves the MDX to a V6 after two generations with a V6 and an optional V6 hybrid, is expected to account for more than 70 percent of the MDX's sales." "Executives said they expect the base XLE, with the V6, to be the top-selling trim level." This racy engine announcement has MDX enthusiasts buzzing and could be what it needed to inject life into the model. A step in the correct direction from the last generation of MDX starting with the SH-AWD models shoving people into a hybrid powertrain that they were not wanting to engage in. High-performance MDX models had been a staple for buyers that did not want to lose driver engagement, and now with Type S to be the top model trim level, they won't need to settle for less. A step coming full circle from when the MDX was first released, and it was an alternative for a sporty 3-row SUV at the price of the buyer not having to jump into a German sports utility.

3.2. Honda Pilot performance

The performance will experience the biggest change as the new models will feature a different engine. In recent years, Honda has used the J35 engine in the Pilot, and for the 2021 model year, the 9-speed transmission was offered as the only transmission option. Critics have said for years that the J35 engine has been outdated and an improved engine needed to be used in the Pilot. That change is happening now as both the 6th generation Pilot and the 4th generation MDX will be powered by the Type S exclusive 3.0-liter V6 turbo engine. Unfortunately, there has been no power figures confirmed for the 2022 Honda Pilot, so we will just have to wait and see how much power will be produced compared to the MDX's 355 horsepower. It is also important to note that the new MDX will be equipped with Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, while the Pilot will have an all-wheel drive option available on select trims. The exact transmission used in the new Pilot is also currently nonexistent, but there is still time for information to be released. This is something we will just have to wait and see. Honda taking this new route with the J35 engine being removed gives off a very good impression that a type of luxury midsize SUV shared by the Pilot and MDX will be created. With the exact power figures for the Pilot not yet being released, the performance gap between the two models is hard to gauge. However, with the J35 engine being considered very outdated in recent times, there is no doubt that the new engine used in the Pilot can only be an improvement. In the long run, it can also be predicted that the decision of offering an all-wheel drive option on select trims for the Pilot can keep potential buyers considering between that and an MDX. The difference in the systems between the two models may just influence a purchase of the Pilot for some given a preference to have an AWD vehicle, but all depends on what the buyer prioritizes in a vehicle.

4. Safety and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) is an assistive technology that helps avoid or mitigate the severity of a frontal collision. It is the first application of CMBS in the Honda Pilot. The system is designed to alert the driver of a potential collision and, if the driver does not take appropriate action, the system is designed to apply the brakes to help reduce the severity of an unavoidable impact. Using a wave radar sensor, the CMBS is able to recognize the distance and closing speed of an obstacle in front of the vehicle. The pedestrian safety rating is currently unavailable as the tests have not been conducted.

Each MDX comes standard with AcuraWatch, a suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies that include Collision Mitigation Braking System, with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Road Departure Mitigation with Lane Departure Warning. In addition, the Acura MDX includes the first-of-its-kind pedestrian protection safety feature, which is designed to help mitigate injury in the event of a frontal collision. This advanced safety feature is the result of a newly designed hood and front fender structures that absorb energy more efficiently, while also providing increased protection to the head of a struck pedestrian or cyclist. The Acura MDX has achieved a 5-star overall vehicle score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), the highest available overall safety rating issued by the government safety.

4.1. Acura MDX safety features

The Acura MDX's high safety scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety prove its devotion to passenger safety. Newly equipped standard safety features include a collision-mitigation system, road-departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. These features are tied to the AcuraWatch suite and use a millimeter-wave radar and/or monocular camera sensing technology to help avoid or mitigate a collision. The MDX also now comes standard with front and rear parking sensors, a multi-angle rearview camera, and a driver's knee airbag. The next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure is designed to take safety to a higher level. This unibody is the first of its kind that is specifically designed to engage the other vehicle's frame in a frontal collision. This will keep the MDX energy in the frame and prevent sliding up or underneath the other frame.

4.2. Honda Pilot safety features

The base variant Honda Pilot LX comes with an attractive suite of advanced driver assistance features called Honda Sensing. This is a standard predominantly active safety package across the entire Pilot range. At the front end, Honda Sensing includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) incorporating forward collision warning (FCW) and pedestrian detection, plus adaptive cruise control with low speed follow (the ability to maintain a set following interval down to stop and go traffic speeds). Next is LaneWatch camera which activates with the left indicator and displays a live video of the left lane adjacent to the vehicle. This system is somewhat redundant given the addition of a left-hand LaneWatch camera but is a helpful enhancement for understanding blind spots, a highly desirable trait in large family SUVs. And completing the safety suite is a lane departure warning (LDW) and road departure mitigation system (RDM) incorporating steering assist. This set of features has gained Honda Sensing a strong reputation globally and is an excellent standard inclusion on the Pilot's base variant. Essentially mirroring Acura in equipping all variants with the same safety features (the grade-dependent rear parking sensors and surround view camera are the only Pilot safety features restricted to higher grades), Honda Pilot buyers are able to enjoy the entire Honda Sensing suite plus the same passive safety features highlighted in the Acura MDX. While the brand new MDX has the additional structural safety edge of Acura's ACE body design and Pilot doesn't, the identical safety equipment confirms Honda Pilot is a strong safety choice across the range.