Acura MDX Vs. Honda Pilot: Crossover Cousins Battle it Out

By Justin Cupler | November 28th, 2018

When considering a crossover, there are many variables to account for. One such variable is whether to go with a luxury model or a more traditional one. Honda Motor Company has two offerings to cover both options: the more traditional 2019 Honda Pilot and the luxurious 2019 Acura MDX. Which one is the better buy for our Rochester, New York car buyers? Continue reading to find out.

Exterior

In terms of looks, the 2019 Honda Pilot features a more traditional crossover appearance that appeals to a wide range of buyers. As a luxury vehicle that caters to buyers with deeper pockets, the Acura MDX boasts a sharper and sportier look that appeals to its target audience.

Despite not being a true luxury vehicle, there are plenty of exterior upgrades to pump up the Pilot’s looks. Even with these upgrades, it will never be on the MDX’s level, but the Pilot provides more value than the Acura.

Like the Pilot, the 2019 Acura MDX has plenty of available upgrades, like the A-Spec package and more, but they come at a cost. Adding just a few of these packages can tack thousands of dollars to the bottom line.

Though the 2019 Acura MDX and 2019 Honda Pilot ride on the same platform and share a 111-inch wheelbase, they differ in size. The 2019 Pilot is larger than the MDX in every measurable at 196.5 inches long, 70.6 inches tall, and 78.6 inches wide. The 2019 MDX checks in at 196.2 inches long, 67.4 inches tall, and 77.7 inches wide.

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Larger, more traditional SUV styling
  • Tons of valuable upgrades available

Advantage: 2019 Acura MDX

  • Sportier looks

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Honda Pilot features a swoopy dashboard, a four-spoke steering wheel, and a stylish look. With a few option boxes ticked, the Pilot can be outright luxurious with optional leather, upgraded trim, and additional tech. The MDX, on the other hand, requires no option boxes to be luxurious. It features leather upholstery, wood trim, premium tech, and more. Being a true luxury car, the MDX has a higher ceiling, so discerning buyers can load up their MDX to their liking.

In terms of roominess, these crossovers’ shared platform results in similar dimensions. The 2019 Pilot’s front seats offer 40.1 inches of headroom, 40.9 inches of legroom, 62 inches of shoulder room, and 59.1 inches of hip room. The 2019 MDX wins in legroom with 41.4 inches of space, but its 38.1 inches of headroom, 61.1 inches of shoulder room, and 57.5 inches of hip room all fall short of the Pilot.

In the second row, the 2019 Pilot has 40.2 inches of headroom, 38.4 inches of legroom, 62 inches of shoulder room, and 57.3 inches of hip room. The MDX’s sliding second-row seat beats the Pilot in legroom at up to 38.5 inches and hip room at 57.8 inches, but it falls short with 38.3 inches of headroom and 59.1 inches of shoulder room.

In the third row, things get tight, but the Pilot offers a little extra room compared to the MDX with its 38.9 inches of headroom, 31.9 inches of legroom, 57.6 inches of shoulder room, and 44.6 inches of hip room. The MDX’s third row offers just 35.6 inches of headroom, 28.1 to 30.9 inches of legroom, 54.7 inches of shoulder room, and 40.6 inches of hip room.

In cargo room, the 2019 Honda Pilot wins again with 16.5 cubic feet behind third row, 46.8 cubic feet behind second row, and 83.9 cubic feet with all three rows lowered. The MDX’s can muster up just 15 cubic feet behind third row, 38.4 cubic feet behind second row, and 68.4 cubic feet with all three rows folded.

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • More passenger room
  • More cargo room

Advantage: 2019 Acura MDX

  • Upscale cabin and features

Performance

The 2019 Honda Pilot comes standard with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This engine comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. The range-topping Pilot Elite comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but buyers can opt for all-wheel drive.

The MDX features the same 3.5-liter V-6, but its output rests at 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Its standard transmission is a nine-speed unit. Like the Pilot, the MDX comes standard with front-wheel drive but has available all-wheel drive.

The MDX separates itself with the Sport Hybrid trim. This model comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 producing 257 horsepower and 218 pound-feet of torque. The gasoline-fueled engine pairs to three electric motors that produce 47 horsepower up front and 109 horsepower in the rear. The total output rings in at 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque. This hybrid unit mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Because they share a platform and powertrain, the 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Acura MDX also share towing capacities of 3,500 pounds with front-wheel drive and 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.

The Acura MDX and Honda Pilot have similar fuel economy numbers because of their shared powertrain. With the nine-speed automatic transmission, both models get up to 20 mpg city†, 27 mpg highway†, and 23 mpg city†. With its standard six-speed automatic transmission, the Pilot’s city and combined ratings fall by 1 mpg.

The MDX Sport Hybrid again sets itself apart from the Pilot with its up to 26 mpg city†, 27 highway†, and 27 combined†.

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Same powertrain as base MDX
  • Matches MDX’s towing

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Optional hybrid
  • Better fuel economy in hybrid model
  • More performance-oriented

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Acura MDX has no trim levels, just a base trim and five packages that act as trims. Pricing starts at $44,300 for the standard model and tops out at $60,050. There is also the MDX Sport Hybrid, which comes with two trim-like packages. This model starts from $52,800 and tops out at $59,550.

The 2019 Honda Pilot comes in five trim levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Prices start from $31,450 and top out at $48,020.

2019 Acura MDX Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $44,300

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • SportShift paddles
  • Electronic power steering
  • Three driving modes (Comfort, Normal, and Sport)
  • 18-inch Pewter Gray MEtallic machine-finished wheels
  • Dual exhaust
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Road-departure mitigation
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Multi-view rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Hill-start assist
  • Electronic parking brake
  • Auto-on/off LED headlights
  • LED taillights
  • Heated side-view mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  • Universal home remote
  • Compass
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • SMS and email function
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • 8-speaker Acura Premium Audio System
  • SiriusXM
  • Pandora capability
  • HD Radio
  • USB audio interface
  • One 1-amp USB data link, two 2.5-amp front USB charge ports, two 2.5-amp second-row USB charge ports
  • 8-inch color display
  • Power moonroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Acoustic front and side glass
  • Sport seats with premium leather trim
  • 12-way power front seats with power lumbar support
  • Heated front seats
  • 60/40 split-folding second row
  • 50/50 split-folding third row
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Power windows with auto-up/down operation
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Electronic tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Active sound control
  • Ambient cabin lighting
  • Auto-dimming frameless rearview mirror

W/ Technology Package: $49,300

  • All base features, plus
  • 20-inch Shark Gray twisted machine-faced wheels
  • Smart key rear-door entry
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • LED puddle lights
  • Power-folding side-view mirrors
  • Perforated premium leather seats with contrast stitching
  • GPS-linked climate control
  • Voice recognition
  • Siri
  • Natural wood trim
  • Acura ELS Premium Audio with 10 speakers
  • Song by voice
  • Acura navigation with 3D view
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic
  • Traffic Rerouting
  • Color multi-information display
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Remote ignition

Sport Hybrid W/ Technology Package: $52,800

  • All w/ Technology Package features, plus
  • 3.0-liter V-6 engine with a three-motor hybrid system
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • Active damper system
  • Sport+ driving mode
  • Body-color lower trim

W/ A-Spec Package: $54,800

  • All-wheel drive
  • 20-inch Shark Gray split-5-spoke
  • Dark Chrome and lighting details
  • LED fog lights
  • A-Spec-exclusive dual-exhaust outlets
  • A-Spec-exclusive bumpers
  • Gloss-black and dark-chrome trim
  • Sport A-Spec seats with Perforated Milano leather, contrast stitching, and piping
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • A-Spec steering wheel
  • Metal trim
  • A-Spec red-on-silver gauge cluster
  • A-Spec door-sill garnish
  • Ebony headliner
  • Stainless-steel pedals

W/ Advance Package: $56,050

  • All W/ Technology Package features, plus
  • Active dampers
  • 20-inch Shark Gray machine-finished 5-spoke wheels
  • LED fog lights
  • Auto-dimming side-view mirrors
  • Body-color lower trim
  • Roof rails
  • Sport seats with perforated Milano leather with contrast stitching and piping
  • Heated rear outboard seats
  • Second-row captain’s seats
  • 40/40 split-folding second-row seats
  • Second-row manual sunshades
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Two third-row USB charging ports
  • Surround-view camera
  • Head-up display

Sport Hybrid W/ Advance Package: $59,550

  • All W/ Advance Package features, plus
  • 3.0-liter V-6 engine with a three-motor hybrid system
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • 20-inch Shark Gray twisted machine-finished split-5-spoke wheels
  • 11-speaker audio system

W/ Entertainment Package: $51,300 (w/ Technology Package) to $58,050 (w/ Advance Package)

  • All Technology or Advance Package features, plus
  • 9-inch full VGA screen (w/ Technology Package)
  • Rear Entertainment System with 16.2-inch Ultra-Wide display (w/ Advance Package)
  • 11-speaker audio system
  • 12-speaker audio system (w/ Advance Package)
  • Two wireless headphones
  • Rear door sliding sunshades
  • 110-volt power outlet
  • Heated second-row seats

2019 Honda Pilot Key Features and Pricing by Trim

2019 Honda Pilot LX: Starting at $31,450[1]

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Electric power steering
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Hill-start assist
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road-departure mitigation
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • LED low-beam headlights with auto-on/off
  • LED taillights
  • Intermittent rear windshield wiper
  • Variable intermittent front wipers
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Black power mirrors
  • Black door handles
  • Black roofline spoiler
  • Power windows with auto-up/down front windows
  • Power door locks
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • 60/40 split-folding third row
  • 5-inch color screen
  • One front 1-amp USB audio interface
  • One front 2.5-amp USB charging port
  • 215-watt audio system with seven speakers and subwoofer
  • Bluetooth audio streaming

2019 Honda Pilot EX: Starting at $34,330[2]

  • All LX features, plus
  • Remote ignition
  • Snow mode
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
  • Heated body-color side-view mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  • Body-color door handles
  • Body-color roofline spoiler
  • Smart entry with walk-away auto lock
  • LED fog lights
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment
  • One-touch second-row seats
  • Heated front seats
  • 8-inch Display Audio system
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • HD Radio
  • HondaLink
  • CabinControl remote capability
  • SMS text message function
  • Front 2.5-amp USB charging port

2019 Honda Pilot EX-L: Starting at $37,760[3]

  • All EX features, plus
  • Power moonroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Acoustic windshield
  • Universal home remote
  • Integrated second-row sunshades
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shifter knob
  • Leather seating
  • Two-position driver’s seat memory
  • Four-way power passenger seat
  • Two second-row 2.5-amp charging ports
  • Compass

2019 Honda Pilot Touring: Starting at $42,520[4]

  • All EX-L features, plus
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters
  • Auto start/stop
  • Chrome door handles
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Acoustic front-side glass
  • Roof rails
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Courtesy door lights
  • Blue ambient LED lighting
  • Heated rear seats
  • Navigation with voice recognition
  • Honda HD digital traffic
  • Rear seat entertainment system with 10.2-inch screen
  • Blu-Ray player
  • 115-volt power outlet
  • 590-watt 10-speaker premium audio system with subwoofer
  • Mobile hotspot
  • Multizone audio
  • CabinTalk PA system through headphones

2019 Honda Pilot Elite: Starting at $48,020[5]

  • All Touring features, plus
  • All-wheel drive
  • Sand, Snow, and Mud driving modes
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Auto-dimming side-view mirrors
  • Panoramic roof
  • LED front map lights
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Perforated second-row captain’s chairs
  • Perforated heated and ventilated front seats
  • CabinTalk PA system through headphones and speakers
  • Wireless phone charger

Who Should Buy the 2019 Honda Pilot?

The Honda Pilot is great for buyers who can’t swing the payment on a luxury crossover but still want a quality crossover. And with its roomier cabin, it is better suited for larger families who haul a lot of cargo.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Acura MDX?

The Acura MDX is the perfect buy for crossover shoppers looking for a luxury vehicle that will not break the bank.

Ready to test drive the 2019 Honda Pilot through the streets of Rochester, New York? Head down to our new-car showroom serving Henrietta and Pittsford, New York to try it out for yourself. If you can’t make it to the showroom, you can also check out our online inventory to see if we have a 2019 Pilot that fits your needs in stock.

 

[1] MSRP for 2019 Honda Pilot LX: MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
[2] MSRP for 2019 Honda Pilot EX: MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
[3] MSRP for 2019 Honda Pilot EX-L: MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
[4] MSRP for 2019 Honda Pilot Touring: MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
[5] MSRP for 2019 Honda Pilot Elite: MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $995.00 destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
† MPG for 2019 Honda Pilot: 19 city/27 highway/22 combined mpg rating for 2WD 6AT model. 18 city/26 highway/21 combined mpg rating for AWD 6AT model. 20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD 9AT model. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD 9AT models. Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.
Posted in Model Comparison