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    Acura MDX vs Volvo XC90: How do these Luxury SUVs Stack Up?

    Acura MDX vs Volvo XC90: How do these Luxury SUVs Stack Up?

    The Acura MDX and the Volvo XC90 are two of the most popular midsize luxury SUVs on the market. With seating for up to seven passengers, crisp handling, abundant safety tech, and creature comforts galore, these family-friendly utes have a lot to offer. But how do they compare? Which of these luxury SUVs is the better buy?

    In this comprehensive comparison guide, we’ll analyze the Acura MDX and Volvo XC90 models currently on sale head-to-head. We’ll compare these luxury SUVs across all the factors that matter most to car shoppers, including pricing, performance, interior space, features, safety ratings, and more.

    By the end, you’ll have all the details you need to decide whether the 2022 Acura MDX or the 2023 Volvo XC90 is the right luxury 3-row SUV for your family. Let’s get started!

    Acura MDX vs Volvo XC90 Overview

    The MDX and the XC90 take slightly different approaches within the midsize luxury SUV segment:

    • The Acura MDX focuses more on value, performance, and family-friendly practicality.
    • The Volvo XC90 puts greater emphasis on Scandinavian minimalism and refined luxury.

    Acura pitches the MDX as a sporty SUV with a roomy cabin and lots of bang for your buck. Volvo sells the XC90 as a sophisticated sanctuary packed with cutting-edge safety innovations.

    Both SUVs offer three rows of seating and similar dimensions, although the XC90 sits a bit taller. The MDX is fully redesigned for 2022 while the XC90 sticks with the second-gen model introduced way back in 2016. However, Volvo has kept this luxury SUV feeling fresh with frequent upgrades.

    Now, let’s take a deeper look at how these two heavy hitters match up a spec for spec. We’ll scrutinize them across 10 categories to crown a winner.

    Price & Value

    In terms of base MSRPs, the Acura MDX holds a substantial advantage over the Volvo XC90:

    SUV Base MSRP
    2022 Acura MDX $47,925
    2023 Volvo XC90 $56,850
    • However, Volvo often offers bigger discounts that can help offset the higher sticker prices.
    • Fully loaded models end up costing over $60,000 for either SUV.
    • The MDX provides better value, especially when you look at the features included.

    The latest MDX generation adds more premium details and tech features while starting at about $5,000 cheaper than the outgoing model. You’ll find amenities like open-pore wood trim, soft-touch surfaces, an ELS Studio premium audio system, and a full suite of active safety gear.

    Winner: Acura MDX

    The MDX isn’t quite as luxurious overall but gives you more features per dollar spent. Factor in better retained value down the road too and it’s the value pick.

    Performance & Fuel Economy

    Under the hood, the Acura MDX packs a punch while the Volvo XC90 opts for efficiency:

    • The MDX gets a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. It comes paired with Acura’s fantastic SH-AWD system for an all-weather grip.
    • The XC90 features a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder with 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft paired with AWD.

    In terms of acceleration, these two luxury utes end up being pretty evenly matched. They both hit 60 mph from a standstill in around 6.5 seconds. Few three-row luxury SUVs can match that kind of performance.

    Fuel economy does differ, though:

    SUV City/Highway/Combined MPG
    2022 Acura MDX 19/26/22 mpg
    2023 Volvo XC90 21/30/24 mpg

    The XC90’s smaller forced-induction engine pays dividends at the pump. Expect about 3 extra mpg combined in mixed driving conditions.

    Winner: Draw

    The Volvo XC90 is more efficient while the Acura MDX is sportier. We’re calling this category a push. Both engines suit the personalities of their respective SUVs well.

    Interior Space & Cargo Capacity

    Here’s how passenger and cargo dimensions stack up inside these two luxury family haulers:

    Spec Acura MDX Volvo XC90
    Passenger Volume 153.9 cu ft 150.6 cu ft
    Max Cargo Room 71.4 cu ft 85.7 cu ft
    3rd Row Legroom 36.6 in 37.8 in
    3rd Row Headroom 38.1 in 37.8 in
    • The MDX has a bit more passenger space overall.
    • The XC90 offers more maximum cargo capacity.
    • Both have very accommodating 3rd rows for the class.

    In everyday use, these luxury SUVs feel very similar in terms of interior room. Adults can fit comfortably even on the way back. Plus, you get easy access thanks to sliding second rows.

    When all rear seats are folded, though, the XC90 opens up nearly 15 extra cubic feet for oversized items like furniture. So if max cargo space is vital, the Swedish SUV has the MDX beat.

    Winner: Volvo XC90

    There’s very little difference in passenger room but the XC90 offers more max cargo capacity behind the first row. The flexible Swedish interior gets the nod here.

    Ride & Handling

    Ride and handling characteristics reflect the broader personalities of the MDX and XC90:

    • The MDX delivers sports-sedan agility with a firm, controlled ride.
    • The XC90 focuses on delivering sublime cruising comfort but still handles surprisingly well in corners.

    Both SUVs come equipped for all conditions with intelligent AWD systems, damper technology to quell body motions and torque vectoring. The MDX enjoys a handling advantage thanks to its tightly tuned chassis and Integrated Dynamics System with multiple drive modes. The Volvo prioritizes cushioning impacts to create sublime tranquility inside.

    Ultimately, the Acura MDX is more willing to attack corners with zeal. The Volvo XC90 makes highway slogs sublime. Which driving experience resonates most will come down to personal preference.

    Winner: Draw

    The MDX is sportier while the XC90 is more luxuriously comfortable. Which tuning you prefer determines the winner here. Both drive very well for big SUVs.

    Interior Design & Materials

    Step inside the cabin of the MDX and XC90 and you’ll find upscale appointments from dash to doors. Premium touches abound in both, however, the overall aesthetic differs quite a bit:

    • The 2022 MDX sports a high-tech look with its 12.3-inch display, flowing shapes, ambient lighting, brushed metals, and open-pore wood.
    • The 2023 XC90 emphasizes minimalism and restraint with linear walnut wood trim, Nappa leather, knurled metal toggles, and Swedish simplicity.

    Both cabins look and feel worthy of their luxury status. The MDX seems sportier and more modern. The XC90 appears more elegant and timeless. It comes down to a matter of individual taste.

    One advantage of the aging XC90 design? The novel vertical Tesla-like touchscreen has now been adopted more widely across the auto industry. So Volvo won’t appear as radically different from its competitors.

    Winner: Draw

    The MDX looks more contemporary while the XC90 seems more classically elegant. Which vibe you dig more determines the winner. Both interiors look and feel fantastic.

    Infotainment & Connectivity

    Loading these SUVs up with technology seems critical to attracting family buyers these days. The MDX and XC90 both deliver - just in different ways.

    The 2022 MDX is a connectivity powerhouse. It comes standard with a 12.3-inch display running Acura’s latest infotainment software. The crisp graphics, smartphone integration features, built-in apps, and natural voice recognition help it feel amazingly futuristic.

    By contrast, the XC90 soldiers on with the same Sensus setup and 9-inch vertical touchscreen were introduced way back in 2014. However, Volvo has continually updated it with new functionality and over-the-air updates. You now get Google apps and services tightly integrated too.

    Both systems work well overall but MDX takes the cake in terms of cutting-edge tech. Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, customizable dash displays, and perky response times give it an advantage. The XC90 still impresses but feels dated.

    Winner: Acura MDX

    The MDX offers a larger, sharper screen with the latest apps and features. Its slick new interface helps it ace this tech comparison. The XC90 remains impressive but can’t match its pace.

    Safety & Driver Assistance

    As pioneers in safety, Volvo and Acura both ace this category. You’ll find the latest advanced driving aids and protection systems in both the XC90 and MDX lineups.

    For 2022, Acura equips every MDX trim with the AcuraWatch suite of gear at no extra cost. That means you get forward-collision warnings with auto emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, traffic sign recognition, and more.

    The base XC90 Momentum carries almost identically robust driver assistance tech. However, you do need to step up to the R-Design or Inscription to match the standard safety suite found in MDXs. Collision mitigation braking remains standard across the board. Blind spot warnings get bundled into an optional package on some trims too.

    When looking at crash safety ratings, both SUVs shine:

    • IIHS Top Safety Pick + (TSP+): MDX and XC90
    • 5-Star Overall NHTSA Rating: MDX and XC90

    Each aced every collision evaluation and offers exceptional occupant protection systems built-in. Kudos to the safety engineers at both Acura and Volvo!

    Winner: Draw

    The Acura MDX wins on value by including more safety gear standards, but both SUVs offer virtually identical technology and earn top honors for keeping families safe. It’s too close to call a clear victor in this category.

    Reliability Ratings

    Consumers expect bulletproof dependability from their $60,000 family vehicles. Here’s how the MDX and XC90 compare in terms of predicted long-term reliability:

    • J.D. Power Predicted Reliability Rating
      • Acura MDX: 4 out of 5
      • Volvo XC90: 3 out of 5
    • RepairPal Reliability Rating
      • Acura MDX: 4 out of 5
      • Volvo XC90: 3.5 out of 5
    • Warranty Coverage
      • Acura MDX: 4 years/50,000 miles bumper to bumper, 6 years/70,000 miles powertrain
      • Volvo XC90: 4 years/50,000 miles bumper to bumper, 4 years/ unlimited miles powertrain

    While both SUVs score well for luxury segment models (the class average hovers around 3 out of 5), Acura has a clear edge. The MDX averages half a point higher across the board, implying it should suffer fewer problems or expensive failures down the road.

    The comprehensive Acura MDX warranty also spans two extra years or 40,000+ miles of powertrain coverage over the Volvo coverage. That provides more long-term protection for buyers.

    Winner: Acura MDX

    The MDX looks more promising in terms of lasting trouble-free miles based on expert assessments. The longer powertrain warranty provides more owner peace of mind too.

    Acura MDX vs Volvo XC90: Verdict

    Let’s sum up the key findings from our head-to-head comparison test:

    • Pricing & Value: MDX
    • Performance & MPG: Draw
    • Passenger/Cargo Space: XC90
    • Ride & Handling: Draw
    • Cabin Design: Draw
    • Infotainment Tech: MDX
    • Safety Features: Draw
    • Reliability Ratings: MDX

    If tallying up the wins, the 2022 Acura MDX takes a close victory over the 2023 Volvo XC90. The MDX wins outright in three categories (pricing, infotainment, reliability) while earning two draws (performance, design). The Volvo XC90 wins once (cargo space) with two ties.

    However, the strengths of each vehicle align well with luxury midsize SUV buyers. Choosing between them largely comes down to priorities and taste:

    Key Reasons to Choose the 2023 Acura MDX

    • Lower cost of entry and better value
    • More modern infotainment system
    • Sportier driving dynamics
    • Higher predicted reliability

    Top Reasons to Buy the 2023 Volvo XC90 Instead

    • More refined and luxurious overall
    • Optional plug-in hybrid variant
    • Cutting-edge safety innovations
    • More maximum cargo room

    For most shoppers, the Acura MDX likely makes more sense. It gives up little in terms of luxury and comfort compared to the XC90 while saving families money up front and over time. Performance purists may still prefer the Volvo. But expect resale values to hold up better with the MDX too.

    The Bottom Line

    The Acura MDX and Volvo XC90 both make compelling picks as midsize luxury family SUVs. You get three rows of seating, a lush ride, modern tech features, and indulgent cabins no matter which you choose.

    However, the 2022 MDX holds a slight edge overall thanks to its winning blend of value, driving enjoyment, and family functionality. The Volvo counters with more cargo flexibility, a refined ride, and Scandinavian sophistication.

    Ultimately, the Acura MDX stands out as the luxury SUV offering more for less. But some shoppers will still fall hard for the XC90’s charms. Either way, you end up with a fantastic luxury people hauler.