If you’re shopping for a luxury SUV with three rows of seats, you might be surprised by how many options are available to you. There are the German offerings, which are generally on the expensive side, but also quite luxurious with impressive performance. If you’re looking to save a few bucks, the Japanese luxury brands have you covered with more affordable offerings that might be a little less refined than more expensive European rivals.
Aesthetically, these two crossovers are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s not that one is much better looking than the other, they’re just styled very differently with the Acura having a greater focus on sharp, stand-out styling now with the sporty-looking A-Spec trim available, which is new for 2019. The Audi takes the usual conservative, classy approach that’s long been a staple of the brand. If you’re looking for subtlety, you’ll prefer the Audi, but if you want to get noticed, the Acura is likely more up your alley. The Q7 is a little longer and a little taller than the MDX. This means the MDX has a bit more of an athletic stance while the Q7 is more of a high-riding SUV.
Audi has earned a reputation of having some of the nicest interiors you can get anywhere and that reputation holds up in the elegant Q7. The tablet like infotainment system is neatly positioned on the dash giving the rest of the controls a very clean and ergonomically friendly design. The MDX is also pretty nice on the inside, but simply isn’t up to par with the Q7 in terms of design and quality. The Acura uses a 2-screen system integrated into the center stack which isn’t a bad setup but doesn’t look quite as sophisticated as the inside of the Audi. See the 2019 Audi Q7 models for sale near you
Something that both of these SUVs have in common is generous and comfortable seating space for the first two rows and cramped seating in the third row. They both have two seats in the third row and they’re really only suitable for children. If you’re planning on using the third row of seats with any regularity, you might want to shop elsewhere, but as cramped as they are, it’s still nice to have a standard third row of seats. See the 2019 Acura MDX models for sale near you
The MDX comes standard with a tried and true V6 that also comes in multiple Honda models. It’s upgradable to the Sport Hybrid model, which improves both performance and fuel economy. The standard engine in the Q7 is a turbocharged inline-four that’s actually a little less efficient than the base V6 in the Acura and it’s upgradable to an excellent supercharged V6 that gives you a big boost in performance without a fuel economy penalty. Front-wheel drive is standard on the MDX and all-wheel drive is optional, but standard for the Sport Hybrid model. The Q7 comes with standard AWD on all models.
2019 Acura MDX Engines
3.5-liter V6; 290 horsepower, 267 lb-ft of torque; 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway (FWD), 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy (AWD)
3.5-liter hybrid V6; 321 hp, 289 lb-ft of torque; 26 mpg city/27 mpg hwy
2019 Audi Q7 Engines
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four; 252 hp, 273 lb-ft of torque; 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy
3.0-liter supercharged V6; 333 hp, 325 lb-ft of torque; 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy
All four of these drivetrains are pretty strong in their own respective ways and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. The base V6 in the Acura is a very well-rounded engine and its hybrid counterpart offers some of the best fuel economy in its class along with good performance. The base engine in the Q7 is also well-rounded, but we recommend upgrading to the stellar supercharged V6 if your budget allows it.
The infotainment systems in both of these SUVs might have a slight learning curve if you’ve never used anything like them. The Acura’s dual-screen setup (one 7-in and one 8-in) has different functions displayed on each screen and it’ll take a little practice to get used to which screen does what. The Audi’s 8.3-in MMI system is controlled with a rotary dial and a touchpad which is a pretty slick setup once you get used to it. Both systems come standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
It’s worth noting that the Acura has two different back seat entertainment systems available and the Audi has none. You can get a 9-in or a 16.2-in screen for the back seat passengers to enjoy making the MDX a little more of a minivan like family vehicle while the Audi has more available tech for the driver like the awesome 12.3-in digital cockpit, which takes over the whole instrument cluster with a wide variety of functions like turning the whole thing into a navigation map.
The MDX is a little more generous with standard driver assistance technology than the Q7. Every 2019 MDX comes standard with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. The Q7 comes standard with front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Available tech in the Q7 includes blind-spot monitoring, a 360-degree camera, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic parking assist, an HUD, traffic sign recognition, and more. The Acura has similar available tech including parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, and blind-spot monitoring.
The MDX is more value-priced than the Q7 by a pretty significant margin. The 2019 MDX has a starting MSRP of $44,300 and the 2019 Q7 starts at $53,550. At the high end, both SUVs get to around the $60,000 mark. The MDX Hybrid starts at $52,800.
These two luxury SUVs are different enough that it’s hard to declare a clear winner between the two. The MDX is obviously the value-conscious choice with a lower starting price, more standard safety tech, and a base engine that’s both more powerful and more efficient. However, the Q7 is just plain nicer on the inside with a more premium interior and more available technology like the fantastic Digital Cockpit, 23-speaker premium audio and parking assist. Not to mention standard AWD and the amazing performance of the available supercharged V6 in the Audi.
If you’re looking for a luxury bargain and a good family vehicle or if you like the idea of a sporty hybrid, you’ll probably be more interested in the Acura. If you have some extra room in your budget and want a more premium, higher-performance experience, and you’re willing to sacrifice some family-friendly features like a back-seat entertainment system, then the Audi is worth the price of admission. Find an Acura MDX for sale or Find an Audi Q7 for sale