Horsepower

Torque

Explorer 2.3 turbo 4 cyl.

300 HP

310 lbs.-ft.

Explorer 3.3 DOHC V6 hybrid

318 HP

322 lbs.-ft.

Explorer Platinum 3.0 turbo V6

365 HP

380 lbs.-ft.

Explorer ST 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

415 lbs.-ft.

MDX 3.5 SOHC V6

290 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

MDX Sport Hybrid 3.0 SOHC V6

321 HP

289 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Explorer gets better fuel mileage than the MDX:

MPG

Explorer

RWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

MDX

FWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/25 hwy

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the MDX.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Explorer’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:

Explorer

Explorer ST

Explorer ST opt.

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.3 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The Explorer ST’s optional front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MDX are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the MDX (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (275/45R21 vs. 265/45R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer ST/Platinum offers optional 21-inch wheels. The MDX’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The MDX doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Explorer’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The MDX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the MDX (119.1 inches vs. 111 inches).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (7.9 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The MDX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Explorer has 20 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MDX (152.7 vs. 132.7).

The Explorer has 2.6 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 2.2 inches more rear headroom, 2.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room, 2.8 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.3 inches more third row headroom, 4.1 inches more third row legroom and .3 inches more third row hip room than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

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The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the MDX.

Explorer

MDX

Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

15.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.9 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the MDX’s in almost every dimension:

Explorer

MDX

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

20.8”/49.8”/83.9”

21.05”/47.3”/81.7”

Max Width

59”

55”

Min Width

48.1”

45.3”

Height

33.7”

29.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Explorer’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The MDX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MDX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Acura MDX is limited to 5000 pounds. The Explorer offers up to a 5600 lbs. towing capacity.

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any Explorer can tow a minimum of 3000 pounds.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Explorer is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MDX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the MDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The MDX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The MDX doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Explorer Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Explorer has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Ford Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Explorer ST/Platinum’s Active Park Assist 2.0 can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The MDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

? 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/10

The Ford Explorer outsold the Acura MDX by over five to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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