Kemna Automotive Group Compares 2018 Toyota 4Runner VS 2018 Acura MDX In IA

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2018 Toyota 4Runner

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2018 Toyota 4Runner

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2018 Acura MDX

Safety Comparison

The 4Runner has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The MDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 4Runner and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available four-wheel drive and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota 4Runner is safer than the Acura MDX:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

233 lbs.

244 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

52 G’s

Hip Force

381 lbs.

757 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4Runner for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the MDX.

There are almost 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 4Runner’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the 4Runner’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The MDX’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the MDX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 4Runner’s reliability 49 points higher than the MDX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 13th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 19th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Acura is ranked 12th.

Engine Comparison

The 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6 produces 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (278 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota 4Runner uses regular unleaded gasoline. The MDX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The 4Runner has 3.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (23 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The 4Runner has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (23 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 4Runner’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the MDX:




MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

The 4Runner’s standard 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.

The 4Runner stops shorter than the MDX:





70 to 0 MPH

184 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

131 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the 4Runner’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (265/70R17 vs. 245/60R18).

The Toyota 4Runner’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Acura MDX only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The 4Runner has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the MDX, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 4Runner TRD Off-Road offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The MDX doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The 4Runner’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53.6% to 46.4%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the 4Runner more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 4Runner’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.4 feet). The 4Runner’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the MDX’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the 4Runner has a 2.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the MDX (9.6 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the 4Runner to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The 4Runner SR5 is 6 inches shorter than the MDX, making the 4Runner easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the 4Runner TRD Off-Road is quieter than the MDX SH-AWD (73 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

The 4Runner has 1.2 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more third row legroom, 2.7 inches more third row hip room and 3 inches more third row shoulder room than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 4Runner’s cargo area provides more volume than the MDX.




Third Seat Folded

46.3 cubic feet

43.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Removed

47.2 cubic feet


The 4Runner’s optional sliding cargo floor is capable of supporting 440 pounds, to make loading and unloading cargo easier and safer. The MDX doesn’t offer a sliding load floor.

The 4Runner’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The MDX’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics Comparison

Consumer Reports rated the 4Runner’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the MDX’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 4Runner has standard extendable sun visors. The MDX doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the 4Runner owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 4Runner with a number “8” insurance rate while the MDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The 4Runner will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 4Runner will retain 59.42% to 66.41% of its original price after five years, while the MDX only retains 43.75% to 94.45%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4Runner is less expensive to operate than the MDX because it costs $378 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4Runner than the MDX, including $19 less for a water pump, $143 less for an alternator, $10 less for front brake pads, $7 less for a starter, $18 less for front struts and $663 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota 4Runner will be $12307 to $18005 less than for the Acura MDX.

Recommendations Comparison

The TRD Pro was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2015 4x4 of the Year. The MDX has never been chosen.

The Toyota 4Runner outsold the Acura MDX by over two to one during 2017.

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