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The 2021 Volvo XC90 and 2022 Acura MDX are top-rated midsize luxury SUVs from well-known names. And yet the 2021 Volvo XC90 is able to retain its status as a top SUV against the 2022 Acura MDX, despite the MDX’s excellent safety ratings. What keeps the XC90 on top?

An ice-white 2021 Volvo XC90 in a white room.
2021 Volvo XC90 | Volvo

Unsurprisingly, both the 2021 Volvo XC90 and 2022 Acura MDX come with all the safety features

Consumer Reports says that there are a lot of advanced safety features that new car shoppers should prioritize. These include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking at city and highway speeds, lane-keeping assistance, and lane departure warning. Consumer Reports also says that pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning are important to have. Rearview cameras are standard in all new cars. Anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and daytime running lights are also important features.

Both the 2021 Volvo XC90 and 2022 Acura MDX come standard with all of these features. 

Both the IIHS and NHTSA crash-tested the 2021 Volvo XC90. The IIHS gave the XC90 all good scores. The NHTSA gave the XC90 five stars for everything except the rollover ratings. These are four stars. 

The NHTSA hasn’t crash-tested the 2022 Acura MDX, but the IIHS has. It gives the 2022 Acura MDX all good crash test-ratings.

The XC90 has a higher road test score

The 2021 Volvo XC90 gets an 84 for its road test, while the 2022 Acura MDX gets a 77. They each get a 5/5 for acceleration, though the XC90’s transmission score is a 4/5 to the MDX’s 3/5. However, the MDX has a better routine handling score at a 4/5 to the XC90’s 3/5. They each get a 3/5 for emergency handling. 

The Volvo XC90 gets a perfect 5/5 for its braking. It can brake from 60 mph on dry pavement in 126 feet and 137 feet on wet pavement. The XC90’s headlights only score a 3/5.

Braking is also just okay in the MDX. It scores a 3/5 and can brake from 60 mph on wet and dry pavement in 139 feet. However, the MDX’s headlights score a pretty good 4/5.

As far as comfort, the 2021 Volvo XC90 gets a mediocre 3/5 for its ride. However, it’s fairly quiet: it scores a 4 for its noise. Front and rear-seat comfort gets a perfect 5/5, while the third row comfort is only a 1. It’s not the ideal 3-row SUV for large families.

On the other hand, the 2022 Acura MDX gets a 4/5 for its ride. It scores a 4/5 for its noise. Both front and rear seat comfort also get perfect scores. Interior fit and finish get a perfect 5. The trunk and cargo space scores only a 3/5, with just 37 cubic feet of storage space.

Neither SUV has great reliability

Consumer Reports gives the 2021 Volvo XC90 only a 2/5 for its predicted reliability. Despite this poor reliability rating, Volvo XC90 owners rated the owner satisfaction a 3/5. It scores a 75 for predicted driving experience, an 85 for comfort, a 93 for styling, and a 48 for value. 66% of XC90 owners would buy their XC90 again.

Consumer Reports also gives the 2022 Acura MDX a 2/5 for its predicted reliability. Acura MDX owners seem to love their SUVs even with the low predicted reliability. The owner satisfaction score is a 4/5. Owners give the driving experience a 74 and comfort a 79. Syling gets a 72 and value gets a 49. 

It’s a tough choice between the 2021 Volvo XC90 and 2022 Acura MDX. If you’re torn, the 2021 Volvo XC90 does have a slight advantage. With its higher road test score, abundance of safety features and excellent safety ratings, it’s a great choice.


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