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The midsize luxury SUV segment is a competitive one. Almost every luxury brand in the U.S. has an entry in this segment, and they all strike their own balance of luxury and family-friendly practicality.

Two of the more practical and value-conscious choices in this segment are the Acura MDX and Cadillac XT6. The MDX is one of the older nameplates in this class, having been around since the 2001 model year as a luxury version of the Honda Pilot. The Cadillac XT6 is a relative newcomer, having just come out in 2020 and sharing a platform with the GMC Acadia.

So, which of these midsize luxury SUVs is right for you?

The 2024 Acura MDX and Cadillac XT6 powertrain options

The Acura MDX and Cadillac XT6 both have two powertrain options. The standard and most common engine in the Acura is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 290 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque. It’s comparable to the most popular engine in the XT6, a 3.6-liter V6 producing 310 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. These engines give both midsize luxury SUVs very similar driving experiences. 

However, the Cadillac has a weaker base engine, and the Acura has a stronger, high-performance option. The base engine in the XT6 is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that only makes 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Understandably, it’s not very popular. Meanwhile, the Acura MDX Type S features a mighty turbo V6 rated at 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. This makes the MDX more exciting to drive than the average midsize SUV, including the XT6.

As is typical in this segment, front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional for both the MDX and the XT6.

MDX and XT6 interior cabin space

The Cadillac XT6 has more passenger space, and the Acura MDX has more cargo space. For seating space, the XT6 has 39.1 inches of legroom in the second row and 29.5 inches in the third row. That’s among the best third-row legroom in this class. The MDX is close but not as roomy. It has 38.5 inches of legroom in the second row and 29 inches in the third row.

As for cargo space, the Acura MDX has 18.1 cubic feet of room behind the third row, 48.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and a whopping 95 cubic feet behind the first row. Those numbers are 12.6/43.1/78.7 cubic feet, respectively, for the Cadillac XT6. That’s about 20% more maximum cargo room in the Acura compared to the Cadillac.

Midsize luxury SUV fuel economy ratings

The Cadillac XT6 has lower fuel costs than the Acura MDX. The standard engine in the XT6 is a turbo four-cylinder with a combined fuel economy rating of 23 mpg with both FWD and AWD. The optional (and more common) V6 gets 21 mpg with FWD or AWD.

The standard V6 in the Acura MDX gets 22 combined mpg with FWD and 21 mpg with AWD. The mighty MDX Type S understandably comes with a slight fuel economy penalty; it gets 19 combined mpg.

However, there’s more to the story than just the fuel economy numbers. For the standard turbo engine in the Cadillac, premium fuel is required. So, even though it’s more efficient than the optional V6, it has higher fuel costs because the V6 doesn’t need or recommend premium gas. In the MDX, premium fuel is recommended for both engines.

The V6-powered XT6 has an EPA-estimated annual fuel cost of $2,750. The price for the most frugal version of the MDX is $3,250. Saving $500 or more in fuel costs per year can add up to a lot of money.

Acura and Cadillac pricing and warranty

These SUVs are priced similarly, but the Cadillac XT6 is slightly more affordable than the Acura MDX. The Cadillac starts at $48,795, and the Acura begins at $49,850. Because of the high-performance Type S model, the Acura can get quite a bit more expensive than the Cadillac when fully loaded. The Acura MDX Type S Advance starts at $73,500, and a loaded XT6 Sport with AWD and the Platinum Package comes to $68,595.

Which midsize luxury SUV is the better pick?

These three-row luxury SUVs are evenly matched in many ways. If you’ll be using the third row regularly and passenger space is a priority for you, you’ll find the Cadillac XT6 more practical. We also love that Super Cruise is available in the Cadillac, as you can’t get hands-free driving in the Acura MDX. The XT6 also boasts lower fuel costs than the MDX since its V6 doesn’t recommend premium gas. It adds up to many practical benefits for the Cadillac.

However, the Acura MDX is a more athletic choice. It’s an SUV that’s practical, luxurious, and entertaining to drive, especially in Type S guise. Conversely, the driving experience of the Cadillac isn’t much different from a more affordable SUV like the Chevy Traverse. On the practical side, although the MDX has less legroom for the rear passengers, it has more cargo room than the XT6.

Which is right for you depends on your priorities, but you can’t go wrong with either of these midsize luxury SUVs.

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