If you’re in the market for a new midsize luxury SUV, there’s a good chance that you’ve considered the 2021 Lexus RX and the 2022 Acura MDX. Acura didn’t make a 2021 MDX, but the 2022 has been revealed. So which is safer, the Lexus RX or the Acura MDX? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash-tested them both, and each of them looks pretty good.
The 2021 Lexus RX was awarded a Top Safety Pick award by the IIHS. The 2022 Acura MDX was awarded a Top Safety Pick+ Award.
What is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ award?
To be awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must score a good rating in all of the IIHS crashworthy ratings. These include the driver-side small overlap front, the passenger-side small overlap front, and the moderate overlap front. In addition to these front crash tests, the vehicle must get a good score in the side crash tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. To get a Top Safety Pick+ award, the vehicle must ace all these tests.
Additionally, the vehicle must have an advanced or superior in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Headlights, often overlooked by car shoppers, must have a good or acceptable rating available. Oftentimes one trim level has good headlight ratings while another trim level does not, so it’s important to check the test results of the trim level you’re considering purchasing. To receive the Top Safety Pick+ award, the headlights on all trim levels must be good or acceptable.
How crashworthy are the 2021 Lexus RX and 2022 Acura MDX?
If you look at crash test ratings, which is safer, the Lexus RX or the Acura MDX? The 2021 Lexus RX got a good small overlap front: driver-side score. Within this category are subcategories, including structure and safety cage, driver injury measures, and driver restraints and dummy kinematics. The 2021 RX also got a good score in each of these categories.
Similarly, the small overlap front: passenger-side category and subcategories were all good, as were the moderate overlap front subcategory results.
The 2022 Acura MDX got very similar scores: good score in all crashworthy categories, including small overlap front: driver-side. It also got good scores in all of the subcategories.
Additionally, the small overlap front: passenger-side category and subcategories were all good. So were the moderate overlap front subcategory results.
Side crash test results in the 2021 Lexus RX were also all good. These subcategories contain similar elements to the front crash tests: overall, structure and safety cage, driver injury measures. There’s also driver head protection and rear passenger injury measures, as well as rear passenger head protection. The 2022 MDX side crash test ratings were good as well.
How is the crash prevention?
The IIHS tested the standard Lexus Safety System + 2.0 Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. It gave it a superior rating. It met the requirements for forward collision warning and also avoided a collision in the IIHS 12 mph and 25 mph tests.
The Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection got an advanced rating. In the 12 mph crossing child test it avoided a collision, and in the 25 mph test, it reduced speed by 20 mph. In the 12 mph crossing adult test, it avoided a collision, and in the 25 mph test, it reduced speed by 22 mph. In the 25 mph parallel adult test, the Lexus RX avoided a collision, and in the 37 mph test, it reduced speed by 25 mph and a warning was issued 1.8 seconds before impact.
The 2022 Acura MDX got good ratings in front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle. The IIHS tested the standard Collision Mitigation Braking System and found it to be superior. The braking system met the requirements for forward collision warning, and also nearly avoided a collision in the 12 mph IIHS test. In the 25 mph IIHS test, the Acura MDX did avoid a collision.
The IIHS found the front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian to be superior. In the crossing child test, the 2022 Acura MDX was able to avoid a collision. In the 25 mph test, it reduced speed by 19 mph before impact.
In the crossing adult test, the 2022 MDX avoided a collision in both the 12 mph and 25 mph tests. Similarly, it avoided a collision in the parallel adult test. It didn’t avoid a collision in the 37 mph test, but it did reduce speed by 30 mph. The MDX also issued a warning 2.2 seconds before impact.
How are the headlights?
The headlights are really the differentiating factor between the ratings in these two luxury SUVs. The 2021 Lexus RX’s headlights weren’t as good as the rest of its ratings. Trim level headlight ratings range from poor to acceptable. You’ll definitely want to check out which headlights your Lexus RX is coming with.
On the other hand, the 2022 Acura MDX were all good.
Which is safer, the Lexus RX or the Acura MDX?
Overall, the 2022 Acura MDX is safer than the 2021 Lexus RX, but the RX is still a safe choice (check out those headlights though). If you’re looking for a midsize luxury SUV that the IIHS finds crashworthy, the 2022 MDX is a good choice.