Is It Worth Spending More For an Acura? We Drag Race The Honda Pilot and Acura MDX to Find Out!

When it comes to the world of big family crossovers, Honda has been in the game for nearly two decades now. The latest 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition is the most well-equipped, luxurious and expensive model yet, tipping the scales at just over $50,000. And that got us thinking — is the “mainstream” model so well equipped and comfortable that it doesn’t make sense to buy the “luxury” option?

2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition
This is the 2020 Honda Pilot Black Edition…pretty obvious why Honda called it that. [Photo: Honda]

To find out, we pitched the Pilot against the 2020 Acura MDX A-Spec, the luxury version of Honda’s three-row family hauler. Underneath the two different bodies, there are quite a few similarities between the cars, but there are also a few notable differences. Both cars have the same 3.5-liter SOHC naturally-aspirated V6 engine, and both have a nine-speed automatic transmission. However, the Acura is tuned to produce slightly more power (290 hp to 280 hp in the Pilot), as well as more torque (267 lb-ft to the Pilot’s 262 lb-ft). The Acura also has a slight weight advantage, coming in around 70 pounds lighter than the Pilot.

2019 Acura MDX
For its part, the Acura looks and feels sportier than the more utilitarian Pilot. [Photo: Acura]

On practicality terms, it’s tough to split these two as well, but there is a slight difference. The Pilot is taller than the MDX, while the MDX is slightly longer than the Pilot. In other words, the Pilot offers more headroom, while the MDX offers a bit more legroom to rear seat passengers.

The two feel slightly different to drive — the Acura MDX is a bit more dynamic, for what that’s worth in a three-row crossover — but does its power give it an edge over the Honda Pilot? The Acura is $6,000 more than the Pilot, but is it worth the spend if the two are really so close? Find out in the video above!

Happy Thanksgiving from TFL, and stay tuned for more news, views and reviews coming very soon!