2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport Comparison Test

2014 Acura MDX SUV

(3.5L V6 AWD 6-speed Automatic)
  • 2014 Acura MDX - Group Picture

    2014 Acura MDX - Group Picture

    We squared off three midsize sport/luxury crossovers. | August 16, 2013

106 Photos

Three Midsize Luxury Crossovers Do Battle

  • Comparison Test
  • 2014 Acura MDX Specs and Performance
  • 2014 Infiniti QX60 Specs and Performance
  • 2013 Lexus RX 350 Specs and Performance

After a spirited romp on a twisty section of Mulholland Highway in the 2014 Acura MDX, 2014 Infiniti QX60 and 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport, one of Edmunds' more opinionated editors hopped out of the Acura and pronounced: "Yep, no doubt, the MDX wins this test."

If only it was that easy.

How these midsize luxury SUVs handle themselves is only one small aspect of this comparison. We still needed to assess long-haul seat comfort, headroom, cargo room, ease of access to the third row, standard active safety features, fuel mileage, stereo quality, etc. The boring stuff maybe, but also the important stuff.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

That's because all-wheel-drive luxury crossovers have to do everything from carting the kids to baseball practice to picking up groceries, making Home Depot runs and taking the family on vacation.

So we jumped back in and continued on. There was plenty of poking, prodding, measuring, phone pairing and, oh yes, plenty more driving to do.

The Class Standard: 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport AWD
Lexus is out to change the way you think about its mild-mannered 2013 Lexus RX 350 via the new F Sport model. The F Sport package consists of firmer shocks and springs, more aggressive bodywork, contrasting white stitching on the black leather, aluminum pedals and 19-inch dark graphite wheels.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

At its base price of $47,895 (including $895 destination), the RX F Sport comes with all-wheel drive, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port, 10-way power/heated/ventilated front seats, power sunroof and hatch, wood trim and lots of leather.

Options like a blind-spot monitor, a head-up display, 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, navigation and front and rear parking sensors upped our as-tested price to $53,924. One option not included in that price is a third-row seat, so the RX is the only vehicle here that's for five passengers only.

Its silky-smooth 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 270 horsepower, just like all RX 350s, and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with standard paddle shifters. Going for the F Sport package requires all-wheel drive, but its EPA fuel economy numbers are still reasonable at 21 mpg combined/18 city/26 highway.

The Minivan of SUVs: 2014 Infiniti QX60 AWD
Infiniti's QX60 (2013 models are known as the JX35 which is what we used for this test; other than the name change, there are no differences between the two) is an SUV for those people who wouldn't be caught dead driving a minivan. You know who they are. At 196.4 inches long riding on a 114.2-inch wheelbase, it's a land yacht among these three.

And the QX doesn't fake the three-row deal; it's the real thing, with enough space for adults along with a handy second-row seat-folding mechanism that makes third-row access a breeze.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

Although the QX60 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 just like its two rivals, it makes the least power (265 hp) while carrying the most weight (4,595 pounds). Unlike its two rivals, the power is put to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). EPA ratings are 21 mpg combined/19 city/25 highway.

The 2014 Infiniti QX60 AWD starts at $43,945. Standard equipment includes heated power front seats, wood trim, power sunroof and tailgate, three-zone climate control, full keyless access, Bluetooth, USB port, satellite radio and a six-speaker audio system.

Our tester rang up at $57,435, but it was loaded to the gunwales with back-up collision prevention, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, radar cruise control and an around-view monitor with moving object detection, along with dual 7-inch color monitors behind the front headrests, Bose audio with 15 speakers, ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats and navigation with an 8-inch display.

The Driver's Choice: 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD
Since it came out in 2001, the Acura MDX has been exactly what you'd think the luxury arm of Honda would build: a family-friendly SUV with a frisky personality.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

2014 sees the arrival of an all-new MDX, though it's not readily apparent from the outside. But underneath is a new, lighter chassis unique to Acura's midsize crossover. The use of new high-strength materials along with other weight savings contributes to a 329-pound loss versus the last MDX we tested.

The previous 300-horse 3.7-liter V6 was swapped for a 290-hp, direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 with variable cylinder management. Paired with a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters, the MDX SH-AWD gets the best EPA highway rating of this group, with EPA ratings of 21 mpg combined/18 city/27 highway.

Also new is Acura's IDS (Integrated Dynamics System), which allows the electric-assist power steering to be switched among Comfort, Normal and Sport modes. Choosing Sport also increases throttle response and adjusts the torque proportioning of the all-wheel-drive system.

While the MDX SH-AWD starts at $45,185, our fully loaded Advance/Entertainment model, with navigation, premium Acura/ELS audio system with 12 speakers, ventilated front seats, power tailgate, blind-spot information, lane-keeping assist, radar cruise control and a 16.2-inch rear DVD screen boosted the as-tested price to $57,400.

Like the QX60, the MDX has a third row, though it's not as cavernous as the Infiniti's. In fact, the MDX falls right in between the RX and QX in most dimensions.

 
Acura MDX
Infiniti QX60
Lexus RX 350
Price as Tested:
$57,400
$57,435
$53,924
Horsepower:
290
265
270
0-60 (sec.):
6.8
8.2
7.3
Quarter-mile:
15.0 @ 93.2
16.0 @ 89.2
15.4 @ 90.3
60-0 braking (ft.):
129
120
123
Slalom (mph):
60.7
60.0
62.4
Skid pad (g):
0.82
0.78
0.78
Edmunds fuel
economy (mpg):
18.0
16.4
20.5

3rd Place: 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport AWD

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

The RX 350 F Sport is confused. The stiff suspension shouts, "I'm a performance crossover." But its on-road handling isn't nearly sharp enough to make up for its sometimes choppy ride quality. The jumpy throttle doesn't do the RX any favors either, as it never feels natural, even with the most delicate right foot.

In fairness to the RX, it is capable of some admirable performance. Its 62.4-mph slalom speed was best-of-test, though that was largely because its stability control system was the least intrusive of the three vehicles. The steering has heavy weighting and good initial turn-in, but there's precious little feel as you try to aim it around curves.

The abundance of body roll is surprising given the stiff settings. We also noticed that the front tires give up grip quickly in tight turns. And what was the most lenient stability control system in the quick transitions of the slalom turned into the most aggressive in steady-state cornering. As such, the MDX with its high level of driver feedback meant the Acura could slice away from the RX pretty much at will any time the road turned curvy.

The RX's V6 was the smoothest of the group and the quietest at full throttle. The eight-speed automatic, though occasionally slow to react, delivers smooth, subtle shifts. The RX easily smoked the big Infiniti in acceleration tests, hitting 60 mph in 7.3 seconds (7.0 with a 1-foot rollout as on a drag strip), but that still left it a half-second slower than the Acura.

It's definitely not all bad news here, though, as the RX proved fairly efficient, coming the closest of the group to matching its EPA rating of 21 mpg in combined driving with an average of 20.5 mpg overall.

The RX is also extremely comfortable in day-to-day driving. Its leather seats may lack lateral support, but in terms of comfort they're the best here. It also has the most luxuriously padded center and door armrests. And because the RX is a two-row crossover, it doesn't have to worry about the third-row compromise. So it's no surprise that the Lexus is easy to get in and out of, with the lowest front and rear step-in heights according to our measurements.

The RX's 80.3-cubic-feet max cargo capacity with the second-row seats folded shockingly beats the larger Infiniti, though it's still about 10 cubic feet shy of the Acura.

While the F Sport is decidedly un-Lexus in terms of ride quality, the cabin itself is classic Lexus. The materials are top-notch with plenty of thick, padded leather. Aside from the flimsy radio knobs, everything feels substantial and precisely put together.

The 8-inch display screen has terrifically sharp graphics, but Lexus' computer-mouselike Remote Touch Interface is more trouble than it's worth. We would prefer actual buttons or a well-designed touchscreen. Without question, the optional Mark Levinson 15-speaker audio system produced the heartiest, crispest sounds of all the vehicles in this test.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

Unfortunately the 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport doesn't have enough extra sport in its driving dynamics, whether in terms of handling or straight-line acceleration, to make up for the sacrifices in ride quality. This F Sport is a neat theory in principle, but it wasn't executed in a way that made us like it more than the standard model.

2nd Place: 2014 Infiniti QX60 AWD

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

The 2014 Infiniti QX60 has neither the performance pedigree of the MDX nor a sport package like the RX 350. Rather, the QX60 is like an SUV version of Nissan's Quest minivan.

The largest and heaviest of this group, the QX doesn't take to twisty roads kindly. It was the sloppiest handler, both by instrumented numbers (60.0-mph slalom, 0.78g skid pad) and the ease with which the other two pulled away from it on the road.

Not that this was a huge shock to us, as the Infiniti carries 160 pounds over the Lexus RX and a whopping 270 pounds over the newly svelte Acura MDX. And you feel the Infiniti's heft as it flops from side to side on its soft suspension, this corner-wandering action compounded by overly light steering.

What the QX does exceptionally well is go straight. Bumps? What bumps? With the cushiest ride of the group, the QX laughs heartily at road imperfections. The QX's cabin is such a comfy, quiet and luxurious place to while away the miles, it prompted one editor to quip, "Kansas, we've found your crossover."

Surprisingly, and despite plenty of nosedive, it stops the shortest of the group, too, with a reassuringly firm pedal. Sixty mph to zero took just 120 feet, versus 123 for the Lexus and a dismal 129 for the Acura. Of note, the QX is the only one of the three with ventilated rear brakes. They showed zero fade, which should bode well for long mountain descents.

The QX's interior falls just short of the Lexus' in terms of pure richness of materials, but ahead of the Acura, and the wood-trimmed two-tiered center stack is easily the classiest of the field. Plus, unlike the other two, the Infiniti allows all the major climate and audio functions to be accessed via the center stack, meaning you only have to go within the 8-inch center screen for little-used tasks or the navigation system.

With a handy second-row seatback/cushion tilt action, access to the third row requires hardly any crouching or squeezing. And there's enough room back there for average-size adults to sit comfortably. It's a better overall third-row setup than the Acura, so if you need seven-passenger flexibility on a regular basis, the QX is your best bet.

You'll pay for all that room, however, as the QX also turned in the poorest fuel mileage, averaging just 16.4 mpg during the course of the test compared to the MDX's 18 and the RX's 20.5.

Despite its large size, the QX ties the MDX for behind-third-row cargo capacity, at 15.8 cubic feet, and has the least max cargo room with all seats folded, at 76.4 cubic feet. But it also has the most load floor width between the wheelwells of the group, according to our measurements.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

For many, the QX could be the best choice here. It has the most people room, the best access to the third row, the most comfortable ride, the most user-friendly controls and, according to most on staff, the best looks.

But we don't live in Kansas, so the QX finishes 2nd in this test.

1st Place: 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD
The 2014 Acura MDX won this test not because of its superior handling. Instead, its win can be chalked up to finishing at or near the top in nearly every other category as well.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

If you care the least bit about the act of driving, the MDX is the one that will warm your soul. Its V6 is the most eager of the three, and it provides true aural pleasure. Not only did it storm to 60 mph faster than the Lexus and Infiniti, it was 0.5 second quicker than the last MDX we tested.

The six-speed automatic shifts crisply and quickly under full throttle, yet gives nearly imperceptible upshifts any other time. Unlike the Lexus, it will hold gears to the 7,000-rpm limiter when using the steering-wheel paddles and it delivers crisp throttle-blip downshifts.

There's a noticeable VTEC switchover snarl at 5,000 rpm, but unless you're at full throttle in Drive mode the transmission does everything it can to make sure it shifts before you get to hear it. Blame previous MDX owners who complained of the noise.

It's also the reason why there's plenty of sound-deadening material throughout the cabin as well, including three-layer acoustic glass for the front side windows. It worked. The MDX was the quietest when cruising at 70 mph.

On paper, it appears the MDX's handling was aided by the widest tires of the bunch, its Michelin Latitude Tour HP all-seasons measuring 245/55R19 front and rear. Even with a healthy amount of understeer, the MDX posted a test-best skid pad of 0.82g versus 0.78g for the RX and QX.

Helping the Acura dominate in the twisty bits was its three-way adjustable steering. Our staff proved why this is a handy feature, as some preferred Normal, even through canyons, while others set it to the quicker-reacting Sport all the time.

But its lackluster 60-0 braking number of 129 feet showed the MDX's handling goodness was more due to its fine suspension tuning than tire grip. And the weak brakes meant distances got longer with each stop. Pedal feel, whether on road or track, was spongy and uninspiring.

Inside the MDX there's a completely redesigned cabin. While the materials are adequate, they aren't up to Lexus levels and the design isn't pretty like the Infiniti's. One editor said of the V-shaped, black-plastic-dominated center stack: "It's just plain dull."

Which would be fine if it worked well. Acura's button cleansing from the center stack forces nearly every function to be done via the lower 7-inch touchscreen or the odd tilting/scroll wheel controller for the 8-inch upper display. The result is that even changing simple things like fan speed or adjusting the seat cooler level now takes no fewer than two actions. Even with the touchscreen's haptic feedback, it's a silly system.

Climate/infotainment aggravations aside, the rest of the MDX's cabin is excellent. The front seats, while not as cushy as the RX's, are superb in their combination of all-day comfort and body-hugging lateral support. The second row is quite high, though, with plenty of headroom, a two-fold effect that aids second-row leg comfort along with third-row foot room.

2014 Acura MDX vs. 2014 Infiniti QX60 vs. 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport

Third-row access is a snappy one-button-push affair to slide the second-row seats forward, but it's still a bit of a squeeze for adults. Getting back out is more of a chore because the third row sits so low. The MDX benefits from a fully flat load floor, the lowest cargo loading height (according to our measurements) and the most max cargo room at 90.9 cubic feet.

The MDX managed just 18 mpg during its time with us. But in a comparison with the Lexus and Infiniti on the 116-mile Edmunds test loop, the MDX returned 22.4 mpg, versus the RX's 21.3 and the QX's 18.9.

What's Good for the Goose...
Whether you're into driving fast or slow, straight or curvy, hauling a truckload of kids or maybe it's just two people going out to dinner, the 2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD does it all well.

The same can't be said about the 2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport. It's sitting on a fence, trying to figure out if it should lean toward sporty or cushy, and it ends up doing neither well. Yes, it's finely crafted, but there's not enough "sport" in it to feel great. The firm ride will be a deal-breaker for some, as will the lack of a third-row option.

The 2014 Infiniti QX60 AWD is slow and inefficient compared to the Acura and the Lexus. But damn if it isn't the ultimate people-hauler. Probably why it's completely uninspiring to drive.

The 2014 Acura MDX just had too many "bests" to be denied: the best handling, the best front seats, the quickest acceleration, the largest max cargo capacity and the potential for the best fuel economy. And without question, it's the driver's SUV of the trio.

But more than that, the Acura MDX was the one we'd most like to spend time in. It makes daily chores feel much less like, well, chores.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds with these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation. Due to the lack of availability of a 2014 Infiniti QX60 in time for this test, a mechanically identical 2013 Infiniti JX35 was utilized.

Vehicle
Model year2014 Acura MDX
Year Make Model2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD with Advance, Entertainment Packages (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Vehicle TypeAWD 4dr 7-passenger 4dr SUV
Base MSRP$45,185 (AWD, without option packages)
As-tested MSRP$57,400
Assembly locationLincoln, Alabama
North American parts content (%)60
Drivetrain
ConfigurationTransverse, front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, direct-injected V6, gasoline with cylinder deactivation
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,471/212
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainSOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake-valve timing and lift
Compression ratio (x:1)11.5
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,600
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)290 @ 6,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)267 @ 4,500
Fuel typePremium unleaded (required)
Transmission typeSix-speed automatic with console lever and steering-mounted paddles with Sport/Competition modes
Transmission ratios (x:1)I = 3.36; II = 2.10; III = 1.49; IV = 1.07; V = 0.75; VI = 0.56; R = 2.27
Final-drive ratio (x:1)4.25
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeElectric-assist, speed-proportional, rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)15.7
Tire make and modelMichelin Latitude Tour HP
Tire typeAll-season front and rear
Tire sizeP245/55R19 (103H) M+S front and rear
Wheel size19-by-8 inches front and rear
Wheel materialAlloy
Brakes, front12.6-inch one-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear13-inch one-piece solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)2.6
0-45 mph (sec.)4.4
0-60 mph (sec.)6.8
0-75 mph (sec.)9.9
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)15.0 @ 93.2
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)6.5
0-30 mph, trac ON (sec.)2.7
0-45 mph, trac ON (sec.)4.6
0-60 mph, trac ON (sec.)6.9
0-75 mph, trac ON (sec.)10.1
1/4-mile, trac ON (sec. @ mph)15.0 @ 92.2
0-60, trac ON with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)6.5
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)32
60-0 mph (ft.)129
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON60.7
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.82
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.81
Sound level @ idle (dB)41.2
@ Full throttle (dB)71.5
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)62.1
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)1,900
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsA decent hot rod, this is a strong-running V6. The VTEC switch-over is completely obvious at 5,000 rpm, as there's a noticeable snarl from there to the 7,000-rpm rev limiter. Manual shifting is via steering wheel paddles. Even in Manual mode it still shifts automatically for the 1-2 shift, then will hold gears for the rest. Blips the throttle on manual downshifts.
Braking commentsLong initial braking distance that continued to get longer with each stop. Spongy, long-travel pedal. Not confidence-inspiring power, although nosedive was well-controlled. First stop was shortest at 129 feet. Sixth and final stop was longest at 138 feet. Tires feel grip-less.
Handling commentsSkid Pad: Tons of understeer: the front tires just howl throughout. These low-grip tires are definitely holding the MDX's chassis back from achieving greater things. Slalom: With the IDS (Integrated Dynamics System) in Normal mode, the MDX's steering reacts too slowly and with little feel. The tires also give up grip easily. In Sport mode, the firmed-up steering reacts more quickly, which lets the driver properly attack the cones. Unfortunately the stability control system overreacted to the slalom's quick back-and-forth transitions, adding a significant amount of brakes. If not for that, there's more time to be had here.
Testing Conditions
Test date7/9/2013
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)94.38
Relative humidity (%)18.81
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.7
Wind (mph, direction)1.38, crosswind
Odometer (mi.)1,065
Fuel used for test91-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)35/35
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)21 combined/18 city/27 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)18 average/22.4 best/15.5 worst (over 768 miles)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)19.5
Driving range (mi.)526.5
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAM/FM/CD/MP3/HD Radio Acura/ELS studio premium audio system with 546 watts and 12 speakers
iPod/digital media compatibilityStandard iPod via USB input and aux-in jack
Satellite radioStandard XM
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Standard 16GB
Rear seat video and entertainmentStandard DVD player with 16.2-inch screen, HDMI input and two wireless headsets
Bluetooth phone connectivityStandard
Navigation systemStandard HDD-based with voice recognition and 8-inch display screen
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Standard AcuraLink with real-time traffic
Smart entry/StartStandard
Parking aidsStandard parking sonar front and rear, multi-view back-up camera
Blind-spot detectionStandard
Adaptive cruise controlStandard
Lane-departure monitoringStandard with active correction
Collision warning/avoidanceStandard
Night VisionNot available
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4,332
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,325
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)58/42
Length (in.)193.6
Width (in.)77.2
Height (in.)66.7
Wheelbase (in.)111.0
Track, front (in.)66.3
Track, rear (in.)66.3
Turning circle (ft.)37.6
Legroom, front (in.)41.4
Legroom, rear (in.)36.6
Legroom, 3rd row (in.)28.1
Headroom, front (in.)38.1
Headroom, rear (in.)38.3
Headroom, 3rd row (in.)35.6
Shoulder room, front (in.)61.1
Shoulder room, rear (in.)59.1
Shoulder room, 3rd row (in.)54.7
Seating capacity7
Step-in height, measured (in.)20.38
Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft)90.9
behind 2nd row (cu-ft)45.1
behind 3rd row (cu-ft)15.8
Cargo loading height, measured (in.)31.0
GVWR (lbs.)5,677
Tow capacity, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,500
Ground clearance (in.)7.3
Approach angle (degrees)14.9
Departure angle (degrees)19.4
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain6 years/70,000 miles
Corrosion5 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/50,000 miles
Vehicle
Model year2014 Infiniti QX60
Year Make Model2014 Infiniti QX60 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Vehicle TypeAWD 4dr 7-passenger 4dr SUV
Base MSRP$43,945
Options on test vehicleDeluxe Touring Package ($3,450 -- includes 20-by-7.5-inch split five-spoke painted aluminum-alloy wheels with 235/55R20 H-rated all-season tires; Bose Cabin Surround sound system with digital 5.1-channel decoding, 15 speakers and Acoustic Waveguide subwoofer; second and third-row moonroof with power rear sunshade; maple interior accents to the door, dash and center console; tri-zone advanced climate control system with auto-recirculation, plasmacluster air purifier and grape polyphenol filter; climate-controlled front seats; outboard second-row heated seats), Premium Plus Package ($3,000 -- includes Infiniti hard drive navigation system with 8-inch WVGA color touchscreen display, lane guidance and 3-D building graphics; Infiniti voice recognition for audio, navigation and vehicle information systems; NavTraffic; NavWeather; Zagat Survey restaurant guide; Infiniti Connection telematics system with one-year of safety and security service; around-view monitor with moving object detection and front and rear sonar system; single in-dash CD/DVD player; rain-sensing front windshield wipers), Technology Package ($2,800 -- includes lane departure warning; lane departure prevention; blind spot intervention system; front pre-crash seatbelts; intelligent cruise control; intelligent brake assist with forward collision warning; blind spot warning; back-up collision intervention; distance control assist; Active Trace Control; eco pedal; heated steering wheel; remote engine start), Theater Package ($1,700 -- includes dual 7-inch color monitors for multimedia playback located in front headrests; two wireless headphones; wireless remote control; auxiliary audio/video input jacks; 120-volt power outlet; rear headphone jacks with volume control), Premium Package ($1,550 -- includes Bose 13-speaker premium audio system including AM/FM/CD/DVD with MP3 playback capability, radio data system (RDS) and speed-sensitive volume control; streaming audio via Bluetooth; dual-occupant memory system for driver seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors; entry/exit assist for driver seat and steering wheel; Enhanced Intelligent Key; outside mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature; driver seat two-way power lumbar support; Heated steering wheel; Remote engine start system), Tow Package ($500 -- includes Class III hitch receiver; hitch finisher; wiring harness), Roof Rails ($490)
As-tested MSRP$57,435
Assembly locationSmyrna, Tennessee
North American parts content (%)40
Drivetrain
ConfigurationTransverse, front-engine, all-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, port-injected V6, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,498/213
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder with variable intake-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)10.3
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)265 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)248 @ 4,400
Fuel typePremium unleaded (recommended)
Transmission typePulley-regulated continuously variable transmission with console shifter with sport/competition modes
Final-drive ratio (x:1)5.17
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent MacPherson struts, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent multilink, coil springs, twin-tube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeElectric-over-hydraulic-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)18.3
Tire make and modelBridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS
Tire typeAll-season front and rear
Tire size235/55R20 (102H) M+S
Wheel size20-by-7.5 inches front and rear
Wheel materialAlloy
Brakes, front12.6-inch one-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear12.1-inch one-piece ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)3.4
0-45 mph (sec.)5.6
0-60 mph (sec.)8.2
0-75 mph (sec.)11.6
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)16.0 @ 89.2
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.9
0-30 mph, trac ON (sec.)3.4
0-45 mph, trac ON (sec.)5.6
0-60 mph, trac ON (sec.)8.2
0-75 mph, trac ON (sec.)11.7
1/4-mile, trac ON (sec. @ mph)16.1 @ 89.0
0-60, trac ON with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.9
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)30
60-0 mph (ft.)120
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)60.0
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON60.0
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.78
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.78
Sound level @ idle (dB)40.6
@ Full throttle (dB)72.5
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)62.3
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)2,000
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsBecause of the CVT, the big Infiniti is lethargic initially off the line, then slowly revs to 6,100 rpm and holds the revs there for the remainder of the quarter-mile. Quickest run came in Normal transmission mode. Overlapping throttle and brake at launch to build revs had zero effect on times. "Manual" shifting is possible via the console lever (pull back for downshifts). Does not hold gears; it's a CVT.
Braking commentsFirm pedal with moderate travel. Decent amount of nosedive, but not excessive. Tracked straight. First stop was longest at 126 feet. Fifth stop was shortest at 120 feet. Sixth (and final) stop was 122 feet. Last four stops were utterly consistent.
Handling commentsSkid Pad: The stability system will intervene enough to the point that you can just plant your right foot all the way around the skid pad; brakes are added and throttle cut accordingly by the computer. But if you stay below the ESC threshold and adjust the throttle in and out to control understeer, the chassis is actually playful, allowing the tail to step out slightly. Slalom: Lots of body roll, and you think about this vehicle's length as you try to negotiate around the cones. The steering, while too light, does have some precision and you can get into a nice rhythm despite the soft suspension and low-grip tires. The stability control can be intrusive, adding a healthy amount of brakes, so it's important to keep just below its freak-out point or it puts a halt on forward progress.
Testing Conditions
Test date7/9/2013
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)86.8
Relative humidity (%)28.6
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.7
Wind (mph, direction)1.31, Crosswind
Odometer (mi.)11,920
Fuel used for test91-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)35/35
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)21 combined/19 city/25 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)16.4 average/18.9 best/15.2 worst (over 437 miles)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)19.5
Driving range (mi.)487.5
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAM/FM/CD/MP3 Bose cabin surround audio system with 15 speakers
iPod/digital media compatibilityStandard iPod via USB input and aux-in jack
Satellite radioStandard Sirius/XM with three-month trial subscription
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Not available
Rear seat video and entertainmentOptional with two 7-inch monitors, two wireless headphones and RCA inputs
Bluetooth phone connectivityStandard
Navigation systemOptional HDD-based with NavTraffic, NavWeather with 8-inch display screen
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Optional Infiniti Connection with 1-year trial subscription
Smart entry/StartStandard with push-button ignition
Parking aidsOptional parking sonar front and rear perimeter + back-up camera system with rear cross-traffic detection
Blind-spot detectionOptional
Adaptive cruise controlOptional
Lane-departure monitoringOptional departure warning with active correction
Collision warning/avoidanceOptional
Night VisionNot available
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4,419
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,595
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)55/45
Length (in.)196.4
Width (in.)77.2
Height (in.)67.8
Wheelbase (in.)114.2
Track, front (in.)65.7
Track, rear (in.)65.7
Turning circle (ft.)38.7
Legroom, front (in.)42.3
Legroom, rear (in.)41.7
Legroom, 3rd row (in.)30.8
Headroom, front (in.)40.7
Headroom, rear (in.)38.3
Headroom, 3rd row (in.)36.5
Shoulder room, front (in.)60.3
Shoulder room, rear (in.)60.4
Shoulder room, 3rd row (in.)57.1
Seating capacity7
Step-in height, measured (in.)18.8
Trunk volume (cu-ft)15.8
Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft)76.4
behind 2nd row (cu-ft)47.3 (40.3 with second row moved fully back)
behind 3rd row (cu-ft)15.8
Cargo loading height, measured (in.)31.5
GVWR (lbs.)5,986
Tow capacity, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,500
Ground clearance (in.)6.5
Approach angle (degrees)14.0
Departure angle (degrees)20.6
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain6 years/70,000 miles
Corrosion7 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/60,000 miles
Vehicle
Model year2013 Lexus RX 350
Year Make Model2013 Lexus RX 350 F Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
Vehicle TypeAWD 4dr 5-passenger 4dr SUV
Base MSRP$47,895
Options on test vehicleSilver Lining Metallic, Navigation System ($2,775 -- includes hard disk drive voice-activated navigation system with 8.0-inch display; back-up monitor; mobile phone integration; SMS text-to-speech with reply; enhanced Bluetooth; 1-year trial subscription to Lexus Enform with Safety Connect, Destination Assist and eDestination, Lexus Insider; Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and NavTraffic, NavWeather and Sports & Stocks with 1-year trial subscription; remote touch controller), Head-Up Display ($1,200), Mark Levinson Audio ($995 --includes 330-watt premium surround sound; 15 speakers; automatic sound levelizer; 7.1 architecture; single-DVD/CD auto-changer featuring DVD-audio and DVD-video playback and MP3 playback capability), Blind Spot Monitor ($500), Intuitive Parking Assist ($500 -- includes front and rear parking sensors), Cargo Net ($59)
As-tested MSRP$53,924
Assembly locationCambridge, Ontario, Canada
North American parts content (%)60
Drivetrain
ConfigurationTransverse, front engine, all-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, port-injected V6, gasoline
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,457/211
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)10.8
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,400
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)6,200 (shift point)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)270 @ 6,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)248 @ 4,700
Fuel type87-octane recommended
Transmission typeEight-speed automatic with console shifter and steering-mounted paddles
Transmission ratios (x:1)I = 5.20; II = 2.97; III = 1.95; IV = 1.47; V = 1.22; VI = 1.00; VII = 0.82; VIII = 0.69; R = 4.25
Final-drive ratio (x:1)3.33
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent MacPherson struts, coil springs, monotube dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent double-wishbone, coil springs, monotube dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeElectric-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)14.8
Tire make and modelDunlop Grandtrek Touring A/S
Tire typeAll-season front and rear
Tire size235/55R19 (101V) M+S
Wheel size19-by-7.5 inches front and rear
Wheel materialPainted alloy
Brakes, front12.9-inch one-piece ventilated discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear12.2-inch one-piece solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)2.7
0-45 mph (sec.)4.7
0-60 mph (sec.)7.3
0-75 mph (sec.)10.7
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)15.4 @ 90.3
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.0
0-30 mph, trac ON (sec.)2.7
0-45 mph, trac ON (sec.)4.7
0-60 mph, trac ON (sec.)7.5
0-75 mph, trac ON (sec.)10.9
1/4-mile, trac ON (sec. @ mph)15.4 @ 89.1
0-60, trac ON with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)7.2
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)31
60-0 mph (ft.)123
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)61.9
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON62.4
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.78
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.76
Sound level @ idle (dB)40.6
@ Full throttle (dB)70.2
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)64.9
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)1,800
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsThis V6 is a smoothie, yet it's a hard revver, too. Surprisingly quick full-throttle upshifts. No drama to the launch. With all-wheel drive, just mash your right foot and kick back. The RX can be shifted manually via the console lever (pull back for downshifts) or the paddle shifters, but it still upshifts for itself at 6,200 rpm even in Manual mode. Blips the throttle on manual downshifts.
Braking commentsFirm pedal, minimal travel. More nosedive than expected, considering the noticeably stiffer suspension. But no side-to-side movement. First stop was 125 feet. Second stop was shortest at 123 feet. Fourth stop (of six) was longest at 129 feet.
Handling commentsSkid Pad: Lots of body lean. Adjusting the throttle had little-to-zero effect at lessening the constant state of understeer. Doesn't help that the RX has an abrupt throttle. Slalom: Surprisingly good weighting to the steering, but little in the way of actual feel. Can't really tell what those front tires are up to. There's nice initial turn-in, leaving you expecting a scintillating run. But then excessive body roll takes over, followed by the stability system kicking in. All of which leaves the RX F Sport with a fairly ordinary slalom speed. The significant lean through turns seems at odds with the stiff, jiggly ride the F Sport gives out on the road.
Testing Conditions
Test date7/9/2013
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)94.62
Relative humidity (%)19.25
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.72
Wind (mph, direction)0.88, crosswind
Odometer (mi.)7,069
Fuel used for test91-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)32/32
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)21 combined/18 city/26 highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)20.5 average/22.5 Best/17.6 Worst (over 1,061 miles)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)19.2
Driving range (mi.)499.2
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAM/FM/CD/DVD/MP3 Mark Levinson 330-watt audio system with 15 speakers
iPod/digital media compatibilityStandard iPod via USB jack
Satellite radioStandard XM with 90-day trial subscription
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Not available
Rear seat video and entertainmentOptional DVD player, RCA inputs and dual wireless headphones
Bluetooth phone connectivityStandard
Navigation systemOptional HDD-based with 8.0-inch display screen
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Optional Lexus Enform 2.0 with 1-year trial subscription
Smart entry/StartStandard ignition, doors
Parking aidsOptional parking sonar front and rear back-up camera
Blind-spot detectionOptional
Adaptive cruise controlOptional
Lane-departure monitoringNot available
Collision warning/avoidanceOptional
Night VisionNot available
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4,510
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,435
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)58/42
Length (in.)187.8
Width (in.)74.2
Height (in.)66.3
Wheelbase (in.)107.9
Track, front (in.)64.2
Track, rear (in.)63.8
Turning circle (ft.)40.0
Legroom, front (in.)43.1
Legroom, rear (in.)36.8
Headroom, front (in.)39.1
Headroom, rear (in.)37.7
Shoulder room, front (in.)58.0
Shoulder room, rear (in.)57.6
Seating capacity5
Step-in height, measured (in.)18.25
Trunk volume (cu-ft)40.0
Max cargo volume behind 1st row (cu-ft)80.3
behind 2nd row (cu-ft)40.0
Cargo loading height, measured (in.)31.13
GVWR (lbs.)5,650
Payload, mfr. max claim (lbs.)1,140
Tow capacity, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,500
Ground clearance (in.)7.3
Approach angle (degrees)28.6
Departure angle (degrees)24.9
Breakover angle (degrees)14.4
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain6 years/70,000 miles
Corrosion6 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenanceFirst 5,000 miles

Most Recommended Comments

By dfelix70
on 08/19/13
8:11 AM PST

Good for Acura with this MDX.

Recommend  (65) (35)

Report it


By dfelix70
on 08/19/13
12:23 PM PST

@olzig. Based on price, this is an appropriate comparison. So, a buyer would have to debate if they want a fun driving SUV, an SUV with a 3rd row, etc. The Lexus F Sport would cost $10k+ more than a fully equipped RDX, despite similar size, similar engines, etc. So, on that comparison, a buyer would have to debate if they want to spend 25% more for the Lexus.

Recommend  (58) (21)

Report it


By olzig
on 08/19/13
9:52 AM PST

This seems like an odd trio to test. The Lexus is a sport package without no third row...The Infiniti is a (well appointed) mini van on stilts. Perhaps lining the 'F' Sport Lexus up against an RDX and a FX37(QX70) would be a more accurate test of rivals?

Recommend  (57) (68)

Report it

Research Models

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Acura MDX in VA is:

$140 per month*
* Explanation
ADVERTISEMENT