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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
"Good," front- and side-impact protection
Five stars overall; four stars front, five stars side, four stars rollover protection
Roof pillars hinder visibility to some angles
These crash-test performances are among the best in the MDX's class
If safety is one of the top priorities—as it should be for the smart, affluent family shoppers who typically look at luxury crossover vehicles—then the 2013 Acura MDX deserves some serious consideration. It has a good record for safety, including some top safety ratings, a solid list of standard safety features, and some high-tech active-safety options that might help you avoid an accident entirely.
Standard on all trims of the MDX are front, side and curtain airbags; all-wheel drive; anti-lock brakes, stability, and traction control; active headrests; and a rearview camera system that displays a wide view as soon as reverse is engaged. Adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, and a multiple-view rearview camera are all added with an Advance option package, which we do recommend for their lifesaving potential—although we do note that these systems are among the most invasive we've tested.
The MDX earns top 'good' ratings in all categories of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing, and it's earned IIHS Top Safety Pick status in previous model years (anticipated for 2013 as well). In the tougher federal testing program (NCAP), the MDX has earned four a top five-star rating in side impact, though it achieves four stars overall and in frontal impact.
You can opt for several innovative accident-avoidance technologies on the MDX -- but even without them it's a safety standout.