Is Acura’s safety rating for midsize luxury SUVs better than Infiniti’s?

Acura and Infiniti midsize SUV's were given top safety awards by the IIHS and NHTSA in 2019. Auto insurance can be up to 18% more for many luxury SUV models.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Acura is a subcategory of luxurious vehicles made by the Japanese giant Honda; likewise, Infiniti is a luxury edition of another Japanese company, Nissan
  • Models that are very popular with modern families are midsize SUVs that these two brands have brought near perfection like the Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60
  • While the technology improvements continue to push the limits of state-of-the-art features, companies such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) must make sure that driver’s security is not a part of the trade-off of any kind
  • Making a comparison model by each category between these two vehicles would be a perfect way to demonstrate what criteria the safety is graded on and how it applies to the real world.

To draw the line between regular Sports Utility Vehicles and those that qualify as luxurious models, one can look at the feature package.

Most often, high-end vehicles will have the following options:

  • leather seats that can be heated or cooled
  • a wireless internet router for passengers to enjoy
  • back-row seat screens

Although many of these can be put into any SUV, luxury types will most often have them built in.

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The Testing Process


A frequent issue with SUVs, however, comes from the fact that drivers may not be familiar with the limitation that comes from these automobiles’ size and weight.

The IIHS tests all the vehicles on their abilities to mitigate danger that comes from all the force that is accumulated by this weight.

Evaluations are conducted in the following three areas:

The first and the last category is assigned one of the four ratings depending on how well the SUV performed, and those are “poor,” “marginal,” “acceptable,” and “good.”

Crash prevention differs slightly as it is taken out of six points and can be “basic,” “advanced,” and “superior.”


With a simple glance at the results of these vehicles, one can foresee a very close battle that will be decided by a minimum-margin victory. The first category here proves this claim, as both models scored five out of five “good” scores on crashworthiness.

The five tests include the following:

  • Front Moderate Overlap Crash
  • Front Small Overlap Crash
  • Side Impact
  • Roof Strength-to-Weight Ratio
  • Head Restraints Effectiveness

To assess how well standards are met, a dummy with multiple sensors is placed inside of a car that is headed for a deadly collision.

Then, after hitting a wall at a high speed, the dummy will be used to review injuries while the whole process gets captured on a high-speed motion camera.

The test enables the researchers from Virginia to quantify how well the survival space was maintained, what are the powers of the roof, how well can the airbags preserve driver from getting into direct contact with dangerous surfaces such as glass, and so on.

Both MDX and QX60 had satisfactory performance.


Crash Prevention and Mitigation

The claim made earlier continues to stand as vehicles matched-up equally in the crash prevention test. During the 12-mph test as well as the 25-mph test, both SUVs completely avoided a collision as they automatically slowed down when their sensors detected a danger.

With six out of six points and a “superior” rating, both SUVs excelled in this test.

The first disconnection between the scores, however, comes with headlights where Infiniti disappointed with a “poor” grade due to its excessive glare.

Acura obtained an “acceptable” score which is extremely high for SUVs where very few cars so far got a “good” score for their headlights.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Lastly, another mini-win for Acura MDX was the visual performance of its latches. Infiniti received a “marginal” rating due to one of the latches being too deep in the seat and requiring extra force to be used.

Acura, however, had some issues but these only downgraded the model to an “acceptable” score which is an entire grade-margin victory.

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2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+


Infiniti was declared a Top Safety Pick due to its perfect scores in crashworthiness and crash prevention, while Acura got a Top Safety Pick Plus as it also had acceptable headlights on top of the other two achievements.

Both brands had other models that were reviewed, such as the Acura RMX, Infiniti QX50, and Infiniti QX70. Some of these were just as impressive while the others came a little short.

To recapture the flow of the comparison, both models were outstanding in crashworthiness and crash prevention reviews, but needed some improvement in the areas of headlights and child latches.

The model that needed fewer improvements, thus winning this comparison, was Acura MDX which over-shined Infiniti QX60 with better headlights and child anchors.

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