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

Acura and Lincoln SUV models received top safety honors from the IIHS in recent studies. The average rate of auto insurance is around 18% higher for luxury SUV's.

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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: Nov 3, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Japanese-based manufacturer Acura’s and American Lincolns are two of the most comparable and popular brands among U.S. drivers
  • Features of both Acura’s and Lincoln’s models are based on latest technologies that enable drivers to enjoy a smooth ride, top-notch accident prevention tools, and other peculiarities that take the vehicles to a higher level
  • Reinforcement agencies that conduct tests to hold high-profile car manufacturers accountable have been created such as the 58-year-old Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
  • The IIHS conducts extensive assessments in various categories for multiple types of car groups including mid-side SUVS

To break away from a traditional SUV notorious for its size, midsize SUVs come in a slightly smaller package that carries all the necessary traits.

The most common buyers for this product have shifted from old-fashioned workers or family-oriented people to almost anybody who is in need of elegant transportation that will fit their friends or associates.

With this, less attention is spent reviewing the qualities of the car that are not as mainstream, as people who are buying it are getting younger annually.

Thus, the new focus is putting the best entertainment systems and stereos over some very striking issues such as safety shortcomings.

To make sure that car producers are not taking advantage of the under-educated buyers, the IIHS examines how hard these manufacturers have tried to make the vehicle safe.

This testing is done by putting number/word-grades on:

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Acura RDX Versus Lincoln MKX


As the IIHS begins their review, every vehicle that undergoes their strict procedures of testing will be totaled by the time a grade is finalized because the cars are involved in frontal and side collisions more than once while also being a subject to pressure and visual trials.

The grades for crashworthiness range from “poor” to “good” with two mid-scores that are “marginal” and “acceptable.”

This same criterion is used to evaluate the child latches while crash prevention is based out of six total points and vehicles can be “basic,” “advanced,” or “superior.”


First, it is important to understand that these two models, RDX and MKX, are going to be very close to each other.

With that in mind, one will not find it a surprise that both models had the exact same scores for all five subtests of crashworthiness.

Impressively, all those scores were “good,” hence both manufacturers succeeded by doing the following:

  • preserved the survival space
  • prevented head or neck injuries to the dummy
  • had four or more points on their roof strength-to-weight ratio
  • had efficient side and front airbags that were deployed when needed

Both vehicles achieved a roof’s score of over five, which is something that does not happen very often.


Crash Prevention and Mitigation

Sustaining the trend of equal performance, both models obtained the highest score possible for this area, which was “superior.”

Acura received one point less than Lincoln who pocketed all six. The deduction for Acura came from the fact that it only reduced its speed by 16 mph in the 25-mph test which would not necessarily result in collision avoidance.

Lincoln MKX, however, perfectly avoided collisions in both scenarios, which places it as the winner of this test portion. As far as headlights, another element of crash prevention category, Acura somewhat made up for its loss in the prevention test.

It scored an “acceptable” over Lincoln’s “marginal.” So, the category comes as another ultimate tie with one portion of it going to Lincoln and the other to Acura.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

The last review showed no dissimilarities between the brands as they were both rated “acceptable.” Some issues that appeared consistent with vehicles’ two rear seating positions with child attachments were a misleading location that is too deep in the seat.

Hence, models have room for improvement in every category besides crashworthiness. Nonetheless, an acceptable review of their LATCH is well-above average for SUVs in the market.

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


Both vehicles obtained one of the awards.

Acura received the Plus recognitions as its headlights were acceptable, on top of the perfect crashworthiness results and superior crash avoidance abilities.

The lack of acceptable or good headlights disqualified the Lincoln model from the Plus award, but it was declared a Top Safety Pick regardless.

Before declaring the winner, it is important to note that both brands had more vehicles that the IIHS tested. Acura had a 2017 MDX model, while Lincoln had the MKT and MKC models. Nonetheless, the models selected for this comparison were the most successful ones.

The overall winner of this comparison seems to be Acura, although it is by a minuscule margin. Its headlights were better than Lincoln’s which undermines the fact that RDX was one point short in the crash prevention test.

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