I own neither but have researched both the MDX and Pilot. The little car icon. Is that the one that shows when your headlights are on and which turn signal is activated, etc.? I thought that was a cool thing in the MDX. I'm not a fan of the fake Vroom Vroom especially since there's no way to turn it off or lower the volume of it. I also much prefer the knobs for the A/C controls in the Pilot. It's rare to have a dial for the fan speed which really is the most user-friendly IMO instead of having to repeatedly push an up or down button. I hope the A/C system in the Pilot is able to cool off the interior on the hottest of Summer days. I've seen comments that the MDX A/C doesn't cool adequately which seems to be more common across many brands these days - probably for fuel efficiency reasons.Hmmmmmm, funny you ask
Yes you should read these forums. You can also go hang out at MDXers and you will get more views there.
I shopped both and just put down an order for Pilot Elite. IMO, Pilot has a much more functional 3rd row. More legroom, much more headroom, and that 3rd row reclines while MDX does not. My wife says MDX 3rd row feels claustrophobic and like looking out of a little airliner window. Pilot is no Odyssey but it is much more useable if you do need that 3rd row.
I personally like the MDX styling a little more (although the A logo on front is garishly huge) but I agree Pilot is a huge step up vs the last one. It looks like an SUV. It looks more masculine. My wife didn't love it because it looks "boxy" and she likes the 2022s, but no I'm not buying a 2022 at this point when that whole thing is so dated and on its way out.
You really need to go drive and sit in both of them, same afternoon if possible. I was lucky that my Honda dealer had an MDX out front in the used car section so we drove both all in the same visit. My impression was Pilot interior is a little more spartan. Dash is less fussy and I actually like that. Pilot has a simple touchscreen while MDX has that touchpad thingy that takes up space on the console, and MDX has that silly giant Drive Mode dial right in the middle of the dash for some un-fuggging-known reason. But at the core of it they are very similar cars. Basically same platform and engine. Same removable seat, same panoramic moonroof, and Pilot Elite has the same full digital dash with the little car icon on it and everything.
MDXers board you will find lots of talk about how Acuras are not Hondas in any way, they are much more luxurious and sporty and whatever. I don't really subscribe to that philosophy in this case. I think you just go see both of them and you will know what you like. If you really need 3rd row space then you will likely tilt to Pilot, while if the sportier look and the fake Vrooom Vrooom sound that Acura adds into the audio system while you are accelerating gets your heart beating that you have a sportier luxury marque then you may want to spend up for the MDX.