Acura RDX vs. Acura MDX

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - August 21, 2018

Stepping into an Acura showroom surrounds you in some of the best luxury crossovers for the money in the compact RDX and mid-size MDX. Both luxury crossovers have a lot to offer buyers in their respective classes, but what happens when they go head-to-head? Can the aging MDX keep up with the more athletic and recently redesigned RDX? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the RDX & MDX »

What the RDX Gets Right

As the entry point for Acura’s line of crossovers, the RDX has a significant price advantage over the MDX: $38,295 versus $45,295 (destination fees included). Despite having the lower entry fee, the RDX doesn't give up a ton in terms of standard features, as it includes premium bits like a 10.2-inch center screen, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, keyless ignition, 12-way power sport seats, a panoramic sunroof, and tons more. There are also plenty of packages to make this small crossover even more luxurious.

The RDX takes on the latest iteration of Acura’s styling, boasting some new angles and lighting design. This fresh styling carries inside where brushed aluminum and stainless steel wraps the passengers up in luxury that matches its big bro, the MDX.

The RDX carries a surprisingly big stick in terms of performance as it's zippier than the larger MDX without being as bouncy as it was in previous years. Plus, its new 10-speed automatic transmission has a one-cog advantage over the MDX, giving it more range.

Finally, the IIHS rated the RDX a Top Safety Pick Plus, putting it one notch above the MDX thanks to its top-rated scores in every safety test.

What the MDX Gets Right

The MDX is significantly larger than the RDX, giving it a ton more space for people and cargo. It can haul up to seven passengers with the third row upright, and its second row of seats boasts a touch more leg room than the RDX. With the third row folded, the MDX’s 43.4 cubic feet of cargo room bests the RDX by 13.9 cubes, and its 90.9 cubic feet of max cargo capacity has the RDX by 32 cubes.

While the RDX is much improved in ride comfort, it cannot hold a candle to the MDX. The MDX is one of the most comfortable vehicles in its class thanks to supportive seats, acres of sound-deadening material, and a well-balanced suspension. The MDX almost matches the all-new RDX in base features, plus it has a higher ceiling, giving buyers even more upscale options to choose from.

Finally, despite showing a little age in the looks department, the newer diamond-themed grille makes the MDX feel a lot younger than it is.

The RDX Pleases the Younger Crowd

Acura created the latest-generation RDX with the younger generation in mind, as it meets the price point and features this crowd needs but lacks the room for a large family.

Verdict: Acura MDX

The Acura MDX is a stalwart in the mid-size luxury crossover segment. It hits that sweet spot of price, performance, luxury, and reliability better than any in its class. Its freshly revamped little brother gives it a run for its money, but the MDX ultimately has more of the tools the average crossover-shopping family looks for.

Take a closer look at the Acura RDX »

Take a closer look at the Acura MDX »


Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website