Acura RDX vs. Lexus NX 300

By

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 - November 14, 2017

In the important compact SUV segment, though, Lexus’s NX and Acura’s RDX normally find themselves near the top of the sales ranks. But despite competing in the same segment, the NX 300 and RDX are very different takes on the small crossover – one is more traditional and the other is a little wilder. To help figure out which of these small people haulers is best, we put them in a head-to-head competition.

Continue reading to find out which we feel is the better buy.

See a side-by-side comparison of the RDX & NX 300 »

What the RDX Gets Right

With its more toned-down appearance relative to the NX 300, the Acura RDX may be more palatable to some buyers. Same goes for the interior, as everything is a bit calmer and all the buttons are where you’d expect them to be – not to mention, the infotainment system on the RDX is easier to use than the NX 300’s (although only just).

The RDX’s larger footprint may make it tougher to maneuver than the NX 300, but it opens up a lot more room in the cabin. Rear seat passengers will enjoy this extra space the most, as they get up to 38.3 inches of leg room, while the NX 300 offers just 36.1 inches. Cargo hauling is another benefit in the RDX, as it can tote around 26.1 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up to the NX 300’s 17.7 cubes.

The 3.5-liter V6 delivers a smooth drive and its powerband kicks in more gently than the NX 300’s turbocharged four-cylinder. On top of being smoother, the RDX’s engine is more potent at 279 horsepower – a 44-horsepower advantage.

What the NX 300 Gets Right

For those with a bit of a wild side, the Lexus NX 300’s looks may be right up your alley. Its style also flows into the interior, where catchy angles add a little spice to the cabin.

Though the smaller footprint does impact the NX 300’s roominess, it makes it a touch easier to park and zip through traffic. This could give it an advantage for owners who live in larger cities with more traffic and tighter parking spaces.

While the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine isn’t as powerful as the RDX’s 3.5-liter, buyers who enjoy a turbocharged kick and an easier time at the pump may appreciate the Lexus more – the least efficient NX, an all-wheel-drive F Sport, returns 22 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway, and 24 combined. That's better than the most efficient RDX by at least a point across the board.

The NX 300 has a select demographic

It’s a tight race between the NX 300 and the Acura RDX, as they both have things they do well and others they do not so well. But the RDX gets a slight advantage for the typical buyer. That said, the NX 300 is perfect for the younger crowd looking for something a little sportier looking and feeling than the RDX.

Verdict: Acura MDX

The battle between these two compact crossovers was a tight one, but the Acura RDX wins due to its better layout for the average luxury compact crossover buyer. In all the points that matter to these types of buyers, including cargo room, rear seat room, and smoothness, the RDX won out.

Take a closer look at the Acura RDX »

Take a closer look at the Lexus NX 300 »


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