Acura RDX vs. Acura MDX

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - April 14, 2021

The RDX kicked off the Acura crossover redesign trend in 2019, bringing in a sportier design, nimbler handling, and a stunning interior. Now, just in its third year, the RDX is still stunning. That said, the MDX has finally joined it in this new design, plus it offers seven-passenger seating.

Find out if the RDX can still give the larger MDX a run for its money below based on our latest SUV comparison of key specs and features.

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

What the RDX gets right

Being lower in the lineup gives the Acura RDX an immediate victory in pricing, as it starts from $39,425 (destination fees included), which is over $8,000 less than the MDX. Despite its significantly lower pricing, the RDX has impressive standard features, including power front seats, leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, power features, a 10.2-inch infotainment display, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The RDX also measures 186.7 inches long 74.8 inches wide, which is over 10 inches shorter and 4 inches narrower than the MDX. This makes it a better option for tight city traffic.

Finally, for commuters, the 2021 RDX’s 22 miles per gallon city, 28 highway, and 24 combined beats the MDX by 3 mpg city, 2 highway, and 2 combined. Plus, it does this without sacrificing performance, as its Civic Type-R sourced 2.0-liter engine and 10-speed automatic transmission deliver snappy acceleration thanks to its 280 lb-feet of torque – 13 more than the MDX.

What the MDX gets right

The 2022 MDX is a larger crossover, offering room for up to seven passengers – the RDX can only squeeze five people in its fancy cabin. This makes the MDX the better option for a larger family. Plus, its 38.5 inches of second-row legroom beats the RDX by half an inch.

The MDX is also friendlier with cargo, offering up to 95 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded, while the RDX tops out at 58.9 cubes. The cargo space is 48.4 cubes with the third row folded, compared to 29.5 cubic feet behind the RDX’s second row. With all three rows upright, the MDX struggles at just 18.1 cubes.

While the RDX goes almost stride for stride with the MDX in features, the MDX has a slight advantage with its 12.3-inch touchscreen, which is 2.1 inches larger than the RDX. The MDX also adds standard automatic emergency braking front and rear, low-speed braking control, traffic-jam assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and a driver attention monitor.

Small families should go RDX

If you have a family of five or fewer, there’s no good reason to move up to the MDX – unless its 12.3-inch touchscreen is that much of a draw. The RDX has all the same styling, a beautiful interior, loads of features, and $8,000 in savings.

Verdict: Acura MDX

With all the same features as the MDX, plus a few extra standard safety goodies, the MDX is right on par with the RDX. What puts it ahead is its extra cargo room and passenger room for larger families. Plus, with a 5,000-pound towing capacity, you can pull along a small trailer.

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 been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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