Acura RDX vs. Lexus NX

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 - October 23, 2018

Lexus and Acura have long dominated the luxury crossover game, and their two newest models, the Acura RDX and Lexus NX, are leaders in the subcompact crossover segment. But which of these top-selling small luxury crossovers is the better buy? We took a deep dive to find out.

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

What the RDX Gets Right

The Acura RDX is all new for 2019, bringing in a fresh design language to go with a wider and lower stance. This new look is sharp and sure to attract younger buyers by the herd. Inside, the restyling continues as the RDX takes on a significantly more upscale look thanks to aluminum, chrome, and wood trim.

The Acura RDX also ups its luxury with an array of premium features. These include a standard 10.2-inch infotainment screen, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay, keyless ignition, 12-way heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, and tons more. The highlight of the cabin is the new infotainment interface that uses an intuitive cursor-free touchpad and a touchscreen to make operating the system simple and less distracting. This system recently earned a spot on WardsAuto's 10 Best UX list and directly contrasts the clunky interface Lexus continues to use.

The Acura MDX comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that fires 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque at a 10-speed automatic transmission. This not only delivers a quicker timed acceleration than the NX, but the extra torque makes it feel even quicker in the seat. The RDX is also a shining star in the corners.

Finally, the Acura RDX comes standard with a laundry list of advanced safety tech, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist. These features and the RDX’s top-notch crash-test scores earn it a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which puts it one notch above the Lexus NX.

What the NX Gets Right

Like the RDX, the NX rolls in with a youthful design, though it's significantly older than the RDX. Lexus pays a lot of attention to the noise in the cabin, even in the tiny NX. This puts the peacefulness of its cabin head and shoulders above the competition, including the RDX.

The NX lineup includes the NX 300h hybrid, which pushes fuel economy to heights the RDX cannot touch. The Lexus NX 300h delivers up to 33 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 31 combined, which beats the most efficient RDX by 11 mpg city, two mpg highway, and seven mpg combined. This will save commuters tons of cash every year.

Commuters May Prefer the Lexus NX

The Lexus NX lineup has a huge leg up on the Acura RDX with its hybrid model. The huge fuel economy gap between the two could be a deciding factor for buyers with long daily commutes.

Verdict: Acura RDX

The Acura RDX trumps the Lexus NX in the areas that matter most to a luxury small crossover buyers, including its roominess, performance, and premium features. This makes it the better buy for most families, despite its slightly higher starting price.

Take a closer look at the Lexus NX »

Take a closer look at the Acura RDX »

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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