Honda CR-V vs. Acura RDX

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - April 24, 2018

The Honda CR-V has long been regarded as one of the most versatile family-friendly crossovers on the market. Buyers get generous room for people and things, fine efficiency, and plenty of features for the money.

Honda's Acura division offers a compact crossover of its own, the RDX. It's about the same size as the CR-V, but has a different set of priorities, namely technology and luxury.

Is the CR-V accommodating enough, or is the plusher RDX worth the extra coin?

See a side-by-side comparison of the CR-V & RDX »

What the CR-V Gets Right

The CR-V takes up no more space than a compact passenger car, which makes us appreciate the large interior all the more. Five passengers fit easily into the supportive seats — along with up to 39.2 cubic feet of cargo. With the rear seat folded, capacity expands to 78.5 cubic feet, which no direct competitor can match. The comfort-tuned suspension makes long family trips easier on everyone aboard.

The CR-V starts out with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 184 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque. Efficiency is above average at 28 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, according to the EPA.

Most models carry a 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. The turbo is rated at 30 mpg combined, an excellent showing for this type of vehicle.

The optional all-wheel drive system reduces these figures by about one mpg. Both of the CRV's engines are paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

What the RDX Gets Right

As a rule, small luxury crossovers are more about performance and style than brute capability. The RDX packs a
3.5-liter V6 that lays down 279 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. All models get a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The available all-wheel drive system works beautifully in the snow, and also enhances handling on dry pavement. The EPA rates that the RDX at 23 mpg combined, or 22 mpg with all-wheel drive

The RDX looks and feels like a proper luxury vehicle inside. Standard touches include heated power seats, aluminum dash trim, and a full-feature sound system with seven speakers. While the RDX costs more than the CR-V, the difference isn't profound. Buyers can still get a nicely equipped RDX with all-wheel drive for under $40,000.

The RDX holds 26.1 cubic feet behind the rear seat, or 61.3 with it folded. These numbers are typical for this class.

Same Size, Different Mission

The spacious CR-V makes for an outstanding family vehicle, especially if that family happen to be on a budget. We find it more capable than even some mid-size crossovers that aren't as efficient and cost more.

With its powerful V6 and refined interior, the RDX delivers a premium motoring experience at a fair price. It's also practical to a point, if not to the level some families need.

Our Verdict: Acura RDX

The RDX's sophistication and performance are enough to justify its higher price.

Take a closer look at the Honda CR-V »

Take a closer look at the Acura RDX »

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

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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