2019 Acura RDX ・ Photo by Acura
Talk about good timing. As U.S. drivers continue focusing on SUVs, Acura has a brand-new one on the market: the 2019 Acura RDX. Thoroughly updated for the new model year, the RDX was designed and engineered right here in the United States. The result is a compact SUV with the performance, technology, and style that’s sure to attract shoppers.
For example, the 2019 RDX features a 272-horsepower turbo engine, mobile Wi-Fi, and climate-controlled seats. Yet that still may not be enough to convert those shoppers into actual buyers. After all, the RDX has to take on rivals in one of the hottest segments in the industry. In fact, not only are there worthy RDX competitors to consider at other dealerships, you also can find some right on the same lot.
The 2018 Audi Q5 is one of the top RDX competitors to consider from the German brands. Just remember that the entry-level Q5 is noticeably more expensive than the RDX. That even takes into account the fact that all-wheel drive is standard for the Audi and optional for the Acura. The Q5 makes up for this with standard walnut-wood inlays, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather seating surfaces, and aluminum roof rails, none of which are standard for the RDX.
Also, if you’re interested in a high-performance model, the SQ5 has a 0-60 time of 5.1 seconds that leaves the RDX in the dust. That’s thanks to Audi’s 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine with 354 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Photo by Audi
There actually are two strong RDX competitors to consider from BMW. Both the 2019 BMW X3 and X4 ride on the same platforms, yet they each have very different designs. The X3 is your choice for a traditional SUV appearance, while the X4 has a more aggressive shape that earns it the name of “Sports Activity Coupe.” This athletic look draws just as much attention as the new design of the RDX.
The X4 does more than merely look athletic, however. The turbocharged X4 M40i is another SUV that can outrun the RDX. The pricier X4 also can deliver technologies missing from its Acura competition. For instance, BMW’s “Gesture Control” system lets you manage infotainment functions with hand gestures - and without needing to touch a touchscreen.
Photo by BMW
If you’re interested in fuel economy, the 2019 Lexus RX is among the best RDX competitors to consider. This is because the RX is available with a dynamic hybrid powertrain that achieves EPA ratings of 31 mpg city/28 mpg highway/30 mpg combined. And remember, that’s with electrically enabled all-wheel drive. The most efficient all-wheel drive RDX gets 10 mpg fewer in urban driving.
But the RX hybrid isn’t just more efficient. With 308 horses, it also is more powerful than its Acura rival. As a further surprise, both hybrid and non-hybrid Lexus models now offer three rows of seating. The RX then wins the battle of infotainment screens with a 12.3-inch display that’s more than 20 percent bigger than the one for the RDX.
Photo by Lexus
Mercedes, like BMW, provides a pair of RDX competitors to consider, each with a different approach to design. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV comes with a conventional upright shape that many people prefer in their sport-utility vehicles. Meanwhile, the GLC Coupe makes for a stylish contrast with its dramatic roofline.
The RDX matches up fairly well with each one in terms of standard content, and with a lower MSRP. That said, the GLC also follows the lead of its German rivals by serving up true high-performance models. The RDX simply doesn’t have an answer for these AMG variants. Although it is double the cost of the Acura, the AMG GLC 63 S Coupe packs a twin-turbo V8 that pumps out 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
In some ways, the fact that you have to pay extra for all-wheel drive on the Acura RDX is a bonus. This strategy lets you save money on a brand-new suv if you don’t need AWD. With that in mind, front-wheel-drive RDX competitors to consider include the 2019 Volvo XC60.
The XC60 has been completely redesigned for the 2019 model year, and it showcases some of the brand’s most impressive safety technologies, Harman Kardon audio, and luxury cues such as heated and ventilated seats. Of course, like the RDX, the XC60 does offer all-wheel drive. Volvo’s powertrain advantage comes with a plug-in hybrid model that’s turbocharged, supercharged, and capable of 17 miles of all-electric driving. The plug-in model has a 500-mile overall range, too.
Photo by Volvo
If you’re looking for cargo-friendly RDX competitors to consider, you should definitely check out the 2019 Infiniti QX50. Yes, the QX50 boasts plenty of premium content, from climate-controlled semi-aniline leather seats to open-pore maple-wood cabin trim. It also can be ordered with Infiniti’s ProPILOT Assist technology, which “takes over single-lane driving operation at the push of a button, without the driver's input on acceleration, braking, or steering.” Beneath the hood? The QX50 relies on a 268-hp turbo engine.
Beyond all that, the real Infiniti difference-maker is in the storage department. The QX50 provides 31.4 cubic feet of storage behind its rear seats and 65.1 cubic feet in total. That’s more than you get with the RDX in both measures.
Photo by Infiniti
RDX competitors to consider from the domestic automakers include the 2019 Lincoln MKC. About 7.6 inches shorter in length than the RDX, the MKC combines its nimbler dimensions with a significant pricing advantage. The Acura model is nearly 10 percent more expensive than the MKC, which starts at $33,995.
Additionally, if you don’t mind the slightly smaller size, the MKC stacks up just fine against the RDX for equipment. Lincoln can supply mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a 700-watt THX II audio system, climate-controlled seats, and a comprehensive bundle of safety technology. The MKC also offers two turbocharged engines. The uplevel option, with 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque, produces an extra 13 horses and 25 lb-ft of torque versus the RDX.
Photo by Lincoln
Another of the domestic RDX competitors to consider is the 2019 Cadillac XT5. From a practical standpoint, the XT5 is a slightly bigger vehicle with a bit more cargo space than the RDX. The XT5 also carries a more powerful (although less efficient) turbocharged engine. Nor does Cadillac skimp on comfort and technology. Instead, the XT5 is available with supple leather upholstery, carbon-fiber and real-wood trim, heated and ventilated front seats, and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
Cadillac then builds on that content with technology you won’t find in the RDX. Among the highlights: reverse automatic emergency braking and a rear camera mirror. This system relies on a rear-facing exterior camera to stream live video to the mirror, effectively increasing your field of vision by 300 percent.
Photo by Cadillac
Some people may be wondering about possible mainstream RDX competitors to consider. For those folks, we present the 2018 Honda CR-V. The RDX and CR-V actually share a fair amount of hardware beneath the skin. Indeed, they share a lot behind the scenes, since both brands are owned by the Honda Motor Company. The differences show up when you glance at the CR-V’s content list, which doesn’t cover many of the high-end luxuries offered by the RDX.
The thing is, you may be willing to skip some of that stuff when you compare the vehicles’ MSRPs. The entry-level CR-V is priced some $13,000 below a similar RDX. Yet the Honda still can deliver heated leather seats, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and many of the same safety technologies.
Photo by Honda
If you need more room, there are three-row RDX competitors to consider. The most logical choice is the 2019 Acura MDX. Like the RDX, the MDX is available with the brand’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive technology and Jewel Eye LED headlights. The MDX also can be ordered with cutting-edge driver-assistance measures and a wide selection of uplevel cabin materials.
Next, along with its extra row of seating, the MDX expands on RDX performance with a sport-hybrid powertrain. The setup increases output by 31 horsepower over the standard MDX, and it boosts city fuel economy by 37 percent at the same time. To be specific, the MDX Sport Hybrid benefits from 321 hp and EPA ratings of 26 mpg city/27 mpg highway/27 mpg combined.
Photo by Acura