2018 Acura RDX vs. 2018 Jeep Cherokee

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the RDX and the Cherokee have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura RDX is safer than the Jeep Cherokee:

 

RDX

Cherokee

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Acura RDX is safer than the Cherokee:

 

RDX

Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

4 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

19 cm

20 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.6/0 kN

3.5/1.6 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.56/.66

.84/.45

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura RDX is safer than the Jeep Cherokee:

 

RDX

Cherokee

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.6 inches

Abdominal Force

79 G’s

176 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

52

255

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

43 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RDX the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 87 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cherokee was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

The RDX comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Cherokee’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Jeep covers the Cherokee. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Cherokee ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

The engine in the RDX has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Cherokee have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RDX’s reliability 19 points higher than the Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 19th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 23rd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 52 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 11 places higher in reliability than Jeep.

Engine

The RDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 95 more horsepower (279 vs. 184) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (252 vs. 171) than the Cherokee’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The RDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 8 more horsepower (279 vs. 271) and 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (252 vs. 239) than the Cherokee’s optional 3.2 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Acura RDX is faster than the Jeep Cherokee V6:

 

RDX

Cherokee

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.1 sec

11.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.4 sec

19.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.3 sec

7.5 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.6 sec

3.7 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

90 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the RDX’s fuel efficiency. The Cherokee doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX has larger tires than the Cherokee (235/60R18 vs. 225/60R17).

The RDX’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cherokee’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Cherokee.

Suspension and Handling

The RDX has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Cherokee’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The RDX has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Cherokee doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

Chassis

The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Cherokee doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the RDX AWD is quieter than the Cherokee Limited 4x4:

 

RDX

Cherokee

At idle

39 dB

44 dB

Full-Throttle

76 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space

The RDX has .9 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, 3.9 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cherokee.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Cherokee with its rear seat up (26.1 vs. 24.6 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Cherokee with its rear seat folded (76.9 vs. 54.9 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the RDX easier. The RDX’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.4 inches, while the Cherokee’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

The RDX’s cargo area is larger than the Cherokee’s in almost every dimension:

 

RDX

Cherokee

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

32.8”/68”

33.9”/67.6”

Max Width

49.8”

49.2”

Min Width

41.7”

39.4”

Height

32”

28.8”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Cherokee doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the RDX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Cherokee can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Cherokee’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The RDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Jeep charges extra for heated mirrors on the Cherokee.

When the RDX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Cherokee’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RDX Advance has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cherokee offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The RDX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Cherokee.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $335 to $1545 less than the Cherokee over a five-year period.

The RDX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the RDX will retain 48.27% to 50.94% of its original price after five years, while the Cherokee only retains 41.2% to 43.04%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Cherokee because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Cherokee, including $484 less for an alternator, $55 less for front brake pads, $19 less for fuel injection, $246 less for a fuel pump and $564 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Acura RDX has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

RDX

Cherokee

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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