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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Acura RDX are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X1 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Mitigating Braking System in the RDX as “Superior.” The X1 scores at most only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”
The RDX Advance has a standard Surround-View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The X1 only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The RDX’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The X1 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the RDX’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The X1 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the RDX and the X1 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X1 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.
Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X1. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the X1 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 44 more horsepower (272 vs. 228) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the X1’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the BMW X1:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
The RDX has a gallon more fuel capacity than the X1 (17.1 vs. 16.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The RDX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The X1 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the X1.
The RDX stops shorter than the X1:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the X1 (235/55R19 vs. 225/50R18). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X1 (255/40R20 vs. 225/50R18).
The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the X1’s optional 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the X1. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the X1.
The RDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The X1 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The RDX offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The X1’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the X1 (108.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than on the X1.
For greater off-road capability the RDX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X1 (8.2 vs. 7.2 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X1 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The RDX has 2.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X1 (104 vs. 101.2).
The RDX has 1.2 inches more front legroom, 4.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the X1.
The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the X1 with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 27.1 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X1 with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 58.7 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X1 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The RDX has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The X1 has no towing capacity.
The RDX has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X1 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The RDX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The X1 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RDX has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the X1 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The RDX’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the X1’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”
The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the X1. The RDX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the X1.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the RDX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The X1 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $1365 to $1910 less than the X1 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 51.89% to 53.05% of its original price after five years, while the X1 only retains 48.72% to 48.91%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the X1 because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the X1, including $356 less for a water pump, $522 less for a muffler, $164 less for a starter, $277 less for fuel injection, $88 less for a fuel pump, $157 less for front struts and $958 less for a timing belt/chain.
The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.
The Acura RDX outsold the BMW X1 by over two to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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