2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Honda Passport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Passport 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.

Both the RDX and the Passport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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 Passport has not been tested, yet.

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 Passport’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 Honda covers the Passport. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Passport ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the RDX’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Passport’s camshafts. If the Passport’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 20th in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 2 places higher in reliability than Honda.

Engine

The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 262) than the Passport’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RDX gets better fuel mileage than the Passport:

 

 

 

MPG

RDX

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

 

 

A-Spec 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

 

 

A-Spec 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

Passport

 

FWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/25 hwy

 

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the Passport.

Tires and Wheels

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 Passport Touring/Elite’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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 Passport’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better maneuverability, the RDX’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the Passport AWD’s (38.9 feet vs. 39.3 feet). The RDX’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Passport’s (38.9 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Passport (8.2 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The RDX is 3.7 inches shorter than the Passport, making the RDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Passport with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 77.9 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The RDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Passport uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The RDX Advance has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Passport doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the RDX and the Passport have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RDX is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Passport prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The RDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Passport’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Passport’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. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Passport EX-L/Touring/Elite.

The RDX’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Passport’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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

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