2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack vs. 2020 Acura RDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Golf Alltrack has standard whiplash protection, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the whiplash protection system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The RDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Golf Alltrack has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RDX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Golf Alltrack (except S) offers optional Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The RDX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the Golf Alltrack. But it costs extra on the RDX.

Both the Golf Alltrack and the RDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The Golf Alltrack comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The RDX’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Golf Alltrack’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the RDX’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Golf Alltrack’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the RDX’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Golf Alltrack

AWD

Manual

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

Auto

1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

RDX

FWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

A-Spec 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

22 city/27 hwy

AWD

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

A-Spec 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack uses regular unleaded gasoline. The RDX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The Golf Alltrack offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RDX doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Golf Alltrack offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The RDX doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

The Golf Alltrack stops much shorter than the RDX:

Golf

RDX

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Golf Alltrack SEL handles at .84 G’s, while the RDX A-Spec AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Golf Alltrack SEL executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the RDX AWD (27 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Golf Alltrack’s turning circle is 3.1 feet tighter than the RDX’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.9 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Golf Alltrack may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 650 pounds less than the Acura RDX.

The Golf Alltrack is 6.6 inches shorter than the RDX, making the Golf Alltrack easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics

The Golf Alltrack’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The RDX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Golf Alltrack SE/SEL has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RDX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The Golf Alltrack (except S) also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The Golf Alltrack SE/SEL has a 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The RDX doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Golf Alltrack (except S)’s optional Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Volkswagen Golf comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Acura RDX isn’t available as a four door.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The RDX has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The RDX has never been chosen.

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

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