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Both the RDX and the Q5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q5 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 Audi covers the Q5. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Q5 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 24 more horsepower (272 vs. 248) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.
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 Q5 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Acura RDX higher (6 out of 10) than the Audi Q5 (3). This means the RDX produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Q5 every 15,000 miles.
A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Q5.
The RDX stops much shorter than the Q5:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
The RDX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q5’s standard 60 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Q5’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 Q5.
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 Q5 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 Q5’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Q5.
The RDX AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Q5 Prestige pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Acura RDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Audi Q5.
The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Q5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The RDX has .6 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q5.
The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Q5 with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 25.1 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Q5 with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 9% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.
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 Q5 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 Q5 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 Q5 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
Consumer Reports rated the RDX’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Q5’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”
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 standard headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Q5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”
The RDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $2235 to $3585 less than the Q5 over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because it costs $64 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Q5, including $291 less for a water pump, $391 less for a muffler, $204 less for a starter, $205 less for fuel injection, $64 less for a fuel pump, $163 less for front struts and $457 less for a timing belt/chain.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura RDX will be $7106 to $7485 less than for the Audi Q5.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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