2020 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

Both the RDX and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, 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 Equinox was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

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

The RDX’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 10 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 102 more horsepower (272 vs. 170) and 77 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 203) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (272 vs. 252) and 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 260) than the Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox:

RDX

Equinox 1.5

Equinox 2.0

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

9.2 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

16.9 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.7 MPH

81.2 MPH

92.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The RDX has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox FWD’s standard fuel tank (17.1 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The RDX has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Equinox AWD/Diesel’s standard fuel tank (17.1 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Acura RDX higher (6 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Equinox (3 to 5). This means the RDX produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Equinox every 15,000 miles.

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 Equinox.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the RDX’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Equinox:

RDX

Equinox

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.3 inches

The RDX stops much shorter than the Equinox:

RDX

Equinox

70 to 0 MPH

177 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Equinox (235/55R19 vs. 225/65R17). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Equinox (255/40R20 vs. 235/50R19).

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 Equinox’s standard 65 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Equinox Premier’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Equinox. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Equinox Premier.

Suspension and Handling

The RDX has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RDX flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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

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 Equinox doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 2 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Equinox.

The RDX A-Spec AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Equinox (8.2 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The RDX has .7 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more front shoulder room and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Equinox.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Equinox with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 29.9 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Equinox with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 63.5 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Equinox doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

The RDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Equinox 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Chevrolet. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 21% lower rating, Chevrolet is ranked 13th.

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 Equinox doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Equinox’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

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

The RDX has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Equinox doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The RDX Advance’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

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 Equinox’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

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 Equinox.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $310 to $1590 less than the Equinox 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 Equinox only retains 46.06% to 49.61%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $373 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Equinox, including $57 less for a water pump, $520 less for a muffler, $205 less for fuel injection, $205 less for a fuel pump and $488 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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