2020 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Jeep Cherokee

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 Cherokee 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 Cherokee 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura RDX is safer than the Jeep Cherokee:





4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

262 lbs.

408 lbs.

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

41 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

328/464 lbs.

368/516 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Acura RDX is safer than the Cherokee:



Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

4 cm

Chest Evaluation



Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

.6/.3 kN

3.5/1.6 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



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 Cherokee was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.


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


From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 9 places higher in reliability than Jeep.


The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 92 more horsepower (272 vs. 180) and 109 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 171) than the Cherokee’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (272 vs. 270) than the Cherokee’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 1 more horsepower (272 vs. 271) and 41 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 239) than the Cherokee’s optional 3.2 DOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Acura RDX is faster than the Jeep Cherokee:


Cherokee 4-cyl.

Cherokee turbo 4-cyl.

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.9 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

10.9 sec

7.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

7 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

18.2 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

78.6 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The RDX has 1.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cherokee (17.1 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Jeep Cherokee (3 to 5). This means the RDX produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cherokee 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 nine-speed automatic is available for the Cherokee.

Brakes and Stopping

The RDX stops much shorter than the Cherokee:



60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

153 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Cherokee (235/55R19 vs. 225/60R17). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cherokee (255/40R20 vs. 245/65R17).

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 Cherokee’s 65 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Cherokee Overland’s 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 Cherokee. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Cherokee Overland.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Cherokee (108.3 inches vs. 106.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Cherokee.

The RDX A-Spec AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Cherokee Limited 4x4 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4 (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

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


To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the RDX has an electronically controlled liquid-filled main engine mount. A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Cherokee uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

The RDX has .2 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cherokee.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Cherokee with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 24.6 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Cherokee with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 54.9 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Cherokee doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Jeep. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 63% lower rating, Jeep is ranked 28th.


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 Cherokee doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 Cherokee doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Cherokee’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Cherokee can only operate 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 Cherokee 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 Cherokee’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Cherokee’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

When the RDX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Cherokee’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 Cherokee.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $520 to $1550 less than the Cherokee 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 Cherokee only retains 45.87% to 48.68%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Cherokee because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Cherokee, including $6 less for a water pump, $394 less for a muffler, $141 less for a fuel pump, $36 less for front struts and $638 less for a timing belt/chain.


Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Acura RDX AWD higher than the Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4.

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

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