2020 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Lexus RXL

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the RDX and the RXL 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, 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, 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 RXL has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 12 percent more Acura dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the RDX’s warranty.

Engine

The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 263) than the RX 350L’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the RX 350L:

RDX

RXL

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.7 MPH

89.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

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

RXL

FWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

AWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura RDX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RX 450hL requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 RXL doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Acura RDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the RXL.

Brakes and Stopping

The RDX stops much shorter than the RXL:

RDX

RXL

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RXL (255/40R20 vs. 235/65R18).

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 RXL’s standard 65 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the RXL’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the RXL.

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 RXL doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The RDX AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the RX 350L AWD pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the RX 350L (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

The Acura RDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 700 to 850 pounds less than the Lexus RXL.

The RDX is 10.1 inches shorter than the RXL, making the RDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The RXL doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The RDX has .2 inches more front legroom, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room and 7.5 inches more rear legroom than the RXL.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the RXL with all its rear seats folded (79.8 vs. 70.7 cubic feet).

Towing

The RDX’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the RXL’s (1500 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the RXL because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the RXL, including $730 less for a water pump, $180 less for a muffler, $197 less for a starter, $50 less for fuel injection, $1688 less for a timing belt/chain and $918 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Acura RDX AWD higher than the Lexus RX 350L AWD.

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

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