2020 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Mercedes E-Class Wagon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the RDX and the E-Class Wagon have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 E-Class Wagon has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the E-Class Wagon. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the E-Class Wagon ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 4 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RDX gets better fuel mileage than the E-Class Wagon:

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

E-Class Wagon

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/26 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura RDX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

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 Mercedes E-Class Wagon (5). This means the RDX produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon.

Brakes and Stopping

The RDX stops shorter than the E-Class Wagon:

RDX

E-Class Wagon

70 to 0 MPH

177 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the E-Class Wagon (255/40R20 vs. 245/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the E-Class Wagon. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the E-Class Wagon.

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 E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The RDX AWD has a standard space-saver spare (not available on A-Spec) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the E-Class Wagon; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the E-Class Wagon.

Chassis

The Acura RDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 500 pounds less than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon.

The RDX is 7.4 inches shorter than the E-Class Wagon, 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 E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The RDX has 2.1 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room and 2.6 inches more rear legroom than the E-Class Wagon.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the E-Class Wagon with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 64 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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 E-Class Wagon only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the E-Class Wagon. The RDX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the E-Class Wagon.

Model Availability

The RDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $6040 to $6415 less than the E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon only retains 46.92%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the E-Class Wagon because it costs $109 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the E-Class Wagon, including $357 less for a water pump, $629 less for a muffler, $311 less for a starter, $258 less for fuel injection, $43 less for front struts and $823 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 $23358 to $29641 less than for the Mercedes E-Class Wagon.

Recommendations

The Acura RDX outsold the Mercedes E-Class by 40% during 2018.

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

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