2020 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Compared to metal, the RDX’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mitsubishi Outlander has a metal gas tank.

The RDX has standard AcuraLink, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Outlander doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the RDX and the Outlander have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Mitsubishi Outlander:

RDX

Outlander

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

26%

29%

Neck Stress

262 lbs.

412 lbs.

Neck Compression

23 lbs.

90 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

328/464 lbs.

334/511 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

30%

43%

Neck Stress

99 lbs.

221 lbs.

Neck Compression

84 lbs.

91 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

362/441 lbs.

394/494 lbs.

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

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 Outlander is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the RDX’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Outlander’s camshafts. If the Outlander’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 24th in initial quality. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 30th.

Engine

The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 106 more horsepower (272 vs. 166) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 162) than the Outlander’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (272 vs. 224) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 215) than the Outlander GT’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Acura RDX is faster than the Mitsubishi Outlander 4-cyl.:

RDX

Outlander

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

10 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

17.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

81 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RDX AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Outlander GT AWC V6 (21 city/27 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the RDX’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Outlander doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The RDX has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander AWC’s standard fuel tank (17.1 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Outlander 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 Mitsubishi Outlander (5). This means the RDX produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Outlander every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

RDX

Outlander

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.9 inches

The RDX stops shorter than the Outlander:

RDX

Outlander

70 to 0 MPH

177 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

132 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Outlander (235/55R19 vs. 225/55R18). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outlander (255/40R20 vs. 225/55R18).

The RDX A-Spec’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outlander’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the Outlander. The RDX A-Spec has standard 20-inch wheels.

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 Outlander 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 Outlander; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

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 Outlander’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 Outlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the Outlander (108.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 3.6 inches wider in the front and 4.1 inches wider in the rear than on the Outlander.

The RDX A-Spec AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Outlander GT AWC pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Outlander SEL AWC (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

Chassis

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

Passenger Space

The RDX has .7 inches more front legroom, 2.4 inches more front hip room, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Outlander.

Cargo Capacity

The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Outlander with all its rear seats folded (79.8 vs. 63.3 cubic feet).

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

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RDX Advance’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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

The RDX has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Outlander doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Mitsubishi. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 20% lower rating, Mitsubishi is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the RDX, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Outlander doesn’t offer a memory 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 Outlander 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 Outlander doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the RDX and the Outlander have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RDX is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Outlander can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Outlander only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 Outlander’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

The RDX has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Outlander has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SEL/GT.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RDX has standard extendable sun visors. The Outlander doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 Outlander’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Outlander SE/SEL/GT. 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 Outlander.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RDX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Outlander doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Outlander because it costs $73 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the RDX than the Outlander, including $31 less for a water pump, $36 less for fuel injection, $94 less for a fuel pump and $182 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Acura RDX outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander by 52% during 2018.

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

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