2020 Acura RDX vs. 2020 BMW X3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 BMW X3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the RDX and the X3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, 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.

Warranty

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Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the RDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than BMW covers the X3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the X3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Engine

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The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 24 more horsepower (272 vs. 248) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the X3 s/xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Acura RDX is faster than the X3 s/xDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

RDX

X3

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.7 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

92 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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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 X3 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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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 X3.

Brakes and Stopping

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The RDX stops much shorter than the X3:

RDX

X3

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the X3 (235/55R19 vs. 225/60R18). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X3 (255/40R20 vs. 245/45R20).

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 X3’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the X3.

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 X3 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the X3 xDrive30i (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the RDX’s turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the X3 xDrive30i’s (38.9 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The RDX’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the X3 M40i’s (38.9 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the X3 (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The X3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The RDX has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the X3 (104 vs. 101.4).

The RDX has 1.3 inches more front legroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the X3.

Cargo Capacity

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The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the X3 with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 28.7 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X3 with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 62.7 cubic feet).

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 X3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 19% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The RDX has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The X3 doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 X3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 X3 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the RDX’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the X3’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $860 to $2185 less than the X3 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the X3 because it costs $336 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the X3, including $458 less for a water pump, $674 less for a muffler, $198 less for a starter, $283 less for fuel injection, $58 less for a fuel pump, $247 less for front struts, $751 less for a timing belt/chain and $319 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura RDX will be $2659 to $5829 less than for the BMW X3.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/09

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Acura RDX AWD higher than the BMW X3 xDrive30i.

The Acura RDX outsold the BMW X3 by 2229 units during 2018.

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

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