2020 Acura RDX vs. 2020 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2019/12/10

Both the RDX and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, 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 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Explorer has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 5 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the Ford Explorer turbo 4 cyl.:

RDX

Explorer

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.7 MPH

89.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2019/12/10

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

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

Explorer

RWD

2.3 Turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 Turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

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

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Acura RDX higher (6 out of 10) than the Ford Explorer (5). This means the RDX produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Explorer every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The RDX stops shorter than the Explorer:

RDX

Explorer

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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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 Explorer’s standard 65 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional 45 series tires.

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

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 Explorer doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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

The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Explorer XLT (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

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

Chassis

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The Acura RDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 900 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.

The RDX is 12 inches shorter than the Explorer, making the RDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The RDX has a much larger cargo volume than the Explorer with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 18.2 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 55% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

© 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 2019/12/10

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

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

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