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The RDX has standard head airbag curtains for front and rear seats which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. The Wrangler doesn't offer side airbag protection for the head and are only available for the front seats.
The RDX has a standard Collision Mitigating Braking System, which uses forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Wrangler offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
The RDX’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The RDX Advance has a standard Surround-View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Wrangler only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
For better protection of the passenger compartment, the RDX uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Wrangler uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.
Both the RDX and the Wrangler have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems 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 vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RDX its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Wrangler has not been tested, yet.
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 Wrangler’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 Jeep covers the Wrangler. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Wrangler ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 260) than the Wrangler’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.
As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the Jeep Wrangler turbo 4 cyl. (automatics tested):
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the RDX AWD gets better fuel mileage than the Wrangler 4-door 4 cyl. (21 city/27 hwy vs. 21 city/22 hwy).
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 Wrangler doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Acura RDX higher (6 out of 10) than the Jeep Wrangler (5). This means the RDX produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Wrangler every 15,000 miles.
The Acura RDX comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Wrangler.
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 Wrangler.
The RDX stops much shorter than the Wrangler:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
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 Wrangler Sport’s standard 75 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Wrangler Sahara’s 70 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Wrangler Sport. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Wrangler Sahara.
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 Wrangler doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Acura RDX’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Jeep Wrangler’s solid front axle, which allows the RDX’s wheels to react more quickly and accurately to the road’s surface, improving both ride and handling.
For superior ride and handling, the Acura RDX has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Jeep Wrangler has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.
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 Wrangler’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For much better steering response and tighter handling the RDX has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the Wrangler.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Wrangler.
The RDX A-Spec AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Wrangler Sahara 4-door pulls only .64 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.7 seconds quicker than the Wrangler Rubicon 4-door (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 29.9 seconds @ .56 average G’s).
The RDX is 7.9 inches shorter in height than the Wrangler, making the RDX much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).
Unibody construction lowers the RDX’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Wrangler uses body-on-frame design instead.
For excellent aerodynamics, the RDX has standard flush composite headlights. The Wrangler has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.
The RDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Wrangler doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The RDX has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Wrangler 4-door with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 72.4 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Wrangler doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The RDX’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Wrangler 2-door’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.
The RDX’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Wrangler’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the RDX has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the RDX Advance, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a power cargo door.
The RDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Wrangler 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 Jeep. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 63% lower rating, Jeep is ranked 28th.
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 Wrangler 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 Wrangler 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 Wrangler doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The RDX’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Wrangler has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
The RDX’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon.
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 Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its front windows open automatically.
The RDX’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Wrangler’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
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 Wrangler can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The RDX’s standard power locks allow the driver or passenger to lock or unlock all the doors at a touch without leaning over, or reaching to the back seat. Power locks are only available on the Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon.
The RDX has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.
The RDX Advance’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Wrangler’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
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 Wrangler has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the RDX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Wrangler doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The RDX has standard power remote mirrors. The Wrangler Sport doesn’t offer either a remote driver side or passenger side mirror. The driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.
The RDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Jeep only offers heated mirrors on the Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon.
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 Wrangler’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The RDX’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Wrangler offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The RDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Wrangler, and are only available on the Wrangler Sport S/Sahara/Rubicon. The RDX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Wrangler.
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 Wrangler doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The RDX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Wrangler.
Both the RDX and the Wrangler offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the RDX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter.
The RDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Wrangler doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Insurance will cost less for the RDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the RDX will cost $30 to $1090 less than the Wrangler over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Wrangler because typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Wrangler, including $30 less for fuel injection, $33 less for a fuel pump and $418 less for a timing belt/chain.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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