2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2020 Acura RDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura RDX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The RDX doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC40 and RDX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 offers optional power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The RDX’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The RDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RDX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The RDX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The XC40’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The RDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC40 and the RDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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 blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the RDX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RDX.

There are over 10 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the XC40’s warranty.

Reliability

The RDX’s redline is at 7000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The XC40 has a 6000 RPM redline.

Engine

As tested in Car and Driver the XC40 T5 is faster than the Acura RDX:

XC40

RDX

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.4 sec

18.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

93 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

113 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC40 gets better fuel mileage than the RDX:

MPG

XC40

FWD

T4 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

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

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC40’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the RDX:

XC40

RDX

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.4 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the RDX:

XC40

RDX

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The RDX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the RDX A-Spec AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the XC40’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the RDX’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.9 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the RDX (8.3 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The XC40 is 1 foot shorter than the RDX, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The XC40 has .8 inches more rear headroom and 4.7 inches more rear hip room than the RDX.

Payload and Towing

The XC40’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the RDX’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Acura RDX is only 1500 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

The XC40 has a higher standard payload capacity than the RDX (925 vs. 838 lbs.).

Ergonomics

The XC40’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The RDX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The RDX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the XC40’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the RDX’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The RDX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC40 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RDX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC40 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volvo XC40 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The RDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The XC40’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the RDX because it costs $180 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC40 than the RDX, including $22 less for a water pump, $191 less for front brake pads, $154 less for a starter, $27 less for fuel injection, $42 less for front struts and $764 less for a power steering pump.

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

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