2021 Acura RDX vs. 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the RDX. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the e-tron Sportback.

Both the RDX and the e-tron Sportback 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 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 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 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The e-tron Sportback has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 23rd in initial quality. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 32nd.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

The RDX’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 478.8 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The e-tron Sportback’s range is only 204 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 9 hours.

Tires and Wheels

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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 e-tron Sportback’s optional 45 series tires.

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 e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The RDX AWD has a standard space-saver spare (not available on FWD/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 e-tron Sportback; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the RDX’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the e-tron Sportback’s (38.9 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Acura RDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1700 to 1950 pounds less than the Audi e-tron Sportback.

The RDX is 6.2 inches shorter than the e-tron Sportback, making the RDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Passenger Space

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The RDX has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front legroom, 1.1 inches more front shoulder room and .4 inches more rear headroom than the e-tron Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

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The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the e-tron Sportback with its rear seat up (31.1 vs. 27.2 cubic feet). The RDX has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the e-tron Sportback with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 54.5 cubic feet).

Towing

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The RDX’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the e-tron Sportback’s (1500 vs. 0 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 9% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The RDX’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The e-tron Sportback’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 e-tron Sportback only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Model Availability

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The RDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Audi e-tron Sportback isn't recommended.

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