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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 Outback only offers a rear monitor.
Compared to metal, the RDX’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Outback has a metal gas tank.
Both the RDX and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver 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 and rear cross-path warning.
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 Outback’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 Subaru covers the Outback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Outback ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 23rd in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 27th.
The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 90 more horsepower (272 vs. 182) and 104 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 176) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 12 more horsepower (272 vs. 260) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 277) than the Outback XT’s standard 2.4 turbo 4-cylinder.
As tested in Motor Trend the Acura RDX is faster than the Outback 2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
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 Outback doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
The RDX stops much shorter than the Outback:
60 to 0 MPH
For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Outback (235/55R19 vs. 225/65R17). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (255/40R20 vs. 225/65R17).
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 Outback Base/Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RDX has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback Base/Premium. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring.
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 Outback doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
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 Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The RDX has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outback doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Outback.
The RDX AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Outback Limited XT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The RDX AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Outback Limited (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .62 average G’s).
The RDX is 4.5 inches shorter than the Outback, 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 Outback doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The RDX has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Outback with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 75.7 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Outback doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The RDX uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Outback 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 Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 37% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.
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 Outback 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 Outback 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 Outback doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The power windows standard on both the RDX and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RDX is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outback prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.
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 Outback’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
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 Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The RDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Outback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. 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 RDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
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 is only available on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
Both the RDX and the Outback 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 Outback doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The RDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RDX is less expensive to operate than the Outback because it costs $282 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RDX than the Outback, including $71 less for front struts and $288 less for a timing belt/chain.
The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Subaru Outback isn't recommended.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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