2021 Acura RDX vs. 2021 Ford Bronco Sport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Bronco Sport 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.

Both the RDX and the Bronco Sport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.

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

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the RDX’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Bronco Sport’s camshafts. If the Bronco Sport’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Engine

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The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 91 more horsepower (272 vs. 181) and 90 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 190) than the Bronco Sport’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder. The RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (272 vs. 245) and 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 275) than the Bronco Sport Badlands/First Edition’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The RDX has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Bronco Sport (17.1 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Bronco Sport doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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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 Bronco Sport.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the RDX has larger standard tires than the Bronco Sport (235/55R19 vs. 225/65R17). The RDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Bronco Sport (255/40R20 vs. 235/65R17).

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 Bronco Sport’s standard 65 series tires. The RDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Bronco Sport’s optional 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 Bronco Sport. The RDX A-Spec’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the Bronco Sport.

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 Bronco Sport 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 Bronco Sport’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RDX’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the Bronco Sport (108.3 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the RDX is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Bronco Sport.

For greater off-road capability the RDX has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Bronco Sport Base/Big Bend (8.2 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the RDX to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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For excellent aerodynamics, the RDX has standard flush composite headlights. The Bronco Sport 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 Bronco Sport doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The RDX has 2.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the Bronco Sport.

Cargo Capacity

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The RDX has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Bronco Sport with its rear seat folded (79.8 vs. 65.2 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the RDX’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Bronco Sport doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RDX. The Bronco Sport doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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 Bronco Sport doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Servicing Ease

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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

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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 Bronco Sport 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 Bronco Sport 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 Bronco Sport 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 Bronco Sport’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

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 Bronco Sport can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The RDX’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Bronco Sport Big Bend/Outer Banks/Badlands/First Edition.

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 Bronco Sport’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 Bronco Sport 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 Bronco Sport, and aren’t available on the Bronco Sport Base. 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 Bronco Sport.

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 Bronco Sport doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The RDX has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable and it can provide a boundary between children. The Bronco Sport Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

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 Bronco Sport and isn’t available on the Bronco Sport Base/Big Bend/Outer Banks.

Model Availability

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The RDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Bronco Sport 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 2020/08/10

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura RDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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