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2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill November 2018
  • The 2019 Acura RDX is all-new.

  • The Acura MDX offers seating for seven.

  • Both the RDX and the MDX offer sporty A-SPEC appearance packages.

Acura offers two SUVs: The RDX and the MDX. The RDX is considered a compact, while the MDX is midsize and offers seating for seven. Below we'll break down the major differences between these two staples of the luxury SUV market.

2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Overview

The RDX first went on sale for the 2007 model year and is all-new for 2019. The 2019 model improves upon the RDX in every area, offering all-new styling inside and out, along with a sporty-looking A-SPEC model. Altogether, the RDX is a stylish and sporty 5-seat luxury crossover.

The MDX went on sale in 2001 and is now in its third generation, which was introduced for the 2014 model year. After receiving a face-lift for 2017, the MDX gets only mild updates for 2019, the most notable change being the addition of a sporty new A-SPEC model. The MDX offers what Acura refers to as a "Sport Hybrid" model, which is positioned at the top of the model range and offers additional power and better fuel economy.

2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Exterior

The MDX is longer, wider and taller than the new RDX. The MDX is 196.2 inches long, 77.2 inches wide and 67.4 inches tall. The RDX is 186.8 inches long, 74.8 inches wide and 65.7 inches tall. The MDX offers 7.3 inches of ground clearance, while the RDX offers only 5.7 inches.

In terms of styling, the MDX features a handsome, rounded profile. The 2017 refresh saw the adoption of Acura's new angular shield grille, which looks a little disjointed against the vehicle's otherwise rounded features. See the 2019 Acura MDX models for sale near you

The new RDX is very attractive. The first vehicle to be designed after Acura's introduction of its new shield grille, the RDX wears an overall very cohesive design, with a broad, angular front end, a floating D-pillar and a sleek rear tailgate with a narrow and aggresively styled rear-window opening.See the 2019 Acura RDX models for sale near you

Altogether, given the RDX's more modern design, most would probably argue that its currently the more stylish and attractive of the two vehicles.

2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Interior

The RDX's design superiority continues to the inside of the vehicle. The MDX still uses Acura's questionable 2-tiered infotainment screen design, and it doesn't feel nearly as modern and sleek as the all-new RDX, which offers a single widescreen infotainment setup. Both vehicles are available with warm wood accents or on A-Spec models, sleek brushed aluminum and piano black. A-Spec models can also be fitted with a red leather interior, which serves to dial up the sportiness by a great degree.

While the MDX offers room for seven, it's actually smaller than the RDX in terms of first- and second-row interior dimensions. Up front, the RDX offers 39.6 inches of headroom and 41.6 inches of legroom. Second-row RDX passengers get 38.3 inches of headroom and 38.4 inches of legroom. By comparison, the MDX offers only 38.1 inches of front seat headroom and 41.4 inches of legroom. In its second row, the MDX has 38.3 inches of headroom and 36.6 inches of legroom. The MDX's third row comes with 35.6 inches of headroom and 28.1 inches of legroom.

In terms of cargo space, the MDX makes up a little ground, with 38 cu ft. of room behind its second row to the RDX's 30 cu ft. With the second rows folded, the MDX offers 68 cu ft., while the RDX offers 59 cu ft.

2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Mechanicals

The 2019 RDX comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque and mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. In all-wheel-drive guise, the RDX's new turbocharged powertrain propels the vehicle from 0-to-60 in 6.2 seconds and earns 21 miles per gallon in city driving, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined. Opt for front-wheel drive, and each of these figures increases by one.

The 2019 MDX offers buyers the choice of two different powertrains. Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 making 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque paired with a 9-speed automatic. A hybrid powertrain is also available on what is known as the MDX "Sport Hybrid." The hybrid makes 321 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque and employs a unique hybridized version of Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. AWD models earn 22 mpg combined with the regular powertrain or 27 mpg combined with the hybrid system.

Both the 2019 MDX and the 2019 RDX are available with either FWD or AWD, the latter coming in the form of Acura's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system. This is a new addition to the RDX for 2019, as the previous-generation model used a more basic system.

2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Features

The MDX is available with either a second-row bench seat, allowing for a seating capacity of up to seven people, or second-row captain's chairs, which reduce overall seating capacity by one. The MDX offers available power folding side mirrors, heated and ventilated perforated leather seats, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, rain sensing windshield wipers, a widescreen rear seat entertainment package, a power lift gate and remote start. Opt for the top-of-the-line Advance Package, and the MDX adds higher quality leather, second-row sunshades, LED fog lights and a 360-degree camera.

The new RDX offers an available panoramic sunroof, a high-end premium audio system, a surround-view camera, a heads-up display, perforated Milano leather seats with adjustable thigh supports and side bolsters, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, LED lighting and a power tailgate.

Despite all of its available features, the RDX's packaging limits the vehicle a bit, as the sportiest model, the A-Spec variant, is not available with the Advance Package, so the most exciting RDX is not available with all of the vehicle's most upscale features.

2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Infotainment

The new RDX gets a high-resolution 10.2-inch infotainment screen. The screen is controlled by a unique touchpad. While there's a bit of a learning curve, the controls are generally pretty intuitive and ergonomically friendly. The 2019 RDX offers Apple CarPlay but not Android Auto at the time of this writing, although this capability is expected to be added soon as an over-the-air update.

The 2019 MDX uses a 2-tier, dual LCD screen arrangement, one of which is a 7.0-in capacitive touchscreen. The MDX offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. While it's fairly intuitive to use, the controls aren't as crisp and pleasing as they are in the new RDX.

Safety

The 2019 RDX and the 2019 MDX both earn good scores across the board in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with the MDX earning a Top Safety Pick designation and the RDX earning Top Safety Pick+ honors.

Both vehicles also offer standard driver-assistance safety features. The MDX comes with lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, front automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Front and rear parking sensors, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic monitoring are added as part of the technology package.

The RDX offers standard lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning with front automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow functionality. Like in the MDX, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic monitoring are reserved for the technology package.

Conclusions

The MDX is obviously geared toward families, while the RDX is more about the individual. That said, with the introduction of the all-new 2019 RDX, the differences between the MDX and the RDX have grown blurred. The RDX is now just as big as the MDX in terms of first-and second-row passenger room, and it offers a next-generation infotainment system and an all-new, clean, cohesive design. For these reasons, we recommend the RDX over the MDX, unless you absolutely need the added passenger and cargo room of the MDX. Once an all-new MDX is introduced in the next couple of years, the gap between these two vehicles will surely widen back to a more appropriate place, but for now, the all-new 2019 Acura RDX gives its larger sibling a run for its money. Find an Acura RDX for sale or Find an Acura MDX for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 Acura RDX vs. 2019 Acura MDX: What's the Difference? - Autotrader