Different performance and fuel economy numbers are just the beginning of what set these two crossovers apart.
Acura has been Honda’s luxury brand for decades now and when you think of the Acura RDX compact crossover, you might associate it with the similarly sized Honda CR-V. You’d be right to do so since the RDX has spent most of its life sharing a platform with its more pedestrian Honda counterpart.
However, that changes for the 2019 model year which ushers in an all-new RDX based on a dedicated platform that, for the first time ever, is not shared with the CR-V. It also has a different engine that you can’t get in the Honda, meaning the RDX is the most different it has ever been from the CR-V. Let’s dive into those differences and find out which compact crossover is right for you.
Despite technically coming from the same manufacturer, these two crossovers don’t share all that much in common visually. They’re even sized differently now with the RDX being six inches longer and two inches wider than the CR-V giving it a bit more of an athletic stance. The new RDX handsomely wears Acura’s new diamond pentagon grille and it has lots of sharp edges in its aesthetic giving it that premium, yet sporty appearance. The CR-V is a nice-looking crossover, but it won’t turn many heads in traffic.
Despite the Acura being a little bigger than the Honda, the CR-V offers more interior space thanks to its clever packaging. The Honda has class-leading cargo space and ample room in the back seat. beating the longer Acura in both categories. On the other hand, the RDX has a generously sized interior compared to competing compact luxury crossovers, but having less space than the Honda makes it a little less practical between the two. See the 2019 Acura RDX models for sale near you
That said, the interior of the new RDX is a big upgrade over its previous generations. It’s available with real wood interior trim and improved materials throughout topped off by a design that’s both aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing. The CR-V has a great interior too, but again, it’s clear that one was designed more for luxury and the other was designed more for practicality. See the 2019 Honda CR-V models for sale near you
The new RDX ditches the V6 from its previous generation goes back to its roots with a turbocharged inline-four engine. The CR-V is also available with a turbo four, but it’s different from the one you get in the Acura.
2019 Honda CR-V engines
2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four; 184 horsepower, 180 lb-ft of torque; 26 mpg city/32 mpg hwy
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four; 190 hp, 179 lb-ft of torque; 28 mpg city/34 mpg hwy
2019 Acura RDX engine
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four; 272 hp, 280 lb-ft of torque; 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy
It’s extremely clear which of these crossovers prioritizes fuel economy and which one puts more of an emphasis on performance. The sole engine in the RDX delivers fantastic performance, but returns fuel economy that’s not even close to what the CR-V offers. On the flip side, the engines in the Honda have adequate performance, but blows away the Acura in terms of fuel economy, especially the 1.5-liter turbo engine, which we strongly recommend if you’re shopping for a CR-V.
Both models come standard with front-wheel drive and are available with all-wheel drive. However, their AWD systems are not created equal. The CR-V’s AWD system gets the job done by activating the rear wheels if it notices the front wheels slipping. If you upgrade to AWD in the Acura, you’re getting the newest generation of the SH-AWD system, which can deliver more power to individual wheels based not only in need of traction in bad road conditions, but also to improve performance on dry roads.
Features and Technology
Every 2019 CR-V except the base model (which you probably aren’t looking at if you’re cross-shopping with the RDX) comes standard with some impressive tech. This includes a 7-in infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and the Honda Sensing safety tech suite, which includes collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and lane-keeping assist. Other standard featured on the EX trim and up include heated front seats, remote start, a power moonroof, automatic high beams, and a blind spot monitoring.
The 2019 RDX comes standard with the same driver-assistance features as Honda Sensing (but packaged as "AcuraWatch") and has a bigger 10.2-in infotainment system that comes standard. Upgrading to the Technology package adds 12-speaker premium audio, navigation, blind spot monitoring and leather seats. The sporty A-Spec package adds a cool appearance package inside and out plus 16-speaker surround sound. Finally, the range-topping Advance package is as luxurious as the RDX gets with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, the same 16-speaker audio in the A-Spec model, high-grade materials like Milano leather and natural olive ash burl wood trim, a surround-view camera and more.
There is no price overlap between the Honda and the Acura. The top-of-the-line CR-V Touring equipped with AWD has an MSRP of $34,150 and the base, FWD RDX starts at $37,400. On the lower end, the CR-V starts in the mid-$20k range, while the higher end of the RDX can get into high-$40k territory when fully loaded. Which is the more affordable model is obvious, but which is a better value is debatable when you factor in the better engine and more sophisticated AWD system in the Acura.
By now, you’ve probably figured out that the Honda is the practical, budget-friendly choice and the Acura is the more premium, higher-performance choice. If you’re shopping for a pragmatic family vehicle, then you might find more to love in the CR-V with its spacious interior and better fuel economy. But if you want something that’s a little more fun for the driver and you have the budget for it, the new RDX is an excellent way to blend strong performance with everyday practicality. Find an Acura RDX for sale or Find a Honda CR-V for sale