Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Comparison 2018 BMW X3 vs 2019 Acura RDX Quick Comparison

2018 BMW X3 vs 2019 Acura RDX Quick Comparison

A more important segment for large-scale luxury automakers, there isn’t. The small luxury crossover category has seemingly overnight taken over as the best-seller for all brands- if it’s not #1, then it’s #2.

The segment is loaded with heavy hitters such as the Audi Q5, Lexus NX, Mercedes GLC, Porsche Macan and a few more. For this comparison, we pit one of the most popular with one of the latest additions to see which one deserves your attention. Is it the Bavarian Favorite, or Acura’s New Kid on the block?

Which is more enjoyable to drive?

Acura’s elected to stay with a single engine offer for 2019. The 272-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-litre provides plenty of power on paper however the end result is average performance. The standard 10-speed automatic transmission affords no real advantage acceleration-wise, or on any level where performance is concerned.

The base BMW X3 uses the brand’s much utilized turbocharged 2.0-litre mill. While its power is down compared to the RDX at 248-horsepower, the 4-cylinder’s vim and vigor matched to the well-sorted 8-speed automatic transmission delivers very similar forward motion. Those looking for serious power in a small CUV can select the M40i version with its 355-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-litre 6-cylinder engine.

The 2019 RDX’s modern chassis and sport-tuned suspension allow it to handle quite well. The ultimate RDX however is the top-line Platinum Elite. Its unique adaptive dampers make all the difference. They provide a broad spectrum of comfortable and sporty driving characteristics.

The 2018 X3 rides with masterful control in nearly all settings. The roughest surfaces will upset the CUV quite a bit but generally speaking, the BMW owns the road. The M40i and its M Sport suspension challenge the laws of physics where grip and handling are concerned.


Acura RDX
Acura RDX

Both are very good at making the driving experience enjoyable however we have to hand it to BMW for its more engaging product. The new RDX is quite good however.

Answer: the 2018 BMW X3

Which is more fuel-efficient?

You’ll have noticed that the vast majority of the players in the segment offer 4-cylinder engines, either on their own, or with an optional 6-cylinder engine for those that have a sportier variation.

Most turbocharged 4-cylinder engines deliver an impressive mix of power and fuel economy. In this duo, the Acura RDX’s powertrain is the more frugal of the two, by 10%.

Answer: the 2019 Acura RDX

Which is more spacious?

Both vehicles offer generous amounts of room in every respect. Boot size is nearly identical behind the 2nd row and in total volume. Designers at Acura however did a better job of maximising the available interior space.

Acura RDX 2019
Acura RDX 2019

2019 BMW X3
2019 BMW X3

In both case, front occupants are very well treated.

Answer: the 2019 Acura RDX

Which has the better value?

Unlike BMW, Acura needs to make a case for itself in order to convince consumers to sign on the dotted line. Ensuring that their product provides loads of value is one way to do it.

The base RDX is $43,990 and if you dare even look at the X3, it’ll require at least $48,000. The Acura is by far better equipped. The best example to support this is if you desire Apple CarPlay in your BMW, the price jumps $4,900. At $48,650, the RDX Tech is small bargain by comparison. If you want performance and prestige, the $61,500 M40i is impossible to match however…

Answer: the 2019 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX vs 2019 BMW X3 35
2019 Acura RDX

2019 BMW X3

Which would we recommend?

We quickly fell for the Acura RDX. Its contemporary styling, luxurious cabin and value proposition make it a sure bet as it covers all angles, save for one. And the one element is brand recognition.

There’s a funny thing going on with the latest Acuras where we only see A-Spec versions of the RDX (and TLX). The reason is that it’s the only one that stands out, that truly looks premium and matches BMW’s aura. At just over $50,000 the RDX A-Spec would be the one we would select over an X3, if Acura would make one change for 2020; include the adaptive dampers with the A-Spec.

If we think long and hard about it, we’d opt for the X3 xDrive30i on a 48-month lease. We’d never second-guess our choice plus, as the 2018 model-year comes to an end, BMW’s suddenly become quite aggressive with their rates.

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Matt St-Pierre
Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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