Compact luxury SUVs offer an affordable way to get the kind of refinement only luxury automakers can build. They’re also great all-around rides, with lots of cargo space and none of the clunky handling associated with huge vehicles. The Acura RDX and Lexus NX are two of our top choices. Here’s how they stack up.
2023 Acura RDX
The Acura RDX looks sharp and combines superb build quality and a long list of standard features. Acura’s simple trim-level approach means even a base RDX is well-equipped, and buyers face few choices. The RDX starts at $41,350. View listings near you
Acura RDX Highlights
Easy choices: Acura doesn’t waste your time. There’s one well-equipped trim level and just a few options packages to choose from. A base RDX is a well-equipped car. Buying this one is simple. Buying an NX? Be ready to be overwhelmed with decisions – there are even four drivetrains to choose from.
Complimentary maintenance: Speaking of simple, for 2023, Acura takes the complexity out of ownership, too. Every 2023 RDX comes with two years of complimentary maintenance.
Available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD): Every compact luxury SUV has the option of sure-footed all-wheel drive (AWD) for foul weather. Acura’s available SH-AWD system, though, is fun on dry pavement. It uses torque vectoring to enhance handling in all conditions. The NX is also available with AWD or a handling upgrade, but they’re separate, added-cost options.
2023 Lexus NX
The Lexus NX is a highly customizable compact SUV with four powertrain choices and among the highest resale values in the industry. It was all-new for the 2022 model year, so Lexus hasn’t seen much reason to update it for 2023. The Lexus NX starts at $39,755. View listings near you
Lexus NX Highlights
Hybrid options: The NX is available with two hybrid powertrains. The NX 350h is a conventional hybrid that returns 39 combined mpg, while the NX 450h+ is a plug-in hybrid that makes 302 horsepower and can go up to 37 miles on electricity alone.
Make it your own: Acura dealers may make your choices simple, but Lexus dealers give you customization options like no one else. There are 14 possible color combinations for the interior alone (not every option is available at every trim level). You can make an NX to fit your preferences.
Available 1,800-watt sound system: All luxury automakers offer excellent audio systems. But Lexus outdoes itself. The 17-speaker, 1,800-watt Mark Levinson surround sound system available in the NX is pricey (adding up to $2,125 to the sticker, depending on the other packages you selected). But it might be the best sound experience available in a compact SUV.
These are both well-rounded small SUVs with great reliability reputations and strong resale value. They offer similar space inside, and their starting prices are among the lowest in their class.
It’s hard to go wrong with a Lexus or an Acura, but the 2023 Lexus NX and Acura RDX have different virtues. The Lexus is more customizable and has two great hybrid powertrain choices. But it’s easy to get carried away with options and spend thousands more than you wanted to. The Acura is an outstanding value and makes ownership incredibly simple. Only you can know which approach is right for you.
|2023 Acura RDX||2023 Lexus NX|
|Engine||2.0-liter turbo I4||2.5-liter I4|
|Horsepower||272 hp @ 6,500 rpm||203 hp @ 6,600 rpm|
|Torque||280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm||184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm|
|Transmission||10-spd automatic||8-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||24 mpg (22 city/28 hwy)||28 mpg (26 city/33 hwy)|
|Also Available||All-wheel drive||2.4-liter turbo I4; 2.5-liter hybrid I4; CVT; AWD|
|Basic warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||6 years/70,000 miles||6 years/70,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 Stars||n/a|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||108.3 inches||105.9 inches|
|Overall Length||186.8 inches||183.5 inches|
|Width||74.8 inches||73.4 inches|
|Height||65.7 inches||65.4 inches|
|Turning Diameter||38.9 feet||38.0 feet|
|Headroom, Front||40.0 inches||38.3 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||38.0 inches||38.5 inches|
|Legroom, Front||42.0 inches||41.0 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||38.0 inches||36.1 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||60.0 inches||56.3 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||57.0 inches||54.0 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||104.0 cubic feet||n/a|
|EPA Cargo Volume||29.5/58.9 cubic feet||22.7/46.9 cubic feet|