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2021 Honda CR-V vs Acura RDX

2021 Honda CR-V vs Acura RDX

2021 CR-V vs RDX - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

Are you in the market for a capable small SUV this model year? You are likely looking for something that is not bulky to drive but still offers plenty of space in the cabin and cargo area. You probably also want something that is actually exciting to drive, that handles more like a spunky sedan than a big SUV. And, of course, infotainment and safety features are going to need to be in abundance since you want the most bang for your buck.

Out of the 2021 Honda CR-V and the 2021 Acura RDX, one of those SUVs will check all your boxes (and then some). We probably won't be able to hide which one that is too well, so we'll just say it up front: it is the CR-V. In fact, out of the entire 2021 segment, the CR-V gives buyers the best deal.

The CR-V is an impressive option due to its features and value, but there's another choice with a higher price tag that might be better suited for your needs - the Acura RDX. Both vehicles have similarities since Honda owns Acura; if you go this route, you can rest assured knowing it will provide excellent performance no matter which one fits your budget!

But these two vehicles certainly warrant an in-depth comparison. Nothing is really new for the CR-V this model year, as 2022 will mark the debut of the CR-V's sixth generation. While the 2022 CR-V promises a lot of fantastic changes, the 2021 model is nothing to scoff at, at all. Buyers tend to enjoy how well its engine balances fuel economy with power. They also talk quite a bit about how roomy the cabin is for passengers fore and aft, not to mention how much versatility is wrapped up in the cargo area's smart design. The ride quality is comfortable yet athletic, striking a near-perfect balance. Overall, this vehicle is designed for families who are always on the go.

The CR-V provides plenty of power for daily driving, but its towing capacity may be a downside for some purchasers. With only 1,500 lbs of total capacity compared with the segment standard 3,500 lbs in tow weight maximums - this should definitely be taken into consideration when deciding if it is right vehicle. Additionally, users have reported that while the touchscreen technology has been improved upon since previous models; however there can still sometimes be an issue navigating through menu items while trying to concentrate on maneuvering your journey as well.

The 2021 Acura RDX is a luxurious vehicle that features precision steering and handling. It stands out from its competitors with an abundance of technology inside the high-end cabin, featuring fancy materials to boot. For those looking for something extra special, there's the limited 360 unit PMC Edition model option boasting exclusive Thermal Orange body paint along with matching orange stitching on seats and glossy black trim elements outside - all making it one hot ride!

While the RDX offers a dependable powertrain with its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, lack of additional options and costlier bundled packages may sway one towards considering other competitors in this segment such as the CR-V. The infotainment system also comes equipped with an inconveniently placed touchpad controller which could be further reasons to opt for something else instead.

That being said, let us take a closer look at the powertrain specs, drivability factors, and safety features included on each SUV. This should help us illustrate why the CR-V is the best option for most buyers.

Price Tip
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The Powertrain

A powertrain can make or break the driving experience. When it comes to a small SUV, you should expect to get a decent blend of power and fuel efficiency. How do the CR-V and RDX deliver on this balance? Let's find out.

The 2021 Honda CR-V is powered by a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 190 hp. A continuously variable automatic transmission (which is often referred to by its acronym, CVT) comes matched up with it and delivers power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available across the entire line-up. The CR-V has a hybrid variant, which offers more fuel efficiency.

The 2021 Acura RDX is an all-encompassing machine of power and control. Drivers can choose between FWD or AWD on any trim level, plus the Advance version provides Adaptive Suspension Dampers for improved handling and ride comfort with its turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder engine producing a punchy 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft torque coupled to a smooth 10–speed automatic transmission.


What exactly makes a vehicle a pain or pleasure to drive? It is not just about how much power the engine serves up, although that is part of it. Drivability is a more all-encompassing term that we use to describe how well the vehicle accelerates, brakes, steers, handles, offers ride comfort, and even how function its technology can be.

With the 2021 Honda CR-V, you get a standard turbo engine that delivers enough power to get the vehicle from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 8.2 seconds, which is a quick time for this segment. The CVT is geared for efficiency, sure, but it also does an effortless job of delivering power to the wheels. In fact, we would dare say that Honda has made an art of their CVTs, getting them as close to perfection as possible. This one has responses that feel natural in almost any given situation.

Steering and handling also place the CR-V above the competition. The CR-V handles turns with ease, and the steering feels precise and on-center. This keeps the body motions well under control. With the compliant suspension offering plush comfort, passengers will feel cozy. There is some minor wind and tire noise, but it is nothing intrusive. Rough road surfaces are no problem, even with the Touring's big 19-inch wheels.

As far as the seats go, you get plenty of support from the front ones. The rear seats are able to recline for extra relaxation, and rear HVAC vents distribute air flow to the rear seat occupants. The only problem here is that the automatic climate control system sometimes struggles to maintain the set temperature.

That being said, the cabin itself is spacious. The wide door openings make entering and exiting the vehicle easy, and the driver's seat and tilting and telescoping steering wheel allow for a lot of adjustability. The controls up front can be slightly aggravating, given that they can be hard to press while driving. You do get standard smartphone app integration, and the higher the trim level, the more USB ports you get. While the built-in navigation screen displays clear graphics, the voice controls are clunky, as are some of the buttons on the touchscreen.

The 2021 Acura RDX obviously holds up well against its counterpart. It is a strong performer with regard to the turbo engine. It can sprint the RDX to 60 miles per hour in 7 seconds flat, which is respectable for this segment despite not being a best-in-class time. Predictable and strong, the brakes also inspire quite a bit of confidence. SH-AWD minimizes body roll and keeps the RDX firmly planted on the ground; it is especially helpful for driving over slick road surfaces. Steering is light and easy in parking lots and builds up bulk as you get the vehicle up to speed on the highway.

Comfort is the name of the game here. The front seats can come with heating and ventilation, and the rear outboard seats can have heating too. Jagged road surfaces are no match for the compliant suspension, which dispatches bumps with ease. Cabin noise remains well muted for the most part, and what you hear is standard for a small SUV. And, while this climate control system regulates temperature well, the front air vents are pointed right at the driver's hands - perhaps not an ideal placement for some folks.

The cabin of this ride has a unique look and feel, but the amount of usable features may leave you wanting more. Despite having an eye-catching design with its touchpad controller, shifter arrangement and tiny climate control buttons it could be difficult to use effectively while bulky roof pillars limit visibility even further; not helped by power-operated hinges on the rear hatch blocking what is behind.

The cabin of this vehicle is more than spacious, boasting the latest in tech gadgetry. Buyers can take advantage of its new touchpad interface and high-tech infotainment system with booming sound quality though a learning curve might be present for those less familiar with such technology. While Android Auto isn't available yet, Acura assures they are swiftly working to make it accessible soon!

Buying Tip:

To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.


As you might reasonably imagine, safety is paramount for Honda and Acura. For decades, Honda has carried the torch for safety innovation and standards. Every Honda manufactured in 2021 comes with Honda Sensing, a bundle of driver aids aimed to keep vehicles safe on the road. This includes forward collision warning, which will alert you when an impending frontal crash is detected. Collision mitigation braking will apply the brakes for you to help avoid impact. Lane departure warning will alert you if the vehicle strays outside of its lane, and lane keeping assist will gently steer the CR-V back into its intended lane. Adaptive cruise control sets a safe following speed from the vehicle in front of the CR-V. Adaptive headlights are included as well. Upgrading will get you more features, such as a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.

The RDX is similarly equipped with driver aids. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, and lane departure warning are all standard. The Technology adds a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors for the front and rear of the vehicle. Upping it to the Advance gets you a 360-degree surround-view camera system for a full bird's-eye view of the RDX.

Which Has the Best Value?

The 2021 Acura RDX delivers considerable bang for your buck, yet its hefty sticker price may leave many shoppers looking elsewhere. The Honda CR-V offers a more affordable alternative without skimping on features - the two vehicles are virtually identical in that respect. On top of all this, the CR-V's fuel efficiency gives it an edge compared to other similar SUVs plus added visibility with excellent outward view capabilities from behind the wheel.

Which is Better?

The RDX may tantalize drivers with its sophisticated design and cutting-edge features, but the CR-V is ideal for families looking to maximize their everyday adventures. Those seeking a practical vehicle that offers plenty of room combined with unparalleled versatility will find just what they need in the sensible yet enjoyable Honda CR-V.

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