Compared: 2022 Acura RDX vs. 2022 Acura MDX

When comparing Acura's compact and midsize SUVs, it's not just about size and price.

 2022 Acura MDX in silver vs 2022 Acura RDX in blueAcura | MDX (top), RDX

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Compared to the laundry lists of SUVs offered by luxury brands such as BMW (seven models) and Mercedes-Benz (nine models), Acura keeps things simple. Honda's premium brand sells just two crossovers: the midsize, three-row Acura MDX and the compact Acura RDX.

Your decision between these two may be driven by your budget or size needs, but there are less obvious differences that may determine which one is best for you. The MDX comes loaded with features that help make it feel worth the extra money. It also seats up to seven passengers, and there's a sportier Type S model that can appeal to lead-footed drivers. The RDX offers space for five-passengers in a more fuel-efficient package.

2022 Acura MDX in blueAcura | RDX

2022 Acura RDX vs. 2022 Acura MDX: Price

There's about a $7,000 difference between the base prices of the Acura RDX and MDX. The RDX, with a 272-hp turbocharged four-cylinder, starts at around $42,000 for a front-wheel-drive (FWD) model, while all-wheel-drive (AWD) models start at nearly $44,000. The RDX tops out at almost $54,000 for the AWD A-Spec model with the Advance Package.

The MDX comes with a standard 290-hp V6 and FWD with a base price of about $49,000. AWD models are priced from around $51,000 with the top-trim Advance Package tacking on more than $11,000 to that price. The MDX is also available in a performance-oriented Type S trim with a 355-hp turbocharged V6 and a starting price of nearly $68,000.

2022 Acura MDX interior dashboardAcura | MDX

2022 Acura RDX vs. 2022 Acura MDX: Interior

The extra cost of the MDX buys you additional passenger space that can be converted into cargo space on the fly, plus a few more features. The front two rows in both crossovers feel similar in terms of space, and while the MDX has a third row, it's fairly small with only 29.1 inches of legroom. When all three rows of seats are up, the MDX packs just 18 cubic-feet behind the third row compared to 31 cu-ft in the smaller Acura crossover. However, when you fold down the rearmost seats in the MDX, you're left with a generous 48 cu-ft for cargo.

A base RDX is a well-equipped car, with heated seats, a panoramic sunroof, and adaptive cruise control. The MDX layers on more features, such as a larger 12.3-inch screen for the infotainment system (the RDX uses a 10.2-inch screen) and a digital instrument cluster. It offers greater availability of rain-sensing wipers, standard three-zone climate control (compared to the RDX's dual-zone setup), and standard memory seats.

Before you buy an MDX or RDX, make sure you're comfortable with Acura's True Touchpad Interface, which is used to control the audio and navigation systems. Using the laptop-like trackpad in a moving vehicle can be frustrating and requires frequent glances at the screen. For some drivers, this interface may be reason enough to look at offerings from another brand.

2022 Acura MDX driver information displayAcura | MDX

2022 Acura RDX vs. 2022 Acura MDX: Fuel economy

The RDX's turbocharged four-cylinder manages 24 mpg in the base model, while AWD and higher trims see 23 mpg.

The naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine in the MDX delivers 22 mpg with FWD. AWD models for the MDX only suffer 1-2 mpg. The Type S's extra power impacts the fuel economy the most, with a rating of 19 mpg.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication), and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad is an award-winning automotive journalist who has contributed to several automotive, electric vehicle, luxury lifestyle, and technology publications. His work isn't just limited to the written word, as he's also hosted YouTube videos and podcasts. Having grown up in the '90s, he has a strong sense of attachment to that era's style, though he also loves to geek out about the modern, futuristic tech and powertrains rolling out today.