Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2022 Toyota Highlander VS 2022 Acura RDX Near Phoenix, AZ

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2022 Toyota Highlander

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VS

2022 Acura RDX

Safety Comparison

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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Highlander are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The RDX doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The RDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RDX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Highlander Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The RDX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Highlander’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The RDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Highlander and the RDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Toyota Highlander is safer than the Acura RDX:

Highlander

RDX

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

292

300

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/243 lbs.

328/464 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

328

353

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

28.4%

30%

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RDX.

There are almost 5 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Highlander’s reliability 35 points higher than the RDX.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Highlander third among upper midsize suvs in their 2021 Initial Quality Study. The RDX isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2021 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 13th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2021 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ January 2021 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Acura is ranked 28th.

Engine Comparison

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The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 23 more horsepower (295 vs. 272) than the RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the Highlander FWD gets better fuel mileage than the RDX A-Spec FWD (21 city/29 hwy vs. 22 city/27 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander uses regular unleaded gasoline. The RDX requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the Highlander’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RDX:

Highlander

RDX

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

12.2 inches

The Highlander’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the RDX are solid, not vented.

The Highlander stops much shorter than the RDX:

Highlander

RDX

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander’s wheelbase is 3.9 inches longer than on the RDX (112.2 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .7 inches wider in the rear than on the RDX.

The Highlander’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the RDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the Highlander more stable handling and braking.

The Highlander XLE AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the RDX AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Highlander’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the RDX’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.9 feet).

Passenger Space Comparison

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The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the RDX can only carry 5.

The Highlander has 37.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RDX (141.3 vs. 104).

The Highlander has 1.6 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 2.6 inches more rear legroom, 7.1 inches more rear hip room and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the RDX.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander’s middle and third row seats recline. The RDX’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The Highlander’s cargo area provides more volume than the RDX.

Highlander

RDX

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

31.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

79.8 cubic feet

Ergonomics Comparison

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To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The RDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Highlander Limited/Platinum has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The RDX doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the Highlander owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Highlander with a number “8” insurance rate while the RDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Highlander is less expensive to operate than the RDX because it costs $191 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Highlander than the RDX, including $153 less for a water pump, $277 less for a muffler, $270 less for front brake pads, $37 less for a starter, $163 less for front struts and $853 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

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Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Highlander, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Acura RDX isn't recommended.

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Acura RDX by almost five to one during the 2021 model year.

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