Last post on Nov 24, 2009 at 11:53 AM
You are in the Acura RDX
What is this discussion about?
Acura RDX, BMW X3, Car Buying, SUV
Sep 11, 2006 (9:51 am)
Let me preface this by saying that I have a case of advanced BMW nuttiness. I believe that all German cars have a unique feel to them that has not been duplicated by any other manufacturer, but BMWs best exemplify this feel.
I'll also add that I can't get that excited about the Acura TSX or TL. Maybe I drove them on the wrong roads, or didn't give them enough of a chance, but to me the TL felt like an Accord with Bluetooth and a slightly nicer interior, and the TSX handled well but was lacking in torque.
I own a 2006 3-series (the E90 model). I spent a little over a week with a loaner X3 this summer. I haven't compared dimensions, but the X3 felt like it was within spitting distance of the E90 in length and width. The X3 felt very narrow to be so tall, and the tall greenhouse only amplifies this look. I find it to be a little odd-looking. The interior had some cheap touches, and it used BMW's last-generation flexible-service system (like the E46). It also didn't have the triple turn signal activation of other recent BMW models. My loaner was a non-sport-package model with an automatic. The ride and handling were good, even without the sport package. The engine was not as smooth and quiet as the one in the E90. The leatherette and other interior plastics appeared to be a lower grade than in the E90. I haven't yet seen or driven a 2007 X3, but it is supposed to have the next-generation inline-six engine (with its NVH refinements), as well as an upgraded interior. These improvements should address my main concerns about the X3, but I haven't seen or experienced them yet.
I drove a 2007 Acura RDX a couple of days ago. I will try to attack the issues in a similar order as I did with the X3. The RDX was a comfortable size--I understand its dimensions are nearly identical to the 2007 Honda CRV, which is about the same as the X3. The RDX did not share the same tall-but-narrow feeling I got in the X3. I think I prefer its styling to the X3. There are a ton of steering wheel controls, but if you get the technology package, you only need one or two of them (the voice command buttons). (The X3 I drove was a base model, so I can't really compare the integration of technology between the two.) The instrumentation is similarly busy, with a boost gauge and a graphic that shows you the torque split between the four wheels. I pretty much ignored the satnav, boost gauge, and other gizmos and concentrated on driving the car. I was impressed. Ride and handling were good, as was acceleration. The engine was smooth, although you can tell from its note that it is a four-cylinder, and there is little turbo lag. I did notice transmission lag when I went from about 30% throttle to about 80% throttle--it took a moment before the transmission kicked down two gears. Perhaps this trait would improve as the car's brain adapted to one's driving style. I couldn't believe it, but the RDX was truly fun to drive. Then there is the interior. As I noted, the steering wheel controls (as well as the center stack) are busy, but the dash materials are of a higher quality than the X3. The RDX lacks a memory driver's seat, power passenger seat, and rear A/C ducts. These are things that I could live without, but other buyers may not be so forgiving.
I prefer the 2007 RDX to the 2006 X3. I may prefer the 2007 X3 to the 2007 RDX, but probably not at the price difference it will command.
#58 of 327 Re: X3 vs. RDX [corvette]
Sep 11, 2006 (10:54 am)
Very good writeup.
#59 of 327 Re: X3 vs. RDX [corvette]
Sep 12, 2006 (7:06 am)
Great review, much appreciated.
My X3 is exactly 2 years old and I love it. If it is a little high and narrow I don't care...I love the big windows and command seating position. I also like the styling and although the interior could be a little jazzier, it is extremely comfortable and well thought out.
The RDX is certainly worth a test drive though. I wouldn't hesitate to try one out when the time comes, based on reviews and comments like yours.
Thanks, that was very helpful.
Sep 12, 2006 (3:33 pm)
I see big full page ads for the RDX in the newspapers today. IMO it would look a lot better without the second upper grill - just leave the one grill on the bottom. Then it looks more like a Cayanne!!!!
#61 of 327 Re: Ads in paper [driver100]
Sep 12, 2006 (3:38 pm)
"Then it looks more like a Cayanne!!!!"
Good Lord, hope not!!
#62 of 327 Re: Great Competition [markcincinnati]
Sep 12, 2006 (10:18 pm)
I did take an extensive test drive of an RDX with the Technology Package ($37K.)
Am I the only one to notice that RDX has a lot less front leg room than X3? I am certainly not a giant (6-1), but there is no way I can fully stretch my legs in an RDX. That's pretty much where my test drive ended before it even began.
No problem at all in X3... Or in my wife's FX35...
#63 of 327 Re: Great Competition [dmitrys]
Sep 13, 2006 (7:12 am)
I am x-act-ly 6' -- so, no, I did not notice an issue, but I am glad you posted it for all to see.
The RDX when well equipped, next to an X3 also well equipped with be $10,000 less out of the chute.
The BMW is in many ways a superior vehicle -- even if you are not taken by its styling. The same styling comments apply to the Acura.
The question will be the $10,000.
In my mind, the BMW is easily "worth" at least $5K more.
I mean, I can FIND the differences at that price point.
The remaining $5,000 differences are more subtle, more abstract and for some -- even if they can detect them -- will be difficult to justify at that level.
Things cost what they cost and are priced accordingly. I am not suggesting there is price gouging going on here, not at all.
I am suggesting that the RDX has "merit" when put next to a $10,000 more expensive X3.
I also didn't say I would get an RDX.
I think it is not inaccurate to say, however, that I would at least "pause" now that I have driven one. For some who are less thrilled with the German cars, but who might be candidates for a new X3, this pause may be enough for BMW to lose a convert.
I cannot imagine BMW will radically drop the price of the X3 -- I don't know how much wiggle room there is in terms of content or performance even.
I do think BMW has some real competition in the RDX and that is -- for the market, if not for BMW -- a good thing.
After our X school experience, I think I can find that $5000 without too much effort, tho.
#64 of 327 Re: X3 vs. RDX [corvette]
Sep 14, 2006 (7:58 am)
Good post - from a driver’s perspective. From a car enthusiast however, the comparison lacks the fundamental difference. The X3 is built on a rear-wheel platform and the xDrive only distributed power to the front wheels when rear wheel slip is detected. Once the X3 is moving, the power is applied to the rear. The RDX on the other hand, is the exact apposite. It sends power to the rear when substantial throttle is applied to avoid any wheel spin, buy once the car is going - it acts much like an ordinary front driver.
So fundamentally, the chassis dynamics create a very different driving characteristic.
If you love to drive - go with the BMW. If you prefer the RDX, get the even cheaper Honda CRV.
You are so right about the interior. The materials used in the X3 look like a cheap imitation from Korea. Fit and finish could be better too. The Acura on the other hand is lined with very nice soft leather, the controls are much better placed and feel better to the touch. The RDX is also quieter on the road, although you can hear the turbo whistling moderately.
RDX’s engine definitely feels more powerful off the line, but that should be fixed with the introduction of the updated, 260bhp 3.0L engine on the 2007 X3. At highway speeds I prefer the X3’s smoother engine and a better auto transmission. 90% of the time, the BMW’s auto shifts where you would if you had the manual, although the “Sport” mode will bring more joy.
All in all, two fantastic vehicles! The only shame is that BMW had to wait for some decent competition to finally address some of the basic issues, like the lack of power and interior quality.
#65 of 327 Re: X3 vs RDX [snapcracklepop]
Sep 14, 2006 (8:13 am)
The 2007 X3 should arrive at your local BMW dealer about the same time as the new X5 - end of October, begining of Novernber.
#66 of 327 Re: X3 vs. RDX [ctski1]
Sep 14, 2006 (9:39 am)
Like I said, I didn't pay much attention to the torque split graph on the dash of the RDX, but it seemed to be about 50/50 when accelerating. I didn't push the car that hard. It seems to be a well-designed system. I think there's a much larger difference between FWD and RWD than front-biased AWD and rear-biased AWD, especially with an AWD system that seems to be very predictive in sending power to the opposite wheels.
It's obvious even during sedate driving that the Acura TL or Volvo S80 is FWD, and this is a difference that's more than just academic to me as it makes them less enjoyable to drive. It's less obvious that the RDX or X3 is biased towards the front or rear--this distinction is less important to me so long as the car doesn't exhibit torque steer due to FWD bias.