2018 Acura RDX vs. 2018 Audi Q5

It’s an exciting time with the 2018 models getting ready to hit the lots, and two of the big names, Acura and Audi, are getting ready to roll out some of their best. The  Acura RDX and the Audi Q5 are set to go on sale soon, and both are attractive, luxury crossovers that are perfect for small families, young professionals, and anyone else who likes a bit more legroom and power under the hood.

A quick glimpse at the Acura RDX and the Audi Q5 won’t reveal much. There are differences, but the overall vibe is much the same. These two could definitely pass as siblings! Plus, with both having an “A” name, a lot of people are bound to get them mixed up. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see that there are notable differences between these luxury crossovers that will make a big impact on your buying decision.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Both the Acura RDX and the Audi Q5 will give you a quiet and smooth ride and great handling, but if you want more power, you’ll have to opt for the 2018 RDX.

The new Acura RDX comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 279 horsepower. When you drive it, you’ll feel like you can go over rocks and bumps with ease, and mud and rain won’t feel like a nuisance. The Audi Q5 isn’t a weakling, but it doesn’t outpace the RDX. The Q5 comes with a 2.0-liter intercooled turbo premium I4 engine that puts out 252 horsepower.

Of course, with more power comes more responsibility. That means that if you opt for the RDX and its V6, you’ll pay a little more to keep the tank filled. The new RDX gets an estimated 20 mpg in the city compared with the Q5’s 23 mpg in the city. It does do a little better on the highway – 28 mpg compared with the Q5’s 27 mpg. But overall, the Q5 still has a better combined fuel efficiency of 25 mpg compared with the RDX’s 23 mpg*.

The difference in fuel economy is not significant, but it may be enough to sway some budget-minded buyers. Others will see it as a small tradeoff to get the superior performance and other benefits that the Acura RDX offers.

Interior Features and Technology

As befitting luxury vehicles, both the new Acura RDX and the new Audi Q5 have gorgeous interiors that are packed with advanced convenience features.

The new Q5 has a high-tech interior that offers plenty of head and leg room for the front seat, making it a hit for taller drivers. The rear has about the same amount of room as what’s offered in the new RDX, but the seat also slides and reclines. All upholstery features high-quality, soft touch materials and stylish stitching.

Tech features that come standard with the Audi Q5 include an 8.3-inch tablet-like touchscreen for the infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, a 10-speaker sound system, and push-button ignition. A lot more is available, like heated seats, a larger touchscreen, a driver display screen that gets rid of gauges, and a more advanced speaker system, but you’ll have to pay a premium to get those things. The interior layout looks nice, but it’s certainly dated. Other than the quality of the materials, the look is just like something you might find in a budget counterpart.

With the new Acura RDX, you get a beautiful interior with a more upscale look. There’s not as much leg room in the front, but most drivers will find that the space is more than comfortable. The rear seats actually fold down, while the Q5’s don’t, and there’s plenty of room for cargo. The interior is also of higher quality as all the upholstery is leatherette.

Tech features that come standard with the Acura RDX include a rearview camera with three different views, a keyless access system, dual-zone climate control, an infotainment system with a touchscreen, a seven-speaker premium sound system, and satellite radio. Upgrades include a dual-screen setup, navigation, voice recognition, and a bigger sound system.

Pricing and Trim Options

Both the new RDX and the Q5 come at luxury prices, so they aren’t for the casual buyer.

The 2018 Acura RDX starts at $35,800. You can choose different trim levels or package options to get the features you want in either vehicle. The new RDX comes in only one trim level, but you can upgrade it with different packages. One option is to get all-wheel drive for an added $1,500. The Technology Package adds $3,700 to the base price, and it includes leather seats, additional safety features, a bigger touch screen, a 10-speaker sound system, and a GPS-linked climate system that automatically adjusts. (The GPS even adjusts based on which side of the car is getting the brunt of the sun.)

The AcuraWatch Plus Package adds $1,300 to the base price, and it includes a collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. The Advance Package is $1,700, and it includes ventilated front seats, front and rear vehicle sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and auto-dimming side mirrors. You have to get the Technology and AcuraWatch Plus packages to get the Advance Package, so it is more like the luxury trim option that combines all the available features of a vehicle.

The 2018 Audi Q5 starts at $41,500, which is just $1,000 less than the fully loaded RDX. There are three trim levels: The standard Premium, the Premium Plus, and the Prestige.

The Premium Plus starts at $45,500 and adds features like Audi side assist, rear cross traffic assist, LED headlights, keyless start, hands-free tailgate release, and heated front seats. The Prestige starts at $50,800 and adds features like the virtual cockpit with heads-up display, navigation, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a parking system with a top-view camera system.

Which is Right for You?

After looking through the list of features and figuring out your budget, the best way to decide which luxury crossover is best for you is to visit the dealership and take a test drive. You’ll get a real feel for which vehicle offers best performance and which offers the most luxurious interior and the best technology and safety features.

Overall, the 2018 Acura RDX offers much more bang for your buck, and it has a more stylish interior with more tech features. But don’t take our word for it! Come down to the dealership and see what makes it so special for yourself.



*Based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid models only) and other factors.

*Prices shown are Acura suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license or destination and handling charge. Destination & Handling charge is $995 for sedans and $995 for SUVs. Acura vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Dealers set their own prices. Please consult your selected dealer.