North Georgia Ford Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 Acura RDX Near Calhoun, GA

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2017 Ford Explorer

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2017 Acura RDX

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The RDX doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Explorer and the RDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The Ford Explorer weighs 507 to 1164 pounds more than the Acura RDX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Acura RDX:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

214 lbs.

398 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

69 G’s


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




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

Warranty Comparison

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the RDX’s (5 vs. 4 years).

There are over 14 times as many Ford dealers as there are Acura dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The RDX doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 1 more horsepower (280 vs. 279) and 58 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 252) than the RDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 11 more horsepower (290 vs. 279) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (255 vs. 252) than the RDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 86 more horsepower (365 vs. 279) and 98 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 252) than the RDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Explorer Sport/Platinum 3.5 turbo V6 is faster than the Acura RDX:




Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

6.2 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10 sec

10.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.8 sec

16.4 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3 sec

3.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14.8 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Explorer has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the RDX (18.6 vs. 16 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The RDX doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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




Front Rotors

13.85 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

12 inches

The Explorer’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 Explorer stops much shorter than the RDX:





70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the RDX (245/60R18 vs. 235/60R18). The Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RDX (255/50R20 vs. 235/60R18).

The Explorer’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RDX’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RDX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the RDX (112.8 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 3.9 inches wider in the front and 3.6 inches wider in the rear than on the RDX.

The Explorer’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55.1% to 44.9%) than the RDX’s (59.8% to 40.2%). This gives the Explorer more stable handling and braking.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the RDX AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The RDX doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Explorer Sport 4WD is quieter than the RDX AWD:




At idle

37 dB

39 dB


73 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the RDX can only carry 5.

The Explorer has 48 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RDX (151.5 vs. 103.5).

The Explorer has 2.7 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom, 3 inches more rear hip room and 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the RDX.

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

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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




Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


26.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

76.9 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the RDX’s in almost every dimension:




Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)






To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The RDX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer (except Base/XLT)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The RDX doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the RDX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RDX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The RDX doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its extra cost AcuraLink can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The RDX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the Explorer and the RDX offer available heated front seats. The Explorer also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the RDX.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Explorer’s optional (except Base) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The RDX doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional 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.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Explorer owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Explorer with a number “5” insurance rate while the RDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the RDX because typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the RDX, including $11 less for front brake pads, $113 less for a starter and $368 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Acura RDX by almost five to one during the 2016 model year.

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