Compact luxury SUVs offer an affordable way to get the kind of refinement only luxury automakers can build. They’re also great all-around rides, with lots of cargo space and none of the clunky handling associated with huge vehicles. The Acura RDX and Lexus NX are two of our top choices. Here’s how they stack up.

2023 Acura RDX

The Acura RDX looks sharp and combines superb build quality and a long list of standard features. Acura’s simple trim-level approach means even a base RDX is well-equipped, and buyers face few choices. The RDX starts at $41,350. View listings near you

Acura RDX Highlights

Easy choices: Acura doesn’t waste your time. There’s one well-equipped trim level and just a few options packages to choose from. A base RDX is a well-equipped car. Buying this one is simple. Buying an NX? Be ready to be overwhelmed with decisions – there are even four drivetrains to choose from.

Complimentary maintenance: Speaking of simple, for 2023, Acura takes the complexity out of ownership, too. Every 2023 RDX comes with two years of complimentary maintenance.

Available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD): Every compact luxury SUV has the option of sure-footed all-wheel drive (AWD) for foul weather. Acura’s available SH-AWD system, though, is fun on dry pavement. It uses torque vectoring to enhance handling in all conditions. The NX is also available with AWD or a handling upgrade, but they’re separate, added-cost options.

2023 Lexus NX

2022 Lexus NX

The Lexus NX is a highly customizable compact SUV with four powertrain choices and among the highest resale values in the industry. It was all-new for the 2022 model year, so Lexus hasn’t seen much reason to update it for 2023. The Lexus NX starts at $39,755. View listings near you

Lexus NX Highlights

Hybrid options: The NX is available with two hybrid powertrains. The NX 350h is a conventional hybrid that returns 39 combined mpg, while the NX 450h+ is a plug-in hybrid that makes 302 horsepower and can go up to 37 miles on electricity alone.

Make it your own: Acura dealers may make your choices simple, but Lexus dealers give you customization options like no one else. There are 14 possible color combinations for the interior alone (not every option is available at every trim level). You can make an NX to fit your preferences.

Available 1,800-watt sound system: All luxury automakers offer excellent audio systems. But Lexus outdoes itself. The 17-speaker, 1,800-watt Mark Levinson surround sound system available in the NX is pricey (adding up to $2,125 to the sticker, depending on the other packages you selected). But it might be the best sound experience available in a compact SUV.


These are both well-rounded small SUVs with great reliability reputations and strong resale value. They offer similar space inside, and their starting prices are among the lowest in their class.


It’s hard to go wrong with a Lexus or an Acura, but the 2023 Lexus NX and Acura RDX have different virtues. The Lexus is more customizable and has two great hybrid powertrain choices. But it’s easy to get carried away with options and spend thousands more than you wanted to. The Acura is an outstanding value and makes ownership incredibly simple. Only you can know which approach is right for you.


2023 Acura RDX 2023 Lexus NX
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter turbo I4 2.5-liter I4
Horsepower 272 hp @ 6,500 rpm 203 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission 10-spd automatic 8-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 24 mpg (22 city/28 hwy) 28 mpg (26 city/33 hwy)
Also Available All-wheel drive 2.4-liter turbo I4; 2.5-liter hybrid I4; CVT; AWD
Basic warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 6 years/70,000 miles 6 years/70,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars n/a
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 108.3 inches 105.9 inches
Overall Length 186.8 inches 183.5 inches
Width 74.8 inches 73.4 inches
Height 65.7 inches 65.4 inches
Turning Diameter 38.9 feet 38.0 feet
Headroom, Front 40.0 inches 38.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.0 inches 38.5 inches
Legroom, Front 42.0 inches 41.0 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.0 inches 36.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 60.0 inches 56.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 57.0 inches 54.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 104.0 cubic feet n/a
EPA Cargo Volume 29.5/58.9 cubic feet 22.7/46.9 cubic feet


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