Smaller and more manageable luxury SUVs like the 2024 Volvo XC40 and 2024 Acura RDX can be both frugal and fun. You get the pride and prestige that come with a luxury-badged model, minus exceedingly steep prices and enormous fuel bills associated with larger luxury sport utility vehicles.

The Volvo XC40 competes among subcompact luxury SUVs and rolls into the 2024 model year with more horsepower and standard all-wheel drive (AWD). Having cut the previous entry-level model from the XC40 range, the new base model (dubbed the Core) also comes with extra comfort and tech items.

Acura also now equips the RDX with all-wheel drive on every model. Serving as the brand’s smallest sport-ute, the RDX is sized one class above the XC40. It competes more directly with compact luxury SUV rivals like the BMW X3, Genesis GV70, and Mercedes-Benz GLC. 

Does having a size advantage make the Acura RDX the better choice over the Volvo XC40? Let’s explore the highlights of each to find out.

2024 Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 has a starting price of $41,795, including destination fee, and all three trims come with a 247-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. 

During testing, we’ve found this powertrain capable of zipping the XC40 from zero to 60 mph in about 6.1 seconds. In town or on the highway, the XC40 exhibits an athletic yet relaxed driving demeanor that exudes refinement. 

Volvo XC40 Highlights

Roomy and stylish interior: We continually discover many things to like in the XC40’s handsome cabin. The materials look and feel modern and robust enough to withstand years of driving duty. Special mention goes to the front seats for their outstanding support, and the space in the second row is plenty accommodating for two adults.  

Google-based infotainment system: A 9-inch vertically-mounted infotainment touchscreen takes pride of place in the center of the dash. It has wireless smartphone connectivity and runs Google-based software, including Google Maps. This excellent system includes voice commands, multiple USB-C ports, and over-the-air updates.

More horsepower and standard features: Volvo dropped the previous front-wheel-drive XC40 and its less powerful 4-cylinder engine. We think the XC40 benefits from this upmarket maneuver. The standard 247-hp turbo 4-cylinder is lively and delivers an EPA-rated 26 mpg combined. In the base Core trim, you get wireless device charging, proximity keyless entry, and many active driver aids.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the XC40 models for sale near you.

2024 Acura RDX

The 2024 Acura RDX seen from a front quarter angle

The Acura RDX has a starting price of $45,700, including shipping. That’s about $4,000 more than the smaller XC40, though Acura is equally generous in equipping the RDX with many comfort, tech, and safety features. 

All trims feature a 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine working in cooperation with a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. We’ll delve more into how the RDX feels from behind the wheel in a moment because its engaging driving dynamics are one of our three highlights listed below.

Acura RDX Highlights 

Outstanding ELS audio: Audiophiles in the market for a luxury sport-ute will want to pay attention. An available ELS 16-speaker sound system is optional and delivers incredible sound quality. This 710-watt system was developed with the guidance of Elliot Scheiner, a Grammy-winning music producer. 

Fun to drive: The RDX is a rare SUV in that it’s honest-to-goodness fun to drive. Part of the credit goes to the 272-hp turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that provide seamless acceleration. Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) also deserves more than a passing mention. It delivers excellent grip and sharp steering while balancing power to the wheels that need it most in both wet and dry road conditions. 

Adaptive suspension: This trick suspension comes with the RDX Advance that starts at $53,500. These adaptive dampers provide quicker reflexes and improved suspension control, especially when powering through tight twists and corners. It also makes for an even smoother ride during highway cruising. 

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the RDX models for sale near you. 


The XC40 and RDX prove that smaller can be better when you’re in the market for a luxury SUV. Their tidy proportions and balanced steering make them enjoyable to drive and easy to place on the road. And just because they’re not behemoths doesn’t mean adults can’t get comfortable in the first or second row. The Volvo and Acura have upscale cabins with commendable headroom and legroom.   


Among our ranking of the Best Luxury Subcompact SUVs, the Volvo XC40 lands in a comfortable third place. Want to guess where the Acura RDX scores in our ranking of the Best Luxury Compact SUVs? It scores a similarly solid third place, too. 

The deciding factor could be whether or not you need the added interior space and cargo volume of the Acura or if the more efficient Volvo’s tidier dimensions and lower price are a better fit for your SUV hunting. Acura’s longer warranty is also worth considering.

They’re equally entertaining to drive, feel built to last, don’t guzzle gas, and have enviable records for safety. A back-to-back test drive is a smart idea.

  2024 Volvo XC40  2024 Acura RDX
Starting Price  $41,795 $45,700
Popular Powertrains      
Engine  Turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower  247 hp @ 5,500 rpm 272 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque  258 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission  8-speed automatic   10-speed automatic 
Fuel economy MPG 23 city/30 highway/26 combined 21 city/27 highway/23 combined 
Also Available 
Basic Warranty  4 years/50,000 miles  4 years/50,000 miles 
Powertrain Warranty  4 years/50,000 miles  6 years/70,000 miles 
NHTSA Overall Safety  5 stars  5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 
Wheelbase  106.4 inches  108.3 inches 
Overall Length  174.8 inches  187.4 inches 
Width  75.2inches  74.8 inches 
Height  65.2 inches  65.7 inches 
Turning Diameter  37.4 feet  39.0 feet 
Headroom, Front  37.6 inches 40.0 inches 
Headroom, 2nd Row  38.3 inches  38.0 inches 
Legroom, Front  40.9 inches  42.0 inches 
Legroom, 2nd Row  36.1 inches  38.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Front  56.7 inches  60.0 inches 
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row  56.3 inches 57.0 inches
Cargo Volume  20.4 cubic feet   29.5 cubic feet 

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