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Acura vs Lexus: Who Wins this Car Showdown?


Japanese automakers Acura and Lexus continue to duke it out over which is better. Lexus is owned by Toyota while Acura by Honda. Both are luxury brands. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Public opinion is split because they're both excellent options, offering a wide range of model choices. The best way to get to the heart of the matter is by comparing the good and the bad. We stack them up against each other. Lexus and Acura manufacture similar vehicles within the various classes of automobiles. This makes it easy to set up the contest. Our approach to discovering which brand is best includes comparing essentials for each brand. We consider reliability, handling, performance, fuel economy, features, safety, reputation, and pricing for the most competitive models to find a winner in each class. The showdown is here. We're about to find out who is the winner.

Acura vs. Lexus: Differences and Reputation

Motorbiscuit examines the differences between Lexus and Acura. They also consider the reputation that each has established in the luxury vehicle niche of the industry. First, we look at Lexus. It's the luxury brand division of Toyota that is best known for its quality and reliability. The overall lineup of models is rated as being more elegant. They offer a softer aesthetic, dynamic driving, and feel in the steering, with a few sporty models such as the LC and the RC-F to bump overall performance ratings.

Acura is Honda's luxury division. The brand offers elegance pairing the main thrust of the design geared towards providing a user-friendly driving experience. A heightened performance and more affordable pricing are goals they meet. Acura has established a solid reputation for giving drivers an excellent value for the cost. They include a few models that give you the maximum bang for the buck in standard equipment, such as the TLX and ILX models.

Our initial comparison highlights the notion that each brand has established its unique positioning within the luxury car industry. Both are excellent brands, but they're not equal in the factors that combine to create their overall ratings. These are the pros and cons we discussed earlier. We go deeper into the differences in our analysis to get to the heart of the matter and reveal which is better.

Acura vs. Lexus: Performance


When it comes to performance, Acura has quite a few models that step into the center spotlight. One of Acura's greatest strengths is the Precision Crafted Performance credit that they've set in stone. The first-generation of the NSX, the RSX, and the Integra are the stars of the show. These models capture the essence of sportiness. The NSX carried this through to the second-generation. The main focus is on driving precision and sportiness. Acura has also thrown in a few models that take luxury over the top. These include the RLX and its Milano premium leather, Krell upgraded audio systems, contrasting stitching and piping, and wood-grain trims. The MDX follows these traditions as well.

Side by side showdown on performance

Acura breaks down the performance differences with a clear and concise comparison of the Lexus RX350 up against the Acura RDX. We start with the wheels. Lexus offers 18-inch as standard. If you want larger wheel options it's going to require an upgrade and a higher price. Acura's SUV comes equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels.

The Lexus RX350 and the Acura RDX come close in turbocharged engine performance. The new redesign of the Acura delivered a superior performance with a new VTEC Turbo 2.0 liter engine that generates 272 horsepower with 280 lb-feet of torque. The Lexus is powered by a V-6 engine that can't keep up with the RDX with its improved fuel economy and torque vectoring. The optional super handling all-wheel drive for better channeling of the power. It's mated with a 10-speed transmission.

Lexus is bent more towards luxury. Motorbiscuit assesses that when it comes to performance, Acura is the winner. There are more models in its lineup that take sportiness and performance to a new level than in the Lexus lineup. It's just something that sets the two apart and it's an indisputable fact. Acura's performance ratings exceed those of Lexus. If you desire to own a Lexus that is equal to the Acura in performance standards, it's possible to achieve this goal through upgrades, but it's going to significantly increase the price, while all of the performance goodies are included in the Acura already.


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One of the hard and fast truths that are inescapable is the fact that Acura has kept the pricing noticeably lower than Lexus. When we compare similar models and assess the value to cost ratio, Acura's ILX nearly hits the bottom with pricing that starts in the neighborhood of $25,000 for its base price. When we compare this to the Lexus IS sedan, the pricing for the base model begins at $38,000. We could bring in the Acura TLX starting around $33,000 to try to give Lexus a hand here, but overall, Acura has won the pricing comparisons battle with little effort. As for the value factor, drivers are in control of making this call. It takes us back to weighing the differences of performance, precision driving features, and sportiness over luxury, but each vehicle maintains a solid value for its unique areas of focus.

Acura vs Lexus: Reliability

US News takes a look at Acura vs Lexus in terms of reliability. They took the average reliability scores for each and compared them. Acura's predicted reliability rating across the line received scores that range between 2.5 and 3.5 out of five points. The highest-ranking model is the Acura TLX with a 3.5 rating. This increased the overall score of Acura, but the RDX model with its rating of 2.5 out of five brought the average down to an average score of 3.0 out of five

Lexus was rated for reliability across the lines with several models achieving a perfect five out of five for reliability. Most Lexus vehicles received a 4.5 out of five, which kept the automaker's reliability ratings high. When it comes to reliability, Lexus wins the competition hands down.

Acura vs Lexus: Features

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We couldn't overlook the standard features of both brands for comparison. When we stack the Acura RDX up against the Lexus RX350, again we see the same troubling situation that Acura throws in a healthy list of standard luxury amenities and it's included in the base price without the need to pay more for upgrades unless you want more. The Lexus RX 350 offers a ton of luxury features, but again, you're going to need to upgrade and pay through the nose for them. A few of the features that Acura throws into the standard features category are an ultra-wide panoramic moonroof on all trims, 12-way power adjustment and heated front sport seats, a 10.2-inch center display screen, complete with an intuitive touchpad, and nearly two cubic feet of underfloor storage in neat compartments. These are all features that you won't find in the standard version of the Lexus. Acura was wise for throwing them into the standard category to beat Lexus in this segment of the competition. It's obvious that when it comes to assigning a value for the cost, Acura wins the battle when it comes to features.

Acura vs Lexus: Handling and Safety Features

The next item on our agenda is a comparison of the handling between the Acura RDX and the Lexus RX350. We're still dealing with the standard features of each vehicle in our assessment. Acura's contestant comes with an AWD system that distributes the power from the front of the vehicle to the rear.

All AWD systems distribute power from front to rear, but the available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) also directs power individually to each rear wheel, helping the RDX deliver high-performance cornering and improved handling in almost any condition. They include a collision mitigation braking system that gives driers an alert when there is a possibility of a front impact. This detection method increased the safety ratings for Acura's RDX to give it top ratings in this category. You can throw in their patented Super Handling technology, but it's going to cost extra in the Acura. To get back to the standard features, Acura also includes Lane Keeping Assist to provide drivers with a detection system for keeping the vehicle centered in the detected lane. The Road Departure Mitigation System provides the driver with an alert if the vehicle departs from the detected roadway or lane.

Adaptive Cruise Control is another standard feature provided to help reduce driver fatigue. It's capable of bringing the vehicle to a stop when the vehicle ahead stops unexpectedly. Lexus compares the 2019 NX with Acura's 2019 RDX in safety features. Lexus offers rear seat belts with pre-tensioners that reduce pressure on passengers in the event of a collision. It also throws in standard whiplash-injury-reducing seats. They offer intuitive parking assistance and automatic braking, but these are not standard features and you have to pay more for them. It will also require an upgrade to get the pedestrian, vehicle, and obstacle detection features, but they are available.

Fuel Economy

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Lexus compares their 2019 Lexus NX with the 2019 Acura RDX. The result is that for the standard front-wheel-drive versions, the fuel economy rating came out the same. When both vehicles are upgraded to the all-wheel-drive versions, Lexus came out ahead with a fuel-efficiency rating that gained a mile per gallon. Lexus offers additional fuel savings in its NX300h model with regenerative braking technology that enhances fuel efficiency. This is a technology that Acura does not offer. We're going to give the fuel economy rating to Lexus. Even though the brand doesn't win by much, the regenerative braking technology that does make a bigger difference is fairly impressive.

Acura vs Lexus: Luxury and Convenience

Here we compare the 2020 Lexus RX350 against the 2019 Acura MDX. We'll start with the Lexus. The RX350 comes equipped with a dashboard-mounted touchscreen that is phone-friendly. This is standard but it can be upgraded to a larger 12.3 inches. You can order the Lexus RX is the seat configuration that best suits the needs of your family. The SUV is available in your choice of two or three-row seating. In contrast, the Acura MDX is an SUV that comes with a choice for two-rows. It's only available in a three-row edition. On top of that, the two infotainment screens that it comes equipped with are reputed to be less user friendly and a bit on the confusing side for drivers. When it comes to luxury and convenience, it's not a surprise that Lexus emerges as the winner.

Final verdict

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A thorough comparison of Acura vs Lexus gives us some mixed results. We can argue that each brand has a lot to offer drivers. We can safely say that if you're more inclined to prefer a vehicle that places the focus more on performance and a more budget-friendly price range, Acura is the best choice. When we examine the standard features, Acura offers a lot more bang for the buck. If you don't mind paying more for the tech features, it's mostly all available in the Lexus, and they even offer a few safety features that Acura doesn't if you are willing to upgrade. When it comes to luxury, Acura can't keep up with Lexus. This has been a fact for some time. The fuel economy ratings are really too close to call, but we have to give it to Lexus on the fuel-saving tech they make available. All in all, both are amazing, and as for the question of which is better, it's up to you to be the judge.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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