|39.3||Rear Leg Room (inches)||38|
|4||Standard USB Ports||2|
|24/31 MPG||Fuel Economy (city/highway)||22/28 MPG|
How many times have you made sacrifices when shopping for an SUV? Did you have to give up luxury features like heated leather seats to keep the price within your budget? Thankfully, more and more automakers are proving that luxury and affordability are no longer mutually exclusive. We especially see this when comparing two of the best-selling luxury SUVs on the road - the 2021 Buick Envision vs 2021 Acura RDX.
Buick and Acura both have outstanding reputations for delivering luxury. Buick’s reputation started over a century ago with early models like the Model B Touring Cars that set the stage for the brand. Acura is a much newer line that launched in the late 1980s when Honda sought to expand into the luxury market. Fast forward to the present day, and drivers are reaping the benefits of the ingenuity of both automakers in models like the Envision and the RDX.
Looking at trim options, performance, and technology paints a clearer picture of why Buick and Acura don’t require owners to make any sacrifices when it comes to luxury or affordability. But how do the models compare to each other? Here’s how the 2021 Buick Envision takes the lead over the 2021 Acura RDX in the luxury class.
When it comes to performance, the Envision and RDX go head-to-head by offering plenty of power under the hood that makes them capable performers at any speed. The 2021 Envision is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged ECOTEC engine that brings the SUV to life. Of course, you won’t hear the engine from the cabin, thanks to the Envision’s QuietTuning technology with Active Noise Cancellation that delivers an exceptionally quiet ride. This quiet ride is only bettered by continuous damping control, which optimizes the MacPherson strut front suspension and the five-link premium rear suspension to deliver a smoother ride on any terrain.
The Envision is available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, which slightly tweaks the SUV’s fuel economy. Front-wheel drive models average 24 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway, while all-wheel drive models use more fuel with an average of 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. Despite the lower fuel economy, the Envision’s intelligent all-wheel drive is a popular option and makes the vehicle even more capable by automatically adjusting the torque to each wheel to optimize traction and prevent wheel slippage. This makes the Envision a dream to handle in any condition, rain or shine.
The Acura RDX is comparable to the Envision and offers both a front-wheel and all-wheel drive option. Both options are again equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and automatic transmission that delivers plenty of power for the luxury SUV. Like the Envision, the RDX’s fuel economy varies between front-wheel and all-wheel drive models. Front-wheel drive models average 22 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway, while all-wheel drive models average 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Not only are those figures all significantly worse than the Envision, but the RDX also demands more expensive premium gasoline, further increasing the cost of ownership.
The Envision was fully redesigned for 2021, modernizing an affordable option in Buick’s SUV-exclusive premium lineup. Ranging in price from $31,800* for the base trim, the Envision is filled with luxury features.* Every trim includes upscale elements like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow you to sync your smartphone with the SUV without worrying about cables. The Envision is also equipped with the Buick Driver Confidence Plus suite of nine safety and driver-assistance tools that help you stay safe on the road.
The Envision Essence is next in the lineup. This trim includes larger 18-inch wheels, an in-vehicle air ionizer to maximize cabin air quality, and a hands-free programmable power liftgate that makes accessing the rear cargo area easy even when your hands are full. The Essence trim also boasts standard heated leather front seats and a standard 10.2-inch touchscreen display with the Buick Infotainment system.
The Avenir is the most luxurious Envision and is still affordably priced at $40,400.* Sitting on larger, 20-inch aluminum wheels, the Avenir is immediately distinguishable from the other trims. Its interior includes ventilated driver and front passenger seats, heated rear seats, and an in-seat massage for the driver. You’ll also find advanced technology like the HD Surround Vision camera, Front Park Assist, a premium Bose audio system, and wireless smartphone charging that eliminates cabin clutter.
How does the Acura RDX compare? The 2021 RDX is priced significantly higher, with the base trim starting at $38,400.* The higher trims build on the Standard’s core features, which include the AcuraWatch Driver Assist suite, AppleCarPlay, and a panoramic moonroof. The Technology Package includes these features as well as the Acura navigation system, leather seating, and premium audio. For a bit more, you can upgrade to the A-Spec RDX, which includes the Technology Package and boasts a unique exterior and interior with gloss black accents, aggressive details, and a red-accented cockpit complete with a red sport gauge cluster.
The Advance is the top-tier trim in the RDX lineup and starts at a much higher price tag than the Envision Avenir. Designed with luxury in mind, the Advance takes the Technology Package further by adding the Acura/ELS Studio premium audio system. Additional features include heated and ventilated front seats as well as a surround-view camera for a clear view around the SUV.
Technology evens the playing field on the Envision and the RDX, thanks to Buick’s and Acura’s commitment to delivering innovative safety, driver-assist, and connectivity features. On the Envision, this innovation is found in the Buick Driver Confidence Plus suite of safety and driver-assist tools. The suite includes a variety of cutting-edge driver-assist systems, from Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist to a Following Distance Indicator and Rear Park Assist. While the suite is plentiful, you can also add even advanced features like HD Surround Vision, Enhanced Automatic Parking Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Like the Envision, the RDX’s AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assist tools is standard on every trim. However, it includes fewer features than the Envision and, as a result, falls behind the Envision in terms of value. The RDX’s tools include Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, a Collision Mitigation Braking System, a Lane Keeping Assist System, and Road Departure Mitigation. Acura gives drivers the option to add a Blind Spot Information System to aid in changing lanes.
Buick and Acura know that drivers need to stay connected to their lives even when they’re behind the wheel. To ensure this while maximizing safety, the Envision and RDX are equipped with advanced connectivity features that allow you to stay connected to your messages, email, and more without taking your eyes off the road.
The Envision accomplishes this through the next-generation Buick Infotainment System that offers a personalized driving experience thanks to its configurable home screen and available driver profiles that allow you to set and save your screen preferences. You can connect up to 10 devices to the vehicle using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which gives you access to a variety of apps like messages, maps, Amazon Alexa, and more from the convenience of a 10.2-inch color touchscreen display.
The RDX’s technology suite is similar to the Envision and also offers seamless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. One notable difference in the RDX is that the 10.2-inch center display is controlled using a True Touchpad Interface. This touchpad acts like a mousepad on a computer and can be less intuitive than a simple touchscreen like Buick uses. Unlike the Envision, the RDX doesn’t offer Amazon Alexa but adds wireless over-the-air updates to keep the vehicle’s software up to date.