2012 Honda Pilot vs. 2012 Acura RDX: Which One Should I Buy?

Sport utility vehicles are fun in the sun, sand, dirt, mud, and even in the carpool line at school. Whether you’re hauling around your family or your family of pets, these SUVs are sure to make even a drive around town just a little more exciting.

The Honda Pilot and the Acura RDX are on the higher-end side of the larger SUVs, and their base price reflects that; especially the Acura as it clocks in over $30,000 to start. However, the decent mileage that you’ll get out of these SUVs and the driving excitement you’ve come to expect will make those extra dollars more than worth it.

The Pilot is a little boxy looking on the outside, but the inside will not disappoint with the more tasteful front-end design and a third-row that can actually fit adults and a smooth and responsive powertrain. For the price, you might be surprised that the Acura doesn’t offer more technology options or luxury features, but it has a just-right feeling size and is a balanced and nimble performer.

Acura RDX 2012
2012 Acura RDX

Interior Look and Feel

The Acura RDX’s pleasing interior trims contrast nicely with the hard dash plastics available in the Honda Pilot, which also has a cluttered instrument panel and no Bluetooth hookup on most trims. Cruise control comes standard on both vehicles, but the Acura offers little extras like a leather gear shift knob, external temperature display, and a driver information center standard on all models.

The steering wheel also gets an upgrade on the Acura RDX, with a leather/metal-look versus the plastic and vinyl of the Honda Pilot. The seats on the Acura are sportier, with the Pilot offering buckets and standard seating for 8 instead of only 5 for the Acura, although the Acura’s front seats are heated both in the cushion and in the backs for both driver and passenger.

Fuel Economy

The two vehicles have quite similar options when it comes to fuel economy with 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway for the Honda Pilot and 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the Acura RDX. One surprise is in the difference in size in the fuel tank: the capacity for the Acura RDX is only 18.0 gallons while the Honda Pilot has a generous 21.0 gallon tank.

Consumers looking for a (mostly) cost-effective mid-range SUV will find an option in either the Honda Pilot or the Acura RDX. Depending on how many people you need to transport, your decision may be easy!


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Honda Element - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Webster, Texas
John completed a pre-purchase car inspection for me. I was feeling a bit nervous about purchasing a car from out of state, but after seeing John's inspection notes and then talking with him over the phone about the few issues he found, I feel confident in his knowledge, honesty, and professionalism, and I feel very comfortable about my upcoming purchase.
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