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Head to head battle

Full transparency – we have not driven either of these cars so take this post at face value. But do read on because the good people at Edmunds did drive them and Edmunds is an established player in the car review game. This is their first-hand reporting and they dove deep, real deep …

The small luxury SUV segment is growing gangbusters. Of luxury cars sold already this year the small SUV segment makes up roughly 21.8%. As a point of comparison, in 2009 they were only 8.7%. At the forefront of the segment are two rides that continue to gain traction and as such, compete hotly with each other – the Acura RDX and Cadillac XT4. Both are competitively priced in the sub-$40,000 range and offer a similar set of features. But when two heavyweights step into the ring, only 1 gets to take home the belt. Let’s see who comes on top according to Edmunds.

On the technology side, while both offer some compelling features, the manner in which the Xt4 and RDX interact with the driver is distinct. The XT4 takes what one would call a more traditional approach, combining very user-friendly knobs and interface. This makes for a comfortable acclimation period, nothing too crazy or out of left field to wrap one’s head around. The RDX by contrast wants nothing to do with knobs or interfaces and opts instead to smack you over the head (in a good way) with a touchpad interface. Super intriguing, but takes some time to wrap your bruised head around. A real plus on the tech side with the RDX is the 16-speaker ELS sound system. Good grief is all Edmunds could say.

Let’s get to what you’ve been waiting for – the power. The RDX comes correct with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder whipping out 272 horsepower. The XT4 features the same, but a bit less horsepower – 237. You will get better miles per gallon with the RDX, but that’s pretty slight. We’d call this specific area a toss-up.

On the road the RDX gets the nod via the use of 10 speeds compared to 9 with the XT4. The Acura is also a bit sportier so the actual handling and feel is much more nimble. On top of this, the Acura can also haul more on the inside – 31.1 cubic feet compared to the Cadillac’s 22.5.

A couple other areas end in a stalemate but overall the RDX edged the XT4. We cannot vouch for either, but in Edmunds we trust.  

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