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2021 Buick Envision vs 2021 Acura RDX

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  • 2021 Buick Envision

    A white 2021 Buick Envision is angled left.

    Starting at

    $31,800

    2021 Acura RDX

    A dark blue 2021 Acura RDX is angled right.

    Starting at

    $38,400

    24 / 31Fuel Economy (city/highway mpg)22 / 28
    1,500Max Towing (lbs)1,500
    39.3Rear Legroom (in)38

    Luxury crossovers are for those who like the SUV look without the rough, off-roading design. The term “luxury” comes with some negative connotations, though, regarding price. But just because you’re buying luxury doesn’t mean you have to spend $80,000 or more on your next new model. Today, we’re going to take a look at the 2021 Buick Envision vs the 2021 Acura RDX, which are two models that are considered luxurious yet affordable.

    Buick has a long history of creating affordable luxury vehicles. This brand was the first American brand to exist, beginning in 1899, and is known for its entry-level prices. Acura, on the other hand, is Honda’s branch of luxury vehicles that debuted in 1986. Acura’s luxury vehicles are also marketed affordably, but with a slightly higher price than Buicks. The battle of affordable luxury is an interesting one, and while the Acura may have some points in its favor, it's hard to beat the long-standing quality and reputation of Buick.

  • Exterior

    A black 2021 Buick Envision is shown from the front parked in the driveway of a modern house.

    The 2021 Buick Enclave’s Exterior

    Since we’re looking at luxury models, the vehicle’s exterior is one of its most important features. The 2021 Buick Envision comes in three different trim options, and each of them comes with mostly the same exterior aesthetic features. There are some wheel changes between the trims and the addition of the moonroof, which is included on the highest two trims, the Essence and the Avenir. You get seven exterior color options on this model, including Ebony Twilight Metallic, Rich Garnet Metallic, Cinnabar Metallic, Dark Moon Blue Metallic, Burnished Bronze Metallic, Summit White, and Satin Steel Metallic. Each 2021 Avenir also includes silver roof rails, LED tail lamps, IntelliBeam Auto High Beam Assist, and an option for wheel locks.

    You’ll also get an option for black roof rails on the Essence and Preferred trims and heated power outside mirrors on all trims, with memory settings available on the two higher trims. Moreover, all 2021 Enclave trims include automatic LED headlamps with a delay feature, meaning your headlamps will stay on for a bit after you lock your doors so that you won’t be left in the dark. Finally, the Avenir trim comes with a hands-free power liftgate as well.

    Where exterior style is concerned, the 2021 Buick Enclave comes with a slim front grille with sharp winged headlights and body moldings that give it a refined look. Its chrome accents pair well with its dark exterior color options and deep-tinted glass. Due to these features, the 2021 Buick Envision is a visually luxurious model through and through.

    The 2021 Acura RDX’s Exterior

    The Acura RDX comes is set up in a different manner. The Acura is split up into different packages. These include the Standard Package, the Technology Package, the A-Spec Package, and the Advance Package. Both the A-Spec and Advanced Packages come with the features of the Technology Package included.

    One major difference between the Acura and the Envision is that all Acura trims come with a power moonroof. While this sounds like a perk, it comes at a steep price difference. The standard Envision MSRP starts at $31,800, while the Acura RDX’s base model starts off at $38,400. This is an almost $10,000 difference between the trims. In short, if a moonroof isn’t essential to you, then you’ll save a lot more money buying a base model Envision instead of an Acura. If a moonroof is important to you, then you'll still be better off buying a Buick Essence for a starting price of $35,800 and adding the moonroof.

    Like the 2021 Buick Envision, the Acura comes in seven different colors. These include Modern Steel Metallic, Majestic Black Pearl, Gunmetal Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic, Fathom Blue Pearl, Performance Red Pearl, and Platinum White Pearl. Further, the special PMC Edition model comes with its own Thermal Orange Pearl exterior shade. The Acura’s exterior features are like the Envision’s, but it includes a black grille rather than a chrome grill. However, this model is trimmed out in chrome, just like the 2021 Envision.

    Where exterior is concerned, the 2021 Buick Envision comes out way ahead. The Acura is definitely luxurious, but its exterior isn’t any more special than the Envisions, and it comes at a much steeper price. Between the two models, the Acura falls short when it comes to aesthetic and exterior features.

  • Safety Features

    A grey 2021 Buick Envision is shown driving on a wet road.

    The 2021 Buick Envision’s Safety

    Part of being luxurious also means keeping up with the latest technologies. The 2021 Buick Envision has done a swell job of doing this in the safety department. When you purchase a 2021 Envision, you don’t have to get the highest trim to receive top-notch safety benefits. Unlike many other models, driver assist features come standard on the Envision’s lowest trim.

    On the Preferred trim, you have access to the Buick Driver Confidence Plus suite of safety features. This suite includes Automatic Emergency Braking and Front Pedestrian Braking to help you stop when you don't react fast enough. Rear Park Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are excellent for when you are backing out of parking spaces or your garage, especially since you also get a standard HD Rear Vision Camera. The suite also includes Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning to help keep you traveling in your lane. Meanwhile, the Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert will let you know when it is safe to change lanes or when there is a vehicle hovering in your blind spot.

    Other unique safety features in this package include a Following Distance Indicator and Forward Collision Alert to act as an extra set of eyes and warn you when you are getting too close to the vehicle ahead of you. Plus, this model comes with the Teen Driver mode. Teen Driver is perfect for guardians who need to track their teens, set curfews, volume and speed levels, and much more. Buckle to Drive is part of the Teen Driver system, too. This feature prevents the vehicle from being shifted into drive until all seatbelts are fastened. You won't have to worry when your teen is behind the wheel with these features in place.

    That’s just the base level of safety for this Buick. We’re just now getting started. Higher trims include optional Enhanced Automatic Emergency Braking, Enhanced Parking Assist, HD Surround Vision, and Adaptive Cruise Control. While these features are certainly great, it’s nice that Buick doesn’t make customers pay loads extra for standard safety features. Your Preferred base-level 2021 Buick Envision comes with all the safety gear you’ll ever need and more.

    The 2021 Acura RDX’s Safety

    The 2021 Acura really gets customers with the package trim setup. If you purchase the base-level Standard trim, you’ll only get Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, a Collision Mitigation Braking System, and Road Departure Mitigation. All other driver assist features are added with each trim upgrade. So, not only is the Standard Acura RDX more expensive than the Envision’s, but this model also comes with fewer safety assets.

    That said, once you reach the highest trim, you’ll get front and rear parking sensors, the Blind Spot Information System, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, and the Surround View Camera System. While there are a lot of similar safety features on these two models, the Buick Envision is by far better equipped at the base model than the Acura RDX. Plus, the Buick is still cheaper.

  • Performance

    A black 2021 Buick Envision is shown from the side driving down an empty highway after winning the 2021 Buick Envision vs 2021 Acura RDX showdown.

    The 2021 Buick Envision’s Performance

    In the 21st century, most people love a good turbocharged engine. It offers power while aiding in fuel economy, which is evident with the 2021 Envision. You’ll get 228 horsepower with 258 lb-ft of torque with this model, all while maintaining up to 26 miles per gallon combined. Further, you can tow up to 1,500 pounds if needed, and its automatic 9-speed transmission helps with fuel efficiency while improving your overall driving performance.

    The big difference between a luxury crossover and a classic SUV lies in intent. Since luxury crossovers are meant for pavement rather than mud and dirt, the higher speed transmission is ideal. Fuel efficiency is more important than low-speed crawling capabilities, so the Buick Envision hits the mark here. However, it’s still nice to know that you’ll be safe during adverse weather conditions, which is why the 2021 Buick Envision comes in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options. You’ll only lose a little bit of fuel efficiency if you choose the all-wheel drive variant, which still leaves you getting up to 25 MPG combined. Overall, the 2021 Envision performs wonderfully for those who want a luxurious commuter that’s still capable of handling adverse weather conditions.

    The 2021 Acura RDX’s Performance

    The 2021 Acura RDX comes in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive options. It produces up to 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft torque with its turbocharged I-4 engine, giving the front-wheel drive a max combined MPG of 24, while the all-wheel drive lands at a combined 23 MPG. Already, it proves itself less fuel-efficient than the Buick Envision. Moreover, the Acura RDX actually has a higher speed transmission than the Envision, landing at 10-speed rather than 9-speed, making it even more concerning that its fuel efficiency is so much lower.

    One performance perk that the 2021 Acura RDX does have over the Envision lies in its driver mode options. Comfort, Snow, Sport, and Sport+ drive modes do come as standard on the 2021 Acura RDX, which is the only aspect that really contributes to the steep price incline here. Aside from this, the perks do not outweigh the price gap. Overall, the 2021 Acura performs decently, but it doesn’t match up to its Buick Envision competition.

Dan Cummins Chevrolet Buick of Georgetown 38.2189, -84.5411.