By KBB.com Editors
Combining sport sedan-like power and handling with the cargo versatility, high seating position and all-wheel-drive capability of an SUV, the premium-badged 2009 Acura RDX boasts a full arsenal of appeal. Upon its introduction for the 2007 model year the RDX's only true competitor was the BMW X3, a vehicle that essentially had the compact premium SUV segment all to itself since its introduction for the 2004 model year. With new and upcoming entries, such as the Audi Q5, Infiniti EX, Mercedes GLK and others, buyers will benefit from even more options.
If you're looking for small, high-performance luxury SUV that also has an outstanding reputation for service, reliability and resale, the RDX make the perfect choice.
For true sport-sedan driving dynamics you still have to buy a sport sedan. The 2009 Acura RDX's SUV chassis might prove too heavy for those looking for car-like handling characteristics.
For 2009, Acura adds a power passenger seat to the RDX's standard equipment list, along with four new colors and an updated version of the AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic Update service.
Driving Impressions With its turbocharged engine, Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system and fully-independent sport-tuned suspension, the 2009 Acura RDX indeed delivers acceleration and handling levels in line with some sport sedans. Responsive and...eager around town, the RDX will even handle curvy roads with deftness and confidence – although it doesn't provide quite the same feel of integration between driver, machine and road as does the BMW X3. Like a sport sedan, highway ride is taut but comfortable. All-in-all, we enjoyed every mile spent behind the wheel of the RDX.
DVD-Audio Sound System
In addition to compatibility with "just about every type of current audio format," according to Acura, the RDX's optional DVD-Audio system delivers impressive surround sound.
Real-Time Traffic Information
As part of the RDX's satellite communication system, the navigation screen can display real-time traffic speeds and accident information in 77 major cities, making it easy to see problems ahead and find the best way around them.
The athletic exterior design is complemented inside by sport-style seats covered in perforated leather, a sculpted three-spoke steering wheel and metallic trim. With or without the comprehensive Technology Package the RDX's interior features a dynamic, high-tech ambiance. One of the more functional features is a huge center console that's big enough to swallow a laptop computer. Most will find the back seat cozy without being cramped, while fold-flat rear seats extend the capacity of an already-generous cargo area.Exterior
The RDX conveys its performance potential in the form of 18-inch wheels, a raked version of the familiar five-point grille, dual-outlet exhaust and a "turbo" badge on the back. A unique feature is the unconventional tailgate that is integrated into the rear bumper, unlike other SUVs, providing a smoother look to the rear end. HID headlamps are included as standard equipment.
The 2009 Acura RDX's impressive standard-equipment list includes a glass moonroof, HID headlamps, heated front seats, 18-inch wheels and a 360-watt sound system featuring an in-dash six-disc CD/MP3/WMA player, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free integration, seven speakers and an auxiliary input for portable MP3 players. A long list of standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags plus electronic stability and traction control systems.
A comprehensive Technology Package is the only available option for the 2008 Acura RDX. It consists of a navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic information, GPS-linked solar-sensing climate control and a 410-watt, 10-speaker audio system that features XM Satellite Radio and a six-disc CD/DVD-Audio player with MP3/WMA capability plus DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II processing. Surprisingly, the tech-savvy RDX doesn't offer remote-sensing unlock and start.
Featuring the first turbocharged engine to power an Acura (or Honda) automobile for sale in the U.S., the 2009 Acura RDX's 260 pound-feet of torque is the most ever for a Honda product – even more than the dear, departed Acura NSX. Thanks in part to a sophisticated variable-flow turbo, the four-cylinder engine delivers the quick response and minimal lag associated with smaller turbochargers plus the high-rpm boost of a bigger turbo. The Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system is able to transfer torque not just from front to rear, but also between the two rear wheels, providing both safety and performance advantages. Unlike the BMW X3, the RDX is not available with a manual transmission. The RDX has a maximum tow rating of 1,500 pounds.
2.3-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
240 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22
By Ladybug (FL) on Wednesday, May 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "I like being up higher than in a sedan."
Cons: "Would like better gas mileage."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Honda makes reliable cars. Originally I intended to buy the CRV, but did not like the gear shift placement. I test drove every cross-over I could and fell in love with the RDX. I have no regrets. At first I had reservations about a 4 cylinder, Turbo engine, but the Turbo kicks in nicely to provide the boost for passing. I had downsized from a V-6, so it took awhile to get used to the Turbo. After 5 years, there are no rattles or clunks. There is plenty of leg room and cargo space. The RDX has the feel of solidity and integrity. The leather upholstery and heated seats give that sense of luxury associated with a more costly vehicle. For many reasons, this is the perfect vehicle for me. While the car isn't a gas hog, sometimes I do envy my neighbor's Hybrid vehicle. I have taken good care of this vehicle and have had no mechanical problems at all."
By K (PA) on Wednesday, April 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks good"
Cons: "see comments below"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Gas mileage is pitiful for size of car. Over 50 mph the engine is loud and overworking, whole car is loud on the highway. The ride is too hard. Maybe the 2013 model with the V-6 is better. Couldn't get a V-6 in 2011. The AWD works seamlessly. Overall, I am disappointed."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Srob (CA) on Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,900overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great sound system, reliable"
Cons: "Light rear end"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"The back end on this car is a little light and tends to skid going up hill from a standstill, but nothing dangerous. Overall this car has run great so far and the tech package is a must. The speakers are incredible."
By Patti (GA) on Friday, March 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth ride. Love the pick up and go that it has."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Keep in mind it has a turbo motor so it requires High test gas. Never had any issue with it. Love my service department. Great Vehicle."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By seh (CA) on Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I really love to drive this thing! We looked at many other small SUVs before deciding on the RDX. We test-drove all kinds in all categories—from the X3 to the Rav4. I really enjoyed the performance and luxury of the Infiniti EX, but the cargo and passenger space is so crammed you might as well buy a sedan. The Rav4 and CRV are pretty mediocre, but great gas mileage. We kept coming back to the RDX. You really get a lot of bang for your buck with all the features. It is really fun to drive! The things about it that I love, others may not enjoy. The handling is incredible: drives like a sports sedan with better traction and SH-AWD. The others just couldn’t compare to the drive, but it isn’t for everyone. Make sure you really test drive, so you know what you are getting into! (premium gas, turbo, synthetic oil, etc) Maybe it’s just me, but the dashboard controls do not seem intuitive and the knobs are not very user-friendly—this is my first Acura and it took me awhile to figure out. Once you learn to use it, the Navigation is very helpful. The rear backup camera really helps in tight situations! The audio is great, best stock system I’ve heard, the heated seats are awesome, the dual a/c is a great feature, and the moonroof is nice to have. I really love the interior layout, comfy seats. Some complain that the center console only opens to the driver’s side, but that doesn’t bother me—the center console is really wide and deep—it can easily fit a laptop, ipad, purse, etc.—and it locks! This SUV is on the smaller side, but that’s why I love it. I don’t feel like I’m driving a boat, but I still get more cargo space than a standard sedan. Yes, the ride is rougher than you might expect from a “luxury” vehicle, but it’s not like you’re really thrashing around inside-- it’s just not super smooth. I experience a little turbo lag, but nothing to complain about. If you haven't driven a turbo before, this might be an adjustment. There isn’t much road noise, which is a nice plus. The gas mileage could be better, but that’s the trade-off of an SUV like this. I get 16-17 city in Los Angeles. If gas mileage is a huge a issue for you, go with the CRV. I wouldn't say this car is as luxurious as some of the top of the line SUVs. There is obvious evidence of Acura cheaping out in some areas--so I would say the Acura RDX fits comfortably between "Luxury SUV" and "Affordable SUV." If you want a smaller SUV that is somewhat "luxurious" yet practical and fun to drive, this is by far the best option! I would recommend and I would buy again, love it!"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By m18e224 (CA) on Thursday, December 13, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Better build quality than 2013, fast & luxurious"
Cons: "Premium gas and frequent oil change"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car new in mid-2011. Forced to trade in a 2006 TL since my transmission died! I was weary of another Acura, but they gave me such a great deal to compensate for my 06 TL dieing. Good to know Acura stands behind their product. For this car, I was initially disappointed that it did not have a stop/start ignition or a powerlift gate option, but am over that because at the end of the day,this car drives awesome and you get some cool features for what you pay! In my opinion, best luxury SUV in its class. (The 2013 has the stop/start and powerlift gate, but the build quality on the new one is cheap and makes this model sooo much better- new one has too much hollow plastic- who cares if its green, if you pay over 30K for a premium car/SUV, it should be good quality!) This SUV is fast, a sporty look and feel for an SUV, a great hauler (seats easily fold completely flat), leather quality is better than the 2013 and very reliable. Navigation system is just ok since it's not touch screen, but once you get use to the knob- which all cars are coming out with now (why? lol)- it's not that bad. I haven't had any major problems. Minor problems I had: replace window clip on driver side and a minor door latch mechanism that failed, but all covered under warranty. Gas/Maintainence: Premium only (worth it for the performance you get); Oil change every 3500 miles since I do alot of city driving in Los Angeles- due to turbo engine requiring synthetic oil only. - Should last longer, but this car truly depends on driving habits. I had an Audi before and it was the same thing, so this is not just Acura. Lexus RX350 or this car w/Tech Package: This car!!!Because for all the features you get, this car in a Lexus would be around $45K+ and Lexus charges $150-175 for an oil change (or more depending on which model you have and level of required service) which is almost double of what Acura charges. I have the Tech package and it's the only way to go since the non-tech packages of this car or any acura for that matter has a weird look and fee (i.e. Acuras that don't have navigation have cheap looking covers to hide the space where the tech stuff should be)"
14 people out of 14 found this review helpful