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At its introduction in 2007, few could have imagined that Acura's foray into the compact luxury SUV segment would - within a few short years - essentially define that segment. Combining a car-like platform with upright bodywork, 5-door flexibility and all-wheel drive is a near-luxury framework now used by Audi, Infiniti, Mercedes, Volvo and BMW; only BMW's X3 was in production prior to the RDX launch. Notably, of these mentioned the only ones sharing their platforms with more affordable donors are Acura and Audi, whose main architectures are also used by Honda's CR-V and VW's Tiguan, respectively.
If you enjoy the smaller - albeit practical - footprint of a compact SUV, Acura's take offers Honda's reputation for service, reliability and resale value, wrapped in a package significantly more upscale than its CR-V stablemate. Add the benefits of Acura's SH-AWD, and the RDX is truly an SUV for all seasons.
Given its compact exterior dimensions and - when compared to a traditional sport sedan - excessive weight, the RDX may not provide enough sport, utility or efficiency to those looking for (approximately) equal measures of all three.
With a freshened look, interior upgrades and available 2WD, the 2010 model year was a significant "freshening" for Acura's compact SUV. In 2011 those changes stay in place as the platform moves toward an eventual redesign.
Driving Impressions Given its all-independent suspension, turbocharged powertrain and available sport-tuned all-wheel drive, the RDX provides a reasonable take on a sport sedan within its SUV-like, two-box profile. It won't, however, mimic...those compact SUVs with a rear-wheel drive bias, or - for that matter - standard rear-wheel drive. Opt for a 2WD RDX and you have - at its root - a Honda CR-V with approximately 50 percent more power and a more refined ride/handling balance. The RDX is perfectly proportioned - with an overall length of just over fifteen feet - for running around town. And if traffic allows, with its 240 horses you can actually run!
Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
The availability of Acura's SH-AWD is what separates Acura's RDX (and larger MDX) from the others in its compact SUV category. Not only does SH-AWD augment traction in low-traction situations; it also effectively balances the platform by optimizing torque not only between front and rear axles, but also side to side. In the drizzle it's the shizzle.
GPS-linked, Solar-Sensing Dual-Zone A/C
In the Technology Package, the system's GPS capabilities will track the sun's position and adjust the climate control system accordingly.
Acura describes the RDX interior as a "direct expression of the vehicle's sports car lineage." If "sports car" conveys an interior more personal than expansive, they hit the nail on the head. Seating is comfortable for four, tightly drawn for five. And those relegated to the backseat should be no larger than football players; make that European football players. The (standard) leather seating is comfortable and well-constructed, outward visibility is very good from most seating positions, and the available Acura/ELS Surround premium audio is designed to simulate the experience of a studio environment. And with that one feature, you can now sing somewhere other than your shower.Exterior
Although its skin - especially after the '10 refresh - is all Acura, there's no denying the Honda roots. When examining the smallish Acura proportions it's very close to the CR-V, from the significant front overhang to cowl height to its two-box profile. What Acura describes as "bold" 18-inch rims give the RDX a more aggressive stance than its Honda sibling, while the aggressive front fascia, HID front headlights and sculpted bodywork provide a more substantial presence than at the time of the RDX's intro.
With a well-equipped window sticker of around $33K, the Acura RDX is appropriately furnished, offering in its standard spec a glass moonroof, HID headlamps, perforated leather-trimmed seating, racing-inspired paddle shifters, a rear view camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, multi-information display, USB port and AUX input jack. A host of safety features includes a full complement of airbags, vehicle stability assist with traction control, and theft-deterrent system with electronic immobilizer.
As is typical in both Honda and Acura vehicles, the RDX is easy to order, with a comprehensive list of standard equipment and only two factory options: Technology and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. The technology option includes AcuraLink Satellite Communication System; navigation with voice recognition; real-time traffic and weather; a 10-speaker surround sound system with 6-disc changer and XM Radio; and rear view camera with 8-inch color viewing screen. And the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive isn't only for those living in the snowbelt; it gives the RDX a handling balance simply not available in the FWD variant.
The Acura's 2.3 liter DOHC in-line four is effectively the RDX's centerpiece, and is the most singular reason for choosing the RDX over its CR-V stablemate. A Variable Flow Turbocharger delivers an unusually broad powerband - and 260 pound-feet of torque - with minimal lag. And when combined with the available SH-AWD, the combo makes for nimble handling in-town, and composed, secure handling on the open road - in any season. Regrettably, despite the RDX's performance orientation, the RDX is not available with a manual transmission. And while responsive, the EPA ratings for both 2WD and AWD are - at best - middle-of-the-road.
2.3-liter in-line four-cylinder Turbocharged
240 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/24 (2WD), 17/22 (AWD)
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!"
5 people out of 5 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