The 2015 Acura RDX is a rare example of a smaller SUV that does almost everything right. It adeptly plays in the premium segment, yet boasts a modest character, a strong-yet-efficient V6, and a long list of standard equipment. Available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), Acura's 5-passenger luxury SUV offers generous cargo space and desirable creature comforts such as standard leather and commute-easing ergonomics. While the RDX offers a top-notch optional audio system, it lacks the highly advanced infotainment and preventive safety systems such as blind-spot monitoring available in rivals like the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK Class and Audi Q5. Still, the RDX stands out with its near- and long-term value, and Acura's impressive history of reliability.
You'll Like This Car If...
The 2015 RDX is the ideal choice if you want a luxury SUV but not the sticker shock and questionable reliability that can be associated with one. Above-average resale value and Acura's reputation for quality add further peace of mind.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you want your compact SUV to behave more like a sports sedan, the BMW X3 or Infiniti QX50 might be a better fit. Desire a higher-mileage diesel SUV? That can also be found in the X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK or Audi Q5. Off-road types should look to Land Rover's offerings.
There are no major changes for the 2015 Acura RDX, which is only in its second year as an all-new, 2nd-gen model.
Driving the RDX
True to its modest nature, the 2015 Acura RDX doesn't exactly position itself as a rocket. Yet it exceeded our expectations in terms of initial acceleration and passing power. The...
... standard V6 idles smoother and pulls harder than the 4-cylinder turbocharged engines found in the Audi Q5 and Land Rover LR2, and there's a sport mode when more oomph is needed. Just as impressive is this 2-row SUV's solid and secure ride quality. Combined with its easy maneuverability, quiet cabin and comfortable driver's seat, the RDX is an exceptional partner for trips long or short.
ACURA/ELS SURROUND SOUND While it's comprised of a comparatively low speaker count, the available Acura/ELS sound system is one of the best factory-installed sound systems money can buy. Speaking of which, the Acura/ELS setup is also remarkably affordable for a system of this caliber.
MULTI-VIEW CAMERA Unlike traditional backup cameras, the RDX employs a versatile Multi-view camera system for a more comprehensive view from behind the vehicle. Choose from the basic default mode, a wide angle 170 degree setting, or a unique top-down view, which comes in handy when parallel parking or lining up a trailer.
2015 Acura RDX Details
Form and function successfully intersect in the RDX's cabin. Yes, there are still quite a few buttons and knobs planted in the center console, but they are easy to see and reach. Soft-touch material abounds, and the 10-way power driver's seat is a treat. Front passengers, though, may feel like they're riding low since that seat doesn't adjust for height. We also like the RDX for its smart use of space. When not sitting up to three passengers in the roomy back seat, it folds in a 60/40 spit to create up to 76.9 cubic feet of cargo space.
In restyling the RDX for its second generation, Acura learned from past missteps with the ZDX and TL to create a handsome, controversy-immune compact SUV. While it's true that from the side you might mistake the RDX for its Honda CR-V cousin, the Acura appears athletic thanks to its forward stance, rising crease line and steeply sloping rear-window treatment. Up front is a classy nose with the Acura logo floating in the center, while in back the roof tapers subtly into the tail.
Luxury and value don't often go hand in hand, but the RDX is an exception to the rule. The 2015 RDX continues to offer the longest list of standard equipment in the category. Key features include a leather-trimmed interior, the Multi-view backup camera, heated front seats with a 10-way power driver's seat, and a 7-speaker/360-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with a 5-inch LCD display, USB/auxiliary inputs, voice-activated text messaging and Pandora Internet radio. Other amenities include a moonroof and keyless access with push-button start.
Unlike most of its rivals, upgrades for the Acura RDX are slim. On one hand, this prevents indecisiveness and potential sticker shock, but it also means Acura's compact crossover SUV lacks options such as automatic braking systems, radar cruise control, or even blind-spot monitoring. What is available are all-wheel drive and the Technology Package. The latter bundles navigation, a 10-speaker/410-watt ELS premium audio system, a power-operated liftgate, and Acura's GPS-linked climate control that monitors the sun's intensity/location and adjusts cabin temperatures as needed. The package also includes a voice-recognition system, but it's frustrating and complicated to use.
Under the Hood
Unlike many of its competitors, just one engine is offered in the 2015 Acura RDX, but it's a sweetheart. The 3.5-liter V6 produces 273 horsepower and transfers its power via a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, with all-wheel drive (AWD) optional. The Acura's power output is middle of the road, but thanks to the SUV's weight of well under 4,000 pounds, it's more than sufficient to make the RDX feel athletic. Furthermore, the engine runs efficiently thanks to a system that deactivates two or even three cylinders when full power isn't required. Towing capacity is meager at only 1,500 pounds, vs. the 4,400-pound rating of the Audi Q5. As with most other luxury vehicles, premium fuel is recommended for the RDX.
The 2015 Acura RDX has a starting price of just under $35,800. Opting for all-wheel drive is an additional $1,400, and the main sole option, the Technology Package, is another $3,700. A loaded 2015 RDX comes in around $41,000. At these prices, the RDX undercuts every rival except the new Lincoln MKC, with the closest other competitors being the Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50. Loaded versions of its German competition, by comparison, can be $15,000 higher. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the RDX. Resale value is another strong point for the Acura, with the RDX boasting some of the highest residuals in its class.
Pros: "powerful V6 with decent gas milage, luxury cabin"
Cons: "very small sunroof, mirrors don't fold at all"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought the 2016 RDX AWD and love it, I was planning on getting the Audi Q5, but wanted more power and it was $10,000 more. I love my RDX, it has more power, all the luxuries and cheaper. Both styles are old with the Q5 being the oldest. The upgrades on the 2016 RDX are slight but enough not to feel dated. the Q3 was even smaller with less power. also considered the Lexus NX, it also had less power, smaller, and in my opinion uglier"
Cons: "Lacking hidden storage in rear compartment."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased a 2014 RDX w/Technology Package, coming out of a Nissan Juke that I grew to detest. That RDX turned into one of my all time favorite cars, and I've owned a bunch. All my friends were impressed, wondered how I could afford a car that cost over $50,000, they were shocked to find out it was well under $40,000. The ride was superb, plenty of power, sporty driving dynamics, and a terrific road trip car. Now we can talk about safety, was rear-ended by a 2012 GMC Yukon Denali doing about 50 mph while I was stopped in traffic, pushed me into the Camry in front eliminating it's trunk, and destroying my RDX. My passenger and I both walked away from the accident, my Acura gave it's life to protect me, if I had been in my Miata, I'm not sure I would have been here to write this. I have looked at everything else available and Acura is an incredibly good value, you can spend lots more money on rivals, but you really won't be getting any more car. Now waiting for insurance to go purchase another Acura, and I will feel safe."
"-Great mileage, variable cylinder system very smooth, good power.
-Good agility, peppy, have front wheel drive but would recommend AWD, electric power steering could be better.
-Firm ride a little too much on long trips
-ELS Surround Audio System is fantastic.
-Had both front struts fail within 43K miles, replaced under warranty. No other reliability problems.
-Back-up camera very nice
-We enjoy the car very much, would recommend it depending on your particular needs. Ended up being a little small for our purposes but will keep it until opportunity is right to change."