By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
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.
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.
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.
KBB Expert Ratings
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 Impressions 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.
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.
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.Exterior
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.
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.
273 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (FWD), 19/27 mpg (AWD)
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.