By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.4
The 2017 Acura RDX compact-luxury-crossover SUV has been around for a number of years, all of which have seen sales success to make the competition green with envy. Where competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Lexus NX use turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, the RDX sticks with a robust V6 teamed to a smooth-shifting automatic powering either the front or all four wheels. With seating for five passengers and a decent-sized cargo bay, the RDX makes a great luxury SUV for those who don’t need the added size and extra cost of the larger MDX. Acura’s full suite of luxury, technology and safety features is here, as is its unimpeachable reputation for reliability and excellent resale.
Acura’s RDX compact-luxury SUV for 2017 combines sporty good looks with impressive power and handling in a package that isn’t overly complex or ornate. The RDX’s reasonable pricing is bolstered by its ability to hold its value better than almost all challengers.
KBB Expert Ratings
With the exception of some new colors, the 2017 Acura RDX is basically a carryover of the 2016 model.
Other than its average fuel-economy ratings, we find very little objectionable when driving the 2017 Acura RDX. The 3.5-liter V6 delivers its power smoothly with plenty of low-end torque for...
... quick acceleration and passing. Although Acura does equip the RDX with a Sport mode and paddle shifters, we found this little luxury SUV performed best when left to make gear changes all on its own. Cruising long highway stretches is where the RDX feels most at home, although the suspension is appropriately tuned for aggressive driving. However, don’t expect the RDX to perform like a BMW X3 or an Infiniti QX30. Acura’s almost fanatic desire to silence the RDX’s cabin is achieved through ample insulation and an active noise-cancellation system, while the AcuraWatch system helps keep everyone safe via the adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, collision warning and mitigation and lane-keeping assist.
ACURA/ELS SURROUND SOUND
The RDX for 2017 doesn’t need 20 speakers in every door to pull off amazing sound quality. The Acura ELS audio system is so well engineered and fine-tuned, it blows the coils off systems costing twice as much. Fortunately, it’s incredibly affordable.
The 2017 RDX compact-luxury-crossover SUV offers the Advance Package that includes every available feature offered on the RDX in one simple grouping. Add in all-wheel drive and you’re looking at price tag around $45,000.
The 2017 Acura RDX gets a few color revisions to its interior trim this year, but that’s about it. Acura’s dual-screen infotainment system presents a cleanly styled interface devoid of the multitude of buttons found on some competitors. Other touches of note include soft-touch materials, an available 8-way-power passenger seat, 10-way-power driver's seat and a smart use of space for both passengers and cargo. For example, if the comfortable rear seats aren't holding passengers, they quickly fold forward to create up to about 77 cubic feet of cargo space.
Fresh from an update last year, the 2017 Acura RDX SUV carries over its subtle tweaks that bring it in line with the more modern design language of the brand. Brilliant Jewel Eye headlights flank a revised 3-dimensional grille design, while around back the RDX’s taillights have the same signature look as the rest of the Acura lineup. The RDX’s face and tail liven up the overall package, which, although conservatively handsome, lags behind more radical designs like the Lexus NX and Jeep Cherokee Overland.
Most of the luxury SUV competitors the RDX faces don't have the long list of standard features as the Acura, and fewer still at the price. The 2017 Acura RDX comes with things like dual-zone climate control, a 10-way-power driver's seat, active noise cancellation, a multi-view rearview camera, 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. Safety features include six airbags, stability and traction control, and Acura's ACE body structure, which has helped it earn top crash-test ratings from both the government and the insurance industry.
While Acura tends to divide its major options into different model levels, Acura’s 2017 RDX breaks with this rule by offering the AcuraWatch package as a stand-alone option on all models, except the Advance Package, which includes it. AcuraWatch bundles adaptive cruise control, forward-collision braking and warning, and lane-keeping assist and departure warning in one package. All-wheel drive (AWD) is also available across the board. Navigation is available on the Technology and Advance packages, while the Advance adds luxury touches like ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, remote starting, and automatic windshield wipers.
You wouldn't know that the Acura RDX for 2017 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine just from looking at the specs, as an engine of this size in a luxury-performance vehicle usually produces 300-plus horsepower. Still, performance is strong in the RDX, which routes its power through a 6-speed automatic transmission, either to the front wheels (FWD) or through Acura's AWD with Intelligent Control system.
279 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (FWD), 19/27 mpg (AWD)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The base front-wheel-drive 2017 Acura RDX starts at about $36,500, including the $940 destination charge. All-wheel drive adds about $1,500 to the price of any 2017 RDX, while AcuraWatch adds $1,300. The most you'll find yourself paying is about $45,000, a pretty solid bargain for such a nicely equipped vehicle. We think it's a good idea to spend the extra $1,300 on the AcuraWatch package, as it adds a significant amount of convenience and safety for a relatively small sum. At these prices, a new RDX undercuts almost every rival except the smaller Infiniti QX30 and Lincoln MKC. The Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50 are in the same ballpark, and the Germans can be $15,000 higher when they're loaded up. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that the Acura RDX boasts some of the highest resale values in its class.