Acura RDX Review

2014 Acura RDX 4dr SUV Exterior

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Knowing that many SUV buyers would rather have sporty on-road dynamics than off-road prowess, Acura offers its RDX. This compact crossover blends sporty handling with the typical SUV traits of all-wheel drive and enhanced cargo capacity.

That said, the two generations of the RDX offer two distinct flavors. The first generation is more visceral and more involving to drive, while the second generation offers greater refinement and practicality that make it a stronger overall choice. Be it new or used, however, you'll get admirable Acura traits that either type of buyer can appreciate. One is a strong reputation for overall quality and reliability that should translate into years of trouble-free miles. Another is a generous standard features list.

Current Acura RDX
The Acura RDX is a small luxury crossover powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that provides 273 horsepower along with swift acceleration and respectable fuel economy. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive offered as an option.

Two trim levels are available: base and base with Technology package. Standard features include a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), leather upholstery, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack. The Technology package adds amenities such as xenon headlights, a power liftgate, a navigation system (with real-time traffic and weather) and a surround-sound audio system.

In reviews, we've been impressed by the RDX's quick acceleration, relaxed highway cruising demeanor, precise steering and composed (if not quite as sharp as its stiff-riding forebear's) handling on curvy blacktop. We think this shift in focus serves the Acura RDX -- and the large majority of its potential owners -- quite well. However, a shortcoming is the RDX's lack of available electronic safety features. Amenities like adaptive cruise control, a collision-mitigation system, a lane-departure warning system and a blind-spot warning system are offered on rival models, but they aren't available on the RDX.

We've found the RDX's cabin to be both spacious and well-constructed. The overall layout is both attractive and easy to navigate. In front, the seats offer support on par with that of high-end German models, while the rear seats boast more legroom. The RDX's 26.1 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats is about average for the segment, but folding down the rear seats opens up a more generous 61.3 cubic feet of capacity.

Used Acura RDX Models
Redesigned for 2013, the current-generation Acura RDX is a more sensible crossover than its predecessor. Although just an inch taller and an inch longer than before, there's a bit more room for passengers and a lot more room for cargo. Better performance and fuel efficiency were other key improvements. A simpler, lighter all-wheel-drive setup replaced the previous "Super Handling All-Wheel Drive" system. Though SH-AWD undeniably aided athleticism, it will likely be missed only by a small percentage of hard-charging enthusiasts. Inside this RDX's stylish body is a cabin sporting more luxury features such as keyless ignition and entry and a power liftgate.

Produced from 2007-'12, the previous-generation Acura RDX was a compact luxury crossover SUV aimed squarely at driving enthusiasts looking for feisty performance and sharp handling. It came with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine making a strong 240 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) was standard, and the RDX was available with either front-wheel drive or Acura's advanced Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system. The SH-AWD system instantly transferred torque among the wheels (front to rear as well as side to side) to optimize grip and handling in any driving situation.

Standard feature highlights included leather seating, heated seats, xenon headlights, a rearview camera and a 260-watt audio system with a six-CD changer and USB port. Options included a navigation system (with voice activation and real-time traffic reporting), a sun-sensing climate control system and an upgraded audio system.

In reviews, we found this RDX to be one of the most entertaining crossovers to drive, thanks to its peppy acceleration and agile handling. The drawback to this sporty personality was the sacrifice of some utility. Although passengers had plenty of space (the rear seats were nearly as roomy as those in the larger Acura MDX), the 61 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity was on the small side compared to most rivals and the RDX lacked items like adjustable cargo tracks and a rear parcel shelf.

The RDX changed little during this run. A few minor improvements took place for 2008, including a new auto-dimming rearview mirror, memory settings for the driver seat, a larger navigation screen and standard Bluetooth connectivity. For 2010 a front-wheel-drive version became available, as did a few new features including a back-up camera, Bluetooth streaming audio and an iPod/USB jack.

Read the most recent 2015 Acura RDX review.

If you are looking for older years, visit our used Acura RDX page.

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