2008 Acura RDX SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Acura RDX SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Acura RDX Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 240 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Acura RDX

  • Big S, little U, big V. The 2008 Acura RDX goes all-in for sport but comes up short when it comes to real-world utility.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Responsive handling, powerful turbocharged engine, most features come standard, excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Below-average cargo space, rear seats don't recline or slide fore and aft, disappointing fuel economy, ride quality might be overly harsh for some.

  • What's New for 2008

    All-new last year, the Acura RDX receives minor updates for 2008. New features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror and memory positioning for the driver seat. Bluetooth connectivity, formerly optional, is now standard.

Full 2008 Acura RDX Review

What's New for 2008

All-new last year, the Acura RDX receives minor updates for 2008. New features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror and memory positioning for the driver seat. Bluetooth connectivity, formerly optional, is now standard.


If the 2008 Acura RDX participated in a round of speed dating, it'd probably say this: "Hi, I'm RDX. I'm young and active. I'm into high-tech gear and fashion. In my spare time, I like working out and going for long drives in the rain. My family is well-known and famous. I'm ready for a long-term commitment; but first, is your credit score above 780?" Time's up. Interested?

If you are, read on, you hopeless romantic. Introduced last year as an all-new model, the Acura RDX follows the typical small crossover SUV plan by having a car-based body structure, a fully independent suspension and seating for four adults. It's about the same size as a Honda CR-V, but there are many upgrades that make it a more premium (and more expensive) selection. Acura's baby SUV comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an advanced all-wheel-drive system and the upscale interior features and ambiance typical of an Acura product.

As SUVs go, the RDX is all-in on the "S" part. The turbo four is potent and spreads its power evenly throughout the rev range. That power is sent through Acura's "Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive" (SH-AWD) system that can adjust torque output to individual wheels to maximize handling and traction. Handling is furthered by a firmly tuned suspension and big wheels and tires. However, the capital S comes at the expense of some "U." Ground clearance is hardly better than a regular sedan's, the ride quality can occasionally be harsh and the interior lacks the space and versatility one can typically expect from this type of vehicle.

Essentially, the 2008 Acura RDX is a sport sedan disguised as a small SUV. It's not a bad combo, really -- how many people plan to hit the trails in such vehicles? Plus, this is a design approach that BMW has successfully used for the X3, and indeed the two models are prime competitors. The RDX is a bit quicker from zero to 60 mph and has a lower price but lacks the X3's extra interior space and premium ambiance. We like the Acura and recommend it, though it's in your best interest to look at both of these vehicles as well as the new Infiniti EX35. Alternately, top non-premium models like the similar-performing Mazda CX-7 or the larger Toyota RAV4 V6 are also very good choices.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Acura RDX is a small, five-passenger luxury crossover SUV. Standard equipment is generous and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a moonroof, full power accessories, heated front seats, a power driver seat with memory, Bluetooth connectivity, leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control. A seven-speaker audio system with a six-disc CD/MP3 changer, satellite radio, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and an auxiliary input jack is also standard. The RDX's Technology package adds a navigation system with real-time traffic, a rearview camera, solar-sensing and GPS-linking features for the climate control and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS premium surround-sound audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. It's capable of 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is standard. Power is sent to all four wheels through an all-wheel-drive system (SH-AWD) similar to the one used for the RL luxury sedan. It's not only able to distribute torque between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right wheels. In testing, we've found the RDX can accelerate to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, one of the quickest times for this segment. Fuel economy is disappointing, however, with a 2008 EPA estimate of 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway. Towing capacity is a minimal 1,500 pounds.


Every 2008 Acura RDX comes standard with front-seat side airbags, head-protecting side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, active front head restraints, antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control and traction control. The RDX has also proved to be very crash-worthy; in government testing, it earned a top five-star rating for protection of occupants in both frontal and side-impact crashes. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RDX a top score of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

Thanks to its leather seating, metallic accents, blue illumination for the gauges and symmetrical dash design, the RDX's interior looks considerably more upscale than the average small SUV. There is a bit more plastic than expected in an Acura, but not enough to be bothersome. An improbably deep center storage compartment between the front seats can hold a briefcase or laptop bag. The most concerning aspect about the RDX is its lack of utility. Folding down the 60/40-split rear seat reveals 61 cubic feet of cargo room, less than what many other small crossovers can hold. Rear passengers don't receive many amenities, and the rear seats don't recline or slide fore and aft.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Acura RDX should come with a free subscription to ESPN HD; it's all about sport. When the turbo kicks in with a minimum of lag, it does so with a delicious whooshing sound. The transmission is well suited for the engine's power delivery, though there is no rev-matching capability for downshifts. The ride quality is firm, perhaps overly so on rough city streets. In return, the RDX is eager to play when driven on curvy roads. Its firm suspension and big wheels and tires provide plenty of grip, while the signature SH-AWD system maximizes traction and idealizes yaw control.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Acura rdx navigation, speedometer, odometer,

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

This car has an overstated mileage problem approximately every 10 miles adds 5 miles in turn uses the gas. Acura dealer service depts. will not acknowledge the problem, test or accept responsibility. In my own car I have been lied to. I log near every mile I drive to check the discrepancy. This car has been refused to be serviced by dealer service depts. Client relations does nothing for me except log and ask to accept apology.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

60k, so far, so good

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

2008 RDX, 60K mileage, no problem so far. I would say this is a very reliable car. Pro: reliable, great handling, decent power Con: rough ride, bad gas mileage I believe it can run 3-5 more years.

Rattle trap

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Cute, Fun car to drive. Rough ride. You can feel every bump and vibration in your head rest and seat. Isn't this supposed to be a luxury car? Stiff suspension causes things to rattle in the car. Not enough compartments. Just a big deep hole in the center console. Not large enough to fit carseats behind drivers seat.

Acura quality

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I have the 2008 RDX with Tech package - 33,000miles & it has delivered as expected. NO problems what so ever!! All that I have done so far is change the Trans fluid, rear differential fluid & Oil. I love the SUV from the performance to the comfort & utility. It's the perfect size for utility & still can parallel park in the city with no problems! I've seen a few reviewers complain about Gas Mileage but I haven't really experienced anything less than the 17/22 which Acura expects. I've been getting 19.6mpg in the city & 26.1mpg on the highway with the cruise control on at 70MPH. I keep the tire pressure at 40PSI & I drive with a roof rack. I'd buy this car again!!

It's true.. good but could

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Vehicle: 2008 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

It is true, all that was written by the reviewers on edmunds... The glove box slams on the passengers legs, the cup holders are not adjustable, the lights are not automatic, the GPS cannot be seen when sunny, center console oepns to side instead of up, your have to hit the OK button every single time on the GPS unit, I mean every time you get in the car. This is silly, and could also be easily recitified. Just download a patch. etc. etc. All of these could easily be fixed. Come on Acura this will take just a little effort. That being said I love the pickup and handling and it has plenty of utility for me. Just throw my hockey stuff in and go. e on Acura, this is a luxury brand.

40k and so far, so

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

For the past couple of years my RDX has worked well - no warranty issues to date. In addition to city/ highway driving, I travel frequently to Lake Tahoe during the winter. The SH-AWD mated with winter tires keeps me truck'in along. Agree with other reviews that gas mileage is not the best when climbing the Sierra Nevada, but there is zero power loss (IMO) and I knew what to expect with a turbo-engine.

Talk About The 2008 RDX

2008 Acura RDX Discussions See all Started By

We were both rather disappointed that the RDX has no passenger side power seat and no seat memory but are still drawn to it because the technology package is the best out there in a compact SUV....

I just bought a new MDX after owning an RDX for 4 months and not liking it too much. The first day of driving it off the lot, my MDX no longer recognized the keys and would not let me change the perso...

I have a 2008 RDX and lately it has been making a noise like its moaning! Not all the time but recently it has increased. Used to be just when I turned it on but today I heard it on and off while dr...

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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