2009 Acura RDX SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Acura RDX

  • Big S, little U, big V. The 2009 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, many luxury features come standard, excellent crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Below-average cargo space, disappointing fuel economy, rear seats don't adjust, ride quality could be harsh for some, minimal towing capacity.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the Acura RDX gets a standard four-way power passenger seat and increased coverage for the AcuraLink real-time traffic system.

Full 2009 Acura RDX Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Acura RDX gets a standard four-way power passenger seat and increased coverage for the AcuraLink real-time traffic system.


Think of the Acura RDX as a certain type of athletic friend: he's fun to play with during the game, but he can be annoying off the court or field. (Do you think Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman hung out at Bennigan's after shooting hoops? Um, no.) Just as many of us have friends for different situations, the 2009 Acura RDX also does its best work under limited, specific circumstances.

As Acura's compact crossover SUV, the RDX puts heavy emphasis on the sport part of the "sport-utility vehicle" name. Its muscular turbocharged engine, grippy "Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive" (SH-AWD) system and agile, firmly tuned suspension with big tires are clearly aimed at driving enthusiasts who'd like a little extra cargo room. On the flip side, there's not much utility here -- the cabin is on the tight side when it comes to both passenger and cargo space, the ride quality can occasionally be harsh and the ground clearance is hardly better than a regular sedan's.

Comparable in size to the Honda CR-V (but without the cabin versatility), the Acura RDX sports a number of upscale features to validate its premium branding, such as its advanced AWD system, leather sport seats, a high-power audio system and Bluetooth connectivity. The optional Technology Package adds an array of high-tech goodies that should please any technophile.

Essentially, the 2009 Acura RDX is a sport sedan disguised as a small SUV. Although some may lament that the RDX's sport-tuned focus comes at the expense of ride comfort, there's no denying that the RDX is one of the most nimble utes around. This design approach worked for the BMW X3, and indeed, the two models are prime competitors. The RDX is a bit quicker from zero to 60 mph (albeit at the expense of fuel economy) and has a lower price, but lacks the X3's extra interior space and elegant cabin ambiance.

Although we find a few aspects of the RDX's personality irksome, overall we have no problem recommending it to like-minded driving enthusiasts. That said, one should also consider the BMW X3 and the Infiniti EX35, as well as top non-premium picks like the similar-performing Mazda CX-7, Volkswagen Tiguan or the larger, more practical Toyota RAV4 V6.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Acura RDX is a small five-passenger luxury crossover SUV. Standard features are plentiful and include 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a moonroof, full power accessories, heated front seats, a tilt/telescoping steering column, a power driver seat with memory, a power passenger seat, Bluetooth phone 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 audio jack is also standard.

The RDX's available 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 Panasonic/ELS premium surround-sound audio system.

Powertrains and Performance

Under the RDX's hood is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a stout 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 AWD system (SH-AWD) similar to the one used for the larger MDX SUV as well as the RL and TL luxury sedans. It's not only able to distribute torque between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right wheels, to promote optimum traction and better cornering performance.

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 EPA estimates of 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined. Towing capacity is a minimal 1,500 pounds.


Every 2009 Acura RDX comes standard with front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, active front head restraints, antilock brakes (with brake assist), stability control and traction control.

The RDX has proved to be very crashworthy; 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 its frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

Thanks to its leather seating, metallic accents, blue gauge illumination and symmetrical dash design, the RDX's interior looks considerably more upscale than that of the average small SUV. There is a bit more plastic than expected in an Acura, but not enough to be bothersome. A deep center storage compartment between the front seats can hold a briefcase or laptop bag.

The chief demerit for the RDX is its lack of utility. Folding down the 60/40-split rear seat allows 61 cubic feet of cargo room, which is cavernous compared to a sedan but less roomy than other small crossovers. Rear passengers are stuck with the position of the rear seats, as they don't recline or slide fore and aft (unlike those in the RDX's plebian cousin, the Honda CR-V).

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Acura RDX is so sport-oriented, it should come with a free subscription to ESPN HD. When the turbo kicks in with a minimum of lag, it does so with a delicious whooshing sound. The transmission is well matched to the engine's power delivery, though there is no rev-matching feature 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 cornering capability.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Like an mdx and accord

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I owned a 03 MDX and 07 Accord V6 previously...I wanted to go back to a SUV...just not a large one. The RDX fit the bill for me. I get 22 mpg non highway driving at an avg speed of 28 mph, I drive 66 mi daily round trip to work. The turbo kicks in when needed and the ride inside the cabin is quiet. The road feel can be bumpy on poorly maintained streets and the handling is great on quick turns. If you need more cargo room and a fold down third seat, opt for the MDX and a few less mpg. I'm 5'3 and my husband is 6'1 and we both have plenty of head and leg room.

Comparing the rdx to bmw

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Vehicle: 2009 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I traded my X3 for a used RDX. While the X3 was a good car, it's reliability was waning after 100K. The RDX was a great choice. Reminds me of the X3. Ride is about the same (choppy over rough spots) but handles even better than the X3. Seems roomier and gets a bit better gas mileage. Sure you can get low miles if you keep your foot in the turbo. I'm getting 23 to 27 on the highway and 19 in town. This is the AWD version too. I have an MDX that's been a reliable car. I expect the RDX to follow suit. It's a great car for one who enjoys driving and isn't put off by the tight suspension. Plus it's an Acura.

What a snatch!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

It's been 2 great years since I first picked this baby up. The biggest reason for choosing this car, is because the 2.3 liter engine from Honda is only used in the RDX. The small turbo is also very peppy. There's virtually no lag - VTec kicks just under 4k rpm. Unfortunately, the drop in peak power is very noticeable. The ride is stiff, but supple. Just enough to feel confident without suffering back pains. I put regular gas for 1k miles recently, and to my surprise, there was no loss in power. But, there was loss in the stiffness of the steering wheel. Regardless, I advise premium gas. The brakes were the biggest disappointment. They feel like they stop 60-0 in 130-140 ft.

Compares to other luxury vehicles

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Vehicle: 2009 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

We have driven Lexus, BMW, Jeep and Infinity SUV'S and have been most impressed with our Acura RDX!! This SUV handles beautifully and we have only required scheduled maintenance for oil changes. We plan on purchasing/leasing a second RDX this spring.

Love this car

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Vehicle: 2009 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I'm really enjoying this SUV! I really love the size and room it has on the inside! The only problems that I've had are the speakers, I blew three of them! And I have no idea how! This car is fun to drive and everyone that rides in this car loves it! I looked at many SUV's before purchasing this one! This one was by far the best! Perfect size and not a lot of people have this car! SO you wont have the same car as everyone else!

Know what you're buying

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Vehicle: 2009 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

We wanted a AWD vehicle to travel in winter to Northern NV and Sierra Nevada mtns. We wanted a small SUV. We loved the CR-V but it was a Dog (4 Cyl.) and the Rav4 was stylish 10 years ago, so we checked out the RDX. It has impressive quickness & handling and it's really fun to drive. What we didn't expect is the gas mileage. We have only gotten 17 mpg in town once and highway isn't much over 20. On long trips be prepared to gas up frequently (and always with premium). Overall I really like the SUV and the fact that the turbo doesn't lose power with elevation. Know what your buying -an AWD SUV w/ a turbo- and accept that you won't get great mileage.

Talk About The 2009 RDX

2009 Acura RDX Discussions See all Started By

What changes will there be for the 2009 Acura RDX? Will it have a diesel I-DTEC Engine? When will it come out?...

My 2014 MDX was new in October. After about 3000 miles I began hearing short (1 to 3 second) vibration type sounds, at speeds anywhere from 20 to 50 mph, coming from under the hood directly in front o...

The Tech package in my 2009 RDX (and with my wife's 2012 MDX) was great, but not so with my 2013 RDX. Missing is the SH-AWD..it has the basic AWD which doesn't bother me as much as the 2013 Bluetooth...

Gas Mileage


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