2011 Acura RDX SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Acura RDX SUV

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Acura RDX Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 240 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Acura RDX

  • The 2011 Acura RDX might often be overlooked, but with its entertaining driving dynamics and strong value, it deserves consideration from savvy shoppers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sporty handling; compelling performance; well-equipped; relatively low price; strong crash scores.

  • Cons

    Firm ride; lacks a certain premium look and feel.

  • What's New for 2011

    The Acura RDX is unchanged for 2011.

Full 2011 Acura RDX Review

What's New for 2011

The Acura RDX is unchanged for 2011.


Some say the 2011 Acura RDX looks like a metal-beaked angry chicken. You can blame the front grille that debuted last year for that, but even so, the RDX has plenty of reason to be angry. Now in its fifth year in production, this compact luxury crossover has been overlooked in favor of newer competitors. Perhaps it's due to styling (pre- and post-beak grille) or perhaps it's simply that consumers didn't realize they wanted a small luxury SUV until Audi and Mercedes started selling them. Whatever the reason, though, the RDX deserves better.

For one, the Acura RDX is one of the most pleasing compact crossovers to drive. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engine has less horsepower than many of its competitors, but robust torque and a lighter curb weight result in energetic acceleration. In fact, the RDX is quicker than all its competitors with the exception of the 297-horsepower Infiniti EX35.

Complementing the RDX's swift acceleration is the optional "Super Handling" All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system that truly makes this Acura stand out from the pack. By proportioning power automatically to the outside wheels during cornering, the MDX corners more crisply and with a livelier feel than the competition. If your significant other wants the added utility of a crossover, but you're not quite willing to give up the driving experience of a sport sedan, the RDX could be a great choice.

Beyond performance and handling, the RDX features a well-constructed (though visually unremarkable) cabin available with a full load of high-tech features like solar-sensing climate control, an iPod interface and an easy-to-use navigation system. Its optional Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system is also one of the best in its class. Best of all, a loaded RDX hits the register at a price that undercuts its similarly equipped competition by thousands.

So as you can see, the 2011 Acura RDX is worth consideration alongside newer competitors like the 2011 Audi Q5, 2011 BMW X3, 2011 Mercedes-Benz GLK and 2011Volvo XC60. Each has its own benefits, however, with the Volvo in particular being the best choice for families. They also benefit from arguably more compelling designs, which in the luxury segment means a lot. Unfortunately for the RDX, an angry robotic chicken just isn't the most premium of visuals.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Acura RDX is a five-passenger compact luxury crossover available in a single trim level. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, heated mirrors, privacy glass, automatic xenon headlamps, foglamps, a sunroof, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way driver and four-way power passenger seats, heated front seats, leather upholstery, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Technology package adds GPS-linked and solar-sensing automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, voice controls, a larger infotainment display screen, and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system with DVD audio capability.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Acura RDX is powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles is standard, but there is a choice between standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Dubbed SH-AWD, it distributes power not only between the front and rear axles as is typical, but also between the left and right wheels, ensuring optimal traction in all conditions.

With front-wheel drive, the RDX went from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds in Edmunds testing, making this Acura one of the quickest crossovers in the class. The heavier SH-AWD model should be just a bit slower. In terms of fuel economy, the front-drive RDX is rated at an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined, while the SH-AWD version rates 17/22/19. Both are about average for the class.


The Acura RDX comes standard with antilock brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a front-drive RDX came to a stop from 60 mph in a reasonable distance of 125 feet.

The RDX has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to the new methodology) were a perfect five stars for both frontal and side-impact crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RDX a perfect score of "Good" in its frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.

Interior Design and Special Features

The RDX's interior design is a bit unremarkable compared to what's found in newer competitors, but we still feel that most buyers will be satisfied with the RDX's environment. Materials quality is adequate, though there's a little too much hard plastic relative to its competitors. A deep center storage compartment between the front seats can hold a briefcase or laptop bag.

There are 28 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, and folding down the 60/40-split rear seatback affords 61 cubic feet -- mid-pack numbers for a small luxury crossover. The Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLK are tighter, the SRX about the same, and the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 notably roomier. Rear legroom is good, but the rear seats don't recline or slide fore and aft (unlike those in the Audi Q5 and the RDX's plebian cousin, the Honda CR-V).

Driving Impressions

The 2011 Acura RDX's audible turbo whooshing sound is a pleasant departure from the standard six-cylinder soundtracks in this segment. Turbo lag is minimal, and power plentiful enough to make you question its relatively paltry horsepower number.

On the move, the RDX has a firm ride quality -- overly so on rough city streets. However, the payoff comes around corners, where the RDX is as eager to play as any model in its class. It feels smaller than many others in the segment and has steering that is on the light side, but reassuringly precise nonetheless. With Acura's signature SH-AWD, the RDX's handling is improved further, yanking this little ute around corners with poise and tenacious grip.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

New 2011 rdx owner

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Vehicle: 2011 Acura RDX 4dr SUV w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

My comments are coming from a guy who has had a 2004 Saturn Vue (V6) for the last ten years. Very reliable vehicle so far, but not one bringing home awards and has squeaks and rattles all over. Bought a 2011 Certified RDX Tech Package less than two weeks ago. Not many sold, so I consider them the few, the unknown vehicle. Very comfortable seats. Toys galore that I have to concentrate on the road when driving. Just a much different driving experience than what I am used to. Yes, the suspension is much firmer, but taking a corner is fun. I don't slam on the turbo, as I do see how it eats gas. If you don't slam turbo, I just averaged 25.5 mpg according to computer.

Acura rdx

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Vehicle: 2011 Acura RDX 4dr SUV w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Overall I am happy with my RDX. I would at least recommend taking a look at this vehicle if you like Lexus and Acura vehicles. The handling was surprisingly better than expected. The staff and ammentites at the dealership were on par or better than many of the more expensive options. My dealer Phuong Davidson took her time and thoroughly explained my vehicles features and options even after I bought it and was professional and patient. The rest of the staff and management were also polite and easy going. I would recommend a visit to Pohanka Acura.

Not great for a petite

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Vehicle: 2011 Acura RDX SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

When I test drove the car, it seemed perfect for my height--5'. It is not. Since buying the car and driving it, I'm having difficulty parking it. I can see over the hood, but something about the front end--length?-- causes me parking problems. Seat height limited--needs another 1-2". Seat belt doesn't lower where attached and cuts me across the throat. Passenger seat does not go up and down; husband needs a high seat to enter the car due to back problems and now has a difficult time getting in. Would not have bought the car had I been aware. No push button to lower rear door--have to stand on tip-toe to grasp the handle. Looks more like a station wagon, not SUV. Want my RAV 4 back!

10 of 18 people found this review helpful

Rdx with tech package

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Vehicle: 2011 Acura RDX 4dr SUV w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

I wanted a small SUV for more utility, ability to go through flooded streets and for a change of lifestyle. Was in a Camry for many years but hated not having no power and feeling like a old man. Printed a bunch of pictures of SUVs and showed it to my girlfriend. She Pick the Acura and I went down and got it. I think it was good decision as it is upscale and I needed to treat myself to something more than another Toyota. Reliable, safe, fun to drive, and that Turbo 4 is nice change of pace. Fuel economy is about what I expected around 18-19 range city. It uses premium fuel. When new the fuel economy was down to 16-17.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Huge bang for the buck

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Vehicle: 2011 Acura RDX 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

With BMW, Audi, and Mercedes getting all the attention in the luxury crossover market, the RDX is too often overlooked. I have owned my 2011 RDX base (front wheel drive) for 8 months and love it. You get a lot for your $30,000. Stellar acceleration and handling, all the creature comforts, and a premium feel (though not quite as "premium" as the German competitors). If you want to save a few thousand dollars and still get an excellent vehicle- give the RDX a long, hard look before jumping into that BMW. If you do not live in Alaska or extreme north east, consider front wheel drive for even a better value. I live in NJ and am getting through the winter just fine with my front wheel drive RDX.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

Mostly up

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Vehicle: 2011 Acura RDX SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Mostly a good experience, but small cargo capacity, small place for driver's stuff. Backup camera not good in bright sunlight. Nice drive with turbo and shifting, but poor mileage + uses high price gas. With Honda/Acura reliability, it should be very good. Would make changes in seating. Hard ride for all. Guess the MDX might have been a better choice. Should get better mileage.

Talk About The 2011 RDX

2011 Acura RDX Discussions See all Started By

Anyone know if the new 2011 RDX has had its ride improved? The previous one was far too firm and rigid and tiring on long trips?...


The cross bars on my roof rack interfere with my ski box. I can remove the cross bars, but the sliding retaining pieces the cross bars screw into can't be easily removed. Does anybody have a techni?...

Read more about the 2011 Acura RDX

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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