Full 2014 Acura RDX Review
What's New for 2014
After a full redesign last year, the Acura RDX carries over unchanged for 2014.
Although the premium small crossover segment continues to see an influx of strong new candidates, the 2014 Acura RDX stands tall as one of the more compelling picks in this class. It offers a smart mix of power, feature content and fuel efficiency that should make it appealing to a broad range of shoppers.
In the past, performance took priority over efficiency in the luxury crossover SUV class, but these days consumers should expect strong acceleration that doesn't come at the expense of respectable fuel economy. And indeed, the 2014 Acura RDX offers one of the best compromises in this class. Its standard 3.5-liter V6 engine is rated at 273 horsepower. And not only is the RDX capable of hitting 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, it earns EPA estimates of 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined (front-wheel-drive version).
You should also look for features that reflect comfort, versatility and value. A spacious cabin makes the RDX easy to live with day to day. Rear legroom and maximum cargo capacity are among the best in its class. Ride quality is also agreeable, as the Acura is endowed with refinement that befits a luxury hauler. Also, the RDX's long list of standard features makes it a value-oriented choice in a market segment that typically puts little emphasis on value. The RDX includes many standard amenities, including a sunroof and heated front seats, that cost extra on competing models.
Despite its strengths, the RDX won't be the hands-down pick for every luxury crossover buyer. The BMW X3 is also one of our favorites and offers a sportier driving experience. Other solid choices include the luxurious Audi Q5, the distinctive-looking Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and the family-friendly Volvo XC60. Most of these European competitors also happen to offer a few more top-shelf optional features, such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. Compared to those rivals, this Acura is built for a more mainstream audience: It might not have flashy style or all of the latest amenities, but the 2014 Acura RDX is an ideal choice for shoppers seeking a luxury crossover with solid overall credentials.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Acura RDX small luxury crossover SUV is available in two trim levels: base and base with Technology package. Each is available with front- or all-wheel drive.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), heated front seats, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, Pandora radio interface, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Technology package adds xenon headlights, foglights, a power liftgate, a navigation system (with real-time traffic and weather), voice controls, GPS-linked and solar-sensing automatic climate control, and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system with 15GB of music storage.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 Acura RDX is a 3.5-liter V6 with 273 hp and 251 pound-feet of torque. Power routes through a six-speed automatic transmission, and there is a choice between standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.
In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive RDX accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is respectable for vehicles in this segment. In terms of fuel economy, the RDX is quite good for its class, with the EPA rating the front-drive RDX at 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. Ratings on the AWD version drop slightly, to 19/27/22.
The 2014 Acura RDX comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is standard as well. In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive RDX came to a stop from 60 mph in 127 feet, a few feet longer than average for this class.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RDX the highest possible score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Acura RDX's cabin is a pleasant place to be, as it feels spacious and has a straightforward control layout. A dual-cockpit dash design and two-tone dash/upholstery color schemes add visual flair, and materials quality is high throughout. The RDX's various tech features, including the navigation system, are user-friendly, while the powerful ELS sound system should please most audiophiles with its clarity.
Seat comfort front and rear is very good, with firm, supportive cushions and plenty of head- and legroom. At 38.3 inches, rear legroom is impressive and more comparable to that of a larger crossover. In terms of cargo capacity, the RDX provides 26.1 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, which is about average for this class. Folding the rear seats down provides 61.3 cubic feet of capacity.
The 2014 Acura RDX's V6 provides smooth and linear power during acceleration. The crossover's fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology (which can shut down two or even three cylinders while cruising under light load conditions) is seamless in action, and we never heard or felt it during our time with the RDX.
Though it's not quite as sporty as some rivals, the 2014 RDX still changes direction in fine fashion. Its steering feels light but precise, and overall handling is composed when driving through turns. On the open highway, the RDX boasts low levels of road and wind noise, plus an impressively comfortable ride.