2008 Acura RDX Review

Pros & Cons

  • Responsive handling, powerful turbocharged engine, most features come standard, excellent crash test scores.
  • 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.
List Price Range
$5,999 - $8,900

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Acura RDX models

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.

2008 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Acura RDX.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great if you can live with the compromises
Drew Engstrom,08/06/2015
4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
The RDX is sports sedan masquerading as a luxury SUV. Cornering and acceleration? Great. Cushioned, quiet ride? Nope. I chose the RDX because there are many SUV and truck drivers where I live and I wanted to sit a little bit higher than I would in a sedan - and I am completely sold on Honda/Acura reliability and quality. Quality and reliability have been excellent and the driving position is comfortable with excellent visibility; my advice to prospective buyers would be to simply understand the trade-offs: 1) The turbocharged 4 cylinder is very responsive and fun to drive - but, don't expect to get much more than 16 MPG when you're zipping around town, or about 23 MPG when cruising on the highway. 2) The taut suspension makes for great handling - but, don't expect a plush, Toyota-ish ride quality; you will feel and hear road imperfections. 3) The car is very nimble and comfortable for an SUV - but remember, this is a smaller SUV and it really isn't any roomier than a smaller sedan (think Acura TSX) Conclusion; if you like the Acura feel (tight suspension, cornering on rails) and you want something with some power, this is as good a combination of value and quality as you can get in a small SUV.
Overall We Love This Car
mike,07/17/2015
4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
In the year 2015, had to replace our 2005 CRV which we loved, because of a hit and run that left our car trashed. We were looking at simply getting another CRV, but stumbled across a 2010 RDX at a dealer. We took it for a drive and fell in love. We didn't quite like the look of the 2010 model (fog lights are a little "pronounced" for our taste, so out of curiosity we looked and found a 2008 model with 59k miles that was a new arrival at a local dealer. Took it out for a drive, and loved it even more than the 2010 model we had driven earlier. To be sure, we subsequently tried a few other CRVs (2005, 2010, 2012) but by that time I think we were just too smitten with the RDX and never looked back. We got the RDX for $15k and are sooooo happy about it. (cheaper than any CRVs we saw, including a 2005 model that would have essentially replaced the one we lost, but was more expensive than this 2008 RDX. A couple things that any buyer should be aware of especially in 2015: (1) Mileage. We just took a road trip and got 23 mpg, which is about what it was advertised at (actually slightly better). You have to be on top of RPMs, use of AC, buying gas at Costco, and other things if you want to keep your costs and gas use down - and those are all things we are good with doing. (2) We had a little rattling in the car when we got it. After a long search we found it wasn't mechanical, but rather the latch for back seat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OS7CgzsiRs&feature=youtu.be), which is now totally silent thanks to electrical tape! That's pretty much it so far, and granted it's only been a month since we bought the car, but it is a 2008 model and no other red flags (just had it inspected too). So many good things for us. The cabin is like a dream after the CRV. Again we loved our CRV but didn't realize how much better it could be with a car like an RDX. Driving it feels like we got bumped from coach to first class. Don't know what rear passenger seats feel like, but front are awesome with leather, memory seats, amazing stereo, storage, Dual climate setting. Dash is real easy to look at and find what you need. We don't have the Tech model but don't seem to be complaining either. And as much as cabin rocks, the engine is amazing. 240hp turbo, whoa. So fun to drive!! That might have been the kicker for us, I'm pretty sure it sealed the deal for my wife, I'll never forget her face when she turned her first corner - she was like "oh yeah, I love this car." Separate from that, good fold-down seats in back to make the entire rear a flat surface, and our model is black with tinted windows, so lord it is sexy! If you can keep on top of gas use and budgeting, I think this car is great. I realize it's early for us but coupled with our inspection by our trusted mechanic and plans to get regular maintenance checks, we hope to have many years of RDX fun to come... Update: After a few years of owning the car, if anything I would bump up the rating. The RDX has held up extremely well, especially considering it is a 2008 model, 10 years old! We are close to 100k miles, but it's still pretty much running the same as we bought it. We have been good about service appointments based on the warnings we get from cars, and aside from normal things for older cards - like replacing brake pads - it has been solid. We have taken countless road trips which this car is really the best for, but also use it for day-to-day use and it's been great all around. Realize the age might catch up to us soon, but for now we are happy to continue enjoying the ride!
Love my RDX
Mark,03/26/2016
4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
The handling, acceleration and look of this car is unmatched.. Love the interior and leather seats as well. The only negative is the turbo requires hi octane and the gas mileage is a little disappointing. However, with a turbo you can't have your cake and eat it too.. Overall, I believe it's the best small SUV on the market..including the BMW..
Love it! Just can't afford it when things break.
Cone,08/21/2017
4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)
I bought this used 6 years ago, from a known and trusted private seller. At first I loved everything except the cost of fuel. It takes Premium, and gulps it at about 19 miles/gallon on average. I love the handling, energy, road feel, visibility... it is a great ride and I love driving it. Its great safety ratings made my insurance stay the same as the previous car, which was worth 10% of what the R cost me. Here's the problem. Since 90,000 miles, stuff started to break. Notably, the A/C compressor... between $900-$1100 to replace. I had to do an inner tie rod and front struts. Most recently, the alternator. There are things gone weird with some of the technology, such as the backup sensor system and the driver memory and the map display. Recently, when the Climate Control is on Auto in hot weather, the passenger side dashboard vents have been randomly blowing HOT air instead of air conditioned cool air such as the other vents properly have. Messing around with different settings will usually help us to work around the problem. Like most intermittent problems, I suspect this will be impossible to troubleshoot and address unless it becomes constant. My guess about the technology is that 2008 was an early year in the introduction of some of this stuff. Finally, sad to say, this was my first non-Japanese-made Acura, and its fit and finish are just not as good as the two Integras I had that were actually built in Japan. I still do like this car, though, and will keep it for as long as I can.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 Acura RDX features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 Acura RDX

Used 2008 Acura RDX Overview

The Used 2008 Acura RDX is offered in the following submodels: RDX SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A), and 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Acura RDX?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Acura RDX trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Acura RDX Base is priced between $5,999 and$8,900 with odometer readings between 97293 and164730 miles.

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Which used 2008 Acura RDXES are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Acura RDX for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2008 RDXES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,999 and mileage as low as 97293 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Acura RDX.

Can't find a used 2008 Acura RDXs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Acura RDX for sale - 11 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $12,085.

Find a used Acura for sale - 1 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $21,458.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura RDX for sale - 2 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $22,290.

Find a used certified pre-owned Acura for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $19,015.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 Acura RDX?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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