2016 Acura RDX Review
2016 Acura RDX Review
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by the Edmunds Experts
- Strong acceleration and fuel economy from standard V6 engine
- high-mounted rear seat provides generous legroom and a commanding view
- more standard features than most competitors
- generous cargo capacity for the segment.
- Technology interface can be distracting to use, especially the optional dual-screen system
- high-tech safety features and adaptive cruise control don't work as well as some rival systems
- cabin lacks overtly luxurious look and feel.
Changes for the 2016 RDX include a new grille, refreshed headlights and taillights, a slight increase in engine output, a new infotainment touchscreen, additional standard features and newly available safety equipment. We recommend getting a loaded RDX with Advance package since it doesn't cost much more than the base version of rivals like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. The included AcuraWatch safety tech may be annoying at times, but it ultimately provides a safety net most shoppers will benefit from.
If a small, luxury SUV is on your shopping list, you should consider the 2016 Acura RDX. One of our favorite models in this size category, the stylish Acura provides a fuel-efficient, yet powerful V6, a comfortable interior and a long list of standard features. Read on to find out why the RDX could be a good fit for you.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Acura RDX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.92 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$204/mo for RDX Base
Avg. Midsize SUV
The original RDX bounded onto the scene as Acura's high-tech wonder, boasting a turbocharged four-cylinder engine (Acura's first) and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. It failed to resonate with as many shoppers as Acura had hoped, however, so in 2012 the company redesigned it as a more conventional small luxury crossover SUV with a traditional V6 engine. The new RDX quickly became a favorite for consumers as well as us. Four years later, the 2016 Acura RDX is still a great choice for a small luxury crossover SUV.
The Acura RDX has a new look for 2016. Notably, LED headlights are standard this year.
Part of that is due to the changes Acura made this year. High-tech driving aids have become standard fare in luxury-branded vehicles and can even be found in some compact economy cars, but the RDX was previously lacking in this regard. As such, we're pleased to see that the 2016 RDX offers a blind-spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control (which slows the RDX to match the speed of the vehicle ahead of it), a forward collision mitigation system (which can detect slow-moving or stopped objects ahead and warn the driver or apply the brakes) and a lane-departure intervention system (which applies a little steering to help guide the RDX back into its lane should it start to drift).
Besides the new tech on offer, the RDX still features the basics that we've liked these past few years. There's only one engine on offer, but that 3.5-liter V6 is strong and makes a bit more power this year plus better fuel economy (now up to 23 mpg combined) thanks to a cylinder deactivation system. Inside, a spacious and comfortable cabin makes the RDX easy to live with day to day, while the RDX's long list of standard features and competitive price boost its value proposition.
There are still a few drawbacks to the RDX. Some other rival luxury crossovers are a little more prestigious and/or sportier to drive, such as BMW's X1 and X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and the Porsche Macan. The RDX's one-engine approach also means it lacks a fuel-saving alternative, such as the diesel and hybrid powertrains offered in the Audi Q5 and Lexus NX 300h. It's also worth checking out the Volvo XC60 if you need something a little roomier. But for what we suspect most shoppers are going to want from a small luxury crossover, the well-rounded 2016 Acura RDX gets just about everything right.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Acura RDX utilizes a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends that output to the front wheels by default, with all-wheel drive optionally available.
In Edmunds acceleration testing, a 2016 RDX with all-wheel drive zipped from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is quick for a vehicle in this segment.
Fuel economy is also quite good for the class, with the front-drive RDX at an EPA-estimated 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway). The RDX's AWD system comes with only a slight fuel-efficiency penalty at 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway).
The 2016 Acura RDX comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a rearview camera.
Optional active safety equipment includes forward collision warning, forward collision mitigation with automatic braking, a blind spot monitor, lane-departure warning and lane-departure intervention. Though these systems on paper sound similar to those offered by rivals, in practice, we found them to set off the collision alarm in instances when a collision is clearly not imminent. Its adaptive cruise control system is also too quick to slam on the brakes and too slow to get back up to speed.
In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive 2016 RDX came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, which is about average for this class.
The government gave the RDX a top score of five stars for total crash protection, with five stars for total front impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the RDX its highest possible score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact, roof-strength and head restraints and seats (whiplash protection) tests.
A turbocharged four-cylinder is increasingly the engine of choice for small luxury crossovers these days, but the V6 in the 2016 Acura RDX is so good that you might just wonder what all the fuss is about. Step on the gas pedal and the RDX scoots ahead quickly and quietly, though there's also a nice V6 snarl at high rpm that sounds better than a lot of those four-cylinder engines. The six-speed automatic transmission is also a bit unusual in this era of eight- and even nine-speed automatics, but it generally responds to your inputs with smooth and timely shifts.
If you pick the all-wheel-drive RDX, you'll be rewarded with a smart-handling small luxury crossover.
Though it's not quite as sporty as some rivals, the RDX still changes direction with poise and confidence. Its steering feels light but precise, and overall handling is composed and secure when driving through turns. On the open highway, the RDX boasts low levels of road and wind noise with an impressively comfortable ride. Indeed, with its luxurious yet responsive character and standard V6 power, the RDX isn't just a top compact crossover; it can also be viewed as a more affordable alternative to midsize models like the Lexus RX.
The 2016 Acura RDX's cabin is a pleasant place to be, as it feels spacious and boasts solid construction. The pleasing textures, design and two-tone color treatment comprising the dash, center stack and gauge cluster effectively blend the notions of luxury and technology. Base models get a dial controller on the center stack plus conventional sound system buttons. That setup works fine, though the control knob in the middle of the dash is less intuitive to use than some rival console-mounted controllers. Unfortunately, the base setup might actually be preferable to the upgraded split-screen interface that comes standard with the Technology package -- operating the touchscreen's virtual buttons is a more distracting and often slower process, and the way the system divides information between the two screens can be confusing.
The 2016 Acura RDX's tech interface is OK, but rival systems are easier to use.
On the upside, the front seats are as firm and supportive as those in the best European models, while the backseat offers more legroom than most competitors, making it easy for a pair of 6-footers to sit comfortably in both rows. One notable ingredient here is the elevated height of the rear bench, which affords both excellent thigh support and a commanding outward view while still leaving ample headroom. There's also enough width for three adults to share the space during short trips.
The 2016 RDX's 26.1 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats is about the same as most rivals, but folding down the rear seats (via a pair of nifty release handles on the cargo bay walls) opens up 61.3 cubic feet of capacity. This is an average amount for a compact luxury crossover; in general, these models aren't as spacious as non-luxury models such as the Honda CR-V. The RDX offers 4 cubic feet more than the Audi Q5, but 6 fewer than the class-topping Volvo XC60.
2016 Acura RDX models
The 2016 Acura RDX small luxury crossover SUV is available in a single trim level with three optional packages (AcuraWatch Plus, Technology, and Advance). Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.
Standard features on the RDX include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated side mirrors, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), a four-way power passenger seat, premium vinyl (leatherette) upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch dashboard information display and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio, a USB audio interface, Pandora, Siri Eyes Free and an auxiliary audio jack.
The AcuraWatch Plus package adds adaptive cruise control, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and a lane-departure warning and intervention system. This package may be ordered by itself or in combination with the Technology package.
You'll want to pick the Technology package or Advance package to get leather seating and a navigation system.
The Technology package bundles sport front seats, an eight-way power front passenger seat, leather upholstery, a navigation system, a blind-spot monitoring system, voice commands, the AcuraLink app suite, a larger (8-inch) display screen plus an additional 7-inch touchscreen display on the dashboard, and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound system with HD radio and Aha compatibility.
The Advance package includes all of the content in the AcuraWatch Plus and Technology packages plus ventilated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, auto-dimming sideview mirrors, remote engine start and foglights.
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Test drove them all, RDX is the winner !
Steve K., 12/07/2015
2016 Acura RDX Advance Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
My wife never had a SUV and wanted one to be our next one. She has been driving an 08 awd Acura RL and loved it. We put snow tires on it for the winter and it was a tank in the snow with the SH awd. So for us to trade it in was a big deal. I started doing some research on Edmund's and started to list the suv's we should consider. I test drove over 12 myself and reduced it down to 5 we … should consider. We decided to stay in the mid size or smaller range since it is just the two of us. We picked one day to test drive all 5 for comparison. The Lexus NX and RX were the first she drove. Next she drove the Acura RDX then the Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe. The RDX beat them all with the 6 cylinder engine, it was by far the most peppy of them all and drove more sporty than the RX. It seems like everyone has an RX these days so they are kinda of boring to us. The RDX is full of technology which has been greatly been improved upon since we had it in our RL. The biggest is the blind spot, auto braking, cross traffic and adaptive criuse control. I have using them and they help greatly with driving. We are happy with our decision and have found acura's hold their resale value as well as being reliable. By the way, the Hyundai Tucson was our second choice, which we may buy as a second car in the future. It is about $10000 less than the RDX and has alot of the same features.
5 out of 5 stars
Very pleased with this vehicle
Pete Pop, 07/30/2016
2016 Acura RDX Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This vehicle is fantastic! I test drove a Ford Explorer, Nissan Murano, Hyundai Santa Fe and I bought the RDX with the tech package. The reliability reviews over the others was one of the main points but after owning it I really have come to appreciate its high points. The ride is smooth, powerful and really quiet. The sound canceling system (like Bose headphones) does a great job. … Being a musician, I was impressed with the stereo and during my test drive we adjusted the base and subwoofer to full potential and I was blown away. The sound quality with the ten speakers in neural mode (surround sound) is amazing. Some reviewers complained about having two screens. I prefer it and it’s much more pleasing to be able to still see your audio screen while navigation is showing on a different screen. Brilliant! They recommend 91 octane which basically doesn’t exist anywhere so I need to use 93. I’m not thrilled about that but at least gas is cheap now. I drive both highway and city to get to work so it seems I’m averaging around 19 mpg. No long trips yet to really see highway mileage. I live in South Florida and I can say that the air really cranks. Most of the time I only have the fan halfway even though the leather seats in summer can be hot. The advanced package has ventilated seats but will cost you at least $3500 more on your out the door price. I passed. The shortcuts menu, speed dial options, voice prompts and other technology is a big plus. I went from a stupid car (Honda Accord 2007) to this so it’s like walking onto the Enterprise! I can’t imagine anyone buying this car and not liking it. I paid $40,000 even out the door which seems to be a pretty decent price for a 2017 with the tech package. Updated11/3/2016. I can now confirm highway mileage on a long trip at 29 mpg which is as Acura estimated. I like this car even more now as I've been using more of the bells and whistles. I REALLY appreciate the back up cross traffic alert.
3 out of 5 stars
Comfortable Ride with Tech Pkg to Make Geeks Happy
Ralph Smith, 11/23/2015
2016 Acura RDX 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I bought this car because the ride is quiet, the acceleration is excellent, the ride is comfortable, it has a very good safety rating and safety technology is state of the art. I also liked the Acura's reputation for reliability. I enjoy a good sound system and the RDX with the Advance package is among the best I have heard in a car. We drive a lot of miles each year on long vacation … driving trips. Since the car is also used around town, the smaller size of this SUV is convenient as it rides well on a trip but also easy to park in a city. There have been a couple of surprises. While I knew the car had great safety features, I had not really experienced the changes introduced to my life by this car until taking it on a trip shortly after buying the car. The surprise is that it requires changing how to drive in many respects and requires a new driver for this car to adjust to the technology. Specifically, the ability of the car to adjust its speed with the traffic. Don't misinterpret: I like the changes but on a busy interstate, one needs to pay attention to adjust to the changes. Cars and trucks pull in front of a car unexpectedly. The first time this happened, the Acura RDX slowed dramatically and automatically. I did not have to apply the brakes. Several days into this driving trip, I had adjusted and found myself becoming almost lackadaisical about this feature as the car almost adjusts itself. Driving is more relaxing. On a busy highway, I disabled the system though as the distance between my car and the next vehicle was long, even with the lowest setting, and occasionally a large number of cars would continually pull in front and constantly slow down our pace of driving. I did not like the feature of adjusting the steering when changing lanes or moving in traffic. I turned this feature off quickly. No doubt, I will try it again but doubt it will be useful or one that I will use with any regularity. I prefer to drive the car and change lanes as necessary without objection from the computer in the car. My biggest complaint in an otherwise excellent vehicle is the navigation system. I don't like it or how in integrates with the other system technology. The navigation systems in previous cars are much better. The Acura system is not intuitive or designed with the driver or consumer in mind. It works with the voice control but the list of possible commands is long and ignores some of the most common features available on other vehicles. I still do not know if I can send instructions to the car to follow a route I have created on the computer. The Acura site indicates I can do this. The salesman who sold us the car said he had never heard of that feature. A system like this works well on a Mercedes that I own. The manual is silent on on how to do it. The website offers no advice. I do not mind making a call with Acuralink to enter the destination but would prefer to map it out myself to select my own routes. The ability to use the smartphone with the Acura's system is an excellent innovation. I also like being able to stream a podcast or Pandora through the stereo system. Sirius XM generally works well with the Acura although the traffic and weather features do not integrate with the RDX. We used those features extensively with a 2012 Murano and this lack of integration is a significant failing of a luxury SUV. There is weather and traffic information on the RDX, it is not up to Sirius. Unfortunately, the navigation system operates in its own universe. The voice system giving directions cannot be heard clearly while sound is coming through these other systems. Instead, the systems yammers away incessantly with turns and directions while leaving the stereo system as a higher volume. Moreover, attempts to turn down the navigation system with the voice controls apparently cannot be done. At least I have not found a way to do this or to find in the documentation how it can be done. In my older Murano, I was able to know when the next rest area was coming up as well as when the next exit was coming up. Not so in the Acura. Asking for rest areas results in a list of rest areas, some of which may be behind on the route being traveled or may be many miles ahead. The information is useless. One friend who bought an Acura said he gave up and bought a Garmin navigation system to use instead of the built in system. I now know how he felt and I am inclined to agree. The nav system in the RDX is a major disappointment. As a person who uses a system like this extensively on trips, I have already found using Google maps or Waze on my IPhone to be much more useful and easier to use. With an MSRP of $45,000 for this luxury SUV, I expected much better. Moreover, the Acura salesman was not well versed in how to use the system so learning how to use it has been largely trial and error and stopping occasionally to check the manual to see if we missed something that would make it more useful.
5 out of 5 stars
Happy w/ the 2014 RDX - Even Happier w/ the 2016!
2016 Acura RDX Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This is my 2nd RDX. My first was a 2014, which I was happy with, despite a few minor irritations. The 2016 took care of my irritations with added technology, specifically the blind spot and rear traffic warning sensors and changes in the technology package. The RDX has two good blind spots so the new tech is fantastic and solves the issues - and works beautifully. The 2016 feels heavier … and drives smoother than the 2014. The steering feels better and more substantial, as well. It is also quieter with less wind noise and a smoother sunroof mechanism. I did purchase a wind deflector this time though. I love the 3D navigation viewing option and the 10-speaker sound system is wonderful. I've had Acuras since 2000 - three TLs (2000, 2003 and 2008), the 2014 RDX and now the 2016 RDX. My 2000 TL had transmission issues, which were taken care of by the dealer even though the warranty had expired. I've always been treated well by the Dealer (in South Orange County in California). I did not test drive competitors' vehicles, but did a lot of research on the Lexus RX, Lincoln MDX, Mercedes GL and GLK and some of the BMW and Audi SUVs, which would have fit into my budget. At the end of the day, I could not justify a higher cost for the competitors (when comparing the multitude of packages available with the competition), even though they may be more prestigious in name and perhaps more luxury interiors. The value, quality and solid luxury of the Acura won out when I decided not to tie up more of my money and still have all the bells and whistles you get with the RDX. 10-28-2018 Update - I still love this car. My only complaint is the Apple Car Play, which is not an Acura issue. The connection is at time touchy and at least once a month I have to into the settings on the car and re-enable the connection, if plugging and unplugging my iPhone doesn't reset it. Fortunately the touch pad is easy to use and I've been able to re-set the connection pretty easily.
2016 Acura RDX video
[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: Here we have the 2016 Acura RDX. Now it may not look too different from the previous model, but that's because for 2016 it's undergone a somewhat small visual make over. You have a different front grill, different headlights, some other changes in the rear, but otherwise it mostly looks the same. That's not a bad thing. The RDX has been a pretty popular car and a highly rated one at the Edmunds office. We gave the 2016 model an A rating, which means it's definitely worth a look if you're looking for a vehicle in this kind of segment. This segment includes BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLC class, and so on. The compact luxury crossover segment. Now the RDX uses a 3 and 1/2 liter V6 that makes around 280 horsepower, 250 pound feet of torque or so. Now towards the rear, you can see the new tail light that they put on the back. Moved the white part to the outside, which kind of makes a nice little difference. We also have a power operated lift gate, if I can control it. [BEEP] There it is. It doesn't take too long to open, but it's really helpful when you have an armload of groceries and stuff. Now the seats in the back you can drop pulling these levers. Which again is helpful. But let's take a look inside now. [BEEP] OK. Here we are inside the Acura RDX. The interior has not changed much, or at all, it looks like. At least the gauge cluster has not changed significantly over previous models. It's interesting where a lot of models are going to a sort of an LCD, TFT display. This still uses analog gauges, but if you like analog gauges that's good. Now the interior trim has seen some minor updates. You get some changes around these materials and so on enough to make it look premium and upscale. There is an optional touch screen interface, which this floor model does not have. You still have good, old fashioned buttons here, which I know some people will appreciate. Heated seats. Dual zone air conditioning and HVAC controls. Now you also have a suite of optional features including collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control stuff. Stuff that we're seeing a lot of these types of vehicles use more and more in this segment. And of course, how can you live without a sunroof in your premium compact SUV? So now we're going to hop in the back seat. See what the room looks like back there. Here's the back seat. Let's see if we can get a better shot because of the lighting. Three rows. Not three rows. Three seats in the back. It is a two row SUV. Now in this model, it's kind of dark in here so it's tough to see, but you have rear vents, but no rear controls. Those might be optional. But the seat space is pretty good for someone of my size. I'm about 5' 10" and I can fit back here without my knees touching the seat in front of me. And my head is not brushing the roof. Switching to the center, the sun roof is not panoramic, it doesn't go all the way back. We're seeing that in a few more models in this segment. A panoramic sunroof is a nice thing if you're often carrying people in the back. And of course you are, because you're buying an SUV. But other than that, the materials are nice. The leather is nice. And these are a lot of the reasons why this SUV was rated so well in Edmunds ratings. They got an A rating and it's easy to see why. To read more about this vehicle including its S rating, go to edmunds.com.
2016 Acura RDX Review
Ample power, strong fuel economy and outstanding rear legroom make the 2016 Acura RDX a solid choice for a premium small crossover.
2016 RDX Highlights
|Combined MPG||23 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$204/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover16.4%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood