2018 Acura RDX

2018 Acura RDX Review

The 2018 Acura RDX is one of our favorite compact SUVs thanks to its power, interior and long list of features.
8.0 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

For many reasons, the Acura RDX is one of our top picks in the luxury compact SUV segment. It's a well-made and well-equipped SUV that is a clear, premium step up from mainstream compact SUVs such as the Honda CR-V. Its value is undeniable and a must-drive for buyers who value smart engineering and style equally.

Chief among the RDX's virtues are space and value for your money. Although a "compact" SUV, the RDX has plenty of family-friendly space. Should you need a back seat big enough to affix a rear-facing baby seat, or a pair of growing teenagers, the RDX is better suited to the task than most other vehicles in the segment. Cargo capacity is also generous, both in terms of its on-paper measurements and real-world practicality.

From a value perspective, the RDX is one of the few compact SUVs to come with a standard V6 engine. It also has a long list of standard features, but it also remains competitive with its European counterparts even after you load it up with all the available options. In fact, a fully loaded RDX with the optional all-wheel drive is priced on par with some of the base models of many competitors.

What's new for 2018

There are no changes for the 2018 model year.

We recommend

We recommend a fully loaded RDX with the Advance package and all-wheel drive since it's barely more expensive than the most basic BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace or Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and provides the gamut of driver assist and infotainment technology, not to mention V6 power.

Trim levels & features

The 2018 Acura RDX is a compact luxury SUV that seats five people and is powered by a standard 3.5-liter V6 (279 hp, 252 lb-ft). Although there are no trims, the RDX can be equipped with three options packages. AcuraWatch Plus adds driver assist features; Technology adds ELS audio, navigation and sport seats; and the Advance package bundles the first two together and then pads on additional luxury features such as vented seats and remote engine start. Finally, the RDX can be optioned with all-wheel drive; it comes standard with front-wheel drive.

Even without any packages, the RDX standard features list is packed. It includes 18-inch wheels, a rearview camera, automatic LED headlights, cruise control, keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio, Pandora internet radio control (streams from smartphone), an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface.

The AcuraWatch Plus package adds a forward collision warning and automatic braking system, a lane departure warning and keeping system, adaptive cruise control and a color trip computer display.

The Technology package adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, a navigation system, traffic information, GPS-linked climate control, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat, smartphone apps with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, HD radio, Aha internet radio capability and a 10-speaker sound system.

The Advance package includes all of the features from both AcuraWatch Plus and Technology package and adds front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, foglights, auto-dimming side mirrors, remote ignition, and ventilated front seats.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a 2016 Acura RDX Advance (3.5L V6 | 6-speed automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall8.0 / 10


7.5 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering8.5 / 10
Handling8.0 / 10
Drivability9.0 / 10


8.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10


8.5 / 10

Ease of use8.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Roominess9.5 / 10
Visibility8.5 / 10
Quality8.5 / 10


The RDX's smooth-revving V6 sounds great and is responsive. Equipped with the optional AWD system, the drivetrain can send up to 40 percent of its torque to the rear wheels if slip is detected from the front wheels, perfect for slippery roads and performance driving.


The V6 engine delivers strong acceleration for this 4,000-pound midsize SUV and is paired to a six-speed automatic that is silky smooth. A few competitors may be quicker to 60 mph, but they all carry a higher price tag.


The RDX resists brake fade and nosedive under continuous stops, and maintains a nice straight path and reassuring pedal feel. All-season tires turn a quiet cabin noisy momentarily if ABS is invoked. Its shortest stop from 60 mph is 122 feet, which is average for the class.


Having switched to electric power assist in 2014, Acura continues to improve steering control through stiffer mounts. Although road feedback is minimal, the response is excellent and precise with a nice level of effort.


The RDX is nimble by SUV standards, but long gone is the corner-carving Super-Handling AWD system in the early generation RDX. The new AWD with Intelligent Control is geared toward better fuel economy and traction maintenance in slippery conditions.


Drivability is excellent overall. Normal mode skews toward efficiency, selecting the highest gear, which leads to occasional uphill gear ambivalence. Sport selects gears for optimum throttle response and improved performance, but fuel efficiency suffers.


The RDX's torque transfer on-demand all-wheel drive is still primarily focused for slippery road conditions rather than true off-road environments. Also, the lack of any off-road electronic aids like hill descent control is telling.


Acura achieves a high level of comfort in the RDX that makes it an excellent daily driver, yet provides the space and flexibility for a multitude of weekend activities. Plus, the comprehensive suite of optional AcuraWatch active safety features provides added peace of mind.

Seat comfort8.0

Not a lot of lateral support to be had, but this RDX is less focused on throwing you into a bend than it is on everyday road comfort. The seat cushions are firm but sufficiently padded, while the optional power ventilation keeps you fresh over long stints.

Ride comfort8.5

The RDX is equipped with a well-tuned suspension that manages to soak up bumps and impacts without delivering an overly soft and floaty ride quality. This is not an easy balance to strike from a nonactive/adjustable suspension.

Noise & vibration8.5

A very quiet cabin with good insulation from road, wind and unwanted engine noise. Active Noise Control actually cancels out unwanted sound frequencies, while new active engine mounts (ACM) attenuate engine vibrations in a similar fashion.


The sleek-looking exterior of the RDX belies the generous space within. Highlights include an extra-wide cargo hatch opening and ample shoulder and legroom for all occupants. Also, the standard rearview camera provides three useful camera modes: normal, wide angle and a top bumper view.

Ease of use8.5

The dual-screen infotainment system requires some time for familiarization, but it functions conveniently enough. Steering controls are clearly labeled and intuitively placed, and driver assistance systems are easily toggled on or off.

Getting in/getting out8.0

Both front and rear doors open just shy of perpendicular for good access overall. The rear door apertures may be on the narrow side for some, with a medium-high step-in height to the seat bottom. A power liftgate is standard on all trims.


Shoulder and legroom have been increased front to rear, with ample room for three adult passengers in the second row. A flat floor pan frees up more foot space for the middle passenger, and virtually no center seat hump means good headroom for all.


Outward visibility through the windows and properly sized mirrors is already good, though having the optional blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert provides a state of hyperawareness. A multiview rear camera is standard.


Although Acura lacks some of the interior design flair of its competitors, build quality is spot-on. A critical improvement is the matching resolutions for the dual-screen infotainment system, a sore spot in some other models using the same layout.


At 26.1 cubic feet, it's not the largest trunk in class, but a significantly wider rear hatch opening makes loading a breeze. Redundant seatback releases for the 60/40-split bench (one trunk, one on either side of the bench shoulders) are highly convenient.


The Technology package adds a second screen, 10-speaker audio system, voice-operated navigation and climate control, and smartphone integration, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While fumbling with the controls and screens can be distracting, the system is useful.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.