Acura RDX

The 2018 Acura RDX has a very simple lineup of models: It's offered with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive and an available Technology Package.

All Acura RDX models are powered by a 279-horsepower, 3.5L V6 engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It provides strong, smooth acceleration, while the car-like MacPherson strut front suspension and independent multi-link rear setup are tuned to be comfort-oriented yet firm enough for quick maneuvers, and an electric power-steering system follows a Motion Adaptive algorithm for a natural feel at low or high speeds.

The RDX has seating for five, with the contoured leather seats in back offering more comfort than most other compact crossover wagons. The rear seatbacks are split-folding and flip forward with a "one-touch" activation, to expand the 16.9-cubic-feet with the seatback up to 76.9 cubic feet behind the front seats. Up front, there's a large center console, and Acura has included several other smaller cubbies, in the doors and dash. Ride quality is hushed for a vehicle that also aims to those who enjoy driving, but Active Noise Cancellation helps keep the cabin especially quiet.

From a safety standpoint, Acura recently added "Jewel Eye" LED headlights and taillights, as well as carrying over an advanced stability control system, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and six airbags, along with the Honda/Acura Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure that's designed to help absorb energy in crashes with different-sized vehicles.

Heated front power seats, a power moonroof, keyless entry, heated side mirrors, push-button start and a multi-angle rearview camera system are included in all RDX models. The sound system has 360 watts, and it includes Pandora internet radio (with a connected smartphone and data plan), hands-free calling and SMS text messaging.

Models with the Technology Package add plenty of additional high-tech conveniences, including a navigation system with voice recognition, hard-disk storage, real-time traffic with rerouting features, real-time weather, dual-zone climate control, a power rear tailgate, projector-beam, bi-xenon headlamps, front fog lamps and an Acura/ELS surround-sound system.

Editors' Review

The third-generation Acura RDX made a very strong first impression when it debuted in 2018. There was a lot to love about this small premium SUV, from the sharp, angular A-Spec styling to its nimble all-wheel-drive performance. For the 2021 model year, the RDX is largely the same as it ever was, meaning there's still a whole lot to love. 

AcuraLink cabin tech

The RDX's dashboard is home to a really good infotainment suite that is somewhat hindered at first by its True Touchpad Interface controller. Front and center you'll find a 10.2-inch HD dual-content main display, which uses a split-screen interface to showcase the major infotainment functions. 

Users navigate by swiping and tapping on the small touchpad at the base of the center stack to make on-screen selections. This True Touchpad is similar to, but also different from, the one on your laptop. It uses absolute positioning, so placing your finger in the lower left or center of the screen, for example, instantly selects items similarly positioned on the display. This makes it easy to quickly move around the RDX's menus once you learn where everything is.

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The Good ~ Available SH-AWD boosts nimbleness in mid-to-high speed corners. ~ Turbocharged engine delivers a healthy 280 pound-feet of torque. ~ Excellent suite of standard cabin and safety tech.

The Bad ~ True Touchpad controller takes some getting used to. ~ Drive mode selector easily mistaken for volume knob. ~ Off throttle and at lower speeds, the RDX feels less dynamic.

The Bottom Line The 2021 Acura RDX is an excellent value in this compact luxury SUV segment, delivering loads of standard features at an unmatched price. Just make sure you check the box for SH-AWD for a bit of fun with your functionality.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 9
  • Media 7.5

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