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Acura RDX: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

Illustration for article titled Acura RDX: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

The Acura RDX is the luxo-barge for people who want a plush appliance on four wheels. What do you need to know before you buy an Acura RDX? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in our Buyer’s Guide.


The Acura RDX has been selling like pocket protectors at an engineering convention for years. People can’t seem to get enough of Acura’s little luxury CUV. And while RDXs are flying off the shelves, people surely aren’t buying them for the driving experience.

Our Jason Torchinsky drove the 2016 Acura RDX and decided to throw it in the ring with the much cheaper, not-nearly-as-luxurious 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander. Jason wanted to know: “What does an extra $15,000 get you between two family-hauling crossovers?”

Jason’s eloquently answers whether the RDX is worth the extra cha-ching with: “No. Fuck no.”

But the RDX doesn’t suck, per se. It’s luxurious and has good, supple ride quality, but it’s utterly devoid of any sort of character or driving excitement. Jason puts it frankly:

...the Acura RDX is a nice, fairly premium-feeling crossover, but it’s also deeply boring. It’s a fancier CR-V, and if for some reason you really loved this platform, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t just get a loaded CR-V for around $12,000 less.

So it’s a boring, premium, expensive CUV. Should sell very well.

What’s New About The 2016 Acura RDX

Illustration for article titled Acura RDX: Jalopnik's Buyer's Guide

Acura showed the world their second generation compact luxury CUV at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. That 2013 model car reeled in the last generation’s sporting intentions and opted for more comfort, more size, new styling inside and out, new infotainment tech, a new transmission, a fresh 3.5-liter V6 instead of the old turbo-four and a new all-wheel drive system.

Not much changed in 2014 or 2015, but for 2016, Acura is giving the RDX a makeover. It gets Acura’s signature “Jewel Eye” LED headlights and LED taillights, their new “three dimensional grille,” revised lower front and rear fascias, and new wheel designs.


The ‘16 RDX also receives a new, more powerful and more efficient 3.5-liter V6. The new engine gains only six horsepower (for a total of 273 hp) over the last model and brings fuel efficiency up by one MPG on the highway. The 2016 refresh also brings a few tweaks to ride and handling, some updates to some interior styling elements, and some refinements to standard features and option packages, but the big story is really the updated engine and exterior styling.

Which One We’d Buy

The Acura RDX comes in two main models: RDX and RDX AWD, both of which can be had as base models, with AcuraWatch Plus, with Technology Package, with Technology and AcuraWatch Plus Packages, and with Advance Packages. This gives you a total of ten models to choose from on Acura’s configurator tool.


All RDXs come with electric power steering, a multi-link rear suspension design and a MacPherson strut setup in the front. Brakes are 12.3-inch vented rotors in the front and 12-inch solid discs out back.

The standard RDX already comes with plenty of standard content. You get power heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a multi-view rear camera, seven-speaker audio system with 8-inch subwoofer, power tailgate, LED headlights and five-inch display.


We’d never buy an RDX. We’d rather buy a cheap CUV and spend our savings on a funmobile. The RDX is just not exciting enough to drive; it’s really a total snooze-bucket, as Jason Torchinsky said in his review of the RDX:

Want an old MGB? Easy. Want a 1989 JDM Nissan Pao? I sure as hell do. Want a Fox-body Mustang or a BMW 2002? All possible.

Life’s too damn short to be stuck driving some cushy crossover that you paid too much to really have fun with and that you’ll never really love. Get something cheaper, and then get something that actually makes you excited to drive.


But if someone told us we had to buy an RDX or they’d drop a piano on top of a Mercedes 300d Wagon, we’d grab the RDX AWD with Technology Package. That gives us navigation with an eight-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display, Blind spot information system, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor, sports leather seats, a more adjustable passenger’s power seat, GPS-linked climate control, 10-speaker audio system, and a revised multi-view rear camera with dynamic guidelines.

Before heading to the dealership, we’d have to fill our wallets with $41,410 including destination. That’s lots of cash for not lots of Fahrvergnuegen.


[Build Your Own Acura RDX]

Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $35,270-$43,420 Top Speed: 130 MPH (estimated)

Acceleration: ~6.5s to 60 (estimated)

MPG: 20 city/ 29 hwy / 23 combined [FWD]

Engines: 3.5-liter V6

Max Horsepower/Torque: 279 hp/252 lb-ft

Curb Weight: 3,737-3,946 pounds IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick +

Transmissions: 6-speed automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/AWD

Photo credit: Acura



Tom McParland

Ok let’s get real for a second, people buy or lease the RDX because either they can’t afford the payments on a Q5 or X3 and/or they are too afraid of German maintance.

They want a “luxury” crossover that’s nicer and much quicker than the slow CR-V that they never really have to worry about. Also, load up the RDX with all the tech options and do the same for a German crossover of the same size, you will see the value that the Acura offers.

I’m not saying it’s an awesome car, but it is a good value for the segment.