Comfortable, competent and all-around capable, the RDX is Acura's entry in the compact luxury crossover segment. Though not quite as sporty or tech-packed as some rivals, it still deserves serious consideration due to its spacious, well-executed cabin and punchy V6.
Outside, the RDX sports a clean and contemporary look, with notable cues including squinting headlights and a gracefully arching side window line. Acura's corporate "beak" grille is mercifully subtle and well-integrated into the overall design in this iteration.
The cabin is characterized by a symmetrical design composed of organic shapes and upscale-looking materials. There's no iDrive-like control system; this means that the secondary systems are controlled by buttons and knobs, which are numerous but relatively intuitive. Interior space is ample, especially for rear-seat passengers, and there's 26.1 cubic feet of cargo room available behind the second-row seats. Fold those seats down, and stowage space balloons to 61.3 cubic feet.
The RDX is motivated by a 3.5-liter V6 that's smooth and refined in its power delivery. Output is rated at 273 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to either the front wheels (the standard configuration) or all four wheels (optional) via a six-speed automatic transmission.
In place of the previous-generation RDX's Super-Handling AWD system, which featured a sporty and sophisticated torque vectoring system, the new model features a simplified AWD setup. It utilizes a multi-plate clutch to send power to the rear wheels and is decidedly front-axle biased.
The front-wheel-drive model is rated at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the AWD variant returns 19/27 mpg.
Trim Level Breakdown
As with other Acura models, the RDX features a trim level system in place of stand-alone options.
The base model comes standard with leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a seven-speaker, 360-watt AM/FM/CD sound system with AUX and USB inputs, Pandora internet radio, Bluetooth connectivity, SMS text messaging, a smart key entry system with push-button start, a tri-view rear camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The RDX with Technology Package adds a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather updates, a 10-speaker, 410-watt ELS sound system with Dolby Pro Logic II, a power liftgate, fog lights and HID headlights.
Newly available as a dealer-installed option is a package that fully integrates Apple's Siri virtual assistant with the RDX.
Using Apple's new Eyes Free mode, RDX drivers can access Siri via their iPhone without taking their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. The Eyes Free function uses the vehicle's steering wheel-mounted buttons to access Siri's voice commands, which Honda says reduces distractions behind the wheel. Eyes Free also turns off the iPhone's screen so drivers aren't tempted to look at their device.
Standard safety features include dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. A child-seat mounting systems, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), allows the quick and secure installation of a child seats.
The RDX faces a wealth of competition in the premium small crossover segment, including the fine-driving BMW X3 as well as luxurious rivals like the Infiniti EX35 and the Mercedes-Benz GLK350.