The Acura RDX was released into the busy "cute-ute" market: small, toylike SUVs made more for looking chic than for off-roading. To face off against the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the 2012 Acura RDX
comes equipped with loads of technology, upscale looks, and plenty of power from Acura's first-ever turbocharged engine.
With 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 2.3-liter engine, the Acura RDX scoots pretty well, but still brings up the rear against V-6 powered competitors. The Acura RDX is now available in a front-wheel-drive model, which saves weight, increases fuel economy, and lowers the sticker price -- at the cost of foul-weather stability. For the urban dwellers the Acura RDX targets, however, this is a worthy trade-off.
The 2012 Acura RDX offers a compelling package inside and out with good driving dynamics, and a host of available features: an available Technology package adds a navigation system, traffic and weather updates, voice recognition, a rearview camera, a 10-speaker surround-sound system, and even restaurant reviews, perfect for the young professionals who might consider the RDX.
Body style: SUV
Engine: 2.3-liter, turbocharged inline-4
Transmission: five-speed automatic
Models: RDX, RDX SH-AWD, RDX with Technology Package, RDX SH-AWD with Technology Package
The front-drive-only model lowers prices on the Acura RDX base price by about $2000. A styling refresh last year also brought the front end in line with Acura's "Power Plenum" styling. New brakes and standard Bluetooth are also included.
The 2012 Acura RDX shares Acura's controversial grille. The crossover's random bulges and jelly-bean body might suit some, but better-looking cute-utes in this class aren't difficult to find.
The 2012 Acura RDX's dashboard is well-trimmed, albeit laden with buttons that can be confusing to navigate. An optional Technology Package adds navigation with real time traffic and weather updates, as well as a 10-speaker surround sound system and a backup camera.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Acura RDX's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive provides balanced handling in all conditions, with the ability to transfer power individually to any wheel. This Acura's biggest weakness is its five-speed automatic transmission, as its competitors all carry at least six-speeds. Likewise, the turbocharged four-cylinder's 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of output is low for the class. The new brakes are less grabby than before and easier to modulate, while the multi-link rear suspension helps the Acura RDX handle in a sportier manner than expected for a crossover of any size.
The Acura RDX features six airbags total: two in front, two front side airbags, and two full-length curtain airbags. Active front head restraints help prevent whiplash, and traction control works in conjunction with the SH-AWD system to keep the car in control.
EPA Fuel Economy
RDX front-wheel drive: 19/24 mpg city/highway
RDX with SH-AWD : 17/22 mpg city/highway
- Sharp handling in all-wheel drive model
- Improved fuel economy
- Plethora of standard features
- Good power in turbo engine
You Won't Like
- Requires premium gas
- Five-speed transmission
- Dated styling; shiny grille
- Tight second row
Sportier, but not enough against fierce rivals
If You Like This Vehicle
- BMW X3
- Audi Q5
- Mercedes-Benz GLK350
- Infiniti EX 35
- Volkswagen Tiguan