By on June 30, 2015

2016 Acura RDX Exterior-005

Acura has been a brand of highs and lows for a while. The MDX has been a perennial best-seller while their large sedans have largely sat unsold. The RDX, meanwhile, has had an interesting history.

Acura’s first attempt at a 2-row crossover was ahead of its time with a 2.3L turbocharged engine producing 240 horsepower and Acura’s Super Handling AWD system capable of sending 90 percent of engine power to the rear. The ride was criticized by Motor Trend as “harsh” and folks complained about turbo lag from the segment’s only four-cylinder turbo engine.

As the segment grew, most entries used naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engines and RDX sales failed to achieve orbit. All indications were that Acura’s compact crossover was destined to be a low-volume niche player in one of the fastest growing segments. Then Acura did something unexpected.

By the 2013 model year, small displacement turbo engines had become a staple in the segment but Acura chose to buck the trend by replacing their 2.3L turbo with a 3.5L V6 during the redesign. The engine swap wasn’t the only thing that surprised Acura fans. Engineers stretched the RDX in every direction, softened the suspension, jacked up the ride height two inches, dialed down the “sport”, removed the SH-AWD system and fitted electric power steering. Proving that the compact luxury crossover shopper isn’t looking for TL Type-S on stilts, RDX sales more than doubled and remain on an upward trajectory, outselling its former BMW nemesis and besting every luxury 2-row crossover save the Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX.

2016 Acura RDX Exterior-004

Being a refresh and not a redesign, changes to the exterior are evolutionary. 2016 brings Acura’s signature full-LED headlamps and turn signals which sport three LED projector arrays and two LED reflector arrays for the high beams. (There has been some confusion about the high beams being halogen or LED lamps. The high and low beams are both full-LED but they use different optical systems to focus the light.) In addition to the new beams, there are more creases, a restyled “beak” and some extra chrome. Out back, new LED taillamps join the party with a restyled bumper cover to make the RDX look a little more like the MDX and ILX.

Before we go further, we ought to talk about how this crossover segment boils down. In practical terms, there are three different size classes of luxury 2-row crossover. At the top end we have the Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKX and Lexus RX, which are all 186-200 inches long. Next we have the semi-segment where the RDX plays with the likes of the GLK, MKC, Q5, NX 200t, XC60 and X3. At the small end of the scale lie the Evoque, Q3, GLA and X1. You can consider the RDX a “tweener” in some ways since it’s at the large end of the middle segment but still 6-inches shorter than a Cadillac SRX.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-003

Like many companies, Acura limits the interior color options depending on the exterior color you select. Unlike most other companies, however, the choices are more limited. In base RDX models, all colors except “Slate Silver” are tied to a single interior color. Stepping up to the $38,970 RDX with Technology Package allows one more exterior color and adds an additional interior color choice for the black and dark grey exterior. That’s a far cry from the level of customization you get in the competition, especially the Evoque, MKC and X3.

Spanning from $35,270 to $43,420, the RDX is one of the least expensive vehicles in this segment. As a result, it should not surprise you that you have to step up to the $38,940 model to get leather seats and the 8-way power adjustable passenger seat. As with the rest of the Acura lineup in the USA, real wood trim is unavailable at any price, although we now get standard rear climate vents.

Although the RDX is about the same size as the X3 on the outside, you’ll find four-inches more combined legroom in the Acura, split fairly evenly front and rear, making it easier for drivers with long legs to find an ideal driving position. Unfortunately, some taller drivers will notice the RDX has a little less front headroom than the X3. The trade-off for the roomier digs can be found behind the second row where cargo capacity comes in at 26.1 cubic feet, one cube below the X3, 20% smaller than the XC60 and 45% smaller than the cargo hold in the Lexus RX.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-005

Base and “AcuraWatch” models get a 7-speaker sound system with a 5-inch color LCD set high in the dashboard. USB, iDevice and Bluetooth integration are all standard, as is Sirius/XM and Pandora Radio (a smartphone is required for Pandora). Because the RDX uses the same basic dash parts for all models, the small LCD looks a little lost in the dash.

Adding the Technology Package brings the biggest change to the RDX’s interior for 2016: the AcuraLink 2-screen infotainment system. Here’s how Acura has described the split screen rationale: the 8-inch display set high in the dash is used for navigation, leaving the 7-inch touchscreen below to handle climate and audio functions. However, in reality you end up using both screens and their interaction takes some getting used to. While it’s true that you can switch between audio sources with the lower screen while simultaneously watching the navigation map on the upper screen, if you want to browse a playlist, that’s done solely with the upper screen. Entering an address for navigation can be done using either screen with the control wheel/joystick or an on-screen keyboard on the 7-inch screen. The overall design is not as well-integrated as the Infiniti InTouch system in the Q50, but it has grown on me since I first encountered it and the extensive voice command system is one of the best in the segment.

Instead of starting with a 2.0L turbo engine like most of this segment’s entries, all RDX models use the same engine. 2016 brings a light revision to Acura’s 3.5L naturally aspirated V6, bumping power to 279 horsepower and torque to 252 lb-ft. Acura tweaked the segment’s only cylinder deactivation system to be more aggressive, switching to three-cylinder mode often to improve highway fuel economy. Sadly, the 2016 revision did not bring the direct-injection system found in the TLX, RLX and MDX.

Early indications were that the RDX would get the same 9-speed ZF automatic transmission as the MDX and TLX. However, for 2016 at least, the RDX continues to use the same Honda/Acura 6-speed automatic as last year. Also the same as last year is an AWD system that’s different from the SH-AWD system in the MDX and TLX. In a nut shell, the MDX can send 90% of engine power to the rear by fully locking the center coupling and over-driving the rear axle vs the front. SH-AWD also has a torque vectoring function which can send 100% of the rear axle power a single rear wheel. The RDX isn’t like that.

To cut weight and cost from the second generation RDX, Acura chose to fit a more conventional AWD system. The current AWD system is somewhat unusual in this segment because the majority of systems will fully lock a center coupling allowing power to be split more or less 50-50 front to rear. The RDX won’t send more than 40% of engine power to the rear axle, leaving 60% up front. Without the torque vectoring axle found in the SH-AWD Acuras, the RDX relies on an open differential and brake-based traction control to keep things in check on loose surfaces.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-009

The lack of SH-AWD means while the AWD MDX is a dynamic competitor to a base AWD X5, the RDX is not a dynamic competitor to the X3 in the same way. Speaking of the MDX, despite having a similar 60/40 weight balance and weighing 300 pounds more, Acura’s three-row crossover actually feels more nimble, especially on winding mountain roads when under power. That’s because the MDX’s rear axle will send more power to the outside rear wheel to help rotate the vehicle and compensate for the front heavy weight balance. That doesn’t happen in the RDX. Because the front wheels in the AWD RDX are handling the majority of the engine power, the front end feels light during hard acceleration and, depending on the surface, you’ll experience mild torque steer. The difference in feel between the XC60/MKC/NX and the RDX in this regard is not huge, but it is noticeable. I will temper that with the reality that FWD luxury crossovers are gaining sales success and the AWD RDX is still more dynamic on the track than the FWD model.

At 3,737 pounds, the base RDX is among the lightest 2-row luxury crossovers around, but adding the AWD system and all the options will push the curb weight to 3,946. If that sounds heavy, Volvo’s XC60 is up to 300 pounds heavier and Audi’s Q5 can be up to 500 pounds heavier. The light curb weight pays dividends when it comes to acceleration and braking with our tester running to 60 in 5.8 seconds and braking from 60 to 0 in a short 116 feet. When it comes to absolute grip, the light curb weight helps, but it can’t compensate for the softer suspension or the increased ride height and the RDX places in the middle of the pack in terms of grip but below average in terms of feel when at 8/10ths. On the flip side, light-weight design and cylinder deactivation system allowed the RDX to average nearly 24 MPG over a week’s driving of 800 miles. That’s better than most of the 4-cylinder entries in this segment.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-006

All RDX models get Acura’s “amplitude reactive dampers” which are a twist on a normal strut design. The strut contains two valves with different operating profiles. One remains closed unless the suspension encounters a large and fast motion – like hitting a pothole – allowing the suspension to “soak” up the large road imperfections while normally using a different valve to give the damper a “firmer” feel over small imperfections. Either way you slice it, this suspension design and the 8.1 inches of ground clearance make the RDX’s ride more Lexus RX than BMW X3. To address the cabin noise complaint from first-gen RDX buyers, Acura fits active noise cancellation to all trim levels.

At $33,100 and $34,480, the Lincoln MKC and Lexus NX 200t (respectively) both start less than the $35,270 RDX, but the Acura comes with more standard equipment and a more powerful V6 engine. Depending on your options, the RDX may come in between $1,000 and $2,000 less than a comparable Lincoln or Lexus, although both offer more customization than can be had in the Acura. As with the Acura ILX, Acura is bundling their “AcuraWatch” system (radar cruise control, collision warning, auto braking, and lane keeping) with more models than in the past, starting with a base model with AcuraWatch for $36,570. The “best value” is found in the fully-loaded AWD RDX for $43,420, which undercuts the Lincoln by $4,000, the Lexus by nearly $5,000 and the BMW by over $10,000.

2016 Acura RDX Exterior-003

Obviously, a BMW X3 comparison is fraught with problems. The X3 is rear-wheel drive by default, has a near perfect weight balance and offers luxury features and customizations not available on the Acura. However, is the improvement in dynamics and luxury worth $10,000-$12,000? That’s not so easy to answer, but perhaps it is the key to understanding Acura’s sales success. Perhaps a better question: is the Lexus RX worth $10,000-$15,000 more? The RDX is more nimble, more engaging, faster, has a hair more leg room and is significantly less expensive. The only real downside to the RDX is the loss of 15 cubic feet of cargo space.

Acura’s refreshed 2016 lineup seems to show it’s getting its mojo back. The 2013 RDX was just what the segment’s shoppers were looking for and the 2016 RDX tacks on trendy LED lamps, radar cruise control love and more LCD real estate in the cabin. I wouldn’t say that makes the RDX the best overall crossover in the segment, but, in my opinion, it is the best value hands down. One thing’s for certain: the 100,000 folks that plan on buying a Lexus RX in 2015 need to visit the Acura dealer. Acura has perfected the classic RX 350.

Acura provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.4

0-60: 5.8 

1/4 Mile: 14.6 @ 96 MPH

Fuel Economy:  23.8 MPG

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52 Comments on “2016 Acura RDX AWD Review (With Video)...”

  • avatar

    Thank You ALEX.

    The crossover is better than both the RLX and TLX. It actually feels – in everyway – like a “premium product”.

    Glad they tightened up the frustrating controls and improved many aspects of the interior, but until Acura is willing to put engines with some bawls into the RLX, it’s a shame that the crossover would end up being a more satisfying buy than the full-size “luxury car”.

    A V6 is an appropriate engine for these cars/ crossovers and the RLX needed at least a forced-induction V6.

    I really don’t like Crossover/SUV ride heights anymore. We still have a 2009 Acura TL which besides the infotainment system is a better, more “premium-feeling” car than the TLX.

    I wonder if the RDX is in the future as a possibility when we finally trade-in?

    • 0 avatar

      Well it’s been the case for a while now that Acura is an SUV company that happens to sell cars on the side.

    • 0 avatar

      The RLX SH-AWD Hybrid would have fixed the power issue, had it ever actually been produced.

      • 0 avatar

        They decided not to make it? Sales too bad?

        • 0 avatar

          So far it’s vaporware, even though it was initially intended for the 2014 model year. Honda issued a press release saying there will actually be a 2016 version available this month, but I’ll believe it when I see significant quantities at dealers.

          • 0 avatar

            Wow, so they’ve got a FWD large car (on a relatively weak badge), with a regular V6 and fake wood, which is priced from $50-60k, and is to compete with the 5-Series and E-Class.

            LOL! Maybe if they knock off $10,000, it could compete with the Avalon and LaCrosse.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s really a better-built Lexus ES and should be priced as such. If the FWD version started at $43k or so, and topped out a bit over $50k, it’d sell OK.

            But the wood (unlike the lower Acuras) is real. The RL/RLX have always had interior quality a cut above other Acuras.

  • avatar

    It is probably the car that best fits my needs but had an issue that I consider disqualifying. Sat in the new one Sunday and confirmed that Acura hasn’t fixed it. The front passenger seat is not height adjustable (power or manual) and is about 4 inches too low. The Acura forums are littered with people complaining about this, so I am shocked that they haven’t fixed it.

    • 0 avatar

      The 2016 model has power height adjustable passenger seat. You might have tested a 2015 model.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s good to hear. I sat in a new one in the showroom. Must have been a 2015. It was a glaring omission. Not noticeable in some cars, as the height is ok. In the RDX it was similar to my 1983 Prelude.

  • avatar

    Solid review once again from Alex. The RDX offers a lot for the money, but I’d never buy one. For one, I hate the side profile of these things. They just looks weird. They still have too many buttons for my tastes as well. That steering wheel is incredibly busy.

  • avatar

    Not matter your own personal taste (if you’re a TTAC reader), Acuras are great cars—-for other people.

    Reliable, value for money, etc.

    But Acuras still have a sense of generic-ness. The interiors need something—wood, leather stitching, something I can’t place my finger on to make Acuras feel special.

    While I buy tons of store brands (Kirkland, Trader Joe, Aldi, Target), having a solid product in anonymous packing doesn’t float the boat in a $45k – $50k vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you’re onto something with the generic-ness. I too can’t put my finger on it. The cars have so much they do well, yet there is something not special about Acura despite them being “nice” cars.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “having a solid product in anonymous packing doesn’t float the boat in a $45k – $50k vehicle.”

      So it’s a good thing the RDX maxes out at $43k.

      I get it, and I agree to some extent the RDX is a little generic, but I think the key is the $8-10k versus the RX/X3/Q5 contingent. We bought my wife a 2015 Tech pack RDX, and paid $38.Xk + TTL for it. For a V6 “premium” (kinda sorta) badged CUV, that’s a bargain in my book.

      • 0 avatar

        This is a frequent issue Acura seems to have in buyers’ minds — they assume any Acura product costs as much as the Germans it’s aligned against, when in fact it costs thousands less. (The RLX is the only exception, and it would sell fine if it were priced reasonably, as a Lexus ES alternative rather than a direct 5-series competitor.)

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          I don’t know that it’s a problem in actual buyers’ minds, most people who buy Acuras are probably doing so BECAUSE of the price advantage over the Germans. I know I am. I think it’s more an auto reviewer/forum commentator problem.

  • avatar

    I admit I have a soft spot for Honda and Acura products, though I have driven neither in probably a good 5 years.

    I like this car from what I see, excluding exterior styling. It’s roomy, V6 (I prefer this to a turbo 4), nice luxury touches available without going over the top (maybe I’m old but nice leather, standard sunroof, great stereo, and xenon are my kinda lux),well priced, and it’s a Honda.

    I go back and forth on the gearbox on this and the MKC for example at only 6 gears. On the other hand, I think maybe only the ZF 8 speed I’d want,and this isn’t possible. But that new 9 speed auto sounds iffy, as would a DSG. And more new boxes coming. I like the idea of more gears after my experiences with that ZF 8 speed but I do wonder if we will see durability problems on newer gearboxes. These 6 speeds should be quite proven at this time. Worth a bit less responsiveness or mpg?

  • avatar

    I do like the Acura crossovers, I think they are well styled.

    We pick on Acura but I think JB was right when he wrote that Acura’s path to success was more likely to pay off than all the companies that were trying to ape BMW.

  • avatar

    Hey at the end of the review you mentioned that the RDX has slightly more space than a RX did you mean to say this or did you mean to say NX. I am just curious as it seems that the NX and MKC are more in line with this product. And if what you say is the case what is your impression of the RDX vs the MKX?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I mention the RX primarily because when the RDX was introduced the only real competition was the X3, RX and MKX. The rest of the segment did not exist yet. Perhaps because of that the RDX has always been one of the larger entries. The RDX is somewhat between the NX and RX in size and indeed has more rear leg room than the RX 350. I may get teased for it, but I like the MKX, I think it’s a solid RX alternative as well. It’s big, plush and fairly quick.

  • avatar

    I have nothing to add about the RDX having never driven one. But one quibble with some of the competitors. It’s not apples-to-apples but I’d bump the RX and MKX to MDX competitors rather than RDX competitors. They have 2 rows like the RDX but they are larger (as the review points out) and both should become be 3 row CUVs at some point. Lincoln and Lexus now both have smaller 2 row CUVs and their larger offerings could really accomodate 3rd rows like the MDX without too many changes. (The RX of course is closely related to the Highlander and the MKX shares quite a bit with the CX-9, both 3 row CUVs.)

  • avatar

    Good timing, as I bought an RDX this past Saturday. We were cross-shopping against the Edge Titanium & Sport. They were great (particularly the Sport), but a bit bigger and pricier and the dealer was really curt and rude. We also didn’t feel like waiting for Sync 3 this fall. My observations so far:

    Great: That V6. Smooth, powerful, linear. After driving a turbo B5.5 Passat as my last car, I’d missed the big V6 feel and this will probably be the last chance to get one in a base car with turbos taking over everywhere. Plan on owning for 10+ years, so theoretically it should be more reliable/simple as well. Very quiet interior. Many features included for the price. Compared to others, it is spacious inside in terms of leg/shoulder room. Non-rubber band tires (235/60/18). ELS sound system. Dealer experience was nice – walked us around, introduced us to the service folks, many of them have been there for a long time.

    Not great: Premium, but not luxurious in terms of interior. That’s fine, as it costs considerably less and I wasn’t shopping the Q5/X3/etc. Very light steering feel. My first electric steering vehicle, but wish there was the IDS system or something to change the weighting. Rims are ugly. Recommended premium fuel. Infotainment system is not intuitive at first. That being said, spending some time in the garage setting it up really helped. But I miss the days where you could just drive and not need to think about it.

    So far, the wife and I are happy. The car and brand are essentially positioned as a compromise in many ways (premium, but not luxury, compact, but that not compact, quick, but not fast, etc.), but that worked for us and I can see why it sells well. To us, it was worth the premium vs. the CRV, and we didn’t want to spend $50k.

    • 0 avatar

      Dude, you dodged a bullet, as you nearly made a fatal mistake by buying the Edge. Congrats on the Acura, and nice save.

      The Edge is a really bad vehicle, unjustifiably expensive, with less than average reliability, a choppy ride, poor fit & finish, poor resale value, and will be falling apart about 50,000 miles into ownership vs the likelihood of getting 120,000 miles of driving out of the Acura before your first issue (and then another easy 100,000 miles of mostly headache free driving if you take care of maintenance issues).

      The only advantage I see in the Edge is the exterior, but beauty is most definitely skin deep with most Ford products, including the Edge.

      As a huge bonus, you now have a normally aspirated 6 cylinder of bulletproof reliability under your hood, which is sadly becoming a rarity in this and many other segments, and incredible resale value.

      • 0 avatar

        A safe pick. With the RDX if you bought the car but if you leased a 2016 Edge would have been great.

        It’s true the previous gen Edge’s are total trash that were constantly in the shop for PTU problems and not to mention they looked like half cut jelly bean. I can’t contest to the 2016 Edge’s reliability nor it’s resale value (will be less than an Acura), but the new Edge’s interior defiantly outclasses any base Acura. Also Ford offers more standard features period and 2.7 EcoBoost is simply more exciting than Honda’s tried and true 3.5 V6 that they put in everything.

        What makes me even consider a Ford over an Acura is the fact that I think Acura just isn’t making compelling cars features, performance, or looks wise. A course you will get good reliability, good resale, and class leading MPG but the RDX is quintessential NY suburbia. Literally every other well to do family in the surrounding town’s by me has a RDX or MDX.

  • avatar

    Is anybody else here simply blown away by the fact that an almost two-ton SUV beats most 1960s muscle cars with its 0-60 time? I remember when you could count the cars on one hand that had sub-6-second 0-60 times!

  • avatar

    I’m fine with most things about the watered-down second-gen RDX–it is a crossover, after all.

    But I can’t forgive Honda for taking out SH-AWD and not even leaving it as an option. If I’m going to buy a tall hatchback with a powerful V6 I want more than a system that kicks a little torque back after the front tire has already been spinning for a second or two. The driving experience would be pure V6 CR-V, not even as satisfying as a far cheaper Forester XT.

    If it weren’t for the fact that we actually take our crossover to places where AWD is useful I’d be more interested in a FWD RDX. But I doubt one has ever been shipped to a PNW dealer.

    • 0 avatar

      My incomplete understanding of Hondas AWD system tells me it’s complete and utterly useless once one wheel starts spinning. I would rather have the FWD only in that case, much more easy to keep traction when I don’t have to worry where I throw the rear.

      • 0 avatar

        Completely open diffs all around on the CR-V/RDX system. The only thing that saves you when a wheel starts spinning is brake-based traction control. That works to get you unstuck once, but doesn’t do a thing for handling or much of anything for traction once you’re moving.

        Of course, SH-AWD is a different beast entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I get it, and I would want SH-AWD too, but I also understand that makes me a TINY minority. Honestly, for most people, including my wife who we purchased the car for, just an AWD badge on the tailgate and no halfshafts in the rear at all would be just fine. Can’t blame Honda for giving the people what they want.

      • 0 avatar

        SH AWD is transparent and makes things smooth. I have it in my MDX and had a few TL loaners with it.

        It is “no drama”. If much of a cars’ handling is dealing with oversteer/understeer, the SH system eliminates this. Take the X around the “reference off ramps” and there is little, if any understeer, and you can see the dashboard readout showing full power to the outside rear wheels. Honda may have cheaped out with the sway bar bushings and end links, but money was spent on the driveline.

        I had an issue once with the transmission, easily resolved, and the rear diff disconnected, leaving the car FWD only….what a difference. The SH AWD system is wonderful. I think Porsche has one too, under a different name.

        Acura’s niche is the wannabe BMW intender, and the lower price with all gadgets seals the deal. After seeing BMW charge extra for streaming bluetooth, and painfully a-la-carte all the other electronics which a Focus is now expected to have in the base model, reading “Tech contains….everything” is nice.

        You don’t get a BMW in terms of build…my MDX is a Pilot which learned to dance, but underneath bean counters rule.

        For normal folks, a very intelligent marketing move, even if we nuts miss the first Integra and Legend. Acura realized they didn’t need to take on BMW and Mercedes-just live in the niche just below.

  • avatar

    you know…. 0-60 in 5.8 / 96mph trap / 24mpg….


    To me, this is engineering at its finest. It is simple, effective, and wont break. And the engine is a joy to wind out. Good on Acura.

    I think this is going to sell really well. Between:
    – HRV
    – CRV
    – Pilot
    – RDX
    – MDX
    – Odyssey

    Honda has a stellar line-up in the SUV segment. Line up all of the aforementioned vehicles and I dare say it challenges any OEM at any level to compete ESPECIALLY given the price points. They are all offering solid value to the consumer. The resale values are also going to be stellar. People are going to want these products. Not leased. Not rentals. But outright purchased.

  • avatar

    “Engineers stretched the RDX in every direction, softened the suspension, jacked up the ride height two inches, dialed down the “sport”, removed the SH-AWD system and fitted electric power steering.”

    Yes, they slightly restyled a CRV and shoved a V6 in it. Futzed around with the interior a bit, ladled on the ugly Acura LED headlights, and called it good to go, along with the crappy CR-V AWD system. Then jacked the price.

    About sums this thing up.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Yeah. Those IDIOTS. They took the best selling basic CUV, dumped in a V6 and some toys, and sold it for more money in record numbers. How dumb is that?

  • avatar

    I can see why the RDX sells so well. It’s handsome and reasonably cheap to own. If you don’t care about having more exotic hardware (especially in regard to the AWD system), the RDX is a good bet. I am especially and pleasantly surprised that it sprints to 60 MPH in under six seconds.

    • 0 avatar

      It does sound really quick! And I like the STANDARD NA V6, taking a cue from Infiniti there.

      It will hold up well, will be reliable, and has at least semi-premium image without breaking your wallet like the BMW option. Just wish they had a different front fascia design. The camera flash block LEDs don’t work for me.

  • avatar

    *help please*

    I might be in the minority, but I am passing on this vehicle because of the missing SH-AWD. Within the next few weeks, I intend to purchase a reliable business/commuter vehicle with decent mpg that can handle heavy snowstorms, and some fire roads.

    Pretty bummed. I liked the RDX lower entry price AND higher residual, because a slew of better vehicles seem to be arriving Stateside in 2017+ (e.g. diesel Discovery sport, new hybrid Montero).

    Maybe I’ll just buy a 2009 Lexus GX470 or 2012 Lexus GX460, and keep it until 2018+. I realize any GX is an apples-to-oranges comparison with the RDX. Especially regarding MPG. Perhaps a lightly used Volvo XC70 with a polestar tune…

    So if RDX is no longer a reliable/affordable/decent mpg/pseudo-executive/fun vehicle for heavy snow, who has alternate suggestions? What else is affordable, reliable, high residual for work AND play? The new Outback is a little too granola/appliance. The new 4runner suffers 20 mpg (and is ugly). Maybe I need to jump up to a used 2014/2015 MDX.

    Sorry for the ramble. Thanks for your opinions.

    • 0 avatar

      You should consult a tax advisor, but realize that even pre-owned vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 6,000 lbs (meaning the combined weight of the vehicle and its cargo/passengers) qualify for increased tax deduction limits for business under Section 179. I believe you can deduct up to $25,000, if the vehicle is 100% used for business. The vehicles that typically wind up qualifying for the increased deduction are either trucks or BOF SUVs (such as the Lexus GX 470 you mentioned, as well as a Tahoe, Silverado, F-150 or Expedition), or rugged RWD-based unibody SUVs (BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Range Rover/Sport etc). Keep in mind, some large FWD crossovers also qualify, like the Ford Explorer and the GM Lambdas. The Acura MDX appears to come somewhat short of that 6,000lb weight rating limit, and so does not qualify.

      Really, though, none of these vehicles is going to get good mileage. Your best bet would be to, again, consult a tax advisor to see if the Section 179 deduction even makes sense for you, and if it does, to balance its advantages against the advantages of having a less costly and more fuel-efficient vehicle.

      Good luck and happy shopping!

    • 0 avatar

      Unless you’re specifically looking for a luxury nameplate, consider a Ford Escape. The fuel mileage isn’t horrible if you can run ethanol-free premium in it, and with decent snow tires it is a beast in bad weather. MyFord Touch is a matter of taste, but in my experience has not been a problem. I’ve run mine for two years now, and have had no major issues with the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting you brought this up. I just filled my 2013 Escape Titanium (2.0 ecoboost and torque vectoring awd) up at Quicktrip in Kansas City with 91 Octane Ethanol free gas ($2.99 a gallon). From KC to St Louis with the cruise set to 76 mph, and I got 26.4 mpg according to the trip computer.

        • 0 avatar

          That’s consistent with what I’m getting on mine, Liger. Same trim level and drivetrain.

          • 0 avatar

            If the concern with the RDX is snow, then I would be remiss not to remind you of the availability of winter tires.

        • 0 avatar

          Not a fan of the Escape at all. Bellow average reliability. Ford commonly fudges the MPG numbers. The 2.0 gets a combined 23 MPG an RDX gets 22 MPG combined. With my time driving a 2015 MKZ 2.0 I was always 2-3 points off the combined suggested. With my Acura RDX I am always dead on 22 MPG or above at 23-24 with majority city miles 60/40.

          Also I am assuming KC to STL is mostly flat highway? 26 MPG is kind of bad, since the highway is rated 28 mpg. Again this shows most Ford/Lincoln products with Ecoboost are 2-3 points off. I fully enjoy the torque-y Ecoboost feel but for me it’s not worth 2-3 less MPG when I can get a 3.5 that gets the same MPG

    • 0 avatar

      If you like the RDX but find the AWD inadequate, and are thinking about it as a shortish-term investment, look at leasing a Q5. It’s heavier and less dynamic than the RDX on-road, but not that much so, and it has a better AWD system than any of the competition.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks All for your input.

      I decided on a pristine, silver 2009 GX 470 with 70,000 miles for $26K.

      Pretty badass truck.

      This should meet my needs (minus fuel efficiency!) for the next 2-3 years…until something comes along I like more. Preferably the 2017+ full-size hybrid Montero. Assuming they don’t ruin the styling, the Montero should again become the affordable LandCruiser / Range Rover / Land Rover.

    • 0 avatar

      The last model with the Turbo and SH-AWD was 2011. Over 4 years ago. What did you think it would somehow just magically comeback? As I mentioned before most consumers didn’t like the 17/22 AWD MPG in the first gen or really need a Turbo 4 and this was shown by sales drastically increasing with the second gen. SH-AWD would have been nice but remember who drives a RDX or even MDX or the most part: house wives, soccer moms, or people who want utility but practicality. Honda/Acura has gone a bit soft and made more consumer cars rather than enthusiasts cars, but heck sometimes I don’t need to throw my body into every curve or feel every bump.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    I’m not sure why I’d pick this over the Toyota Highlander latest gen.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, if you want 3 rows but you don’t want a premium badge, there are lots of vehicles in the Highlander’s category that would make more sense. These are different classes.

    • 0 avatar

      Highlander is a great CUV, but for me if we are nitpicking Acura’s small amounts of hard plastics Toyota by far has the most hard plastics.

  • avatar

    Looked at buying a 2016 ILX or leasing a 2016 RDX, went with RDX because of AWD and cargo space. There are two camps for Acura: one being mostly Honda loyalists that find Acura to be the perfect blend of value and prestige and the second group that find them to be underwhelming in terms of luxury and performance and sit at the same table as Buick. I guess I am more of a Acura believer and find them to be a terrific value compared to Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Lincoln, ect.

    So I decided to lease a 2016 RDX Base AWD. It just provided the most standard features especially compared to a BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, or Lincoln MKC. There are a group of people that constantly bash the 2nd gen for not having the turbo 4 and super handling AWD, but grow up that time has passed. The turbo didn’t sell nearly as well as the 2nd gen plus is got 17/22 MPG, and was slower 240HP 6.8 0-60 compared to the 2nd gen 19/28, 279HP 6.2 0-60. The new model has a better 0-60 than the Lexus NX200T, BMW X1 4 cylinder, MKC 2.3, Mercedes GLA250.

    Overall a great vehicle that should serve me well for the next 35 months. My biggest takeaway is the size. It defiantly is bigger than the Lexus NX200T or a Honda CRV but not quite as big as a Lexus RX. So for me a perfect size. Also pricing wise this car can be $5k-$10k less than it’s competitors depending on it’s model. A course the Acura brand might not have the cache of a Mercedes let a lone a Lexus but I will take $5-$10k any day yet I know plenty of people that would take a bare bones X1 without heated seats just for the BMW badge. Again the RDX has a great base engine that is surprisingly fast. I am not a huge fan of cylinder deactivation even though it adds +1 MPH city/highway, for me it is a tad bit too jerky. However the car is Lexus RX ride like, smooth and quiet.

    The only thing that is a tad disappointing is the lack of blind spot monitoring as a standard feature or backup sensors standard. Other than that a solid CUV. Is it the best styled NO, but a great combination of features, comfort, performance, price.

  • avatar

    Wife and I had Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftbacks back in college, then a long hand me down stream in years followed from the parents with Oldsmobiles, Buick’s, Chevys etc … with the 2001 LeSabre feeling long in the tooth, it was time to upgrade to a modern CUV with least a V6 under the hood – but everything we looked at had 4-bangers…then we looked at Acura. The RDX was it, no question. It’s the perfect luxury CUV for us, the wife loves sitting up high, I love the fact that it has a 3.5L V6 – I don’t care for four cylinder engines. The V6 is strong, powerful, and naturally aspirated – just what a CUV of this size should have. Now being from Cincinnati Ohio, it was an easy choice because the RDX is made outside of Columbus – so we brought what Ohio builds. Love the quality, the look, the performance, the tech side of it, the fit and finish – just everything. The dealer was great, and in a year or two, we well may have a second Acura RDX in the garage…I think we’re pretty much done with sedans.

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