2021 Acura RDX review: The fast and the frugal

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec

The only improve for the 2020 design year is this new Platinum White paint solution.

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The 3rd-era Acura RDX created a incredibly powerful initial impact when it debuted in 2018. There was a large amount to love about this modest quality SUV, from the sharp, angular A-Spec styling to its nimble all-wheel-travel functionality. For the 2021 design year, the RDX is largely the exact same as it at any time was, indicating there is certainly nevertheless a total large amount to love. 


  • Out there SH-AWD boosts nimbleness in mid-to-significant velocity corners.
  • Turbocharged motor provides a healthier 280 pound-ft of torque.
  • Great suite of regular cabin and safety tech.

Really don’t Like

  • Correct Touchpad controller can take some obtaining used to.
  • Generate manner selector quickly mistaken for volume knob.
  • Off throttle and at decrease speeds, the RDX feels much less dynamic.

AcuraLink cabin tech

The RDX’s dashboard is home to a genuinely fantastic infotainment suite that is rather hindered at initial by its Correct Touchpad Interface controller. Entrance and middle you are going to locate a 10.two-inch High definition twin-material most important exhibit, which takes advantage of a split-display interface to showcase the significant infotainment features. 

Customers navigate by swiping and tapping on the modest touchpad at the foundation of the middle stack to make on-display picks. This Correct Touchpad is very similar to, but also different from, the one particular on your notebook. It takes advantage of absolute positioning, so putting your finger in the decrease left or middle of the display, for case in point, promptly selects merchandise equally positioned on the exhibit. This can make it simple to swiftly shift all-around the RDX’s menus once you find out the place every thing is.

To the ideal of the most important touchpad area is a scroll bar that permits people to swiftly toggle the material shown on that sidebar. So I’m equipped to, for case in point, spot the presently enjoying audio supply on the ideal 3rd of the exhibit alongside the optional 3D See Navigation on the most important exhibit area. A multitasking button above the touchpad permits material to be swapped amongst the two panes with a one tap, in this circumstance, retaining the map obvious in the sidebar while I find yet another radio station or audio supply.

There are also actual physical buttons for Again and Property positioned in close proximity to the touchpad and, general, it truly is reasonably simple to shift by means of the interface — once you get used to it. The challenge is that the discovering curve can be a steep one particular. Acura’s True Touchpad is a incredibly modest surface, demanding a lot more precise movements to make great picks, such as text entry. This can be specially challenging for ideal-seat travellers who have to use their left hand. For location entry, perhaps stick to the reasonably fantastic purely natural-language voice recognition.

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec

The Correct Touchpad controller can take some obtaining used to, but I want it and AcuraLink to Lexus’ Distant Touchpad and Enform.

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Apple CarPlay connectivity is regular, and Android Automobile has at last joined the celebration, too. Interacting with them using the Correct Touchpad isn’t really as purely natural as the relaxation of the interface, but I’m happy to see each technologies existing, bringing 1000’s of apps for audio streaming, navigation and a lot more to the driver’s fingertips.

Total, I want this technique to the very similar Distant Touchpad you are going to locate in modern Lexus cars. Lexus Enform takes advantage of a fiddly cursor dot for picks that is simple to shed observe of and involves even a lot more precise positioning to operate. Meanwhile, the Acura infotainment application takes advantage of big, simple-to-concentrate on variety packing containers for most components of the interface, producing it a great deal a lot easier to use and demanding much less visible awareness while driving.

The RDX’s cabin tech isn’t confined to the middle stack. Ahead of the driver is a seven-inch coloration multi-information exhibit tucked amongst the RDX’s two actual physical gauges — right here, featuring A-Spec-unique purple illumination. The RDX’s local weather controls are GPS-joined, having into account the sun’s placement relative to the auto and its effects on the interior temperature when metering out heating and air conditioning amongst its cabin zones. Decide for the Progress trim and a big, 10.5-inch head-up exhibit will place pertinent information ideal in the driver’s line of sight. 

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec

The split-display interface is developed for simple multitasking.

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AcuraWatch driver-aid tech

The 3rd-era RDX arrives regular with the automaker’s AcuraWatch suite of driver-aid technologies. That means even the foundation design rolls out with forward-collision warning with collision mitigation braking support, entire-velocity adaptive cruise regulate that operates in end-and-go visitors, and lane-retaining steering support with street-departure mitigation. Not just an active safety characteristic, but all RDX styles also appear regular with Acura’s 7-phase Jewel Eye LED headlights and LED taillights, bringing vibrant, nevertheless specifically aimed illumination when driving just after dark.

Which is by now a reliable loadout, but there are a number of extras you can include. Stepping up to the Technology bundle ($two,900) provides entrance and rear parking sensors, blind-location monitoring and rear cross-visitors notify. The prime-tier Progress bundle updates to a encompass-look at digicam technique and provides a washer to the regular rear digicam.

Physical appearance-Spec

The Technology bundle is genuinely the sweet location in the Acura RDX lineup, bringing crucial safety capabilities, handy cabin technologies and fantastic onboard navigation to the RDX’s by now reliable regular checklist of products. The Progress bundle kicks the creature comforts to greatest and boosts literal convenience with its adaptive-damping suspension and acoustic side glass. The A-Spec bundle life in the middle, retaining all of the Technology updates, but buying and selling Progress convenience for a sportier visual appearance.

Out again, the A-Spec capabilities twin exhaust retailers, and filling the wheel arches are dark-end, 20-inch alloy wheels shod with 255/45R20 all-year tires. The all-seasons are probably the best indicator that this is an visual appearance bundle only, not a legitimate sport up grade. There are no tweaks to the suspension or powertrain that make the A-Spec complete far better than or really feel any sharper than the regular RDX. At the very least it appears sharper. 

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec

The “A” in A-Spec must stand for “visual appearance.” Aside from bigger wheels, there are no functionality updates right here.

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The RDX A-Spec capabilities shiny black exterior trim, such as a one of a kind rear spoiler. The protect-formed entrance grille has a cool Black Diamond design and style and coloration. The internals of the headlamps and taillights are also darker, adding to the meaner glimpse. Of course, there are A-Spec badges scattered all-around the exterior and in the course of the cabin, as nicely as dark headlamp and taillight internals.

Inside, you are going to locate leather-based-trimmed sport seats — mine glimpse wonderful in purple — with UltraSuede inserts and heated and ventilated surfaces. Additional UltraSuede can be observed trimming a variety of bits all-around the cabin. Pink accent lights and sport pedals total the A-Spec visible updates.

Super-Handling All-Wheel Generate

Okay, the A-Spec isn’t any speedier than the regular RDX, but the regular mechanical configuration isn’t so bad. The motor bay is home to a two.-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder motor that peaks at 272 horsepower and 280 pound-ft of torque. The ability plant is mated to a 10-velocity automated transmission with an electronic gear selector on the middle console and paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Drivers have a little bit of regulate in excess of the RDX’s functionality with a massive Dynamic Mode variety knob in close proximity to the foundation of the middle stack. Twisting toggles amongst Comfort, Snow, Sport and Sport In addition modes influences the throttle response, traction regulate and improves the motor be aware for the sportier settings. My sole criticism is that the selector appears and is positioned a large amount like a major, ol’ volume knob. My travellers and I frequently unintentionally pop the SUV into Sport manner when trying to crank up our favored songs.

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec

The Dynamic Mode selector appears like (and is positioned like) a major volume knob, which led to a number of hilarious mishaps.

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Entrance-wheel travel is regular, but you are going to certainly want Acura’s fourth-era Super-Handling All-Wheel Generate (SH-AWD) up grade. Ordinarily, I only genuinely suggest all-wheel travel for areas with lots of poor climate — even then, acceptable tires probably have a even bigger influence on safety — but SH-AWD is also a functionality up grade, which can make it handy and even entertaining when the streets are dry. It is certainly worth the $two,000 quality.

SH-AWD can send out up to 70% of the engine’s readily available torque to the rear wheels on demand (the former era could only take care of a fifty/fifty split), which aids in ability distribution when launching from a end. The technique also now capabilities one hundred% torque vectoring on the rear axle to aid in cornering steadiness. When you steer into a corner and the vehicle’s bodyweight commences to shift, SH-AWD will actively send out ability to the rear exterior wheel to enable steer into the corner. This new era can shuffle ability all-around 30% quicker, which also can make the torque transfer really feel a lot more seamless on the street. Chucking the RDX by means of a series of mid-velocity S-turns or a fast established of sweeping bends, the SUV behaves and feels like a a great deal smaller sized auto.

Even so, there are nevertheless those people pesky rules of physics to contend with. SH-AWD relies on the throttle to aid in rotation, so it doesn’t enable a great deal during sluggish, off-throttle corners, such as restricted switchbacks, leaving the SUV emotion much less dynamic the slower you go. In addition, the RDX is a tall SUV with a convenience-oriented suspension, so there is certainly only so a great deal velocity that you can have by means of a fast flip ahead of SH-AWD only are not able to enable. The good news is, the changeover amongst “slaloming heroically” and “whoops, too fast” is smooth and simple to catch. The RDX is an SUV that encourages you to thrust it safely.

Get the throttle application and steering just ideal and the RDX can be an absolute treat on the ideal street. Of course, this is not a sports vehicle, so I’m treating the joy that SH-AWD delivers less than the ideal disorders as a bonus professional, rather than its constraints as con. All-around city, the regular MacPherson strut entrance and multilink rear suspension is relaxed and responsive, the electric powered ability steering is great and linear and the twelve-inch disc brakes at all 4 corners are simple to modulate and do a terrific career hauling the 4,one hundred and five-pound SUV to a end swiftly and predictably.

With SH-AWD, the EPA and Acura estimate the RDX is fantastic for 23 combined miles for every gallon (21 mpg metropolis and 26 mpg freeway) when using the recommended ninety one-octane fuel. During my week of screening — put in mainly in the hills discovering Sport manner — I only achieved 19.1 mpg. Entrance-wheel-travel illustrations fare a little bit far better at an estimated 24 mpg combined, 22 metropolis mpg and 28 freeway mpg.

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec

The RDX compares favorably to equally spec’d opponents, but the lineup is missing each functionality and hybrid up grade paths for Acura followers seeking for a lot more.

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Pricing and level of competition

The 2021 Acura RDX commences at $39,225 such as its $1,025 location cost for the foundation entrance-travel configuration. As I explained, you certainly want the $two,000 SH-AWD up grade for the added traction in poor disorders and improved driving joy when it truly is dry. The $two,900 Technology bundle is also a worthwhile up grade supplied the added safety tech, navigation and other capabilities it delivers to the celebration. As I pointed out previously, the Technology bundle is genuinely the sweet location, the place I consider most consumers would be delighted with the value offered. 

From there, the up grade route forks with both the A-Spec or Advanced bundle becoming the up coming step up you are not able to have each. The A-Spec bundle doesn’t include any functionality, but does convey a sporty style to the RDX knowledge. I love the glimpse, but no matter whether it truly is worth the $three,000 up grade in excess of the Technology bundle is a subjective conclusion you are going to have to make for you. That likely with the A-Spec blocks the up grade to the a lot more compelling Progress bundle with its supplemental quality capabilities need to also be deemed for consumers seeking to choose the most lavish route. As analyzed, you are seeking at $forty seven,a hundred twenty five for this SH-AWD A-Spec.

The Audi Q5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC compete hotly for the gold regular in this compact quality SUV course. The RDX is not really as lavish as the Germans but nevertheless incredibly nicely appointed and, comparably outfitted, expenditures noticeably much less. In addition with SH-AWD, the Acura is just a skosh a lot more entertaining to travel.

Also likely tête-à-tête with the Acura are the Lexus RX and Volvo’s XC60. The Acura is a far better value than the comparably priced and outfitted RX 350 and XC60 T5, and would be my private choose at this price. Even so, it is swiftly outclassed by these vehicles’ a lot more potent functionality and a lot more effective hybrid specs, leaving RDX followers seeking to shift upmarket with much less space to increase. Perhaps a upcoming RDX Kind S with true functionality updates is in buy? I will retain my fingers crossed.