Five years after being redesigned into its second generation and following a 2016 refresh, Acura's RDX compact crossover continues to do well for the upscale Honda brand, and so it enters 2018 with no changes.
Acura bucked a trend with the RDX's 2013 redesign, switching out a turbo four-cylinder for a V6, just as virtually every other small upscale crossover moved in the other direction. While there's nothing wrong with the turbo fours found in cars like the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Lexus NX, the RDX benefits from Honda's smooth, strong 3.5L V6, which boasts great power delivery, a nice exhaust note and surprisingly good fuel economy from an engine whose displacement nearly doubles that of its turbocharged competitors.
The RDX's engine makes 279 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, and comes matched with a six-speed automatic transmission (a couple gears short of the eight- and nine-ratio arrangements that are quickly become common in this class) and AWD. Sadly that all-wheel system is not Acura's trick Super Handling setup; to get that, you have to move to either the larger MDX or, strangely, the relatively slow-selling TLX sedan.
We call the RDX's fuel economy "surprisingly good," estimated at 12.4/8.7 L/100 km (city/highway); meanwhile, the X1's ratings are 10.5/7.4 and the Lexus NX's 10.7/8.5, so maybe there's something to that turbocharging thing after all.
That 2016 update brought high-tech touches like standard LED headlights and a suite of active safety features that includes forward collision warning, lane departure warning and lane keep assist.
RDX comes well-equipped, with eight-way power-adjustable and heated front seats trimmed in leatherette, LED taillights, power tailgate, 18-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, passive keyless entry and a 360-watt stereo.
A Technology package brings navigation, 410-watt stereo, heated back seats, leather upholstery, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
The top-end Elite trim adds unique wheels, auto-dimming side mirrors, fog lights, front and rear parking sensors and ventilate front seats.
We expect a redesigned RDX to come if not in 2019, then as a 2020 model, wearing the updated front-end styling Acura applied this year to the TLX. We also wouldn't be surprised to see that future generation powered by a version of the 2.0L turbo four-cylinder Honda recently introduced in the latest Accord sedan.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed