Although the 2018 Acura RDX compact-luxury-crossover SUV faces some stiff competition this year, it remains a favorite of those seeking a small, fun-to-drive luxury SUV that offers plenty of high-tech features, lots of power plus great reliability and resale value. The lack of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is one of the few weaknesses of the RDX’s aging design.
You'll Like The 2018 Acura RDX If...
Acura’s RDX compact-crossover SUV for 2018 has a proven reputation for luxury, reliability and performance. The elegant interior is logically laid out, with the numerous user-friendly tech features logically arranged and easy to operate. The RDX’s reasonable price undercuts many competitors, as does its excellent resale history.
You May Not Like The 2018 Acura RDX If...
The 2018 Acura RDX isn’t a true off-road SUV, so if you’re looking for something more rugged, a Land Rover Discovery Sport or Evoque makes a better choice. Those seeking better fuel economy from an alternative powertrain might look to the Lexus NX 300h hybrid or BMW X3 xDrive28d diesel.
The Acura RDX for 2018 carries over with no major changes.
The 2018 Acura RDX offers a limited interior color palette, but that’s about all we can fault. Acura’s dual-screen infotainment system presents a cleanly styled interface devoid of the multitude of buttons found on some competitors. Other touches of note include soft-touch materials, an available 8-way-power passenger seat, 10-way-power driver's seat and a smart use of space for both passengers and cargo. For example, if the comfortable rear seats aren't holding passengers, they quickly fold forward to create up to about 77 cubic feet of cargo space.
Changes from the 2016 update carry over to the 2018 Acura RDX SUV. The exterior looks like a three-quarter replica of the larger MDX and easily conforms to the modern design language of the brand. Brilliant Jewel Eye headlights flank a 3-dimensional grille design, while around back the RDX’s taillights have the same signature look as the rest of the Acura lineup. The RDX’s face and tail liven up the overall package, which, although conservatively handsome, lags behind more radical designs like the Lexus NX and Jeep Cherokee Overland.
With the exception of its mediocre fuel economy, there really is very little else to quibble with regarding the 2018 Acura RDX compact-luxury-crossover SUV. The smooth and quiet 3.5-liter V6 provides abundant power for passing and merging, and the 6-speed automatic performs flawlessly. Get the RDX out on a long stretch of open road and you’ll discover this little SUV’s best attribute is its ability to cruise effortlessly for long distances without creating fatigue or boredom. Should the road begin to turn and twist, however, Acura’s 2018 RDX can handle just about any situation. The driving experience isn’t as dynamic as in a BMW X3 or an Infiniti QX30, but we think most people will appreciate what the RDX has to offer. The available AcuraWatch adds a reassuring layer of safety thanks to its adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking, lane-keep assist and collision-warning systems.
The base FWD 2018 Acura RDX has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $36,800, including the $975 destination charge. AWD adds about $1,500, while AcuraWatch adds $1,300. The most you'll find yourself paying is about $46,000, a pretty solid bargain for such a nicely equipped vehicle. We think it's a good idea to spend the extra $1,300 on the AcuraWatch package, as it adds significant convenience and safety for a relatively small sum. At these prices, a new RDX undercuts almost every rival except the smaller Infiniti QX30 and Lincoln MKC. The Volvo XC60 and Infiniti QX50 are in the same ballpark, and the Germans can be $15,000 higher when they're loaded up. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid, and note that the Acura RDX boasts some of the highest resale values in its class.
Most of the luxury SUV competitors the RDX faces don't have the long list of standard features as the Acura, and fewer still at the price. The 2018 Acura RDX comes with things like dual-zone climate control, a 10-way-power driver's seat, active noise cancellation, a multi-view rearview camera, and a 7-speaker/360-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with a 5-inch LCD display, USB/auxiliary inputs, voice-activated text messaging and Pandora Internet radio. Safety features include six airbags, stability and traction control, and Acura's ACE body structure, which has helped it earn top crash-test ratings from both the government and the insurance industry.
While Acura tends to divide its major options into different model levels, Acura’s 2018 RDX breaks with this rule by offering the AcuraWatch package as a stand-alone option on all models, except the Advance Package, which includes it. AcuraWatch bundles adaptive cruise control, forward-collision braking and warning, and lane-keeping assist and departure warning in one package. All-wheel drive (AWD) is also available across the board. Navigation is available on the Technology and Advance packages, while the Advance adds luxury touches like ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, remote starting, and automatic windshield wipers.
ACURA/ELS SURROUND SOUND
Part of the Technology package, Acura’s RDX compact-luxury-crossover SUV for 2018 features the Acura ELS audio system that accurately reproduces sound with the quality and clarity of systems costing twice as much.
Adding all the safety and conveniences of the Technology and AcuraWatch Plus package, the Advance package is the best way to enjoy all that the 2018 RDX has to offer at a price well below the $45,000 mark.
Under the Hood
You wouldn't know that the Acura RDX for 2018 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine just from looking at the specs, as an engine of this size in a luxury-performance vehicle usually produces 300-plus horsepower. Still, performance is strong in the RDX, which routes its power through a 6-speed automatic transmission, either to the front wheels (FWD) or through Acura's AWD with Intelligent Control system.
279 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 4,900 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (FWD), 19/27 mpg (AWD)
While the 2018 Acura RDX compact-luxury-crossover SUV faces some stiff competition this year, it remains a favorite of those seeking a small luxury SUV that is fun to drive, offers plenty of high-tech features, ample power plus great reliability and resale values. Unlike the turbocharged 4-cylinder engines in the Lexus NX and Mercedes-Benz GLC300, the RDX comes standard with a proven V6 that can be mated to your choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. If you don’t need the added passenger space of the larger MDX, but you still want an SUV that has ample cargo space, a big rear seat and a tall roof, we think you’ll find the 2018 Acura RDX luxury-crossover SUV checks all the right boxes.