2018 Acura RDX Rating Breakdown
2018 acura rdx
EPA est City/Hwy
20/28
Starting at
$36,000
Engine
3.5L V6
Power
279 hp

Starting at

$36,000

Engine

3.5L V6

Power

279 hp

City/Hwy

20/28

Seats

5


The Car Connection Expert Review
Andrew Ganz

Andrew Ganz

DISLIKES
  • Beginning to feel dated
  • Rear seats don't fold flat
  • Subpar infotainment
  • Cramped second row
acura rdx 2018

If flashy is your thing, the 2018 Acura RDX may not be the crossover for you.

There’s a lot going on with the 2018 Acura RDX, but it’s all reasonably harmonious and inoffensive. We’ve given it a perfectly average score of 5 out of 10, a reflection of its modesty. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Acura has gone through several iterations of its “beak” front fascia, none of which have really worked. The RDX wears the look better than the brand’s sedans have and we like the way its five-square LED headlights are integrated. It’s not a double-take kind of look, but the RDX is largely inoffensive.

The 17-inch alloy wheels found on base models live up to their entry-level name. If you want a little more flash, opt for the Technology Package with its machine-finished 18s.

Inside, the RDX shows its age more with a design that’s busy and not terribly upmarket, especially in the available gray shade. Bits of matte silver trim don’t help much—they look more like something you’d see in a modestly optioned Honda CR-V than in something purporting to be a luxury car.

In short: If you want flash, be prepared to spend more for something from a different brand.

If flashy is your thing, the 2018 Acura RDX may not be the crossover for you.

With its nice good handling and refined V-6 the Acura RDX drives suitably upmarket.

The 2018 Acura RDX is pleasant to drive, aided by its strong and refined V-6 engine and handling that’s accurate, if not overly sporty. We’ve given it points above average for its surprisingly direct steering and for the grunt offered by its sole engine choice, which elevates it to a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Unlike rivals, the RDX is available with only one engine—but it’s a good one. Acura’s 3.5-liter V-6 is rated here at 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. It shuttles power to either the front or all four wheels via a slick-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission that comes standard with paddle shifters.

Those flappy paddles hint at sportiness that simply isn’t there with the RDX, however. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because this crossover’s suspension absorbs pavement imperfections with aplomb and it tracks well on wide open stretches of road. A thickly rimmed three-spoke steering wheel again suggests more cornering tenacity than you’ll find in the RDX, but credit is due to Acura for tuning the electric power steering to deliver up a directness lacking in, say, the Lexus RX.

With its nice good handling and refined V-6 the Acura RDX drives suitably upmarket.

The 2018 Acura RDX is quiet and has comfortable front seats, but it’s a little tight in the second row.

Consider Acura as a stepping stone between mass-market brands such as Honda and full-line luxury such as Mercedes-Benz—the RDX starts to make a lot of sense. We’ve given it points above average for its comfy front seats, good cargo space, and upscale feel, but we’d like to see classier interior appointments. As a result, it’s a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The RDX’s front seats provide good comfort for those who like a little more lumbar support. One disappointment is that the base RDX’s passenger seat isn’t height-adjustable, but at least the Technology Package subs in real leather (in place of synthetic leather) and fully adjustable seats.

Row two provides adequate room for average-size adults but three abreast isn’t something we’d suggest. That second row folds not-quite flat, another demerit, but the RDX’s low cargo floor and 61.3 cubic foot cargo capacity are nice for a crossover of this size. One surprise is all the space hidden under the cargo floor—another 15 cubes, bringing the maximum available space for stuff to 76.9 cubic feet.

Interior storage is top notch up front with a big center console and lots of space to tuck away (and hopefully not lose) smaller items in the door panels.

With its solidity and quiet interior, the RDX does a good job imitating crossovers that cost way more—at least in a blind test. Further inspection of the cabin will reveal nice available leather upholstery that doesn’t quite mask the painted silver plastic trim that feels out of place at half the price.

The 2018 Acura RDX is quiet and has comfortable front seats, but it’s a little tight in the second row.

Excellent crash test scores and a host of collision avoidance tech make the Acura RDX a safe bet.

Though its basic design may be among the oldest in the premium crossover segment, the 2018 Acura RDX has performed quite well in crash tests. Good scores from the IIHS and the NHTSA, as well as widespread availability of its collision avoidance tech, earn it an 8 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The RDX comes standard with a full complement of airbags, ABS, and stability control, and it offers buyers a choice between front- or all-wheel drive.

Its safety structure holds up well in crash testing, says the NHTSA, which awarded it five stars overall and five stars in every category except for rollover, where it earned four. The IIHS agreed, granting it the top “Good” score in all crash tests this year.

The IIHS also said that the RDX’s standard LED headlights earn an “Acceptable” rating, and that its optional automatic emergency braking system scores “Superior.” It earned a Top Safety Pick award this year.

That advanced safety system is grouped in the AcuraWatch Plus package, which also includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warnings, and active lane control. At $1,300 extra on base and Technology package RDXs, it seems like reasonably priced and worthwhile tech to us. AcuraWatch is standard on the range-topping RDX Advance.

Excellent crash test scores and a host of collision avoidance tech make the Acura RDX a safe bet.


NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating

2018 Acura RDX Models

Overall Rating

5/5

Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating: (5/5)
Overall Side Crash Rating: (5/5)
Overall Side Barrier Rating: Not Rated
NHTSA Roll-over Resistance Rating: (4/5)



Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Ratings

2018 Acura RDX Models

Side Impact Test Good
Roof Strength Test Good
Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint Good
IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results Good
IIHS Moderate Overlap Front Test Results Good

The Acura RDX isn't really missing much, but it's only available in a limited number of flavors.

The 2018 Acura RDX is available in just a few combinations, which should make your ideal model easy to find on a dealer’s lot. All are well-equipped for the money and come with a high-tech infotainment, but we lament the limited customizability seen in most rivals.

That brings the RDX to a 7 out of 10 here with points added for standard equipment, high-tech optional extras, and a big infotainment system, and minus one for the limited custom-tailoring potential. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

At $36,795, base RDXs are fitted with the expected power features and dual-zone automatic climate control, plus some niceties such as a moonroof, a power liftgate, a proximity key with keyless ignition, LED high- and low-beam headlights, a rearview camera, and heated front seats. However, their seats are upholstered in synthetic leather instead of the real deal and while the driver’s seat has 10-way power adjustability, the passenger’s is only four-way.

The $40,495 RDX with the Technology package remedies these complaints with leather upholstery, eight-way power for the passenger’s seat, an upgraded infotainment system with an 8.0-inch display and ELS-branded audio, navigation, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Go full-boat and you’ll be in for the $43,495 Advance package: ventilated front seats, fog lights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, remote start, and parking sensors.

Advance models come standard with AcuraWatch, which is the brand’s trademark for a suite of safety tech: adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and active lane control. AcuraWatch is an option on other models and at $1,300, it’s worth every penny in our eyes.

All-wheel drive adds a further $1,500 and is available on every RDX iteration.

Loaded up, an RDX Advance stickers for a not unreasonable $44,995, including a mandatory $995 destination charge.

The infotainment system fitted to Technology and Advance RDXs isn’t among our favorites for a variety of reasons. Its complicated menus, made even more frustrating thanks to two screens, can take some time to sort through. It’s also not fitted with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, increasingly common on new cars.

The Acura RDX isn't really missing much, but it's only available in a limited number of flavors.

The Acura RDX's big V-6 is refined, but a little thirstier than some rivals' turbo-4s.

With a V-6 under its hood, you might not expect the 2018 Acura RDX to be a fuel-sipper.

That’s accurate, but it’s also not as thirsty as that powerful engine suggests. With front-wheel drive, the 2018 RDX scores 20 mpg city, 28 highway, 23 combined according to the EPA, enough to merit a 6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Go for all-wheel drive and those figures drop just 1 mpg: 19/27/22 mpg.

The Acura RDX's big V-6 is refined, but a little thirstier than some rivals' turbo-4s.


Fuel Economy Information

Ratings Based on 6 cyl, 3.5 L, 6-Speed Shiftable Automatic

23

Combined

4.3 gals/100 miles

20

City


28

Highway

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