Compact SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $16,000 – $30,500*


2008 Acura RDX


2008 Acura RDX


2008 Acura RDX


2008 Acura RDX

Pros:
  • Cargo room
  • Interior storage space
  • Seat comfort
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat entry/exit
  • Ride

The RDX aimed to be as sporty and upscale as Acura’s TSX compact sedan-and it’s victorious on that score. Still, the choice of a turbo four-cylinder engine is debatable for a small SUV, especially one that started near $33,000. Acura’s record for reliability and resale strength helped offset premium new-vehicle pricing, but RDX comes across as more a marketing tactic than a strong SUV value. Besides, high resale translates to hefty used-vehicle prices.

Overview

Acura introduced its first compact sport-utility vehicle for 2007: a five-seat “entry-premium” wagon powered by the company’s first turbocharged engine. Equipped with standard all-wheel drive, the premium-level RDX was 4 inches shorter in wheelbase and 10 inches shorter overall than Acura’s seven-passenger MDX. The only RDX engine was a 240-horsepower turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder, linked to a five-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddles for manual shifting.

Every RDX had Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which apportioned power between the rear wheels to enhance cornering stability. RDX was the first Acura model to get 18-inch wheels. Antilock braking and traction/antiskid control were standard. So were front side airbags and curtain side airbags. Also standard were dual-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather-trimmed upholstery with heated front seats, a moonroof, six-CD changer, and a 6.5-inch dashboard screen that displayed audio and climate information. The eight-way power driver’s seat included power-adjustable lumbar support.

Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights were standard. Heated mirrors included a passenger-side tilt-down. A Technology Package version of the RDX included a wireless cell phone link, and a navigation system with real-time traffic information for 30 major cities as well as a rearview camera. RDX competitors included the BMW X3, Nissan Murano, and Subaru Forester XT.

Yearly Updates

2008 RDX
No major changes were announced for the RDX in its second season. Acura’s list of rivals to the RDX added the new Infiniti EX.
2009 RDX
The 2009 Acura RDX was largely unchanged.
2010 RDX
The 2010 Acura RDX received freshened styling and a new front-wheel-drive model.
2011 RDX
The 2011 Acura RDX is largely unchanged following its model-year 2010 freshening.
2012 RDX
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Acura RDX.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Initially the RDX came with only one powertrain: a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 240 horsepower, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. For 2010, a front-wheel drive model was added.

Turbocharged dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

17/22

17.6

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years. Front-drive model: 19/24.

Road Test

Acceleration hardly qualifies as neck snapping, but it’s more than adequate in most situations-especially once the turbocharger kicks in. A test model accelerated to 60 mph in a brisk 6.8 seconds, but throttle response suffers from some turbo-lag delay in around-town driving and on the highway. Maximum towing capacity is a modest 1500 pounds.

Fuel economy earns no prizes. One test RDX averaged just 14.3 mpg, albeit in trials that included aggressive city/freeway driving and gas-eating acceleration runs. Other models averaged 21.2 mpg in mostly highway driving, and 14.3 to 17.6 mpg with more city work. Acura recommends premium-grade fuel.

Ride comfort isn’t quite on track with the competition. Expect good compliance over big ruts and bumps, but the suspension is firmer than expected overall, with some nervous jiggle and bucking on cracked, patchy surfaces.

Even if it’s not the best for ride comfort, that firm-riding suspension makes for an agile little SUV. Acura’s SH-AWD system furnishes secure grip on wet or dry surfaces. Body lean is modest in fast turns. Steering has solid road feel, but some testers have found its effort too heavy at low speeds. The RDX turning circle is rather wide, too. Stopping power is good, but pedal action is slightly spongy.

Quiet in some ways, the RDX is noisier in others. Some testers have noticed turbo whine during acceleration, while others cited an elevated engine note at idle, though it’s nicely muted while cruising. Wind rush is not an issue, but tires are noisy even on smooth asphalt.

In our opinion, the RDX dashboard puts style over function. Most controls are logical and handy, but audio/climate settings are undersized readouts in a distant dashtop slit. Some audio-control markings are a bit small, too. Instruments, on the other hand, are large and clear. A big central knob and dashboard screen set navigation, audio, and other functions. The navigation screen (if installed) can be hard to read by day, and some operations distract with many steps, though included voice control simplifies some tasks. Cabin decor is a trendy mix of textures and shapes. Although the RDX contains too many hard plastic surfaces for this price level, assembly quality is laudable.

Despite the standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel and power driver’s seat, some tall test-drivers couldn’t get comfortably settled. Head- and legroom are sufficient for most adults, though. Well-bolstered seats keep occupants secure. Visibility is slightly pinched to the right rear and dead-astern.

In the rear, a slightly reclined seatback angle allows tall riders to sit without heads touching the sunroof housing. The bench seat is quite firm. Leg- and knee room are tight with front seats more than halfway back. Slightly narrow doorways squeeze entry/exit.

Cargo volume qualifies as excellent, with good room behind rear seats. Rear seatbacks split 60/40 and fold without removing headrests to create a nearly flat load floor. The center console is a handy, two-tier design, big enough for a moderately sized laptop computer or briefcase. Large door pockets and clever door armrest bins offer plenty of small-item storage.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 RDX w/Technology Pkg.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 56

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 180.7 73.6 65.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
60.6 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 38.3 41.8 37.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2007 RDX 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Windows
Description: During auto-up, the power window may reverse directions possibly due to dirty window guides or a need to reprogram the control unit. (2001-10)
Windshield washer
Description: Windshield washer fluid may leak near the right front wheel well and a redesigned reservoir is available. (2007)
Battery
Description: The battery may go dead because the stereo amplifier may not go off when the key is turned off. (2007)
None
Description: The tire pressure warning light may stay on despite proper inflation due to problem with the sensor(s) in the wheel(s). (2007-08)
Navigation system
Description: The navigation system may quit working and a DVD error may be reported due to the DVD player scratching the disc(s). (2006-09)

Recall History

2008 RDX
Description: Certification label may not contain required tire and rim-size information.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.