If you’re shopping for a sensible, well-rounded small luxury crossover SUV with few bad habits, the 2015 Acura RDX is a great place to start. Redesigned just a couple years ago, the RDX starts with a simple, handsome shape free of gimmicks and excess. That same idea translates to its cabin, which despite its wealth of standard equipment, presents straightforward, easy-to-understand controls, high-quality construction and cozy seating front and rear.
The RDX keeps things simple under the hood as well. Whereas many competitors offer two or more engine choices, with turbochargers and four cylinders commonplace, this Acura sticks with one choice: a tried-and-true V6. It isn’t a powerhouse at 273 horsepower, but it’s stout enough to get the RDX from zero to 60 miles per hour in a plenty agreeable 6.5 seconds. The other upside is reasonable fuel economy that’s in the same ballpark as those turbocharged 4-cylinder competitors.
If you’re concerned with having the latest electronic safety features, though, the RDX will leave you wanting. You won’t find lane-departure or blind-spot warning, nor adaptive cruise control with collision warning and mitigation. This is the kind of equipment the RDX’s top competitors, such as the 2015 BMW X3 or 2015 Volvo XC60, offer at least as options. That one-engine approach also means the RDX does without a fuel-saving alternative, such as the diesel and hybrid powertrains offered in the Audi Q5. However, for the majority of auto shoppers looking for a compact luxury crossover, the 2015 Acura RDX receives an SUVS.com A rating for bringing all the basics, done wonderfully well, in a keenly priced, easy-to-live-with package.
Turbocharged 4-cylinder engines and seven- or eight-speed automatics seem to be the powertrain of choice for most automakers offering small luxury crossovers these days, but the V6 in the 2015 Acura RDX is so good that you might just wonder what all the fuss is about. Step on the gas pedal and the RDX scoots ahead quickly and quietly and gives you a nice V6 snarl at high rpm that sounds better than a lot of those 4-cylinder engines. The 6-speed automatic, meanwhile, responds with smooth and timely shifts.
Though it’s not quite as overtly sporty as some rivals, the RDX still changes direction in fine fashion. Its steering feels light but precise, and overall handling is composed and secure when driving through turns. On the open highway, the RDX boasts low levels of road and wind noise, plus an impressively cozy ride.
The 2015 Acura RDX small luxury crossover SUV is available in two trim levels: base and base with Technology package. Front-wheel drive is standard for both trims, with all-wheel drive optional for either the base RDX or RDX with Technology package.
Standard features include 18-inch wheels, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an iPod/USB sound interface and an auxiliary sound jack.
The Technology package adds xenon headlights, foglights, a power liftgate, a navigation system (with real-time traffic and weather), voice controls, GPS-linked and solar-sensing automatic climate control, a larger infotainment/rearview camera display and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound sound system with 15GB of music storage and Pandora Internet radio control.
The 2015 Acura RDX’s cabin is a pleasant place to be, as it feels spacious and boasts meticulous construction. The pleasing textures, design and two-tone color treatment comprising the dash, center stack and gauge cluster effectively blend the notions of luxury and technology. Even the center stack and the single-knob controller for the RDX’s infotainment system are well designed and lend themselves to quick acclimation. The same can’t be said of the newer dual-screen setup of the MDX and other Honda and Acura products.
The driver seat is firm and supportive in a way that matches the best European models, while the backseat offers more legroom than its competitors do, making it more likely for a pair of 6-footers to sit comfortably in both rows. A decent amount of width should also provide three adults with enough space during short trips.
The 2015 RDX’s 26.1 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats is about the same as most rivals, but folding down the rear seats opens up 61.3 cubic feet of capacity. This is an average amount for a compact luxury crossover — in general, these models aren’t as spacious as non-luxury models such as the Honda CR-V. The RDX offers 4 cubic feet more than the Audi Q5, but 6 less than the class-biggest Volvo XC60.
The 2015 Acura RDX comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a rearview camera. In SUVS brake testing, an all-wheel-drive RDX came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 127 feet, which is a few feet longer than average for this class.
The government gave the RDX a perfect five stars for overall crash protection, with five stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side-impact crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RDX the highest possible score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side and roof strength crash tests. The RDX’s head restraints and seats also earned a "Good" rating for their whiplash reduction in rear impacts.
The 2015 Acura RDX comes with just one engine and transmission combination: a 3.5-liter V6 with 273 hp and 251 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission sends engine power to either the front wheels or through optional all-wheel drive.
In SUVS testing, an all-wheel-drive RDX accelerated from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds, which is quick for vehicles in this segment. Fuel economy is also quite good for its class, with the EPA rating the front-drive RDX at 23 miles per gallon combined (20 city/28 highway). Going with the RDX’s AWD system comes with only a slight fuel-efficiency penalty at 22 miles per gallon combined (19 city/27 highway).
Strong yet fuel-efficient V6; generous rear legroom; lengthy standard features list; competitive price.
Ample power, strong fuel economy and outstanding rear legroom make the 2015 Acura RDX a solid choice for a premium small crossover.