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2021 Acura RDX Review

The 2021 Acura RDX offers lively and athletic handling, a long list of standard features, and a high-quality, stylish cabin. However, its below-average predicted reliability rating and absence of a more powerful engine option relegate it to the middle of our luxury compact SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Long list of standard features
  • Roomy cabin
  • Balanced ride
  • Athletic handling
  • No engine upgrades available
  • Clunky infotainment system
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 8.2
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

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Is the Acura RDX a Good SUV?

Yes, the Acura RDX is a good SUV. It is agile and fun to drive, and its engine delivers plenty of power while returning great fuel economy estimates. Its comfortable interior offers ample space for passengers in both rows, and the cabin is stuffed with high-quality materials.

The RDX does have some blemishes, however. It has a below-average predicted reliability rating, and its infotainment system, while packed with great tech features, isn’t as user-friendly as many competitors’ systems.

Why You Can Trust Us: 33 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 33 Acura RDX reviews – along with performance specs, safety features, and fuel economy ratings – to help you make an informed buying decision. This 2021 Acura RDX review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Acura RDX?

With one of the lowest prices in the class and a long list of standard safety and tech features, the Acura RDX is a great value. It also offers a more athletic ride than most of its competitors. Still, you may want to shop around the luxury compact SUV class as there are some rivals that offer more opulent interiors, like the Volvo XC60, or better performance, like the Porsche Macan.

Find a 2021 Acura RDX for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Acura RDX: What's the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 RDX, though it was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Acura RDX »

Here are the key changes for the Acura RDX over the last few years:

  • 2016: received ride and handling updates, a more powerful V6 engine, and more available driver assistance features
  • 2017: no major updates
  • 2018: no major updates
  • 2019: fully redesigned with increased rear legroom, a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a larger touch screen; gained standard lane departure warning and an available head-up display and surround-view parking camera system
  • 2020: no major updates
  • 2021: no major updates

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 RDX, 2019 RDX, and 2020 RDX reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Acura RDX Cost?

The 2021 Acura RDX starts at $38,200, making it one of the least expensive luxury compact SUVs. The RDX only comes in one trim, but it's available with several packages that can push the price past $48,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

Acura RDX Versus the Competition

Acura RDX vs. Audi Q5

The Audi Q5 is one of the top-ranked luxury compact SUVs. Its engaging handling tackles rough roads and corners with comfortable ease, and it boasts one of the most luxurious interiors in the class. It has great safety ratings, and its available 349-horsepower high-performance V6 engine takes the power output to another level. While the Acura does not offer an available horsepower upgrade, it holds its own against this Audi. The RDX has an attractive cabin and more athletic handling than the Q5. Plus, the RDX’s starting price is about $5,000 less than the base Q5. You cannot go wrong with either of these SUVs, but if you have room in your budget, go with the Audi.

Compare the RDX and Q5 »

Acura RDX vs. Mercedes-Benz GLC

The Mercedes-Benz GLC ranks in the top half of the class. It features one of the most opulent and comfortable cabins in the segment and has some of the best crash test ratings as well. This Mercedes offers several high-powered engines and carries a solid number of active safety features. The GLC has a better predicted reliability rating than the RDX, and it's available in a coupe body style. However, the GLC is one of the most expensive SUVs in the class, and its handling, while comfortable, is quite dull. Meanwhile, the RDX is more fun to drive, and it offers more total cargo room and a much lower starting price. Choosing between these two luxury SUVs comes down to what you value more: opulent comfort or athletic performance.

Compare the RDX and GLC »

Compare the RDX, Q5, and GLC »

Acura RDX Interior: Comfy and Roomy

RDX Cargo Space

The Acura RDX offers an above-average amount of cargo space for the class: 29.5 cubic feet with the back seats up and a maximum of 58.9 cubic feet with the back seats folded. Additionally, every RDX trim features an under-floor storage compartment.

How Many People Does the RDX Seat?

The RDX seats up to five people in two rows. Seating is supportive throughout the cabin, and there is plenty of legroom in both rows. Power-adjustable front sport seats come standard and allow passengers to find a comfortable position. However, thick roof pillars hinder driver visibility.

Synthetic leather upholstery comes standard. Premium leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear outboard seats are available.

RDX and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the highest rating of Good+ for its ease of use. The "+" indicates that the system is among the easiest to use.

RDX Interior Quality

This Acura’s interior is comfortable, refined, and well-built. Soft, quality materials engulf the cabin. Its interior boasts sportier features than most rivals as it shares some design elements of the Acura NSX luxury sports car.

Acura Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The RDX comes with Acura’s new True Touchpad Interface, which features a 10.2-inch display. The controller for this infotainment system is a laptop-like touchpad located below the button-controlled gear shifter. This system is responsive and features sharp graphics, but operating it may prove challenging for some. There are also a few climate control buttons located around the display, but some reviewers found them to be too small and difficult to find. Many competitors offer more user-friendly systems that come with touch screens.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 10.2-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, HD Radio, satellite radio, two USB ports, a nine-speaker stereo system, voice recognition, and AcuraLink, which lets you connect to the RDX via your smartphone
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, two rear-seat USB ports, a 12-speaker premium audio system, a 16-speaker premium surround-sound audio system, and a 10.5-inch head-up display
  • Additional standard features: push-button start, proximity key, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a panoramic moonroof
  • Other available features: GPS-linked automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

RDX Performance: First-Round Draft Pick

RDX Engine

The RDX comes standard with a 272-horsepower turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine. Unlike many competitors in the luxury compact SUV class, this Acura offers no other engine options. Check out rivals like the BMW X3 or Porsche Macan if you are interested in high-performance engines and upgrade options. Even so, this Acura’s power plant packs an energetic punch that gets you up to speed quickly enough to nearly warrant the high-performance distinction.

It's paired with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission.

RDX Gas Mileage

This Acura gets about average fuel economy ratings for the class. In its base configuration, the RDX gets 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Opting for all-wheel drive drops estimates to 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The RDX A-Spec package drops the highway figure by 1 mpg, regardless of the drivetrain.

RDX Ride and Handling

The front-wheel-drive RDX delivers an engaging drive and precise handling. Even at higher speeds, body roll is minimal around turns, and the standard suspension system mops up road blemishes with ease. All models come with Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System, which allows the driver to change driving modes.

Incorporating Acura’s available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system helps deliver an even sportier feel to the already athletic RDX. For better suspension dynamics, an upgraded Adaptive Damper System is also available.

Read more about performance »

RDX Reliability

Is the Acura RDX Reliable?

The 2021 Acura RDX has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five.

Acura RDX Warranty

The RDX comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and a six-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

RDX Safety

RDX Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Acura RDX an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover evaluations.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2021 RDX the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. It also received a Good rating for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The RDX earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, while its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian system earned the second-highest rating of Advanced.

RDX Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane keep assist
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Lane departure warning
  • Automatic high-beam assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Read more about safety »

RDX Dimensions and Weight

The RDX is 15.6 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,783 to 4,068 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Acura RDX Built?

Acura builds the 2021 RDX in Ohio.

Which Acura RDX Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Acura RDX only comes in a single trim. It features a 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive (SH-AWD) is available for $2,000. Instead of multiple trims, Acura offers additional RDX features via its Technology, A-Spec, and Advance packages.

The RDX comes well-equipped with a solid number of standard safety and tech features that should satisfy most shopper’s needs. However, if you have some room in your budget, we suggest stepping up to the Technology package. For an extra $2,900, you'll gain amenities like premium leather upholstery and an upgraded premium stereo system, which are native to most luxury SUVs.

Acura RDX

The base RDX has a starting price of $38,200. It comes with Acura’s True Touchpad Interface, an infotainment system that features a touchpad-controlled 10.2-inch display, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, two USB ports, a nine-speaker stereo system, voice recognition, and AcuraLink. Other standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, a panoramic moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, push button start, a proximity key, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated, 12-way power-adjustable front sport seats.

Standard safety tech includes a dynamic rearview camera with guidelines, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam assist.

There are a handful of individual add-on features available as well. These include a hands-free liftgate ($402), front and rear parking sensors ($732), and 20-inch alloy wheels ($3,441).

Acura RDX Technology Package

The RDX Technology package starts at $41,100. It adds front and rear parking sensors, premium leather upholstery, a GPS-linked climate control system, an upgraded premium 12-speaker audio system, two rear-seat USB ports, navigation, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. The hands-free liftgate and 20-inch alloy wheels remain available for the same price as in the base trim.

Acura RDX A-Spec Package

The RDX with the A-Spec package has a starting price of $44,100. It adds ventilated front seats, a 16-speaker ELS audio system, 20-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, and upgraded premium leather with suede inserts. It also features some A-Spec performance and styling enhancements.

Acura RDX Advance Package

The top-of-the-line RDX Advance package starts at $46,000. It gains a hands-free liftgate, an adaptive damper system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 10.5-inch head-up display with head-up alert, a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats, 16-way power-adjustable front seats, and a surround-view parking camera system.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Acura dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Acura deals page.

See 2021 Acura RDX specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Acura RDX is a well-rounded luxury compact SUV that offers great value. With agile handling, a comfortable interior, and many standard features, there is plenty to like about this Acura. However, if you prefer burly engine power and a higher predicted reliability rating for your luxury SUV, you’ll find better options in rivals like the BMW X3 or Audi Q5.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Rival SUVs do offer more powertrain choices and individual options. But if you can do without a deep customization program, the Acura RDX should surpass your expectations for a luxury SUV." -- Edmunds
  • "The RDX interior is rich in appearance and quality of materials, and its driving experience is refined and engaging thanks to a powerful turbocharged engine. Altogether, the new RDX is definitely more luxurious than the previous version." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The new RDX has evolved into an attractive package that includes value for money, great safety features, practicality, dependability, an athletic yet comfortable ride, and yes, even some road presence. Although the RDX is no longer the wallflower at the premium-compact crossover-SUV party, there are still rivals that tend to draw a lot of attention. … But those who decide to take the 2020 RDX home will have continual reminders that they made a good choice." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)      


Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 22, 2021

Cooling Sales: The Acura RDX was among the top three sellers in the luxury compact SUV class last year, behind only the Lexus NX and BMW X3. Like both of those competitors though, RDX sales took a hit during the course of the Coronavirus pandemic; Acura dealerships sold 16 percent fewer RDX SUVs in 2020 than they did in 2019.

Research more buying advice »
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2021 Acura RDX

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