$15,863 - $17,241

2014 Acura RDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Acura RDX was new.


Performance: 8.0

Although one reviewer says that the Acura RDX is somewhat unexciting to drive, most test drivers note that the 2014 RDX accelerates quickly and offers enjoyable performance. Additionally, one auto writer says that the RDX also offers a pleasing mix of power and good fuel economy.

  • "In the past, performance took priority over efficiency in the luxury crossover SUV class, but these days consumers should expect strong acceleration that doesn't come at the expense of respectable fuel economy. And indeed, the 2014 Acura RDX offers one of the best compromises in this class." -- Edmunds
  • "To our welcome surprise, the 2014 RDX delivers above and beyond the expected level of dynamism, proving itself a capable performer in initial acceleration and passing power." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "I've tested every player in this segment many times, including a new high-performance version of the XC60 the week prior to test-driving the RDX, and the Acura doesn't fall behind any of them as an overall performer." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "On balance, what emerges is a driving experience that is pleasant, comfortable, competent, and as memorable as a bowl of oatmeal.” -- Popular Mechanics. (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Acura RDX is powered by a 273-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional. The EPA reports that the front-wheel drive RDX gets 20/28 mpg city/highway, which is better than what six-cylinder rivals like the BMW X3 xDrive35i, Cadillac SRX and Volvo XC60 offer.

Test drivers agree that the RDX’s V6 engine offers plenty of power, and that it accelerates in a smooth, refined manner. The six-speed automatic transmission also earns praise for its quick gear changes, while another reviewer notes that the RDX feels more powerful than competitors like the Audi Q5 and Land Rover LR2.

  • "The 2014 Acura RDX's V6 provides smooth and linear power during acceleration. The crossover's fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology (which can shut down two or even three cylinders while cruising under light load conditions) is seamless in action, and we never heard or felt it during our time with the RDX." -- Edmunds 
  • "The standard V6 idles smoother and pulls harder than the 4-cylinder turbocharged engines found in the Audi Q5 and Land Rover LR2." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On our mixed condition preview drives, we found smooth power made all the more accessible by a quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters." -- Left Lane News (2013)

Handling and Braking

While one reviewer notes that the 2014 Acura RDX isn’t the most athletic SUV in the class, he also says that it offers composed handling, a refined ride and accurate steering. However, another test driver writes that the RDX’s steering feels numb, especially in comparison with compact SUVs like the Mazda CX-5.

  • "Though it's not quite as sporty as some rivals, the 2014 RDX still changes direction in fine fashion. Its steering feels light but precise, and overall handling is composed when driving through turns. On the open highway, the RDX boasts low levels of road and wind noise, plus an impressively comfortable ride." -- Edmunds
  • "The suspension is rigid enough that the car can be put through high-speed antics in corners. Taking turns at speed, the car's tires made tortured sounds indicating the loss of a tread layer, but the body remained flat, with no wallow and not much lean." -- CNET (2013)
  • “Acura engineers obsessed over brake tuning, and it shows: the RDX has a surprising amount of bite coupled with firm, linear pedal travel." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
  • "Electric power steering is becoming universal, thanks to the fuel-economy benefits, and some carmakers have built systems that provide road feel comparable to traditional hydraulic setups. Mazda's new CX-5 is a good example of this. The RDX is not. The Acura requires more effort to steer as your speed increases, but tactile information is vague." -- Popular Mechanics (2013)

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