$26,725 - $32,813

2018 Acura RDX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Acura RDX was new.


Performance: 8.3

If your typical route includes mostly urban settings or cross-country road trips via interstates and highways, the 2018 Acura RDX is well suited to your cause. Its powertrain is peppy enough for everyday driving, and its smooth ride is a boon when driving all day. The RDX is responsive, but it

  • "The smooth and quiet 3.5-liter V6 provides abundant power for passing and merging, and the 6-speed automatic performs flawlessly." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It's often a knock to say that a car feels bigger than it is because this usually implies that it feels clumsy and ponderous. In the case of the RDX, however, it means that the car has the steady smoothness you'd find in a bigger class of vehicle, such as the MDX. It's too often that small SUVs feel bouncy and rough, so this is a nice exception." -- Autotrader (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The RDX comes with only one powertrain: a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This 279-horsepower setup isn't supremely brisk from a standstill, but it's energetic enough to adeptly handle all your daily driving needs – and has a nice exhaust sound to boot. The RDX’s fuel economy is average for the luxury compact SUV class, at 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Each rating slips by 1 mpg with all-wheel-drive.

  • "You wouldn't know that the Acura RDX for 2018 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine just from looking at the specs, as an engine of this size in a luxury-performance vehicle usually produces 300-plus horsepower. Still, performance is strong in the RDX, which routes its power through a 6-speed automatic transmission, either to the front wheels (FWD) or through Acura's AWD with Intelligent Control system." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Acceleration from the V6 is quiet and strong, with the 6-speed automatic transmission gliding smoothly through its gears" -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "A turbocharged four-cylinder is increasingly the engine of choice for small luxury crossovers these days, but the V6 in the 2017 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, though there's also a nice V6 snarl at high rpm that sounds better than a lot of those four-cylinder engines. The six-speed automatic transmission is also a bit unusual in this era of eight- and nine-speed automatics, but it generally responds to your inputs with smooth and timely shifts." -- Edmunds (2017)

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard in the RDX. Even with optional all-wheel drive, the SUV behaves like a front-wheel-drive vehicle until slippery conditions require the extra traction. Sports car enthusiasts who prefer the feel of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle may not like this, but most drivers will find the RDX pleasant to drive. The steering is precise, the brakes are strong, and the suspension authentically balances comfort with composure.

  • "Get the RDX out on a long stretch of open road and you'll discover this little SUV's best attribute is its ability to cruise effortlessly for long distances without creating fatigue or boredom. Should the road begin to turn and twist, however, Acura's 2018 RDX can handle just about any situation. The driving experience isn't as dynamic as in a BMW X3 or an Infiniti QX30, but we think most people will appreciate what the RDX has to offer." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Though it's not quite as sporty as some rivals, the RDX still changes direction with poise and confidence. Its steering feels light but precise, and overall handling is composed and secure when driving through turns." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Steering is easy at slow speeds and when entering or maneuvering around parking lots – which is its home environment – but it quickens up and adds weight at speed. As far as SUVs go, this one is more sprightly than most. Initial turn-in is good, and long, sweeping cloverleaf expressway entrances don't require many mid-corner corrections." -- Autoweek (2016)

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