2009 Acura RDX Review

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Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
February 23, 2009

The 2009 Acura RDX has an energetic personality thanks to its turbo power and crisp handling, but those same attributes make it a bit nervous.

The 2009 Acura RDX is a compact, sporty crossover vehicle. Part SUV and part tall wagon, the RDX makes no claims of off-road ability, instead offering the cargo versatility of a ute and performance more like that of a sport sedan.


The RDX is similar in some ways to the CR-V, but it has a very different feel from the less expensive Honda. The exterior style of the 2009 Acura RDX is more aggressive and angular than a typical SUV with the designers focusing on the "sport" rather than the "utility" of "SUV." The interior is also very driver focused with a crisp design, metallic trim, and leather seats.

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The 2009 Acura RDX comes with a single powertrain combination: a 2.3-liter turbo-4 that makes 240 hp. It's combined with a 5-speed automatic that can be shifted via paddles.


The engine in the RDX feels more sport coupe than sport-ute. It's energetic but comes across as a bit spastic. All-wheel drive is also standard and does a good job handling the frenetic turbo power. Turbo lag is evident, and when it does kick in, it comes on strong, making it difficult to modulate the power. One advantage of a turbo, at least in EPA estimates, is better fuel economy with ratings of 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway. TheCarConnection.com notes that those ratings are quite optimistic, however, and most drivers will see figures in the upper teens.


Engine response aside, the 2009 Acura RDX drives with eagerness compared to other family-oriented small utes. The RDX has strong brakes that bite quickly and stop swiftly. Quick and light steering also helps to make the RDX one of the more carlike crossovers on the road.


The 2009 RDX rides on standard 18-inch wheels attached to a strut front and multi-link rear suspension. The package isn't as tight as a BMW X3 but is far from the plush ride an American-style SUV delivers. If you are considering the RDX, make sure you spend time on a myriad of road types, as ride quality is a bit hard for potholes. The front perches are comfortable, but the rear seats aren't designed for adults.


The RDX enters its second year with no major changes. The 2009 Acura RDX comes standard with the hardware for satellite radio, Bluetooth, power driver and passenger seats, and USB iPod input. Satellite radio-driven traffic data and DVD-Audio are optional.


The 2009 Acura RDX has earned 5-star ratings from the NHTSA for most crash tests, and 4 stars for its rollover risk.

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