- Perfect size for urban environments
- Light, direct steering
- Great handling
- Strong brakes
- Turbo lag is very evident
- Stiff, choppy ride
- No manual transmission!
- Fuel economy is unremarkable
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 Honda CR-V, but it has a very different personality. 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 high-tech design, metallic trim, and leather seats.
The 2009 Acura RDX comes with a single powertrain combination: a turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-liter VTEC four-cylinder developing 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with F1-style Sequential SportShift Paddle Shifters.
The engine gives the crossover an energetic feel, but it comes across as a bit spastic. Acura’s Super Handling AWD is also standard and does a good job handling the frenetic power of the turbo engine. 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 turbocharged engine, 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 is a joy to drive compared to more family-oriented small utes. The RDX's strong brakes are anti-lock controlled and quick to bite. Add in steering control that's quick and light and this is one of the least SUV-like driving experiences in the class.
The 2009 RDX rides on standard 18-inch wheels attached to a typical Honda front MacPherson suspension and multilink rear. 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 surfaces, 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 a CD changer and XM Satellite Radio hardware, Bluetooth, a power driver and passenger seat, and an iPod input. DVD-Audio and real-time traffic information through XM are options.
Traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side and curtain airbags are standard. The 2009 Acura RDX gets five-star ratings for front and side crash tests, as well as a four-star rating for rollover risk.