- Smooth ride
- Excellent handling, maneuverability
- Smart, straightforward interior
- Great brakes
- Unremarkable exterior
- Hesitant transmission
- Lacks tech features
- Interface feels a step behind
A sporty yet smooth driving feel, quiet interior, and top-tier safety all add up to a lot of appeal for the 2015 Acura RDX, although its lack of features and flair stop it short of greatness.
Families who could do without the ruggedness and off-road cues but definitely need a versatile, luxurious interior may find the 2015 Acura RDX to be a near-perfect fit. As more of an urban or suburban crossover wagon, with the confidence of a V-6 engine, strong safety, and a good feature set, it's an appealing package to pragmatic yet fashion-conscious parents.
On the outside, the RDX is good looking, but it definitely looks less extroverted than it feels behind the wheel—and far more mature than the last-generation model, which is now fading to memory as a bold, original statement, but one that wasn't as popular as this current model. The shape of the RDX is smooth, and the profile is attractive, punctuated by pronounced fender arches. Inside, there's a characteristically Acura form and function, with a central pod of dash controls, plus lots of soft-touch materials and matte surfaces that bring an upscale look and feel. If we could point to a flaw, it's that for the dash it relies too much on bright finishes.
The 2015 RDX bucks trends toward turbocharging and downsizing in favor of a large, 3.5-liter V-6. And although that might seem an odd decision, the V-6 does return a respectable 28 highway with front-wheel drive. From the driver's seat, the RDX feels peppy, smooth, and strong for everything from urban stop-and-go to rural high-speed passing. Under full throttle, the RDX willingly moves quickly without requiring dramatic multi-gear downshifts from the six-speed automatic (good, because the automatic can be hesitant when you really need it); it also handles the road well, and thanks to two-stage dampers it stays composed on twisty sections yet easily absorbs potholes and general harshness.
What's inside is surprisingly space-efficient and well-laid-out. That's in part because the RDX is closely related to the Honda CR-V—so you get the CR-V's low cargo floor, well-designed front and rear seat layout (although better seats themselves), and good versatility. You'll find front-seat space in the RDX that's ample even for those over six feet tall, yet an eight-way power adjustable seat and tilt/telescoping steering column offer adjustability for most heights and body types. The RDX is right in the zone for its compact crossover class, with 26.1 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, 61.3 cubic feet with the seats folded flat, and 76.9 cubic feet including under-floor storage. Even for those seated in back, the cabin itself is very quiet.
The Acura RDX has some great crash-test ratings—as well as a top-notch set of safety equipment. Front, side, and side-curtain airbags are standard on the RDX, along with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, daytime running lights, a backup camera, and a rollover sensor to trigger appropriate airbags. The RDX is missing some of the advanced active-safety features of the larger (and pricier) MDX, however.
The 2015 Acura RDX undercuts BMW and Mercedes in pricing, and offers more value, in terms of features for the money than most vehicles in this class—even the Lexus, which is admittedly a half-size up. Dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry with push-button start, ambient lighting, a seven-speaker sound system with USB/MP3/Auxiliary support, Bluetooth handsfree calling, and more are all standard features. Yet what's missing are the high-end goodies that most of those other models offer—like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parking assistance.
An available Technology Package adds navigation with voice controls, real-time traffic and weather, a GPS-linked climate control, SMS texting support, and Pandora app functionality. Also part of it is a ten-speaker Acura/ELS audio system that produces clear, enveloping sound even at very low volumes. There have been no significant changes for 2015, although we'd like to see a somewhat more straightforward and modern-looking infotainment and navigation setup.