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2011 Acura RDX Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Performance
BASE INVOICE
$30,646
BASE MSRP
$32,895
On Performance
With 240 turbocharged horsepower, along with deft steering and braking and a lighter, more agile feel, the RDX is a great performer.
8.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

We even let go of the steering wheel during a couple of full-throttle launches—something we would never do in a Saab 9-3 or even Acura’s own front-wheel-drive TSX V-6—and found little tugging to the right
Car and Driver

Acceleration is quite snappy once the turbo kicks in, but there is quite a bit of lag before that happens.
Consumer Guide

While this may not offer the most refined driving experience, it's definitely the reason many car buyers fell in love with turbo engines.
Cars.com

handling is almost carlike; cornering, stopping and starting are smooth without much body roll
AutoWeek

good steering feel from its hydraulic power assist
Autoblog

The 2011 Acura RDX is considerably more fun to drive than most compact crossovers. The engine—a 2.3-liter i-VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder, making 240 horsepower—initially gives no hints (except if you spot the boost gauge in the dash) that it's the only turbocharged one in Honda/Acura's U.S. lineup, and the first for the automaker to ever bring to this market. It settles into an isolated, distant purr that's worthy of a luxury vehicle. Only when you take off the road at a moderate pace are you alerted to the fact that power delivery isn't quite as measured and predictable as you might have guessed.

Since torque off the line isn't stupendous, you'll find yourself stepping on the gas a little too hard from stoplights or out of corners, only having to back off when the engine really comes alive and the boost arrives. The transmission—or rather, the way the transmission coordinates with the engine—can be a little balky and adds up to drivability that isn't up to the standards of V-6 crossovers, even if it's as quick. Lumpy first-to-second shifts, and an unrefined torque-converter shudder at highway speeds. From Drive, you can manually select a gear with the paddle shifters on the steering wheel, but it will hold that gear for just a few seconds unless you have the selector in 'S' (Sport).

Steering feel in the RDX is way better than you'd probably expect in a crossover vehicle—even one with a performance edge. The RDX's steering wheel feels very naturally weighted, actually gives some feedback of the road surfaces, and returns to center without ever feeling artificial. On-center feel is quite light, without that artificial heft you find in some newer vehicles, yet it doesn't require frequent adjustments. Brakes are perfectly boosted, too, with a nice, firm feel.

The RDX is now offered in front-wheel guise, but we strongly recommend the all-wheel-drive models, which don't cost much more. The RDX's SH-AWD system expertly sends more power to the wheels that can use it the most. It's very helpful on wet roads. It's all-weather confidence inspiring, and more fun than you'd expect in a crossover.

Conclusion

With 240 turbocharged horsepower, along with deft steering and braking and a lighter, more agile feel, the RDX is a great performer.

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