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The 2011 Acura RDX is a compact, luxury crossover vehicle that rewards the driver with brisk acceleration and sporty handling, while giving passengers all the comfort they've come to expect from Acura. The RDX features seating for five, has ample storage for your belongings and gets good safety ratings from the IIHS.
Based on its good safety scores, fun-to-drive factor and overall versatility, we're giving the 2011 RDX a rating of 7 at Family Car Guide. It would have done better, but its thirst for premium fuel and lack of the latest high-tech safety features lower the overall score. Still, we'd recommend the RDX to smaller, younger families looking for a crossover that delivers a better-than-average driver experience.
The 2011 Acura RDX hasn't yet been crash-tested under the new NHTSA specifications, but the platform-sharing Honda CR-V received a rating of four stars in NHTSA crash tests. We expect the RDX to do the same, and it's received a rating of "good" in IIHS frontal offset and side impact crash testing. As you'd expect from Acura, the RDX comes equipped with electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, side airbags, curtain airbags, a rearview camera (with the Technology Package) and active head restraints. Some of the latest safety innovations, such as a lane-departure warning system, cross-path detection, a blind-spot warning system and adaptive cruise control aren't offered on the 2011 Acura RDX, which is somewhat surprising given Acura's overall focus on technology and safety.
The RDX may be related to the Honda CR-V, but it's probably best to view them as second cousins. The styling of the RDX is much sportier than the styling of the 2011 Honda CR-V, and the turbocharged, 240-horsepower, 2.3-liter VTEC engine from the RDX isn't available in the CR-V. If you guessed that the sloping rear of the RDX sacrificed some height in the cargo area, you'd be correct. The RDX seems to make up for this by including ample cubbyholes and storage bins throughout the interior. If you need to hide a small camera bag or purse, the center console has a false bottom. A laptop or iPad will fit in the locking main compartment, and even the doors have covered compartments for small items. Fit and finish of the interior is up to Acura's usual standards, and the dash is a two-tiered unit with just enough bight trim to keep it visually interesting. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with good adjustability, but the rear seat is only large enough to accommodate two adults. The rear seat folds forward, giving you more cargo room when you need it, but the RDX's cargo hold is among the smallest in its class.
On the road, the 2011 Acura RDX accelerates with authority even though there is noticeable turbo lag. The five-speed automatic transmission works well enough, but we'd like to see a six-speed unit to help with both performance and fuel economy. Adding another gear may improve the RDX's drivability, since the engine can be difficult to modulate at low to medium speeds. Steering feel is quite good, the brakes are superb and the suspension is confidence-inspiring when the road gets twisty. Some may find the ride harsh compared to other vehicles in segment, and for family duty, it may be a little too stiff and unrelenting.The Acura RDX comes with a fairly impressive list of standard features, including Bluetooth phone connectivity, a seven-speaker audio system with USB input, a CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, automatic headlights, an electronic compass, ambient footwell lighting and improved cupholders. Available options include a navigation system linked to XM Traffic, which provides real-time traffic updates and a 10-speaker surround sound audio system.
For more on the safety, utility and comfort, performance, styling and features of the 2011 Acura RDX, see The Car Connection's full vehicle review.