- Tossable handling
- Right-sized for the city
- Light, direct steering
- Strong brakes
- Taut -- sometimes harsh -- ride
- Turbo four can seem jittery
features & specs
The 2008 Acura RDX gets its edge from turbo power and crisp handling, but it can feel a little nervous and cramped.
We studied online reviews from respected Web resources to produce this comprehensive review of the 2008 Acura RDX. TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Acura RDX, so that we can deliver you the best information on Acura's new crossover, on its competition, and help you figure out which reviews to believe when road testers have different opinions.
The new RDX is a smaller, five-passenger alternative to Acura's MDX. It is based on Honda's CR-V platform and features the same Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system offered in the larger MDX crossover. It rides on a fully independent suspension for better handling than a traditional, truck-based SUV.
The standard engine is a 240-hp turbo-4. It's the first turbo in an Acura vehicle ever, and here, it's coupled with a 5-speed, paddle-shifted automatic. The engine has lots of energy--sometimes it feels nervous, since strong turbo impulses kick in even when you need just a little power. The sole gearbox is a paddle-shifted five-speed automatic--and together with the occasionally frenetic four, it helps deliver 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.
The AWD setup works in concert with a typical Honda front MacPherson suspension and multilink rear. The ride isn't as harsh as the BMW X3, despite the big 18-inch tires that come standard. But it is pretty taut, and anyone used to the plush response of a big American-style ute might be turned off by the RDX's disdain for lots of ride motions. The RDX's brakes are anti-lock controlled and quick to bite. Add in steering control that's quick and light and this is one of the more carlike crossovers in the segment.
The exterior style is a little more angular than a traditional SUV, but pleasing. Inside, the Acura RDX pushes the envelope more with a high-tech look, lots of metallic trim, and in our test car, black leather. The front seats are the place to ride; the rears don't have a lot of extra knee room for adults. Along with satellite radio hardware, the Acura RDX also has standard Bluetooth, a power driver seat, and an iPod input. Real-time traffic information through XM and DVD-Audio are options.
The 2008 Acura RDX gets five-star ratings from the feds, save for a four-star rollover resistance rating.
2008 Acura RDX
As a near-luxury crossover, the 2008 Acura RDX delivers a ride that is functional, as well as easy on the eyes.
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com found little to complain about in the luxury crossover design of the 2008 Acura RDX.
The 2008 Acura RDX receives high praise for continuing Acura's knack for producing attractive cars. MyRide.com points out that it stays "true to Acura's styling DNA." Kelley Blue Book enjoys the exterior hints of power under the hood, citing "18-inch wheels, a raked version of the familiar five-point grille, dual-outlet exhaust and a 'turbo' badge on the back" as welcome additions. Cars.com thinks its "manageable dimensions" are a big plus.
In terms of overall appearance, MyRide.com thinks it's "not exactly sexy" and definitely "more athletic than aggressive." Auto Spectator matches this description by using adjectives such as "compact" and "sporty" when talking about the Acura RDX. Kelley Blue Book notes its tailgate "is integrated into the rear bumper", a detail that gives it a "smoother look."
Inside, the RDX's "gauges are well-lit" according to Cars.com. ConsumerGuide throws in its two cents says its climate and audio controls have "undersized readouts in a distant dashtop slit." Edmunds says the cockpit is "considerably more upscale" than SUVs in its class.
2008 Acura RDX
If it weren't for those meddling stops at the gas station, the 2008 Acura RDX would be near perfect.
Reviewers across the Web enjoyed the Acura RDX's turbo power and deft all-wheel-drive handling.
ForbesAuto notes that the 2008 Acura RDX is "one of only two 2008 SUVs sold in the United States that's powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine" (the Mazda CX-7 is the other). The 240 horsepower created by the Acura RDX engine is "slightly weaker" than the 244-hp four in the Mazda CX-7," Car and Driver reports.
Cars.com feels "power doesn't come immediately" but its sport shift setting changes the powertrain's tune, allowing it to "shift through the gears" with "above-average" feel.
Autoblog thinks the RDX's AWD is one of its best features. The system means "you'll never worry about taking a turn," Cars.com says.
Reviewers weren't won over by fuel economy in the Acura; 2008's "17 miles per gallon in city driving" disappointed ForbesAutos, since it's the same rating given to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Car and Driver mentions that the 2008 Acura RDX's "fuel economy was 3 mpg worse than the ballsier BMW [X3]'s."
2008 Acura RDX
Comfort & Quality
The 2008 Acura RDX delivers impressive near-luxury comfort and quality—to the front passengers, at least.
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com felt the 2008 Acura RDX's comfort and quality exceeded the price tag that comes with it--but that doesn't mean everyone is completely happy.
Behind the wheel of the 2008 Acura RDX, reviewers felt right at home. Auto Spectator felt the front seats provided "high outward visibility" and a "confident field of view." MyRide.com also likes the seating in the Acura; 2008's Acura boasts "sturdy seats [that] hold occupants nicely," and the driver's seat, with "an eight-way power unit with lumbar and heating, is superb."
Cars.com notes that "compared to other SUVs...the RDX's cargo area is right up there with the best." ConsumerGuide also mentions that "large door pockets and clever door armrest bins offer plenty of small-item storage." Completing the effective storage design is "a huge center console that's big enough to swallow a laptop computer," according to Kelley Blue Book.
Reviewers aren't as impressed with the 2008 Acura RDX from the backseat. Kelley Blue Book stays optimistic by saying the backseat is "cozy without being cramped." MyRide.com takes a more pessimistic viewpoint, calling the rear passenger seats "leftovers--a four-way manual job with heat and no lumbar support."
ForbesAuto found the drive to be "a bit noisy on the front-passenger side." ConsumerGuide also brings up noise, claiming the "tires are noisy even on smooth asphalt."
2008 Acura RDX
The Acura 2008 RDX earns top safety scores.
Reviewers find very little to complain about when it comes to the 2008 Acura RDX's ability to keeps its occupants safe.
Cars.com applauds the safety ratings in this Acura; 2008's RDX earns 'the top rating of Good in both frontal and side-impact crash tests" performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety--a feat that also earns the RDX IIHS's Top Safety Pick honor.
Edmunds agrees that the Acura 2008 RDX is "very crash-worthy," with a host of standard safety features such as "front-seat side airbags, head-protecting side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, active front head restraints, anti-lock brakes with brake assist, stability control and traction control." Kelley Blue Book notes that "child door locks" and an "engine immobilizer" are also standard.
ForbesAuto calls attention to design features of the Acura 2008 RDX that improve safety: "The hood is specially designed with collapsible hinges" and "breakaway windshield wiper pivots...lessen pedestrian injury during a crash."
ConsumerGuide mentions that there are "no factory options" related to safety, such as lane-departure warning systems or blind-spot detection systems--features becoming more common on high-end vehicles.
2008 Acura RDX
The 2008 Acura RDX is one of the best-equipped vehicles on the road.
The 2008 Acura RDX has an extensive list of standard equipment, and enough options to please even high-tech snobs.
Edmunds starts the compliments by saying, "standard equipment is generous and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a moonroof, full power accessories, heated front seats, a power driver seat with memory, Bluetooth connectivity, leather upholstery and dual-zone automatic climate control."
For audiophiles, Kelley Blue Book has good news, stating "a 360-watt sound system featuring an in-dash six-disc CD/MP3/WMA player, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands-free integration, seven speakers and an auxiliary input for portable MP3 players" comes standard with the 2008 Acura RDX.
At Acura, 2008's RDX has only one optional package available--the Technology Package--but according to the reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, it's a doozy. Auto Spectator feels the "Technology Package heightens the RDX's appeal with tech-savvy customers through a range of advanced features."
According to Kelley Blue Book, these features include "a navigation system with voice recognition and real-time traffic information, GPS-linked solar-sensing climate control and a 410-watt, 10-speaker audio system that features XM Satellite Radio and a six-disc CD/DVD-Audio player with MP3/WMA capability plus DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II processing."