Acura RDX (2010-2012)

The Acura RDX is Acura’s first compact crossover SUV, taking over from the MDX as Acura’s entry-level crossover SUV, as the MDX grew in size and price. Acura describes the RDX as a luxury compact sport utility with high performance features. It is the company’s first compact crossover SUV, taking over the entry level position as the MDX grows in size and price.

Acura has established itself as the cool Japanese alternative to the German and American luxury brands. With the RDX, the company has created something that stands apart from other SUVs. The RDX began its production life as the only vehicle in Acura’s lineup powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and brought some much-needed driving excitement to the SUV world.

Sometimes, being cool is not enough to succeed if you’re too different.


The RDX has been a bit of a Frankenstein for Acura. With an emphasis on handling, the RDX’s turbo lag and stiff ride did not win over as many buyers as it should have. Why? Because performance and handling are seldom found in the same sentence with SUV. So far, SUVs have existed for buyers who are looking for a large, heavy vehicle that can go anywhere and haul lots of stuff. Performance was never high in their list of requirements, so that’s the kind of vehicle they’ve become accustomed to. The RDX presents a hint of performance to these buyers, and they may be asking themselves, “what is this…performance? What do I do with this?”.

As a result, the RDX catered to a smaller demographic of buyers than expected. These are people who want to have their cake and eat it. The ones who long for their bachelor days attacking the corners on a lonely freeway in a sports car, but must deal with the reality of two screaming kids and a nagging wife. That, my friend, is what the RDX represents. A glimmer of the driving life these people once had or could have.

In an attempt to capture a larger demographic and increase sales for the vehicle, Acura has gradually made the RDX closer to its mainstream competitors, even doing away with the turbo in favor of a more standard V6. It’s a shame, really. If ever there was such a thing as a sporty or performance-oriented SUV, the RDX would have been it. In an ideal world, it would have stayed well within that niche. Alas, the call of mainstream sales figures has been too loud to ignore. The RDX is still a great SUV, but later models are somewhat “soft” compared to the earlier ones.

Statement: My first choice was a Porsche, but the wife wouldn’t let me have one!

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