2021 Acura RDX

#4
in Suvs
2021 MODEL
$37,800 - $47,900
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2021 Acura RDX Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020
John Bedrow's image

John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist

Acura's best-selling SUV, the RDX, won million hearts with its 2019 redesign that focussed on style and persona. Carried over into the 2020 model, the 2021 model does seem to promise some fresh air. Expected to be launched somewhere down the year, the 2020 Acura RDX shall remain mostly the same apart from some minor exterior updates.

See detailed review »

Pros

Plenty of options and features on offer.

Decent fuel economy figures.

Roomy cabin.

Exquisite handling.

Cons

Just one powertrain on offer.

The infotainment system isn’t the greatest.

No standalone features on offer. To avail of a certain feature, you have to jump the next trim level.

What's New?

New diamond pentagon grille

Redesigned headlights and tail lamps

Stretched proportions

Enhanced cargo compartment


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2021 Acura RDX Review video

Styles

2021 Acura RDX in Canyon Bronze Metallic color 2021 Acura RDX in Lunar Silver Metallic color 2021 Acura RDX in Majestic Black Pearl color
Canyon Bronze Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Engine And Performance

9.0

Interior

8.0

Final Verdict

8.0

8.3

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Acura RDX Base

Base

power
272 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$37,800 - $39,800


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $39,800 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic all wheel drive 5
4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $37,800 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura RDX Technology Package

Technology Package

power
272 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$41,000 - $43,000


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr SUV w/Technology Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $41,000 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5
SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Technology Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $43,000 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic all wheel drive 5

2021 Acura RDX A-Spec

A-Spec

power
272 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$44,000 - $46,000


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SH-AWD A-Spec 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $46,000 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic all wheel drive 5
A-Spec 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $44,000 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic front wheel drive 5

2021 Acura RDX Advance Package

Advance Package

power
272 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Premium unleaded
mpg
23 combined

$45,900 - $47,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
4dr SUV w/Advance Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $45,900 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic front wheel drive 5
SH-AWD 4dr SUV AWD w/Advance Package (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 10A) Starting at $47,900 MSRP (21/23/27) 272 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 6, premium unleaded
10-speed Automatic all wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.3

Overall Rating


With the rising demand for compact SUVs and crossovers, Acura too decided to jump in the market to make hay while the sun was shining bright. Sharing its platform with the excellent old Honda CR-V, the Acura RDX can be said to be a more upscale and luxurious version of the CR-V. Gaining attention real quick, the lifeline for the RDX was never secure. It faced stiff competition from European cars like the Audi Q5, the BMW X3, and Volvo XC60, which already have a firm grip on the market. 

The RDX however, has always been undervalued partly for its humble Honda origins and partly for the fact that it doesn't bear the snob of the German brands. But those things have to be put aside now because the RDX was entirely redesigned for 2019 and now gets even better for the upcoming model year. A mildly refreshed front fascia along with sumptuous amenities on the inside, the 2021 RDX, would stand tall against its esteemed rivals. Mostly being carried over from the 2020 model, the 2021 Acura RDX should still have that fresh flavor to make German voyages break down at its yard. Let's have a quick look at what the 2021 Acura RDX would likely offer.

2021 Acura RDX SUV Front View
2021 Acura RDX SUV Rear View

 

9.0/10
Engine and Performance

 
 

8.0/10
Interior

 
 
 
 

8.0/10
Final Verdict

 

2021 Acura RDX Features

The 2021 Acura RDX  is essentially a standalone model which can be equipped with different packages. Front-wheel drive is standard but the SH- AWD all-wheel drive system is available for $2000. Each trim of the RDX is  equipped with the same powertrain, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (272 horsepower, 280 lb-ft) connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Trim

Standard

Technology 

A-Spec

Advance 

MSRP (FWD)

$37,600

$40,600

$43,800

$45,700

MSRP (AWD)

$39,600

$42,800

$45,800

$47,700

Key

Features

Panoramic Moon Roof with Tilt and Slide 

Adds/Upgrades to Standard Trim

Adds/Upgrades to Technology Trim

Adds/Upgrades to A-Spec Trim

 

Auto On/Off LED Headlights with Wiper Integration

GPS Iinked Climate Control

LED Foglights

Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers

 

LED Taillights, Turn Indicators, CHMSL

Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel

A-Spec exclusive Front and Rear Bumpers

Heated Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel

 

Heated, Reverse Tilt Down Side Mirrors

Natural Language Voice Recognition 

Red Ambient Cabin Lighting with Dark Brushed Aluminum Trim

Natural Olive Ash Burl Wood Trim

 

Sport Seats with Leather Trimmed Interiors with 7” Color MID

Sport Seats with Perforated Milano Premium Leather-Trimmed Interior with Contrast Stitching

Sport A-Spec®Seats with Perforated Milano Premium Leather and Ultrasuede Trimmed Interior with Contrast Stitching and Piping

Sport Seats with Perforated Milano Premium Leather-Trimmed Interior with Contrast Stitching and Piping

 

Front 12 Way Powered, Heated Seats with Power Lumbar Support

Acura Navigation System with 3D View, Traffic Rerouting, Real-Time Traffic  with Street and Freeway conditions

Heated and Ventilated Front Seats 

Front 16-Way Power Seats with Power Lumbar Support, Power Thigh Extension and Power Side Bolsters and Heated Outboard Rear Seats

 

9 Speaker Acura Premium Audio System with 10.2” Touchscreen Infotainment 

12 Speaker Acura/ELS Studio Premium Audio

16 Speaker Acura/ELS Studio 3D Audio System

10.5” Heads-Up Display

We Recommend

We suggest you to go with Technology package that brings a better audio system, built-in navigation, fancier leather-trimmed seats, and more. It also includes front and rear parking sensors as well as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

2021 Acura RDX Engine and Performance

9.0/10

The 2021 Acura RDX will be powered by the same 2.0 liter, turbocharged, inline 4 barrel engine. The engine churns out 272 horses and delivers 280 lb-ft of torque. The power plant comes mated to a 10-speed torque converter automatic transmission and power as standard is sent to the front wheels only. You can always pay extra and avail Acura’s Super-Handling all-wheel-drive system for a more spirited driving experience. 

2021 Acura RDX SUV Engine Bay

The refinement levels on the engine are excellent and you barely hear any clutter while driving calmly. Floor the pedal and the engine responds quickly giving out a sweet-sounding grunt. The automatic gearbox however feels a little bit lazy and is slow to react and some might not feel confident enough to make high speed overtakes.

Models

2021 Acura RDX (expected)

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

MSRP

$39,800 (est.)

$44;295

$45,000

$42,450

Engine

2.0L, turbocharged, inline 4 cyl.

2.0L, turbocharged, inline-4 cyl.

2.0L, turbocharged, inline-4 cyl.

2.0L, turbocharged, inline-4 cyl.

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

10-speed automatic

7-speed DCT

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power (hp @ rpm)

272 @ 6500

248 @ 5000

248 @ 5500

250 @ 5500

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

280 @ 1600

273 @ 1600

258 @ 3000

258 @ 4800

While driving the vehicle but it isn’t that bad either and you still can live with it. All-in-all, the RDX’s powertrain is a good package and Acura indeed has done a good job in building the entire power unit.

Acceleration

The turbocharged powertrain is able to take the car from standstill to 60 mph in mere 6.4 seconds which is great for a vehicle of this size. The quarter mile run are respectable timings for an SUV of this size.  

2021 Acura RDX SUV 0-60 MPH in just 6.4 sec

Models

2021 Acura RDX (expected)

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

0-60 MPH

6.4 sec

6.5 sec

6.7 sec

7.1 sec

Quarter mile

14.8 sec

15.2

15.1 sec

15.3 sec

Emission 

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) 

9.3

N/A

6.8

8.4

The Acura RDX is fastest among rivals when it comes to sprinting form 0 to 60 while the Audi Q5 takes the second spot. The BMW X3 is two-tenth of a second quicker than the rivals while the Volvo XC 60 stands at last.

Ride and Handling 

Not meant for track-hankering at the first place, the RDX does very well what it's supposed to do. One of the strongest characteristics of the RDX is its ride and handling quality. This is a compact family SUV but it feels sporty while driving. The RDX almost feels like a sporty little hatchback while driving. Around the city, it zips past across the traffic with ease and makes sharp maneuvers comfortably. 

2021 Acura RDX SUV Rear View

The body roll is neatly optimized and you can throw the car around the cars with all the confidence and the passengers on the inside won’t be thrown around. The suspension does an excellent job of absorbing bumps and potholes and you hardly feel any while riding inside. The steering too is extremely responsive and reacts to inputs quickly and precisely. Acura has indeed got their ride and handling game bang on.

Braking

Brakes on the RDX feels delicate and firm, and the pedal kindles faith irrespective of your pace. The SUV persists steadily on the highway, courtesy of Acura’s stability control system. The front brakes are rated at 12.4 inches, and the back remains at 12.2 inches. At, 3,783 pounds the RDX is quite a large SUV in the range. From the speed of 60 mph, the RDX pauses to a halt in an extraordinary 116ft. 

2021 Acura RDX SUV Wheel

Model

2021 Acura RDX (expected)

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

Brake Front (in.)

12.4

13.6

13

13.2

Brake Rear (in.)

12.2

12.6

13

12.4

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3783

4109

4034

3823

60-0 MPH (ft.)

116

114

127

119

Most Rivals of the Acura can’t match it’s braking performance. The Bimmer, surprisingly is the weakest performer of the lot and is then followed by the Lincoln. The Volvo is the best performer of them all and the Acura falls marginally short of the Volvo’s figures.

2021 Acura RDX Fuel Economy

The RDX is a family car and most buyers in this segment would be fuel economy conscious and safe to say the RDX doesn’t disappoint. The 2021 fuel economy numbers aren’t out yet but we don’t expect them to change much since the powertrain essentially remains the same. In the city, the RDX goes on for 22 miles on a gallon of fuel while on the highway it can haul up to 28 miles on a gallon.

Models

2021 Acura RDX (expected))

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

MPG (City)

22

22

24

22

MPG (Highway)

28

27

29

29

MPG (Combined)

25

24

26

24

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

17.1

18.5

17.2

18.8

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

367/462/427.5

396/518/444

396/516/447.2

414/545/451.2

The RDX offers a combined fuel economy of 25 mpg which is pretty decent for a car of this size and in this category. With a heavy concentration on efficiency and daily driveability, all the cars in the competition here offer somewhat similar mpg figures, as expected though. 

2021 Acura RDX Interior

8.0/10

The interior details of the 2021 Acura RDX haven’t yet been revealed entirely but they pretty much will be the same as that of the 2020 model year. The interiors of the 2020 MDX are top-notch, to say the least. The quality of materials used and the level of fit and finish on the inside is brilliant and the cabin feels premium and upscale. 

2021 Acura RDX SUV Front Seats

The dashboard is well laid out and is clean and not cluttered and is wrapped in leatherette. You have leatherette trimmed sports seats and they are quite comfortable and hold you properly in place. The front seats can be power adjusted in 12 different ways and even the heating feature comes as standard. 

Models

2021 Acura RDX (est.)

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

40.0/50.0/42.0

41.7/57.7/41.0

41.1/57.6/40.3

38/58.2/41.5

Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.0/57.0/38.0

39.3/56.5/37.8

39.1/56./36.4

38/56.3/38

Trunk Capacity (cu-fts)

29.5

25.1

28.7

28.7

The amount of head, shoulder, and legroom are great and even tall passengers wouldn’t have any problem in accommodating themselves in. Overall, the cabin is well-crafted and offers everything you would want from a car like this. Also, the car comes with a cargo capacity of 29.5 cubic feet which is a plus.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Similar to most of its composition, the infotainment system on the 2021 RDX will just be carried forward from 2020. The RDX will come with a 9-speaker Acura Premium audio system along with a 10.2 inch HD touch screen through which you shall be able to control all the infotainment features and settings. 

2021 Acura RDX SUV Infotainment Display

Other entertainment features that would be present on the 2021 RDX will be Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth integration, HD radio, and Sirius XM satellite radio. Though the infotainment screen is bright and crisp, its trackpad controller does get frustrating to operate while city driving.  Some of the features are:

  • Bluetooth Wireless Technology
  • Cruise Control
  • Hands Free Phone
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Audible Text Messaging
  • Internet Access
  • Smartphone Interface
  • USB Port
  • Voice Recognition System
  • Premium Radio
  • Satellite Radio
  • Bluetooth Streaming Audio

Cargo volume

The 31 cubic feet is nice and competitive, even better than some of the competitors. The boot starts from a low height and is wide enough to swallow all your baggage for a long road trip. The second-row seats split, fold flat for bigger objects. 

2021 Acura RDX SUV Cargo Space

Models

2021 Acura RDX (est.)

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

Cargo Volume (ft.3)

31.1

28.7

28.7

25.2

Inside the cabin, you have a lot of cubby holes for your cell phone, bottles, and all kinds of stuff. There is a center armrest and door pockets and other section to put your other belongings. 

Interior Features 

  • Electric Power Steering
  • Rear View Camera
  • Tilt And Telescopic Steering Wheel
  • Universal Remote Transmitter (For Garage Door, Security System, Etc.)
  • Transmission, Cruise And Audio Controls On Steering Wheel
  • Interior Air Filtration
  • Front, Side, And Rear View Camera
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Climate Control
  • Dual Illuminating Vanity Mirrors
2021 Acura RDX Interior
2021 Acura RDX Steering
2021 Acura RDX Front Seat
2021 Acura RDX Rear Seat
2021 Acura RDX Sunroof

2021 Acura RDX Exterior

The exterior appearance of 2021 won’t change drastically and will bear resemblance to the 2020 model. However, there are speculations that the 2021 model will get a new, more aggressive-looking front diamond pentagon grille and a redesigned set of tail lights as well as headlights.

2021 Acura RDX Side View

It is also said that the 2021 RDX would be 2.3 inches longer than the 2020 model. The new fairing will make the already smart looking car more striking. The face of the RDX is radical credit to the large grill and those signature Acura Jewel Eye LED headlights. At the side we have always loved its dramatic roofline and muscular body creases that give it a stylish and mature stance.

Models

2021 Acura RDX (expected)

2020 Audi Q5

2020 BMW X3

2020 Volvo XC60

Curb Weight (lb)

3826

4040

4034

4109

Length (inches)

188.1

183.6

185.9

184.6

Width (inches)

74.8

74.5

74.4

78.8

Height (inches)

65.7

65.3

66

65.3

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.2

8.2

8

8.5

Wheelbase (inches)

110.6

111.0

112.1

112.8

This is a compact car and has its dimensions well laid out that makes it retain a close-to-boxy shape and give it a rugged yet refined appearance. The RDX is easily one of the better-looking cars in the market and does quite a number of heads as it drives past. While the other three cars in the lot here have a trademark disciplined silhouette, the RDX smartly introduces its trendy Asian outfit.

Exterior Features

  • Power Moonroof with Tilt and Slide function
  • Auto On/Off LED Headlights with Wiper Integration
  • LED Fog lights, Brake lights and CHMSL
  • LED Turn Indicators on Exterior Powered and Heated Mirrors`
  • Rain Sensing Windshield Wipers
  • 20” Alloy Wheels
2021 Acura RDX Front
2021 Acura RDX Rear
2021 Acura RDX Side
2021 Acura RDX Front Angle View
2021 Acura RDX Wheel

2021 Acura RDX Safety

The 2021 RDX won’t be getting any new out-of-the-world safety features and will have all the safety features that the 2020 model has. The 2020 RDX earned a perfect 5 star from the NHTSA in all the crash tests it conducted and that clearly speaks a lot about the safety quotient of the car.  Some of the standout safety features offered with RDX are listed below.

Highlighted Safety Features:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Standard collision warning
  • Lane departure warning and lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control with low speed follow
  • Vehicle stability assist with traction control and motion-adaptive steering

2021 Acura RDX Competition

Acura RDX Vs BMW X3

The BMW X3 offers more cargo capacity and a sporty performance. It also offers an optional turbocharged engine with up to 300 horsepower unlike the 2018 Acura RDX which only comes with one engine specification. 

2021 BMW X3

The X3 also handles well and feels nimble around corners. The RDX is priced several thousand dollars less than the BMW and when equipped with the Advance package it matches the X3’s performance and still costs a couple thousand dollars less. Driving enthusiasts would love the X3’s sporty demeanor but the RDX is also a good SUV to go with.

Acura RDX Vs Audi Q5

Belonging to a different league altogether, the Audi is more than 10 thousand dollars more the highest RDX trim. Starting at $44,300, the Audi pretty much justifies the price difference. It is way more powerful, elegant and luxurious, great seating handles like a charm and is equipped with a plethora of features and safety conveniences. 

2021 Audi Q5

Granted that it is rather expensive, but having said that, it truly does provide a good package for the price. If you still are not convinced with the price jump, the Advance package AWD costing $43,820, offered by Acura is an excellent alternative.

2021 Acura RDX Final Verdict

8.0/10

The Acura RDX is indeed a great car. It has the looks, it has the power and at the same time is luxurious. The car gets a well-refined engine and beautifully crafted interiors and pretty much ticks all the boxes write. It in fact offers much more than what you would expect from a compact luxury SUV. It is one of the best cars in the segment but it’s a shame that it doesn’t receive the appreciation and sales numbers like the other cars in the competition. 

With the 2021 RDX, Acura is going really hard to make its mark in the segment, and hopefully, it does. And just in case if you happen to be in the market looking for a compact SUV, then we would recommend to highly consider the RDX. It certainly will offer great value for your money and won’t disappoint you.

FAQs

Is the Acura RDX a good car?

The Acura RDX is a very good luxury compact crossover that you would get today. It might not be as flashy as its German counterparts, but its intrinsic “value” is what none of its rivals get close to. The RDX offers everything you would seek at the price point of $37k. It looks fresh and stylish, is peppy to drive and handle, is comfortable and roomy, more reliable than its rivals and offers decent efficiency as well. 

What should I pay for a 2020 Acura RDX?

A brand new 2020 Acura RDX would cost you $37,600 for the base model. The range-topping SH-AWD costs you at $47,700. Prices are for the stock model without any optional packages. Though you might not need them because the 2020 Acura RDX has a fair trunk of standard amenities.

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