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2020 Acura RDX

Starting at $38,825

6.5/10 C/D RATING
2020 acura rdx front
Marc Urbano|Car and Driver
6.5/10 C/D RATING

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  • Highs More charismatic than its predecessor, can be engaging to drive, good value proposition.
  • Lows Interior fails to feel luxurious, clumsy transmission shifts, unpleasant brake-pedal feel.
  • Verdict A more affordable and bold-looking alternative to typical compact-luxury crossovers.
By Eric Stafford


Unlike other compact-luxury crossovers that toe the line between luxury and sporty, the 2020 Acura RDX lets everyone know it's the latter. Visually, its angular bodywork and striking front end stand out compared with subtler alternatives. Its Acura badge lacks the cache of rivals such as Audi and BMW, but the RDX offers comparable build quality at a lower price. Available with an abundance of desirable features and a dynamic all-wheel-drive system, this two-row crossover will satisfy most SUV shoppers. While the Acura's small turbocharged engine doesn’t deliver breathtaking acceleration, it's responsive and talkative when prodded. We can look past its erratic brake-pedal feedback and clumsy automatic transmission thanks to sharp steering and other playful driving attributes.

What's New for 2020?

Since the RDX was completely redesigned for 2019, Acura only makes a single change to its best-selling model for 2020. The RDX's sinewy sheetmetal can now be coated in an all-new exterior paint color called Platinum White. The rest of the sporty crossover carries over exactly the same as last year.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

The 2020 RDX is essentially a single model that can be equipped with several distinct packages. Front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive is available for $2000. Since the A-Spec version is pricey and lacks any legitimate performance improvements, we'd recommend adding the Technology package that brings a better audio system, navigation, fancier leather-trimmed seats, and more. Those who want the ultimate options such as adaptive dampers and a head-up display will have to spring for the Advance package, but that significantly increases the bottom line because it requires adding the Technology package.


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Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Every RDX is powered by a 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive (a.k.a. SH-AWD). The A-Spec version we tested had a responsive gas pedal at low speeds, and it pulled away from stoplights with authority. The transmission could be quicker to downshift with prompt gas-pedal inputs, especially when using the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The turbocharged engine did make the RDX sound more like the NSX, with its high-pitched roar during hard acceleration that is artificially piped into the cabin through the audio system's speakers. The RDX we drove had large 20-inch wheels that are included with the A-Spec package. It also had the standard suspension setup, unlike models with the Advance package, which adds adaptive dampers that provide adjustable ride quality. While our test vehicle failed to isolate the cabin from harsh impacts on the roughest roads, it was never punishing or noisy. The torque-vectoring SH-AWD also helped it change directions quickly and was backed by precise-feeling steering. The RDX only leaned when we attacked a highway on-ramp, but otherwise, it was wonderfully balanced for those who enjoy driving quickly. Unfortunately, the brake pedal diminished the experience, due to its inconsistent firmness and responsiveness.

2020 acura rdx sideView Photos
Marc Urbano|Car and Driver

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The RDX has competitive EPA fuel-economy ratings that approach the mid-20s, with front-drive models getting slightly higher city and highway estimates. The front-drive version is rated at 22 mpg city and 28 highway, but both those numbers drop by 1 mpg with all-wheel drive. Additionally, the A-Spec package reduces each of those EPA highway estimates by another 1 mpg. We tested a 2019 RDX with the A-Spec package and SH-AWD on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, and achieved 25 mpg—one less than its EPA rating.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Inside, the RDX's symmetrical dashboard creates an intimate space for front-seat passengers. The design is dominated by a rotary drive-mode selector that flows into a floating center console. Our test vehicle had the A-Spec package's flashy red seats and several other exclusive styling bits. While the cabin's notable build quality and desirable standard features (ambient lighting, power-adjustable and heated front seats, dual-zone climate control) were appreciated, the RDX fails to feel luxurious. Instead, the Acura delivers a sportier experience than, say, the CR-V could ever provide. Nothing feels cheap or chintzy, and the driving position is high enough to satisfy crossover fans and flexible enough to appease driving enthusiasts. The RDX's back seats easily fold flat via a handle on the upper outboard side of the seats or from release handles in the cargo area. We managed to fit eight carry-on bags with the seats up, and 22 with them folded. While the RDX has a large storage tray beneath its floating center console, the only other useful storage tray is alongside the cupholders in the center console.

2019 acura rdx a specView Photos
2019 Acura RDX A-Spec interior.
Marc Urbano|Car and Driver

Infotainment and Connectivity

Every RDX has a 10.2-inch touchscreen that's perched high on the dashboard and can be operated via a touchpad that sits comfortably where the driver's right hand rests on the center console. Acura calls the controller intuitive, but it was a while before we got accustomed to it. The RDX comes standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The optional Technology package adds built-in navigation, rear-seat USB ports, a 12-speaker ELS Studio audio system, and more.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

View Crash Test Results

The 2019 RDX was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which is the independent crash-test agency's highest honor. Likewise, the 2020 RDX earned a perfect five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Every model includes a host of standard driver-assistance technology, but several other assists are available with the Technology package. These include front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Key safety features include:

  • Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
  • Standard adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Acura covers the RDX with a warranty plan that aligns with its luxury competitors. However, it doesn't include complimentary scheduled maintenance as do some rivals, such as the X3 and the Jaguar F-Pace.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance


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