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The First Acura RDX Was an SUV Hot Hatchback

These days, the Acura RDX is well-known as a competent crossover that straddles the line between compact and midsize, providing an excellent choice for shoppers who don’t want or need the size of the larger Acura MDX. But the original Acura RDX, from almost 15 years ago, was a very different animal.

Back at the early beginnings of the compact luxury crossover segment, the Acura RDX was among the very first models on the market, as it debuted in 2007 — well before vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GLK (2010), the Lexus NX (2015), and others. But as the compact luxury crossover segment was still being “figured out,” Acura didn’t know exactly what was going to happen — so the original RDX was something of an experiment.

Specifically, the original RDX was pitched as a sporty compact crossover, with Acura’s “super handling” all-wheel drive and Honda’s first-ever turbocharged engine. The result was bold styling, relatively compact dimensions, and a 2.3-liter turbo 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque — big numbers at a time when most midsize crossovers didn’t even put out those figures. In fact, the 2007 Lexus RX, which was a size class above the RDX, offered 268 hp and 212 lb-ft from its 3.5-liter V6 — an engine that it had just upgraded to after the prior powertrain used just 240 hp.

Indeed, the RDX was something of a hot hatchback with a far more exciting aim than later models — and, initially, Acura only offered the RDX with AWD for the best possible performance. Later, it became clear that the real money would come if Acura took the RDX more mainstream, so they did — and Acura enjoyed greater sales success as a result. But those of us who remember the original RDX will look back on its status as something of a hot hatch crossover. These days, RDX models from this era are easy to find on Autotrader for $5,000 to $15,000, depending on year and condition, if you want to relive the hot hatch glory days of Acura’s best crossover. Find an Acura RDX for sale

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  1. I remember reading reviews of that RDX back in the day (and encouraged a friend to buy one). These days, the RDX is far more similar to the CR-V.

  2. I would’ve killed for a first gen, pre-beak-refresh RDX. Even 10+ years later, it continues to be one of the best looking crossovers on the road.

  3. The Mazda CX-7 went into production a few months before the RDX and was almost identical in specifications.

    The CX-7 made 244 hp to the RDX’s 240, 258 lb-ft to the RDX’s 260, both were powered by a 2.3L turbo four-cylinder with AWD and a 5 speed automatic and the CX-7 was within a few inches and pounds of the RDX’s dimensions.

    The CX-7 also has an immensely tunable engine since it’s shared with the Mazdaspeed 3/6. Unfortunately it seems both cars were forgotten (except for some of the CX-7’s teething issues).
    • I had a CX-7 as a service loaner for a weekend and you could literally watch the gas gauge move as you drove. That 4-cyl turbo was thirsty!

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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