Long-Term Review

2020 Acura RDX Ownership

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author photo by Autotrader September 2019

Small SUVs like the 2020 Acura RDX are the automotive "popular kid" lately. Add "luxury" to the title and these little utility vehicles get especially interesting, often adding features like torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (AWD), a turbocharged engine, wood-lined interior, heated and cooled seats and 20-in wheels.

In fact, many small luxury SUVs are among our favorite vehicles. The Lincoln MKC, Audi Q3 and Porsche Macan all have that certain something that convinces us their popularity won't end with an ice-cream scooping gig at the mall.

Why We Got It

We're always on the lookout for good new cars that don't require we break the $50,000 mark just to get certain features. It sounds like a lot but KBB says the average transaction price for new cars is more than $36,000. Of course, that means many cars are much more expensive. We're always puzzled by glowing reviews of 6-figure cars. Hang on there Captain, you're trying to tell me that Motor Track magazine says a $200,000 car is really quick -- wow! Often, we're a lot more interested in how quick or plush a new car can be for $37,000 or a used car for $21,500. And that's exactly why we landed on the new Acura RDX. It's been totally redone for 2020 and represents the best of what American Honda has to offer.

Executive Editor Brian Moody said, "The Acura RDX has always been a decent premium SUV. I don't know if I would consider previous versions all-out luxury vehicles but this one is fully there. The combination of high-end materials, European-style athletic performance and a sharp new look should mean a European-style price but the RDX is reasonably priced considering all that's included in the new RDX."

Our RDX

With that in mind, we opted for a version of the Acura RDX with more features than the average buyers likely want. Accordingly, that drives up the price. Our 2020 Acura RDX has the Technology and Advance Package but does not have the A-Spec appearance package.

That means we have an AWD (which can be added by itself for $2,000) RDX with lots of extra features. The Technology Package ($3,200) includes many extras like 19-in wheels, smart key for the rear hatch door, ELS audio system, navigation, two rear USB ports, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors. The Advance Package is an additional $4,900. However, you have to get the Technology Package if you opt for the Advance package.

The Advance Package does include many desirable features like a surround-view camera, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, head-up display, real wood trim, ELS surround sound with 16-speakers (Tech Package includes an ELS system with 12-speakers), adaptive suspension, rain-sensing wipers and LED fog lights. If we had opted for it, the A-Spec Package would have added $3,000, which would push the price over $50,000. Still, at $47,700, we think the 2020 Acura RDX with the Tech and Advance packages is a good deal. Similar size luxury SUVs from European brands can cost $5,000 to $10,000 more.

All versions of the RDX are powered by a 272-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It's connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard but AWD is offered as well. An AWD RDX gets an estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg in combined driving.

Initial Impressions

At first glance, the new RDX is several steps above the previous model. Now, we can recommend the RDX alongside historically "nicer" vehicles like the Audi Q5. We like the real wood trim as well as the excellent ELS sound system. Overall, the new RDX comes off as a truly luxurious small SUV and we looking forward to pressing it into service for everyday use. Find an Acura RDX for sale


Ownership Update - 9/4/19

by Tommy Flanagan

For my yearly road trip to Daytona Beach, I scored the keys to our long-term 2020 Acura RDX. It's brand new to our fleet and after driving the new RDX last year, I was anxious to get some serious drive time behind the wheel. The RDX is now in its third generation and this version seems more upscale than the previous generation. Let's see how well our new RDX performs on its maiden road trip.

2020 Acura RDX at gas station

Hot off the heels of a 2019 refresh, The Acura RDX ushers in 2020 with no mentionable changes. The sole engine is still a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission. With 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, it provides decent power and acceleration with shifts that are smooth and less jerky than some other smaller SUVs I've driven. Rarely did the RDX ever seem to search for the right gear.

2020 Acura RDX at starlight drive-in

Our RDX features the Advance package, which also includes the Technology package. It features amenities such as a 10.5-in head-up display, heated and ventilated 16-way power front seats, and premium audio system with 16 speakers. This package also includes rain-sensing windshield wipers, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats. Apple CarPlay is another feature I've grown fond of when on the road for several hours. No longer do I have to pull over to reply to text messages. It's also standard equipment on the RDX.

For this driver, adaptive cruise control is an absolute must for long trips. Once you've experienced driving with this feature, it's hard to do without. The RDX's system worked well compared to previous Acuras (and Hondas) I've driven in the past. It didn't approach a slower driver ahead and then abruptly decelerate to match the slower car's speed. The RDX gradually matched the speed of the slower driver until I could pass and be on my way.

2020 Acura RDX cargo area

For a compact SUV, the RDX has a surprising amount of interior space. Up front, there's plenty of legroom and the aforementioned 16-way seats provide plenty of support for the long ride. I was also surprised at how much legroom the second row provided. For all our gear, there's 29.5 cu ft. of storage behind the second row. That's big enough for two large roller bags, a medium-size cooler and several bags to carry snacks and other essentials for the trip. There's even an under-floor storage area that can house smaller items you want to keep out of sight.

2020 Acura RDX parked

There were a couple of irritations I had with the RDX. First off, the infotainment system's touchpad controller takes a bit of getting used to. It's difficult to maneuver around and not as intuitive as I would have liked. When using the navigation system, I found it easier to find a location using voice commands than with using the keyboard on the screen. Also, the blind spot monitoring system doesn't warn you of a car in your blind spot until the vehicle is almost next to you. I found myself cutting off drivers on a couple of occasions because of this.

2020 Acura RDX the verdict

Overall, I really enjoyed driving the RDX. Even with some of its drawbacks, it's quickly growing on me. Even though it's considered a compact SUV, it feels anything but thanks to its spacious cabin, front and rear legroom, and storage capacity. I'm hoping to get a lot more time behind the wheel over the next few months. Find an Acura RDX for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2020 Acura RDX Ownership - Autotrader