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#2

in 2010 Luxury Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $17,782 - $21,097
Original MSRP: $32,520 - $37,620
MPG: 19 City / 24 Hwy
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2010 Acura RDX Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most reviewers enjoy driving the Acura RDX, which is adept at handling corners and ideal for in-town driving. While test drivers praise its turbocharged engine, several of them also complain about turbo lag. Reviewers haven't yet had a chance to test the new FWD model, so make sure to test drive one yourself to see how it might make a difference in driving experience and fuel economy.

  • "Well, after a first spin in the new front-driver -- with an all-wheel-drive model on hand for comparison -- we came away convinced that Acura has been able to preserve the delicate balance of technology, value, and dynamic prowess offered by its little ute." -- Car and Driver
  • "The RDX uses a turbocharged, four-cylinder that provides strong acceleration, but lacks the refinement of a six-cylinder. Handling is agile and secure, but the ride is stiff." -- MSN
  • "The pewter, dark metallic gray, test truck was handsome enough, and it drove fairly well. It comes with what Acura calls Super Handling-All-Wheel Drive, SH-AWD for short." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "Other journalists have opined that the vehicle handles like a sports sedan, and I agree. It drives like a sports sedan or hatchback -- that's been lifted six inches. That's not a good thing, however. The omnipresent rollover warnings, including one particularly worrying note on the driver's sun-visor discourage truly vigorous driving." -- Motor Authority
  • "In road tests, we've found that the Acura RDX drives like a sport sedan. It's quick and extremely nimble through corners." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 RDX comes with a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower. While test drivers find the engine plenty powerful, several complain about turbo lag. The new FWD model reduces curb weight, which could result in even speedier performance from the engine. According to the EPA, the all-wheel-drive models achieve 17/22 mpg city/highway, while the new FWD model achieves a slightly improved 19/24 mpg. The latter rating is the best in the RDX’s class, which makes it a great value when you consider that the RDX is also one of the least expensive luxury compact SUVs you can buy.

If you want a more powerful engine, consider the Audi Q5. It starts at about $5,000 more than the RDX and offers a slightly lower 18/23 base fuel economy rating – but it comes with a more powerful 3.2-liter V6 rated at 270 horsepower.

  • "Acceleration isn't neck snapping but is more than adequate in most situations, especially once the turbo kicks in. A test RDX did 6.8 seconds 0-60 mph. Throttle response suffers from some turbo lag." -- Consumer Guide
  • "That engine and the all-wheel-drive system, and to some extent the automatic transmission, make the 2010 RDX one of the sportiest drivers amongst small SUVs, but the turbocharged engine doesn't do well with the car's near-2-ton curb weight. A V-6 would have given it smoother acceleration and probably delivered better fuel economy." -- CNET
  • "The turbocharged engine is a thrill and makes the RDX exciting to drive, providing 0-60-mph times in the high-6-second range. On the downside, the RDX's EPA fuel estimates are barely average for this segment, and the turbocharged engine requires 91-octane fuel." -- Edmunds
  • "I thought the RDX's acceleration was pretty strong but nothing special for a V-6-powered crossover, then I remembered that under the hood resided a 'puffed' four cylinder." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "Power is good from the 240-horsepower, 2.3-liter, turbo 4-cylinder engine. There is a slight turbo lag when you gun it, and a bit of hesitation when you coast and try to accelerate again." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "Turbo lag is noticeable, and kills off-the-line acceleration until about 3,000rpm when driving in automatic mode. Once it spools, the power surge makes for jerky driving, which you have to compensate for with your foot, especially if it hits mid-turn." -- Motor Authority

Handling and Braking

The 2010 RDX receives considerable praise for its handling, which is sporty and sedan-like. Reviewers haven't yet had a chance to test the new FWD model, so make sure to test drive one yourself to see how it might change the driving experience and fuel economy. For 2010, Acura retuned the brakes to improve pedal feel and performance.

  • "Acura has also made some changes to the brake actuation hardware with a new pedal ratio, vacuum booster and servo. The front brakes are unchanged and we didn't notice any significant difference in feel. The stoppers apply smoothly and were easy to modulate during our brief drive, although the changes should be more apparent when the CUV is driven hard and temperatures rise." -- Autoblog
  • "In addition to comparable performance for less coin, the most troublesome of the RDX's earlier issues also has been rectified, that being a painfully brittle ride. Today's RDX offers an excellent balance of feel and composure while keeping body roll in check." -- Car and Driver
  • "Steering was fairly quick and there was only modest lean in tight turns. Yet the steering was heavy and the truck felt heavier than its 3,942 pounds." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • "The ride was very good gliding through the air at highway speeds. The around town ride was uneventful, well-dampened and the body stays inline with the chassis during unplanned emergency avoidance maneuvers and brisk cornering." -- Chicago Sun-Times
  • "Firm-ride suspension makes for an agile little SUV. ... Body lean is modest in fast turns. Steering has solid road feel, but some testers find effort too heavy at low speeds." -- Consumer Guide