The small luxury SUV segment is crowded with many strong choices, but if you’re looking for value and prefer your SUVs sporty, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the 2022 Acura RDX. It’s made even better for 2022 with a plethora of updates to make the driving experience nicer, as well as adding technology features that have become industry standards.
Although it was given a refresh for 2022, the basic RDX dates back to the 2019 model year. And the basics from then are still good. It has a gutsy engine, a responsive chassis, a quality interior and sharp styling. Not only that, it’s incredibly spacious and it’s packed with standard features from a panoramic sunroof to plenty of driver safety aids, all at a price lower than many of its competitors, including those from Audi, BMW, Mercedes and others.
That’s not to say it’s a class-leader. If you have certain things you particularly care about, perhaps ultimate performance, hybrid options, or a fancier and more stylish interior, there are other options to consider. But the Acura is one of the most well-rounded options, doing most things well, and doing so at a reasonable price.
What’s new for 2022?
The RDX received a variety of mild updates for the 2022 model year. Styling has been tweaked with new front and rear bumpers and grilles (pictured above left). The active suspension on Advance Package trims is tuned for a sportier feel in Sport mode and a more comfortable feel in Comfort mode. The drive modes in every RDX have been retuned as well, while extra sound deadening material has been added throughout. Technology updates include new standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Amazon Alexa compatibility and a USB-C charging port. Wireless charging and customizable ambient lighting are now available as options. A number of new interior and exterior colors are available, including a bright blue hue exclusive to the 200-unit PMC Edition (pictured above right). Furthermore, blind-spot warning is standard, automatic emergency braking now has pedestrian detection, and the chassis has additional reinforcements to improve crash performance.
The RDX’s interior is a nice place to be. Most surfaces are covered with soft, premium-looking materials, including perforated leather, soft-touch plastics, and classy-looking vinyl. Aluminum trim comes standard, but some high-trim levels get natural finish wood trim.
The RDX introduces Acura’s True Touchpad Interface, which controls the infotainment system and its 10.2-inch screen with a center-console-mounted touchpad rather than a touchscreen interface. The system has a relatively steep learning curve and lacks any haptic feedback. It’s ultimately not as intuitive as we’d like, and that is important because it’s an interface you’ll be using all the time in an RDX – including to interface with the standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. You can read our full impressions of the system here.
We’ve been more impressed by the RDX’s sound systems, particularly the units available on higher trims. The ambient lighting system is also interesting, as it features a bunch of preset color combinations named after famous roads and race tracks.
If you’re looking for the most spacious “compact” luxury SUV for either passengers or cargo, the RDX is pretty great place to start. On paper, the RDX has the most rear legroom in the segment, and when we compared it back-to-back with a variety of competitors, that proved to be absolutely correct. Unless you’re pushing for playing time in the NBA, your knees won’t be touching the front seats. Importantly, a rear-facing child seat is also more likely to fit back there.
Cargo space is similarly excellent with 29.5 cubic-feet of space behind its raised back seat. That’s better than everything in the segment except the Volvo XC60, which is basically equal. However, it actually has even more space thanks to its sizeable and genuinely useful under-floor storage area that swells capacity to 31.1 cubic-feet. The result is the ability to carry far more stuff than its luxury segment norm, and nearly match non-luxury super haulers like the Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester. Better still, that under-floor storage area is achieved without losing the spare tire – no run flats or cans of tire goo here.
Only one engine and transmission is available on the RDX. It’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 10-speed automatic transmission. The engine makes 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The RDX also comes standard with front-wheel drive, but a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system is also available (SH-AWD).
Fuel economy differs only slightly depending on drivetrain, and whether the RDX has the A-Spec or PMC package. A front-drive standard RDX gets 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 24 combined. All-wheel drive drops it to 21/27/23. The front-drive A-Spec gets 22/27/24, and A-Spec or PMC models with all-wheel drive get 21/26/23.
The RDX manages a happy balance between reasonable sportiness for the segment and overall comfort. There’s a bit of adrenaline in the thing – a growl from the engine as it thrusts the RDX forward on a wave of torque. Acura’s parent company, Honda, knows how to make an entertaining engine. The RDX exudes an air of sportiness, but also backs it up with real athleticism. The optional SH-AWD system’s advanced torque vectoring is also a boon on dry pavement, making the RDX turn crisply – and it’ll also help, to some degree, with traction in poor weather. We think it’s a return to form for a vehicle that built its reputation on providing a sharper driving experience than your average crossover.
The engine’s extensive low-end torque means that it’s zippier around town. It channels power through a 10-speed automatic transmission, which is mostly competent but occasionally gets confused. On several occasions during a drive in an A-Spec test car, a swift stab of the accelerator to pass another vehicle led to a distressing delay before the RDX figured out what gear to be in. We’ve had similar issues with nine- and 10-speed automatics in the past, but it’s disconcerting. Other than that, the engine and transmission work together fairly well – and the RDX feels awfully quick, especially in sportier drive modes.
There are two suspension options for the RDX. The Advance trim receives an Adaptive Damper System, but everything else is relegated to a passive Amplitude Reactive Damper system. The non-electronic dampers work well – the ride is firm but not uncomfortable, and the RDX corners with precision. It’s helped by decent steering feel from the variable-ratio rack, although it’s on the light side at low speeds. The adaptive system is also impressive, and the new mode tuning has resulted in sportier and more comfortable settings (depending on the mode) than before.
Note that the A-Spec package sounds like it might be a performance upgrade, but it is a purely cosmetic package.
What other Acura RDX reviews can I read?
Going over what’s new for 2022 and how those changes improve the RDX.
We take a deep dive into the RDX’s cargo space behind the second row, putting the 31.1-cubic-foot measurement to the test with real bags.
Acura’s unique touchpad infotainment system has found sympathizers and detractors among our staff. Admittedly, there have been more detractors, but Zac Palmer runs down why he’s in the minority of those who liked it after giving it some time. Note that the article and video below used an Acura TLX, but the system is the same.
The Acura RDX starts at $40,345 for a base, front-wheel-drive model. On the outside, it gets 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights and a panoramic sunroof. Inside the RDX features dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity entry with push-button start, 12-way power heated leatherette seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum trim, ambient lighting and a power hatch. Technology features include a 10.2-inch infotainment screen, 7-inch info screen in the instrument panel and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Other notable features available as options or on higher trims include the A-Spec appearance package, fog lights, sport seats, real leather upholstery, 16-way power seat adjustment, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, remote start, heated steering wheel, wood trim, wireless phone charging, an upgraded sound system, a 10.5-inch head-up display and navigation.
Also worth noting is that all-wheel-drive is a $2,200 option on RDX models that come with front-wheel drive as standard. Some RDX models come with all-wheel drive standard. Base prices for each trim is listed below and include the $1,045 destination charge ($1,995 for the PMC).
- RDX: $41,145
- RDX Technology Package: $43,795
- RDX A-Spec: $46,795
- RDX Advance Package (AWD only): $51,145
- RDX A-Spec Advance Package (AWD only): $53,145
- RDX PMC Edition (AWD only): $55,295
Both IIHS and NHTSA have crash-tested the Acura RDX, and it performed well in both organizations’ testing. The IIHS even gave the RDX its Top Safety Pick + safety rating. It earned the top “Good” score in every crash test, as well as all headlight evaluations. Child seat LATCH anchor access was rated “Good +” and the automatic emergency braking system got a “Superior” rating for vehicle-to-vehicle and an “Advanced” rating for vehicle-to-pedestrian. NHTSA gave the RDX the top five-star rating overall for safety, with four stars for front crashes, five for side crashes and four for rollover.
The RDX comes standard with many useful safety and driver assist features. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering assist. Available as options or on higher trims are rain-sensing wipers, wiper de-icers, parking sensors and a surround-view camera system.