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Those looking for a small luxury SUV might want to take a look at the new 2021 Acura RDX. Back in 2019, its third generation was introduced to the market as a competitively priced luxury option. This spacious, well-equipped SUV sells well based on its price and long list of standard features. But what else does it have to offer?
There are a lot of optional packages available, but they get kind of pricey. The touchpad controller can also be kind of difficult to use. And there is only one powertrain option. Other than that, though, customers might be attracted to how well this vehicle steers and handles on basically any road surface. The standard turbocharged 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine generates 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Paired up with a 10-speed automatic transmission, this engine does a good job of getting the RDX to accelerate.
Front-wheel drive comes standard on the RDX, but if you want, you can upgrade to all-wheel drive (which Acura calls SH-AWD) on any trim level. This improves the vehicle's stability and creates a sportier driving performance on a vehicle that already feels pretty spunky. You can take this vehicle up to higher speeds and actually enjoy it as the steering firms up appropriately when you do so. Around town, it is light and easy, just as it should be.
It is also going to be hard to ignore all of the comfort that gets packed into the RDX. The heated and ventilated front seats work well when you need them, and the cabin is muted until you really push it on the highway. Even then, the engine, wind, and road noise are minimal. The RDX's suspension is well-tuned and can smooth out all sorts of bumps in the road.
So, which 2021 Acura RDX trim level might be right for you? There are a few to choose from: the Standard, Technology Package, A Spec Package, and the Advance Package. These four trim level options each have different things that they offer, so knowing which trim level has which features is crucial for moving forward with your decision to buy the RDX. Read through to the end of this trim level comparison review to see which 2021 RDX trim we think will appeal to most drivers and why this is the case.
Compare the 2021 Acura RDX Standard vs Technology Package. - What is the Difference?
The base trim on the 2021 Acura RDX is known as the Standard, yet it is really anything but standard. Like the other trim levels, it is powered by the 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission. Each engine has a 16-valve DOHC VTEC valvetrain. The FWD models get an EPA estimated 24 mpg combined while the SH-AWDs get just 1 mpg less. Idol stop for the engine comes equipped, which immobilizes the engine while the vehicle rests at a stop in order to help conserve fuel. Take ntoe that all trim levels have a max towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.
The chassis consists of a multi-link suspension in the rear, a MacPherson independent strut front suspension, amplitude reactive dampers, a 4-mode integrated dynamics system, agile handling assist, and performance brakes. The Standard trim level rides on 19-inch silver multi-spoke wheels with high-performance all-season tires.
On the outside, the Standard gets treated to a panoramic moonroof that both tilts and slides. Its Jewel Eye LED headlights create a brighter, whiter beam than what you get on other vehicles. They also consume less energy. The signature LED daytime running lights provide distinction for the RDX on sunny days. Wipers are integrated with the auto on/off headlight function. The tail has LED Dragon Tail lights, brake lights, side-mirror direction signals, a license plate holder, and a center high mount stop light. The side mirrors have reverse gear tilt-down operation and are heated.
There is a gloss black tailgate spoiler as well as some chic chrome window molding. The exhaust has dual outlets, and the acoustic glass windshield helps keep the cabin quiet. The 8.2 inches of ground clearance means that you can do a fair amount of off-roading in the RDX if you equip the SH-AWD instead of FWD.
Inside, the Standard is complete with sport seats with leatherette-trimmed interior elements, 12-way power-adjustable front seats both with power lumbar support, heating for those front seats, and an easy-folding 60/40-split rear seat. A dual-zone automatic climate control pumps out air quite efficiently, although the front vents near the driver's hands might push out a little too much air for the driver's liking.
You can customize the Acura settings on the keyless entry system, and push button start comes standard too. There is a fancy leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilting and telescoping steering column for a high degree of adjustability. Controls mounted onto the steering wheel include those for cruise control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, changing the audio source, volume and playback, lane keep assist settings, and a rotary multi-information display select. The power windows have one-touch automatic up/down, and you also get white ambient cabin lighting, a frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a 12-volt power outlet, and brushed aluminum trim throughout the cabin.
There are 29.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Fold those down and you will max it out at 58.9 cubes. A respectable number, though perhaps not an industry leader. There is underfloor cargo storage in the rear to help tote excess items.
An Acura premium sound system provides concert-like sound quality inside of the cabin with its nine speakers. You also get standard features like SiriusXM Satellite Radio access, streaming via Bluetooth, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, one front USB audio port, one USB charge-only port, an auxiliary/MP3 input jack, HD Radio, and speed sensitive volume control. The True Touchpad Interface is standard and supposed to be more intuitive but might be something of an annoyance for most drivers. a massive 10.2-inch HD dual content touchscreen display comes standard, as does a 7-inch multi-information display.
Other standard tech features include WiFi hot spot connectivity, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, over-the-air software updates, a wireless telephone interface with Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, natural language voice recognition, the HomeLink universal transceiver, and a compass.
Safety features come aplenty on the RDX, of course. The Standard has a multi-angle rear-view camera system complete with dynamic guidelines, collision mitigation braking, low-speed follow along with adaptive cruise control, road departure warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning. Automatic high beams come standard, as do the daytime running lights. The body is built on a next-gen system called Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE for short), which is supposed to vastly improve how the structure holds up in different crash scenarios.
Now, on to the Technology Package. This trim level takes the foundations provided by the Standard and builds on them. It swaps in 19-inch split 5-spoke wheels done in pewter grey for starters. There are also sport seats up front done in perforated Milano premium leather and ultrasuede-trimmed interior designs with contrast stitching. GPS-linked climate control also gets equipped.
The sound system gets upgraded to the Acura/ELS Studio premium sound system complete with 12 speakers. Two rear charging ports get added, as does a navigation system with a 3D view. Traffic re-routing comes along with this. Safety-wise, parking sensors are equipped on the front and rear, and you also get a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic monitoring.
Compare the 2021 Acura RDX Technology Package vs A Spec Package. What is the Difference?
The A Spec Package makes a few important upgrades to the RDX. First of all, the wheels are bigger. The A Spec gets 20-inch split 5-spoke shark gray wheels along with its own high-performance all-season tires. Dark chrome and lighting details get added to the exterior lighting system, as do LED fog lights. Also, the window molding gets switched to black. The A Spec also gets exclusive dual exhaust tips and front and rear bumpers.
On the inside, the seats also get a unique A Spec treatment. The front seats are given piping in addition to the contrast stitching and gain ventilation. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is also A Spec specific, and you can only get red ambient interior lighting in this trim level, as the others all have white. You also get treated to dark brushed aluminum trim, a special red-on-silver instrument gauge cluster, sport pedals, an ebony headliner, and A Spec garnish on the steering wheel and door sills.
A 16-speaker Acura/ELS Studio 3D premium sound system is included, but that is the only change regarding the infotainment set-up. Safety features remain entirely the same as they are on the Technology Package.
Compare the 2021 Acura RDX A Spec Package vs Advance Package. - What is the Difference?
That leads us to the line-topping Advance Package. What makes it so advanced? Well, first off, you get 19-inch medium silver alloy interwoven wheels to ride around on. Rain sensing windshield wipers are added on, and the front side's glass becomes acoustic, providing even more insulation from wind and road noise.
Inside the cabin, the front seats become 16-way power-adjustable with power lumbar support, thigh support, and power side bolsters. The rear outboard seats gain standard heating, as does the steering wheel. Natural olive ash burl wood trim adorns the cabin, lending an extra layer of sophistication. A 10.5-inch head-up display with a head-up warning is also added to the set-up. You can also utilize a standard surround view camera system and rear camera washer.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The 2021 Acura RDX has four solidly built trim levels with a good amount of standard features packed into each one. For the prices, all of these trim levels are considerably more affordable than most of their competitors. This gives Acura quite the edge when it comes to making sales.
But which of these four trim levels is going to suit the needs of the average driver the best? We think that trim is the Technology Package. It adds the right amount of standard features for the price. It is not that much more expensive than the Standard but really packs a lot in. It might not be as sporty as the A Spec, but that trim level is best left for people who simply want a sportier look. The performance is basically still the same. And, while the Advance is lovely to look at, it does not build enough on what the Technology Package has to offer.
The Technology Package is the one to buy on the 2021 Acura RDX. We do recommend spending the extra $2,000 on the SH-AWD system since it helps this luxury SUV become a capable off-roader. Plus it provides an added layer of security for those who drive a lot in inclement weather. Altogether, this is a well-rounded trim level worthy of consideration this model year.
• Compare the 2020 Acura RDX Trim Levels