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For good reason, the 2021 Acura RDX is expected to remain Acura’s best-selling vehicle. This midsize crossover scores well in every big category. While passengers love the RDX’s luxurious cabin, a fun-to-drive nature makes it more exciting for the person behind the wheel. Meanwhile, a strong list of standard equipment gives the RDX an advantage over its European counterparts. Let’s find out if you should spend the money on a new RDX.
What’s New for 2021?
No major changes are found on the 2021 Acura RDX. Keep in mind that this SUV received a complete makeover in 2019.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Acura RDX – The Pros
1. Strong Standard Powertrain
Every trim level comes equipped with the same powertrain. Boosting by a turbocharger, the SUV’s standard four-cylinder engine develops a hefty 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. This power is fed to the wheels through an automatic transmission with 10-speeds. When driving the 2021 Acura RDX, it actually feels stronger than its specs may suggest. Drivers can expect the RDX to clock a 0-60 mph time of around 6.3 seconds. Although some competitions are quicker, you won’t notice a huge difference in real-world driving conditions.
2. Drives Like a Sporty Sedan
Although the 2021 Acura RDX is a crossover, it drives more like a sporty sedan. A wide stance and agile chassis help limit body roll around curves. Drivers also appreciate the RDX’s responsive steering system. Even when moving at a fast pace, this SUV continues to inspire confidence. Adaptive suspension dampers are optional, which elevate handling and ride comfort. The firmness of the suspension can be adjusted at the touch of a button.
3. Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
A front-wheel-drive setup is standard on the new RDX. However, Acura’s famous Super Handling AWD system is on the list of options. This isn’t your typical AWD system. It does more than just improve grip on snowy roads. Acura also engineered to system to take dry-road handling to the next stage. Super Handling All-Wheel Drive constantly adjusts the amount of toque being sent to the front and rear wheels. The SUV’s cornering capabilities are enhanced dramatically.
4. Strong Value for a Luxury Crossover
The 2021 Acura RDX competes against today’s more expensive European models. However, it offers just as much luxury for just a fraction of the price. Acura lists the RDX with an MSRP of just over $38,000. By comparison, most of the RDX’s top rivals are at least $5,000 more expensive. Experts consider the RDX to be a genuine bang for the buck. Acura’s powertrain warranty also lasts for 70,000 miles, which gives this SUV yet another advantage.
5. Staggering Amount of Standard Equipment
Although the Acura RDX offers some worthwhile options, the overwhelming majority of buyers will be more than happy with the base model. After learning how to use Acura’s latest True Touchpad Interface, drivers will enjoy the system’s 10.2-inch touchscreen. Meanwhile, every passenger can access the web through the RDX’s built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. When cold weather arrives, the heated front seats will prove their value. Other standard features include a panoramic sunroof, Apple CarPlay, and satellite radio.
6. Premium Interior Delivers Outstanding Comfort
Your family and friends will look forward to traveling in the 2021 Acura RDX. Its cabin gives even tall passengers the necessary legroom. While the base RDX offers impressive seat comfort, front-seat ventilation and heated rear seats can be added. The overall quality of the RDX’s cabin is also excellent for the price. While the standard synthetic leather upholstery has a high-end feel, available Milano leather gives the interior a more upscale character.
7. Sporty Styling Stands Out
The new Acura RDX is clearly a good-looking vehicle. Even the value-priced base model receives Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels. Drivers who desire a bit more flair will like the optional A-Spec package. It dresses up the SUV with gloss black accents and exclusive bumpers. A rear diffuser with larger exhaust finishers adds more aggression. Meanwhile, exclusive 20-inch wheels wrapped in performance tires give the RDX A-Spec a meaner stance.
8. Ranks Among the Segment Leaders in Safety
Acura built the RDX to provide an elite level of crash protection. Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the RDX a Top Safety Pick+. Experts don’t expect anything to change for 2021. AcuraWatch also comes standard at the base level. This collection of accident-avoidance technologies helps drivers to avoid danger. Automatic panic braking, active lane intervention, and smart cruise control are all included. Parking sensors and a 360-degree parking camera are optional.
9. Optional Technology Package
For an extra $3,200, buyers can equip the RDX with a Technology Package. It’ll prove to be a great investment in the long run. Included in the package is blind-spot warning, which is among today’s hottest safety technologies. Drivers will also enjoy the GPS-linked climate control system. By automatically adjusting to the sun’s intensity, it enhances comfort. Other goodies found in the Technology Package are a 12-speaker ELS sound system and Milano leather upholstery.
10. Pleasing Fuel Economy
The Acura RDX’s powertrain is efficient. Drivers can anticipate getting 22 mpg town/28 mpg freeway. This is a good fuel economy rating for a midsize crossover. Even when traveling in stop-and-go traffic, owners won’t have to worry about the RDX’s guzzling down fuel. However, it’s important to mention that the use of premium gasoline is encouraged.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Acura RDX – The Cons
1. So-So Long-Term Reliability
Historically, Acura has always held a reputation for rolling out dependable automobiles. However, the 2021 Acura RDX fails to meet the automaker’s high standard. J.D. Power’s Dependability Study gives the RDX a 2.5 out of 5.0 rating. This is below average for the class. By comparison, the midsize Lexus RX received a superb rating of 4.5.
2. Not Great a Great Off-Roader
The RDX’s 8.2 inches of ground clearance and available AWD system enable it to tackle the snow. However, Acura didn’t design the RDX to handle rough terrain. It’s more suitable to be driven on the street and basic dirt roads. This crossover SUV lacks the hardware necessary to overcome challenging driving conditions. Skid plates, off-road tires, and trail-tuned shocks are not available.
3. No Engine Option
While the RDX’s standard engine delivers an admirable performance, some car shoppers would appreciate an engine upgrade. Drivers who desire more power should consider the three-row Acura MDX. Its available Sport Hybrid model develops more than 320 horsepower. Fuel economy also stands at a rewarding 26 mpg town/27 mpg freeway.
4. Not Great for Towing
Drivers who need an SUV that can tow a big load should look elsewhere. Acura rates the RDX tow only 1,500 pounds. This means the RDX will struggle trying to pull campers and boats. The larger Acura MDX has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.
5. Infotainment System Has a Learning Curve
It’ll take a while for some drivers to learn Acura’s latest True Touchpad Interface. This infotainment system is designed with a console controller, which requires a bit of practice to use effectively. Some people will ultimately prefer a simpler system.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
2021 Acura RDX vs 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is a good SUV. Unlike the Acura RDX, it’s a suitable off-road machine. Critics also applaud the GLC-Class for its fine interior quality. However, car shoppers will find that the RDX gives them more features for the money. Expect the high-performance GLC-Class models to be especially expensive.
2021 Acura RDX vs 2021 BMW X3
Drivers enjoy the BMW X3’s roomy interior and lively performance. It also has an attractive look. However, prices for the X3 tend to be steeper. To get certain features on the X3, buyers are forced to shell out more money. This includes front-seat heating, Apple CarPlay, and a panoramic sunroof. There’s simply no overlooking which SUV provides the most standard features.
2021 Acura RDX vs 2021 Audio Q5
Automotive journalists have high praise for the 2021 Audi Q5. Its infotainment system is among the best. Audi’s Quattro AWD system also comes standard. A twin-turbo V6 engine is on the SUV’s list of options. However, the Audi Q5 is priced above the Acura RDX. Audi also rates the Q5’s standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine to develop less power.
The 2021 Acura RDX is a fine choice for anyone looking for a two-row luxury crossover. Drivers who can learn to live with the SUV’s infotainment system will be extremely pleased. With about 272 horsepower resting under the hood, this SUV packs enough performance for the everyday grind. Sharp driving dynamics heighten the RDX’s fun factor. While the RDX comes loaded with many rewarding features, there are also some nice upgrades to consider. Folks who want a sportier look shouldn’t hesitate to get the eye-catching A-Spec package.
• Why buy a 2020 Acura RDX? w/ pros vs cons