As the compact luxury Acura RDX SUV enters the 2012 model year - a swan song in its current form - is it still a competitive entry in a market segment that was far less overpopulated when it was first unveiled? Was Honda right to make the 2013 Acura RDX that was unveiled at this year’s Detroit Auto Show a stylistic mini-MDX? Should they have thrown out the current 2.3 liter 240 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in favor of a more traditional V6? Or would that have robbed the RDX of the identity that made it special to buyers?
To answer those questions and appease those who are thinking that they don’t want to wait for the 2013 RDX model, we road tested this quirky and off-kilter yet highly capable luxury compact sport utility for a week. Given our experience driving rivals like the Lexus RX350 and Audi Q5 2.0T (among others), we can guarantee you one thing remains true about the 2012 Acura RDX: it's still the only premium entry whose sticker price is reasonable enough that it probably wouldn’t even give Dick Cheney yet another cardiac episode.
Even fully loaded with all of the bells, whistles, luxuries and Acura’s excellent SH-AWD system, the price with destination for our 2012 model came to just $35,780. Just try to similarly equip an Audi Q5 like that and you might need to sell your first born just to cover the cost difference.
For a dose of perspective, you can also find fully loaded Kia Sorentos and Toyota Highlanders on dealer lots for that same price. Sure those both have third row seats but to be quite honest they appear designed to accommodate a tribe of 3 foot tall Amazonian pygmy tribal elders. And while those other SUVs both have V-6 engines, do you really think that will impress your friends, co-workers and neighborhood frenemies? The Acura badge is unique among premium brands in that it will impress snobs yet won’t piss off people who aren’t doing as well as you financially.