Best & Worst Acura RDX Years

We've ranked all Acura RDX models for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst Acura RDX years and go for the best Acura RDX years.

In this ultimate guide, I’ll analyze all Acura RDX generations for you, pinpointing the best Acura RDX years to buy and the worst Acura RDX years to avoid.

With data sourced from incredibly reputable sources such as NHTSA, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds, I’ll go deeper into Acura RDX’s common problems and standout features without skipping any years.

Now, let’s dive right in.

Related:Best & Worst Acura MDX Years

Table of ContentsShow

Acura RDX Generations

The Acura RDX, recognized for its combination of performance and opulence, started its voyage with its initial generation unveiled in 2006. Pioneering the compact luxury SUV category, the RDX showcased groundbreaking features, such as a turbocharged engine and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.

The following table breaks down the generations of the Acura RDX since its inception.

GenerationYears
1st generation (TB1/2)2007-2012
2nd generation (TB3/4)2013-2018
3rd generation (TC1/2)2019-Present

As with any vehicle, understanding the nuances between generations can be a critical factor when deciding which model year aligns best with individual preferences and requirements.

Acura RDX Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When evaluating the best and worst Acura RDX years, our rankings and categorizations are anchored in substantial and diverse data sources:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • Cars.com owner ratings

See the combined ratings from the aforementioned sources in our comprehensive graph below.

Acura RDX Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

The subsequent table categorizes Acura RDX model years based on extensive research as best, neutral, or worst Acura RDX years.

GenerationBest YearsWorst Years
1st generation (TB1/2)2010
2011
2012
2007
2008
2009
2nd generation (TB3/4)2016
2017
2018
2013
2014
2015
3rd generation (TC1/2)2022
2023
2019
2020
2021

It’s essential to note that some factors, for instance, NHTSA recalls play a pivotal role in our evaluations. The higher the volume of complaints and recalls for a specific model year, the more it indicates potential reliability issues.

Now, let’s dive into the specifications of the Acura RDX’s best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Acura RDX 1st Generation (2007-2012)

Acura RDX 1st generation 2007 model
The 2007 Acura RDX

The 1st Generation Acura RDX made its debut in 2007, signaling Acura’s maiden voyage into the compact luxury SUV segment. With, on average, 4.5 Edmunds and 4.4 Kelley Blue Book scores this generation of the Acura RDX is considered quite reliable.

As for our categorization, early – 2007, 2008, and 2009 are the Acura RDX years to avoid while 2010, 2011, and 2012 stand out as the best Acura RDX years to buy from the first generation.

The Best Years: 2010, 2011, 2012

2010, 2011, and 2012 are undoubtedly the best Acura RDX years of the first generation RDX.

2010 Acura RDX is especially worth noting because Acura seemed to have ironed out many of the kinks from the RDX’s initial years. Its rating, garnering scores of 82 from J.D. Power, 4.8 from Cars.com, and 4.4 from CarSmite, underlines this fact.

The 2010 RDX was powered by a refined 2.3-liter 240 hp turbocharged four-cylinder K23A1 engine coupled with a 5-speed automatic transmission with Acura’s SportShift sequential shift capability. The first-generation Acura RDX featured a version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).

This provided moderate fuel consumption of 13 mpg for city and 25 mpg for highway driving as for Consumer Reports.

Alongside the power train, advanced infotainment systems, seamless smartphone integrations, and upgraded sound systems became hallmarks of the RDX.

Innovative features, from advanced braking systems to lane assist technologies, were incorporated, emphasizing both driver convenience and protection.

While these years also had minor hitches, like the continuation of some power train problems from earlier models, their strong performance and comfort upgrades made 2010, 2011, and 2012 the best years for the first-generation Acura RDX.

The Worst Years: 2007, 2008, 2009

Pioneering years of any vehicle are often problematic, and the RDX’s initial years – 2007, 2008, and 2009 which are the Acura RDX years to avoid, were no exception.

The 2007 Acura RDX grappled with a slew of electrical issues, particularly linked to the Bluetooth Handsfree Link (HFL), which many owners pinpointed as a cause for swift battery drainage.

More pressing, however, were issues around the ignition intermittently refusing to release keys and the frequent malfunctions with the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA).

But the 2007 Acura RDX problems didn’t end there. Unintended accelerations and decelerations became synonymous with this model year, causing not just inconvenience but genuine safety concerns. These issues seemed to dog the 2008 Acura RDX as well.

In 2009 Acura MDX, a new challenge emerged on the horizon: transmission problems, jerking, and shuddering. Owners often voiced concerns about unintended acceleration glitches.

The automotive critic community too was less than forgiving, with scores from Edmunds (4.4), J.D. Power (77), and VehicleHistory (3.75) reflecting a perceptible dip in satisfaction.

See NHTSA 2007, 2008, 2009 Acura RDX recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Acura RDX 2nd Generation (2013-2018)

Acura RDX 2nd generation 2013 model
The 2013 Acura RDX

The 2nd Generation Acura RDX heralded a marked shift from its predecessor, aiming to redefine compact luxury SUV standards. However, similar to the RDX’s first generation, the early years of this generation – 2013, 2014, and 2015 saw power train and headlight problems which is the main reason they were selected as Acura RDX years to avoid.

I would recommend the 2016 RDX which is the best Acura RDX model in this generation both from reliability and value perspective. 

The Best Years: 2016, 2017, 2018

As the second generation matured, the facelifted years – 2016, 2017, and 2018 stand out as the most reliable Acura RDX years of this generation.

Engine enhancements took center stage, with a smoother and more potent 3.5-liter 279 hp SOHC V6 replacing the earlier 2.3-liter turbo-four.

With a 6-speed automatic transmission, AWD was also updated to send up to 50% torque to rear wheels (on wet surfaces) opposed to up to 25% in the previous model. The fuel consumption was also improved to 14 mpg for city and 31 mpg for highway driving.

Premium materials graced the cabin, ergonomic designs found favor, and a more intuitive infotainment system. The exterior added LED headlamps (solved headlight problems in the early years) and LED taillamps.

Additionally, the 2016 RDX includes several driver assists in the AcuraWatch package including Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane Keeping Assist System.

Yet, these years weren’t without their minor grievances. Transmission issues, particularly hard shifts and jerking, persisted, albeit to a lesser extent than in previous years.

Despite these hiccups, ratings from platforms such as Consumer Reports painted a picture of reliability and satisfaction, especially the 2018 Acura RDX, which basked in its top reliability score.

The Worst Years: 2013, 2014, 2015

The pre-facelift models – 2013, 2014, and 2015 have a significantly high number of NHTSA recalls and complaints, thus are Acura RDX years you should avoid.

The 2013 Acura RDX, although promising on paper with its newer V6 engine and technological advancements, had its fair share of challenges.

The most prominent grievance from owners revolved around the transmission, which often displayed signs of slipping, jerking, and shuddering.

A recall specific to the 2013 RDX regarding the brake-shift interlock mechanism added to the year’s issues.

Simultaneously, headlight issues emerged, with many owners lamenting how they dimmed over time, reducing nighttime visibility.

The 2014 Acura MDX, while attempting to build on its predecessor’s foundation, still carried forward some of its issues. The aforementioned transmission glitches persisted.

Moreover, defective shock absorbers, a known issue among many RDX owners, manifested as an unsettling clunking noise in the rear. The headlight problems from the previous year also continued.

By 2015 Acura RDX, while many expected a turnaround, the RDX still grappled with its dimming headlight issues, which stood out as the primary concern for many owners.

See NHTSA 2013, 2014, 2015 Acura RDX recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Acura RDX 3rd Generation (2019-2023)

Acura RDX 3rd generation 2019 model
The 2019 Acura RDX

The Acura RDX’s 3rd Generation marked a new chapter in the vehicle’s history, promising innovation, elegance, and performance in a single package.

It is clear from Consumer Reports, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and CarSmite ratings that 2019, 2020, and 2021 RDXs have notable owner dissatisfaction and thus are the Acura RDX years to avoid. 2022 and 2023 are marked as the Acura RDX’s best years to buy within the third generation.

The Best Years: 2022, 2023

The facelifted 2022 and 2023 Acura RDX models saw significant advancements and refinements, distancing themselves from the challenges faced in the early years of this generation and garnering the best Acura RDX years tag.

These models, powered by a sophisticated 2.0-liter 272 hp turbocharged four-cylinder K20C4 engine, coupled with a 10-speed automatic transmission, ensured fuel efficiency of 15 mpg for city and 31 mpg for highway driving.

This was complemented by a state-of-the-art infotainment system, which boasted a True Touchpad Interface, setting a benchmark for intuitive user experiences.

The safety realm also witnessed commendable enhancements, with AcuraWatch – a suite of safety and driver assistance systems – providing an additional layer of security. Features such as Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) and Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) became standard.

The upscale cabin, replete with plush materials and ergonomic designs, further highlighted Acura’s commitment to luxury.

Such advancements garnered accolades Consumer Reports awarded the 2022 model its highest reliability score, while ratings from J.D. Power and Cars.com underscored a consistent rise in owner satisfaction.

The Worst Years: 2019, 2020, 2021

The worst Acura RDX models of this generation – 2019, 2020, and 2021 are considered the Acura RDX years to avoid because of low ratings and high number of complaints from owners.

2019 is the Acura RDX year to “avoid like the plague” considering its 3.3 Edmunds, 73 J.D. Power, and 4.3 Cars.com scores.

Owners frequently cited transmission failures leading to sudden deceleration, turning the promise of a smooth ride into a potential safety concern. Alarmingly, instances of the check engine light illuminating paired with a loss of motive power were not uncommon.

Compounding these technical issues were instances of random window shattering, baffling owners and critics alike.

The Brake Hold feature, though innovative, proved troublesome for some, occasionally releasing when the Auto Start-Stop re-engaged the engine, causing unexpected forward movement.

Honda did acknowledge a few of these issues, notably issuing recalls for the 2019 and 2020 RDX models about fuel pump failures that could cause engine stalling and service bulletins.

The 2020 and 2021 models, though reflecting incremental improvements, still bore the brunt of some of these lingering issues, with the Brake Hold problem notably persisting into the 2021 model.

See NHTSA 2019, 2020, 2021 Acura RDX recalls and complaints.

Acura RDX Average Resale Values

Explore the following graph to uncover the trends in average resale values of the Acura RDX over the years, reflecting its market performance and demand.

Acura RDX Average List Price

Conclusion

Now, you have a deep understanding of which Acura RDX year to buy. Facelift years of each generation, which include 2010-2012 models, 2016-2018 models, and 2022, 2023 moels are the best Acura RDX model years to pick.

Do you have experiences with any of the best and worst years of Acura RDX? Would you recommend this vehicle to others?

Share your ideas in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.