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.
Now, let’s dive right in.
Table of ContentsShow
Acura RDX Generations
The Acura RDX, known for its blend of performance and luxury, began its journey with its first generation introduced in 2006. Pioneering the compact luxury SUV segment, the RDX boasted innovative features, including a turbocharged engine and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.
The following table breaks down the generations of the Acura RDX since its inception.
|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.
The subsequent table categorizes Acura RDX model years based on extensive research as best, neutral, or worst Acura RDX years.
|Generation||Best Years||Worst Years|
|1st generation (TB1/2)||2010|
|2nd generation (TB3/4)||2016|
|3rd generation (TC1/2)||2022|
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)
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.
Best & Worst Years for Acura RDX 2nd Generation (2013-2018)
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.
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.
Best & Worst Years for Acura RDX 3rd Generation (2019-2023)
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.
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 problematic 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.
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.
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 thoughts in the comments below!