2023 Acura RDX is a luxury compact SUV that has flown under the radar. It’s not as obvious a choice as BMW or Lexus, but it still has a lot to offer and is relatively affordable. Prices start at $41,350.
Prestige isn’t really an Acura attribute. But as far as any luxury vehicle can offer value for money, the RDX has suddenly become much more attractive.
For a lower price on the low end — but with the excellent build quality, reliability, standard equipment, driver engagement, and resale value — the 2023 RDX delivers quite the proposition. It currently sits in second place on our list of the best luxury compact SUVs.
The 2023 Acura RDX comes at a single trim level while offering both Technology and Advanced packages with some of the desired options in each, plus the A-Spec treatment with larger wheels and cosmetic elements. If finances allowed, we’d opt for the Technology package for navigation, improved audio, and perforated leather seating surfaces.
The 2023 Acura RDX is a compact luxury crossover SUV. Acura vehicles have always represented some sort of middle ground between mainstream and luxury vehicles, offering a more premium feel than their Honda counterparts but not quite as high as something from Mercedes-Benz.
That’s still true today, even though the third-generation 2023 Acura RDX is one of Acura’s finest models. Last year brought a mid-cycle refresh, so we don’t expect significant updates for 2023. The refreshes include revised exterior styling, new in-car technology and driver aids, a quieter cabin, and adaptive suspension.
- No significant changes are expected for 2023
- Part of the third RDX generation introduced for 2019
- Spacious cabin and cargo area
- Sharp steering and handling
- Well trimmed cabin
- Many technologies are available at a much lower price than the competition
2023 Acura RDX Review
Fun to drive and beautifully styled, the 2023 Acura RDX represents the best value among luxury SUVs—given you can live without the badge envy that BMW and Porsche offer as standard. The RDX’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is powerful and snappy handling is satisfying on twisty roads, but the 10-speed automatic transmission and brake pedal feel could use some tweaking.
Inside, the Acura isn’t quite as grand as the Genesis GV70 or the Volvo XC60, though it does come standard with a similar level of technology and convenience features. Even considering its flaws, the 2023 Acura RDX practicality, pleasant road manners, and value-oriented price make it a good—if somewhat unusual—choice among compact SUVs.
Attractive base price, fun-to-drive chassis, comprehensively equipped from the start.
The infotainment touchpad is finicky, the transmission is slow to downshift, and the cool A-Spec model looks sportier but isn’t.
The RDX is cheaper than its competitors to start with and offers the same luxury experience, even if its badge doesn’t carry the same prestige.
Aside from a free two-year/24,000-mile scheduled maintenance plan and free access to a three-year AcuraLink connectivity plan, the RDX enters the 2023 model year with no styling, feature, or powertrain changes.
2023 Acura RDX Specs
In the grand scheme of luxury compact SUVs, the 2023 RDX has a fairly muscular standard engine. Some manufacturers have higher performance variants, but Acura has kept it simple.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine develops 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. It’s passed through a 10-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels (FWD) in basic form, or an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system which is optional in lower trims, standard higher.
Acura recommends using 91-octane premium gasoline.
Maximum towing capacity is 1,500 pounds, which is fine for towing something like personal watercraft, but the BMW X3 can handle up to 4,400 pounds.
- 2.0 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine
- 272 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
- Torque 280 lb-ft @ 1600-4500 rpm Savings
- EPA city/road fuel: 22/28 mpg (FWD), 22/27 mpg (FWD, A-Spec) , 21/27 mpg (AWD), 21/26 mpg (AWD, A-Spec)
More Acura 2023 Acura RDX fuel economy information is available on the EPA website.
2023 Acura RDX Drivers
Some luxury compact SUVs are more interesting to drive than others. The 2023 Acura RDX is definitely in an interesting group.
It is very responsive to steering inputs, feels confident under braking, has decent power, and the 10-speed automatic transmission runs smoothly in the background. The regular RDX is comfortable enough, but stretching to the Advance package brings adaptive suspension with a spectrum of settings. All-wheel drive (AWD) is also included with this package.
It’s not just all-wheel drive—it’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive or SH-AWD, as Acura likes to say. It’s an intelligent system that distributes varying amounts of drive to each wheel to maximize grip, stability, and efficiency. 2023 Acura RDX offers SH-AWD either as an individual option or as part of the Advance package.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours driving and researching the current collection of luxury compact SUVs, including this Acura RDX.
2023 Acura RDX Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the center stack is rather busy, with lots of buttons, a touchpad, and a large rotary drive mode selector sitting front and center. The version we tested has the striking red upholstery from the A-Spec package and a few other exclusive styling pieces.
While the cabin’s notable build quality and desirable standard features (ambient lighting; power-adjustable front seats, heating; dual-zone climate control) are appreciated, the RDX fails to feel luxurious. Acura provided a sportier experience than something like the Honda CR-V could ever provide.
Nothing feels cheap or cheap, and the driving position is high enough to satisfy SUV enthusiasts and flexible enough to appease the avid driver. The handles on the outboard seat release the back row so you can fold it flat.
Or you can lower the seatback from the cargo hold using the secondary release. We managed to fit in eight carry-on bags with the seats up and 22 with the folding bags. The 2023 Acura RDX also has a large passthrough storage tray under its floating center console.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Although not as luxurious as the Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV, the 2023 RDX still has quality materials and an exemplary shape. Ambient LED lighting is standard, along with heated front seats.
Good external vision is complemented by an elevated driving position and ample space. At 38 inches, the rear legroom is good enough for its class. 29.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, rising to 58.9 cubic feet when folded, comparable to the rival RDX.
The only problem is the touchpad on the center console controls the infotainment system. It’s similar to a laptop computer’s trackpad, so most of us will be familiar with it, but it can take some getting used to. We prefer to interact with the touch screen.
Each 2023 Acura RDX has a 10.2-inch touchscreen that sits high on the dashboard. It can also be operated via the touchpad on the center console. Acura calls its controller intuitive, but it took us a while to get used to it. The 2023 Acura RDX comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The optional Technology Package adds built-in navigation, rear-seat USB ports, a 12-speaker ELS Studio audio system, and more.
2023 Acura RDX Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Each RDX is powered by a 272-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive (or “SH-AWD” in Acura parlance). The A-Spec version we tested took 6.2 seconds to reach 60 mph on our test track, which places it in the middle of compact luxury SUVs.
The RDX throttle is responsive at low speeds and pulls away from traffic lights with enough force for most drivers. The transmission can be quicker to downshift, especially when the driver uses the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The turbocharged engine makes the RDX sound a bit like the NSX, with a high-pitched roar on hard acceleration, but most of that sound is artificial and is fed into the cabin through the audio system speakers. The RDX we rode has large 20-inch wheels and optional adaptive dampers that let you customize ride quality.
While our test vehicle failed to isolate the cab from harsh impacts on the roughest roads, it never made a loud sound or noise. The torque vectoring SH-AWD system also helps the RDX change direction quickly and is supported by steering with a precise feel.
The RDX leaned only when we were attacking the highway on grades, but other than that, the balance was excellent. Unfortunately, the brake pedal detracts from the experience, due to its inconsistent firmness and responsiveness.
Real World Fuel and MPG Savings
The 2023 Acura RDX has a competitive EPA fuel economy rating near the mid-20s, with front-drive models getting slightly higher city and highway estimates than all-wheel-drive models. The former is rated at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway; both numbers drop by 1 mpg when you select the all-wheel drive.
Opting for the A-Spec package reduces highway forecasting by 1 mpg, to 27 mpg with the front driver and 26 mpg for SH-AWD cars. We tested the RDX A-Spec SH-AWD on our fuel-efficient 75 mph route, which was part of our extensive testing regimen, and it clocked in at 26 mpg—true to its EPA rating. For more information on the fuel economy of the 2023 Acura RDX, visit the EPA website.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
Each model includes some standard driver assistance technologies, but some additional assistance is available with the Technologies package. This includes front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
For more information on RDX crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key security features include:
- Standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
- Standard lane departure warning and lane maintenance assistance
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Our Favorite Features And Technologies
- Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
The convenience of wireless smartphone integration is one of everyday’s little joys. This is standard in RDX 2023.
- Power tailgate
Another standard comfort feature, eliminating the effort required to stretch and close. The hands-free opening comes with the Advance package.
- All wheel drive
More confidence in inclement weather, with greater grip and traction on dry terrain — a win-win that translates to fuel economy of only a mile or two per gallon.
- GPS-connected climate control
Part of the Technology package, this feature also uses a sun sensor for outside information so as to provide consistent interior comfort.
- Head-up display
It projects important information onto the windshield within the driver’s line of sight, increasing safety and reducing distractions. It’s part of the Advance package.
- ELS Audio
Developed with Elliot Scheiner, Grammy-winning recording engineer for Beyoncé and Fleetwood Mac, this incredible 16-speaker/710-watt system comes in the A-Spec model.
2023 Acura RDX Price
The 2023 Acura RDX starts at $41,350. All-wheel drive costs another $ 2,200. At the top of the range is the 2023 RDX A-Spec with the Advance package (which includes all-wheel drive), priced at $53,350.
- 2023 Acura RDX: $41,350
- 2023 Acura RDX with Technology package: $44,000 Most Popular (with AWD)
- 2023 Acura RDX A-Spec: $47,000
- 2023 Acura RDX with Advanced plan: $51,350
- 2023 Acura RDX A-Spec with Advanced plan: $53,350
This is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) and does not include factory-to-dealer shipping costs of $1,195.
In comparison, the Lexus NX starts at under $40K. Most of its other rivals — like the Genesis GV70, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV (new for 2023), Range Rover Evoque, and Volvo XC60 — all start in the mid-$40K range.
Porsche Macan is more like $57.5K. If extra space and seating are needed, a mid-size Acura MDX starts at nearly $50K.
Before buying the new RDX luxury compact SUV, check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Buying Price to see how much you should be paying. In terms of resale value, the RDX isn’t far behind leaders like the Macan and NX.
Acura offers the RDX in one trim but provides several different packages to jazz it up. Front-wheel drive is standard but all-wheel drive is available for $2000. Since the A-Spec version is expensive and has no real performance boost, we’ll forget about it.
But we’d recommend adding the Technology package which brings a better audio system, navigation, more luxurious leather upholstered seats, and more. Those who want adaptive dampers and a heads-up display should opt for the Advance package, but that significantly increases profits.
- Base $42,745
- Technology $45,195
- A-Spec $48,195
- Advanced $52,545