• 2010 Acura RDX

First launched in 2007, the 2010 Acura RDX comes with a fresh new look, a new drivetrain choice, better fuel economy (2WD), numerous interior and convenience upgrades, as well as a significantly lower base price. The car has big competitor on the market: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infinity EX35, Mercedes GLK350 and Volkswagen Tiguan.

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The 2010 RDX is powered by a turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-liter DOHC, 16-valve, i-VTEC inline-four engine that delivers 240 hp at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. It has a fuel consumption of 19/24 mpg (2WD); 17/22 mpg (SH-AWD).

For 2010, the RDX exterior has a fresh look thanks to new 18-inch diameter aluminum wheels, bold new front and rear bumper fascias, Acura’s signature front grille, revised headlights and taillights, new exhaust tips and satin trim accents.

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On the interior comes with contemporary styling and high-quality materials are confident, functional and upscale. The driver-oriented cockpit includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination and a Multi-Information Display (MID) that allows access to multiple electronic functions.

Press release after the jump.

Press release

The market for personal sized SUVs has been greatly increasing in popularity in the last few years. Based on current economic conditions and changing consumer preference, small is big in the eyes of today’s consumers. As always, Acura offers the right product at the right time.

The Acura RDX burst on to the Sport Utility Vehicle scene in 2007. Upon its debut, the RDX 5-passenger crossover SUV generated excellent reviews and it continues to garner praise. For 2010 the turbocharged RDX arrives with a fresh new look, a new drivetrain choice, better fuel economy (2WD), numerous interior and convenience upgrades, as well as a significantly lower base price.

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The original RDX concept was initiated in California and then developed in Japan. When first introduced, the RDX debuted precedent-setting engineering features for Acura, including the luxury division’s first turbocharged and intercooled engine. For 2010, even more driver relevant features (with improved integration) are now part of the package. The RDX retains Acura’s "Safety Through Innovation" initiative with the application of edge standard safety technologies that combine to generate top ratings in NHTSA and IIHS crash tests. The RDX continues to offer class-leading electronic technologies that, for 2010, get even better thanks to items such as a larger navigation screen, much improved HandsFreeLink® voice recognition and technologies such as AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ and Traffic Rerouting™.

For 2010, the big news is that for the first time ever the RDX is available in two-wheel-drive form. The 2WD design offers a vehicle weight reduction, improved fuel economy and a lower purchase price. Also for 2010, the RDX now comes standard with a rear-view camera, electronic compass, a pull handle for the rear hatch, auto-function headlights, ambient footwell lighting, a center console storage tray, better grip cupholders, USB-port connectivity such as for iPhone/iPod or USB "memory stick" use, Note function for XM Radio and revised interior colors. Externally, all 2010 RDX feature striking 18-inch diameter aluminum wheels, bold new front and rear bumper fascias, Acura’s signature front grille, revised headlights and taillights, new exhaust tips and satin trim accents. For 2010, revised braking system components deliver better feel and improved durability.


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The Entry Premium SUV segment is relatively new, at present populated by a small group of vehicles including the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infinity EX35, Mercedes GLK350 and Volkswagen Tiguan. This segment is expected to grow five-fold in the next few years and the RDX positions Acura strongly within it, with its host of unique and attractive features.


RDX targets young professionals who are upwardly mobile and work hard, but play hard too. The typical buyer enjoys playing a sport, lives in the city, and on the weekends often travels to the mountains, country or coast. This customer wants a stylish vehicle that offers a higher "eye-point" (driving position) and more cargo flexibility than a sedan – but with the style, handling and performance of a sports sedan. Thus, the transformable utility of the RDX, along with its engaging performance and handling, is a perfect fit.

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The RDX is engineered to be a technical tour de force within its segment. The engine and powertrain feature a host of new and updated technologies for Acura that deliver strong driving performance with good fuel economy and low emissions.

RDX features Acura’s first application of a forced-induction engine. The 2.3-liter aluminum engine features an advanced variable flow turbocharger designed to provide quick response at low rpm as well as strong high-rpm power. The advantage of the variable flow turbo is immediate acceleration that drivers want in the city environment, together with 240 horsepower for the passing and hill-climbing ability of a traditional 6-cylinder engine. The RDX’s turbocharged inline four produces 260 lb-ft of torque. It also returns an EPA* estimated city/highway fuel economy of 19/24 mpg (2WD) and 17/22 mpg (SH-AWD™), while meeting tough EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards.

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Acura’s commitment to making the RDX fun to drive continues with a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission fit with racing-inspired paddle shifters. But of particular interest to many is that the RDX is its available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) system. First introduced in the 2005 Acura RL and then specially adapted for the RDX, the SH-AWD™ system deters understeer by transferring power to the outside rear wheel to create a yaw moment that helps boost cornering power and steering precision. The level of handling response and driver control provided by SH-AWD™ puts the RDX in a class by itself.

*Based on 2010 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.


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Befitting its concept as an urban sports vehicle for young professional singles or couples, the RDX body design is powerful and athletic with muscular bodylines that impart a sense of command and control. Key styling elements include body sides that rake upward front to rear, generous wheel arches that emphasize the large wheels and tires, a short rear overhang, and a cargo door that’s positioned flush with the bumper. For 2010, the RDX exterior has a fresh look thanks to new 18-inch diameter aluminum wheels, bold new front and rear bumper fascias, Acura’s signature front grille, revised headlights and taillights, new exhaust tips and satin trim accents.

For strength, widespread use of high-tensile steel provides the rigidity necessary for the 4-wheel independent suspension system while helping to reduce NVH. The RDX uses 39-percent (by weight) high-tensile steel to provide increased strength at a lower weight. Other engineering features include precise aerodynamic tuning that reduces drag and improves quietness inside the cabin. This aerodynamic tailoring includes a specially designed tailgate spoiler, rear wheel strakes and aerodynamic side mirrors.

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The RDX rides on 4-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link design in back. The mounting points for the suspension were carefully engineered to reduce the transmission of NVH into the passenger cabin. RDX also features 18-inch diameter wheels and large diameter 4-wheel disc brakes that include an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Torque-sensing power rack-and-pinion steering provides quick steering response with outstanding feel.


The RDX is a fusion of SUV functionality and sports sedan handling. Together in one package, these qualities create Acura’s first urban adventure crossover vehicle - the perfect compliment to a fast-paced urban lifestyle.

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The RDX’s crossover body styling simultaneously supports several agendas. First, its lines have a taut, muscular presence that promises energetic driving performance. But this performance edge doesn’t come at the cost of functionality, as evidenced by the versatile 5-door exterior format and generous interior storage space. Overall, the RDX has an urban-friendly size that’s both maneuverable and personal. Finally, while satisfying stylistic goals, the RDX is designed to provide a high level of crash safety performance.


To suit the dynamic (and sometimes hectic) urban setting, the RDX wears what Acura designers call "athletic armor," a design approach that suggests the powerful image of a football running back, outfitted in protective gear. The look is muscular, taut, and poised for acceleration and agile split-second maneuvering. And for 2010, that look gets even more aggressive.

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Starting with the front end, the RDX gets a new front fascia, the signature Acura grille, a hood with a new front edge design and updated HID headlights that are now controlled by a standard Auto on/off function. Looking at the side of the 2010 RDX you’ll notice new 18x7.5-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels that team with the vehicles wide track (61.9-in. front, 62.6-in. rear) to deliver excellent handling. Elegant and decisive style lines run the length of the body, with muscular wheel arches and short overhangs further adding to a poised, powerful look. At the rear, a much more aggressive bumper fascia, rectangular exhaust finishers, revised taillights and satin finish trim give the 2010 RDX a fresh new look.

Form Follows Function

The overall size of the RDX matches the needs of today’s urban commuter. Key functional points for the RDX include a low hood line that improves forward visibility. A high eye point for the driver and front passenger further improve outward visibility and add to a sense of confidence and control. Unique "skin-mount" exterior mirrors have specially designed compact housings that improve the A-pillar area visibility, providing good outward visibility for urban intersections. And finally, excellent approach and departure angles pay dividends when approaching or leaving steep driveways or parking garages.

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The RDX marries aggressive styling with function. The redesigned front fascia features a main opening that feeds the aluminum engine radiator. A top inlet, located behind the new grille, is a separate cold-air inlet for the aluminum turbocharger intercooler that is horizontally mounted above the engine. This functional inlet takes in cool outside air as the RDX moves forward, routing it through a duct in the hood and then down through the intercooler. A separate cool-air intake leads to a large-volume intake airbox fit with a high-volume air filter.

Additional details that contribute to the RDX’s aerodynamic efficiency include a spoiler above the tailgate (which helps air separate cleanly off the body at high speed), air strakes located in front of the rear tires and the streamlined "skin-mount" side mirrors.


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Redesigned high-intensity discharge (HID) low beam headlights command the front corners of the fascia and fenders. Their new design incorporates a "smoke style" chrome plating treatment and compliments the angular pattern set by the Acura grille. Fog lamps are standard, and for 2010 they are mounted within separate side grilles located at the corners of the new front fascia.

Both front and rear wheel arches are bold and broad, and new 18x7.5-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels further add to the dramatic appearance of the RDX.

Door dimensions were selected to enhance the RDX’s primary mission as a driver’s vehicle while retaining high usability for passengers in back. The front doors were specifically designed with long proportions for easy ingress and egress, while the rear doors are shorter as hauling rear seat passengers is of much lower priority.


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A powerful combination of Xenon HID low-beam and halogen high-beam front headlights provides excellent lighting for the RDX. For 2010, the headlights incorporate a "smoke style" chrome plating treatment for improved looks while the inner lens of the HID unit glitters, making the headlights more distinctive. Also new for 2010 is Auto On/Off headlight functionality that comes as standard. The RDX also features Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which enhance its visibility for other drivers and can help reduce the likelihood of accidents collisions during daytime driving.


Designed for arduous driving conditions, the lower door panels of the RDX incorporate a wide molding to help protect the lower body sides from chipping. This molding extends down past the body side sills, ensuring that the sills stay clean to avoid soiling clothing when passengers enter and exit the vehicle.

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A rigid structure enables designers to maintain tight body-panel fit tolerances, tune the suspension for precise ride and handling, help keep the ride squeak- and rattle-free as well as to provide long-term durability and high levels of crash protection for the occupants. The widespread use of high-tensile steel enables the RDX to meet all of these challenges.

Polygonal-shaped frame members, that are designed to disperse and absorb forces in a collision, are located behind the front bumper beam. These high-strength steel frame members send collision forces upward and rearward where they can be absorbed by the main body structure. In the event of a rear collision, polygonal-shaped high-tensile steel frame members direct the loads forward and outward. These rear frame members also use a "wave shape" design that provides high strength, yet deforms controllably in a collision. In a side impact, large longitudinal high-tensile steel side sills extending front to rear underneath the vehicle, along with lateral high tensile steel cross members, absorb energy. For greater steering precision and handling stability, RDX designers paid particular attention to improving body rigidity around the front and rear suspension. These reinforcements are comprised of side-to-side bracing behind and above the firewall and inside the tailgate area.


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The use of varying grades of steel in the construction of the RDX’s unit body is key to its stiffness, performance in a collision and light weight. HSS780 grade steel is used in the "box" section of the front, side and rear frame members at the bottom of the body. Additional high tensile steel (HSS780 and 590) is used in other areas under the floor, and in the A- and B-pillars and roof rails. By utilizing high strength steel (39-percent by weight), the RDX exceeds the BMW X3’s torsional rigidity.


Specially designed windshield wiper arms with flat blades ensure that the driver cannot see the stowed wipers from inside the vehicle. The hidden design also improves aerodynamics, reduces wind noise and adds to the RDX’s clean lines. Even the windshield washer nozzles are located underneath the trailing edge of the hood, improving both their performance at high speeds and the exterior look of the vehicle. Elimination of rear quarter glass panels in the doors gives RDX a cleaner appearance, with large 1-piece side windows that provide a more wide-open feeling.


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Designers spent a significant amount of time learning about the RDX’s target audience in order to better understand how they use their vehicles. One of the messages designers heard was that a high degree of functionality is essential. As a result, the RDX’s thoughtful design is evident even in small details, like tailgate hinges that are hidden at the top rear edge of the roof. This makes the body lines smoother, while simultaneously allowing for a higher tailgate opening.

The RDX’s clean exterior look is further enhanced by the use of an electric tailgate opening switch in place of a traditional outside handle. Touching the switch releases the tailgate, which can then be easily lifted open thanks to the counterbalancing effect of the gas-filled struts, tuned to suit the forward hinge positioning. New for 2010 are two lift handles that are integrated into the rear hatch, allowing for a more secure grip when opening/closing the tailgate.

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The city is a challenging environment and a great test of a vehicle’s NVH. Varied street surfaces, potholes and other navigational hazards mean the body structure (together with tire and suspension tuning) must address a wide range of NVH issues.

Engineering rigid front and rear suspension mounting points is key to achieve low NVH within the RDX. The low amount of road noise entering the cabin allows for easy conversation between the driver and passenger(s). Acura internal testing measured the RDX at 71 decibels during city driving speeds - a dB level similar to other luxury vehicles.


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For owner convenience, the RDX has standard power door locks and remote keyless entry. A retractable ignition key is built into the transmitter fob, and can be folded for easier carrying.


Front power windows with auto-reverse are standard. The RDX’s front power windows also incorporate a 1-touch auto up/down feature for convenience. Window operation is retained for 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off or until the front doors are opened. Tinted door glass reduces eyestrain and the sun load on the inside of the vehicle.


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A large power moonroof with auto-reverse function can be opened or closed with one touch of the ceiling-mounted switch. A timer allows it to be operated for 10 minutes after the ignition is shut off or until the doors are opened. The flush-fitting glass panel of the moonroof reduces air turbulence and wind noise, and an inside sliding shade is provided to block the sun.


A sleek mirror design that maximizes the mirror viewing area while minimizing the size of the mirror housing provides good outward visibility in the A-pillar area. Both the driver and passenger-side mirrors are heated, and the passenger-side mirror features a auto-tilt feature when the transmission is placed in Reverse.


The 2010 Acura RDX is available in a choice of three pearl and three metallic exterior paint colors. All paint choices are topped with a durable clear-coat finish that resists scratching and the effects of urban pollutants.


A finely appointed urban loft apartment is the design feel that Acura designers sought when crafting the RDX interior. The contemporary styling and high-quality materials are confident, functional and upscale. The driver-oriented cockpit includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination and a Multi-Information Display (MID) that allows access to multiple electronic functions.

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Among the advanced electronic technologies in the RDX is a standard 7-speaker Acura Premium Sound System with a multi-format 6-disc changer, AM/FM tuner, XM® Radio and Bluetooth® Audio. An auxiliary input jack makes it easy to connect an external MP3 player to the audio system, and standard for 2010 is a new USB port that allows the connection of (and charging of) items such as an iPhone or iPod. For 2010, the navigation system is easier to use, has a much expanded voice recognition system and features AcuraLink Traffic Rerouting™ along with AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™.

The RDX seats five, but caters to the driver and front passenger first and foremost. The RDX has an elevated eye-point that enhances the outward view. Its standard leather seating surfaces and ergonomically designed seat contours are designed to provide sports sedan-like comfort. The power driver’s seat is 8-way adjustable with power adjustable lumbar support for a custom fit.

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For 2010, the RDX now comes standard with auto function headlights, ambient footwell lighting, a center console storage tray and cup holders that provide better holding, a built-in compass and a rear view camera with rearview mirror mounted video screen.

Besides exemplary comfort, interior roominess and cargo carrying were high priorities for RDX designers. The rear seats are highly versatile and permit a wide range of storage capabilities. With the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks folded flat, the rear cargo area offers 60.6 cubic feet of storage. Numerous interior storage compartments include a large lockable dual-level center console between the front seats. For greater passenger comfort, a dual-zone automatic climate control system is standard.

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Technology Package

The RDX is so well equipped in standard form that only one optional trim package is available. Appealing to audiophile and computer-savvy customers, the Technology Package makes the RDX truly "wired." The Technology Package includes a 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System with multi-format 6-disc DVD-Audio changer, AM/FM tuner and XM® Radio. The Technology Package also includes AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System, the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™, rearview camera with a new 8-inch color display and a GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, automatic climate control system. In total, these technologies put the RDX at the cutting edge of the Entry Premium SUV segment.

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A host of attractive Acura Genuine Accessories were developed simultaneously with the development of the RDX. Like all Acura Genuine Accessories, the upgrades are covered by the RDX’s 4-year, 50,000-mile basic warranty when installed at the time of initial vehicle purchase or 12 months/12,000 miles when purchased separately.


Acura’s RDX shares much in concept with the TSX. Though one is an SUV and the other is a sports sedan, both vehicles are designed to blend strong performance with agility and precise handling. The unique positioning of this new Entry Premium SUV within the Acura product line guided the development of a special powertrain for the RDX. A conventional 4-cylinder engine would lack the horsepower and torque needed to make the RDX a strong performer. On the other hand, a 6-cylinder would add extra weight.

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A perfect solution comes in the form of a turbocharger - a first application for an Acura production vehicle. The RDX has an innovative variable flow turbocharger that overcomes the shortcomings of conventional turbo designs and delivers an unusually broad powerband with little or no lag in throttle response. In addition, Acura’s turbo design provides this benefit with high reliability. This is because airflow is controlled before it enters the turbocharger, rather than within the turbocharger as in traditional variable-flow designs. Acura’s variable flow turbo design thus eliminates moving components that work directly in the stream of hot exhaust gases. For 2010, the turbocharged 2.3L makes use of a new turbo inlet pipe that is thicker for reduced noise during high boost situations. Also in an effort to quell underhood noise, for 2010 the radiator cooling fan operates with reduced noise.

Architecturally similar to the TSX’s 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder, the RDX uses a 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder engine. Like the TSX, the RDX uses i-VTEC® valve control that combines Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) with Variable Timing Control™ (VTC™). With the variable flow turbocharger working in unison with i-VTEC®, the RDX delivers strong power and torque, excellent fuel economy and low emissions.

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Rated output for the 2.3L engine is 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The RDX has an EPA city/highway fuel economy rating* of 19/24 mpg (RDX 2WD) and 17/22 mpg (RDX SH-AWD™).

With its rear-mounted exhaust manifold feeding directly into the turbocharger, the use of a close-coupled catalytic converter and its advanced Programmed Fuel Injection, the 2010 RDX complies with EPA TIER 2 - BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards.

The RDX’s 5-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift can function as a conventional automatic transmission or, at the driver’s option, be shifted manually via steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The electronically controlled Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and automatic transmission work together to execute shifts, resulting in exceptionally quick and smooth gear changes.

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To maximize available traction with handling balance and responsiveness, the RDX is available with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™). This all-wheel-drive system progressively distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear axles but also between the left and right rear wheels. In addition, via torque vectoring the SH-AWD™ system can overdrive the outside rear wheel to generate a yaw moment that helps reduce understeer, improve steering accuracy and increase cornering power.


The RDX utilizes a die-cast lightweight aluminum cylinder block that has cast-in iron cylinder liners with 86mm bores. The block is a 2-piece design that fully supports the five main bearings with a single cast-alloy bed-plate assembly to help maximize rigidity and minimize noise and vibration. For even greater rigidity, the oil pan is a stiff aluminum casting.

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To handle the 20-percent increase in horsepower and a 60-percent increase in torque output due to turbocharging, there are numerous strengthening measures throughout the 2.3L engine. The cylinder block has been reinforced and additional structural reinforcements stiffen the engine’s mating surface with the transmission.

The RDX uses a forged-steel crankshaft with a long 99mm stroke. To reduce friction and improve durability, the crankshaft journals are micropolished. Special forged steel connecting rods are engineered to handle the engine’s high power output. The RDX has special aluminum pistons with thick crowns and super hard Nickel-Phosphorus (Ni-P) plating in the piston ring grooves to provide a long-wearing surface with excellent heat resistance. A high-capacity oil pump supplies oil jets directed at the underside of the piston crowns to help dissipate heat.


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The RDX cylinder head is constructed of cast aluminum and features four valves per cylinder that are driven by dual overhead camshafts (DOHC). Due to turbocharging, Premium Unleaded fuel is required for best resistance to detonation. The intake valve head diameter is 35mm while the exhaust valves measure 30mm. An automatically adjusted silent-type cam drive chain is maintenance free and runs in an oil bath for maximum durability. For better cooling, the RDX has small-diameter 12mm spark plugs with a long 26.5mm reach. The added reach allows the cylinder-head coolant jacket to be larger, with more coolant volume for better cooling and detonation resistance.


The RDX engine features Acura’s acclaimedi-VTEC system that teams Variable Timing Control™ (VTC™) with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) to provide optimal camshaft phasing. By allowing the valve lift and valve timing to be adjusted to suit the engine’s operating parameters, i-VTEC provides substantial performance, efficiency and emissions improvements.

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Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control

VTEC® adjusts the lift and opening duration of the valves to help the engine produce stronger low-rpm torque and excellent high-rpm power. At low rpm, the timing of the two intake valves is staggered and their lift is asymmetric within each cylinder; this creates a swirl effect within the combustion chambers. With better mixing in the cylinders, burn speed and combustion stability are improved. As engine rpm builds, VTEC® transitions to a high-lift, long-duration cam profile for improved high-rpm engine output.

Variable Timing Control

The i-VTEC® system incorporates VTC™, which continuously adjusts the intake cam timing to suit engine operating conditions. This precise control of cam timing improves power output, fuel economy and emissions performance.

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A powertrain control unit monitors camshaft position, ignition timing, exhaust oxygen content and throttle position - then it commands a VTC™ actuator to advance or retard the intake cam optimizing engine output and reducing emissions. At idle, the intake cam timing is retarded to deliver reduced oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions. As engine rpm builds, the intake cam is progressively advanced so the intake valves open sooner and valve overlap increases. This reduces pumping losses, which increases fuel economy and further reduces exhaust emissions due to the creation of an internal exhaust gas recirculation effect. By continuously optimizing the amount of intake cam advance based on the operating conditions, the RDX engine develops high peak power without compromising running manners over the full range of operating speeds.


Smart electronics connect the RDX throttle pedal to the throttle-body butterfly in the intake tract, optimizing engine response to suit driving conditions. An adjustable "gain" between the throttle pedal and engine offers an improvement in drivability.

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The Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system establishes the current driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle-body butterfly position, road speed and engine speed. This information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity and to generate a responsive feel that meets drivers’ expectations.


A variable flow turbocharger is the key element that allows the RDX’s 4-cylinder engine to perform like a larger-displacement 6-cylinder engine - all while delivering small-displacement fuel economy and very low emissions.

One challenge of turbocharging is the difficulty in sizing the turbo for optimal performance at all engine speeds. A small turbo spins up quicker, reducing lag (the delay between throttle-pedal movement and an increase in boost pressure), but doesn’t have enough flow for high rpm performance. Conversely, a large turbo takes longer to create boost pressure, but delivers excellent high rpm performance.

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Acura’s variable flow turbocharger is designed to combine the best qualities of both small and large turbos, while avoiding their respective downsides or introducing any reliability concerns. The variable flow turbo increases exhaust gas velocity into the turbo housing at low speeds by restricting the inlet area via a movable valve - thus enabling the turbo impeller to speed up quicker. At higher engine speed where exhaust gas flow is abundant, the valve opens progressively to maintain optimum exhaust gas flow into both the inner and outer scroll of the turbocharger housing.

Both the movable flow control valve and the wastegate (that limits maximum boost pressure) are powered by diaphragm-type actuators that are controlled by electric solenoids, which are in turn controlled by the engine’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Under full-throttle operation, the flow control valve begins to open at 2,000 rpm, and is fully open by 2,500 rpm. Flow control valve position is determined by exhaust gas flow, not by engine rpm. Maximum boost pressure (which is dependent on temperature, altitude and other factors) is 13.5 pounds per square inch (700mm Hg).

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Acura’s variable flow turbocharger is designed for excellent durability. Unlike variable-vane turbocharger designs that put the pivot point of moving parts in very high-temperature areas of the turbo housing, the Acura variable flow turbo has fewer moving parts inside the hot turbo housing, and is designed to shield the control valve pivot from the highest temperatures.

RDX’s turbocharger is positioned to the rear of the engine, close to the exhaust ports for maximum transfer of the hot, high velocity exhaust gasses. Water passages in the aluminum exhaust manifold help keep the temperature within the exhaust system at optimum levels for both the turbocharger and catalytic converter. When the engine is shut off, coolant continues to circulate within the turbo housing due to thermal convection, helping prevent long-term heat-related damage to the turbocharger bearings.


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An air inlet is positioned in the RDX’s front fascia to supply the 2.3L engine with cold, dense air. From there, inlet ducting carries cold air to a large air filter assembly, and then on to the turbo located behind the engine block. From the turbo, compressed intake air is routed through an air-to-air intercooler that lowers the temperature of the intake charge. As the compressed air exits the intercooler, it passes through the Drive-by-Wire™ throttle body, into the intake manifold and then routed to each cylinder.

To provide the intercooler with a constant flow of cooling air, the RDX has a large front air inlet located above the grille that creates a "ram-air" effect for increased air velocity across the intercooler.


Spent gases flow though a liquid-cooled aluminum exhaust manifold mounted on the rear side of the cylinder head, through the variable flow turbo, and then into a close-coupled catalytic converter. From there, exhaust is routed to an under-floor catalytic converter, through a large under-floor pre-muffler and then to a high-flow muffler. Dual exhaust outlets fit with bright finish exhaust tips reside at the rear fascia. The RDX’s exhaust note within the cabin has been specially tuned to deliver a sporty exhaust sound under acceleration, while remaining refined at cruising speeds.

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The RDX’s turbocharged engine achieves a high output of 104.3 horsepower per liter. At the same time, it meets strict CARB LEV II ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) emissions standards.

Greatly contributing to low emissions are the aluminum exhaust manifold and turbocharger that are positioned to the rear of the transversely mounted engine. This design allows the catalytic converter to be positioned very close to the turbocharger generating extremely quick catalytic converter "light-off" after startup. Thei-VTEC design cylinder head also plays an important role in emissions reduction by fostering internal exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), which significantly reduces NOx. Special high-flow fuel injectors with a wide dynamic range contribute to the RDX’s low emissions and high horsepower, and a variable flow fuel system delivers low evaporative emissions. The accuracy of the fuel injector control has been increased so that less fuel can be injected during certain situations -such as when at idle.

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Depending on operating conditions, evaporative emissions from the fuel tank are fed into the RDX’s intake tract, to prevent fuel vapors from escaping to the atmosphere. Whereas a normally aspirated engine always has partial vacuum in its intake tract that pulls in evaporative emissions, a turbocharged engine has high pressure in its intake tract whenever the turbocharger is providing forced induction. Thus, the RDX directs turbo pressure through a small nozzle to create negative pressure that pulls evaporative emissions into the engine.


To provide maximum engine lubrication (even at high operating temperatures inside the variable flow turbo), the RDX uses specified synthetic engine oil (such as Mobil 1®) to satisfy anti-deposit and anti-deterioration performance requirements. The Maintenance Minder™ system integrated into the instrument cluster calculates synthetic engine oil life based on the vehicle’s driving history, and alerts the driver when an oil change and other maintenance needs are required.


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The RDX’s high output in-line 4-cylinder engine features extensive Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) reduction technologies. The die-cast aluminum cylinder block with a bed-plate type main bearing cap helps resist vibration. A pair of chain-driven balance shafts further smoothes the inherent vibration of the large displacement inline 4-cylinder layout. The RDX oil pan is constructed of cast aluminum for better strength and sound attenuation as compared t stamped metal designs. A self-adjusting silent-type cam chain and a serpentine-style accessory drive belt team to help minimize NVH.


To maximize acceleration, fuel economy and driver control, the RDX has as standard a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission with racing-inspired paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control. Scaled to handle the RDX’s horsepower and torque output, the transmission has a special fluid cooler. The torque converter specifications are designed to complement the RDX’s turbocharger boost curve and power delivery by allowing more initial slip (resulting in quicker rpm gain) so that torque can build more quickly.

2010 Acura RDX
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5-Position Shift Gate and Sequential SportShift Paddle Shifter Operation

The RDX has a 5-position shift gate that simplifies the operation of the transmission. In the "D" position, the transmission operates automatically, selecting among the five forward gear ratios based on the driving conditions. By pulling the lever back into the "S" position, the transmission is placed in "Sport" mode, providing sportier automatic shifts among the first three gears during normal speeds. When initially engaging sport mode, the transmission will automatically shift between First, Second and Third gears until a paddle shifter is activated, at which time the transmission goes into full manual sport mode.

The Sequential SportShift paddle shifters can operate in both the "D" and "S" position. Engaging a paddle when in "D" temporarily places the transmission in manual mode (without gear holding at redline), and after relatively steady-state cruise conditions are detected, the transmission returns to full automatic operation. Engaging a paddle shifter when in "S" enables gear holding (which allows only driver commanded shifts), but automatically shifts to First gear when the RDX stops - even if not driver-selected. The steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are activated via a quick fingertip pull. Using the right paddle shifter commands a transmission upshift while a pull of the left paddle commands a downshift. A digital display in the right meter pod indicates which gear the transmission is in when the steering wheel paddles are active.

Automatic Mode

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The RDX transmission can be operated in conventional fully automatic mode ("D" and "S") via the console-mounted shifter. When in automatic mode, the transmission incorporates an advanced Grade Logic Control System and Shift Hold Control, both of which work to reduce gear "hunting" on hills and through turns.

Grade Logic Control alters the transmission’s shift schedule when traveling uphill or downhill, reducing shift frequency and improving speed control. Throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration are continuously measured, then compared with a map stored in the transmission computer. The Grade Logic Control system then determines when the RDX is on a hill; in this case, the shift schedule is adjusted to automatically hold the transmission in a lower gear for better climbing power or increased downhill engine braking.

Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) ratio when the throttle is quickly released and the brakes are applied (as might be the case when decelerating for a corner). This leaves the chassis undisturbed by excess shifting, while ensuring that abundant power is immediately available at corner exit without a transmission downshift.

Manual Mode Protective Features

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To help protect the engine and drivetrain from damage, an array of preventative features are active when the transmission is in manual mode (i.e. paddle shifters are active in "S" mode). If the driver doesn’t command an upshift in time, the transmission ECU cuts off fuel flow to the engine if there is a possibility of over-revving.

The transmission will not execute a driver-commanded downshift that would send the engine beyond maximum redline as caused by a change to a lower gear. .The Sequential SportShift transmission will automatically downshift to First gear as the vehicle comes to a stop, which prevents the RDX from lugging away from a stop in a higher gear.

Cooperation between 5-Speed Automatic Transmission and Drive-by-Wire™ Throttle System
With the RDX’s Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system and electronically controlled Sequential SportShift automatic transmission, the function of the engine and transmission can be closely choreographed for faster, smoother shifting. As a result, shift shock is reduced significantly during upshifts and downshifts.

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For improved all-weather traction, the RDX is available with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™). The RDX’s SH-AWD™ system differs mechanically from that used in the RL luxury performance sedan, but is similar in principle. The SH-AWD™ system progressively distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels. In addition to this "torque vectoring", SH-AWD™ can also overdrive the outside rear wheel to create a yaw moment to further enhance vehicle control. The result is neutral, accurate steering when cornering under power that front-drive, rear-drive or conventional all-wheel-drive can’t equal.

SH-AWD™ counters understeer by rotating the outside rear wheel faster than the speed of the front axle to yaw the vehicle through the turn while cornering. By relieving the front tires of some of the work of turning the vehicle, the system reduces understeer, and handling balance and controllability are improved. In addition, with the cornering load more evenly distributed between the front and rear tires, the total cornering grip is increased. In conventional vehicles, cornering is created almost entirely by the steering angle of the front tires. But in the RDX, additional cornering force is created by the steering angle of front tires combined with the extra drive torque supplied by the outside rear tire.

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To deal with high power output, conventional front- or rear-drive systems generally use some type of limited-slip device to maintain traction under power. However, the linking effect of the inside and outside drive wheels in these systems resists turning, or creates understeer. This is a factor that works against the front tires as they attempt to turn the car. Conventional AWD systems have a similar linking effect between the inboard and outboard tires and front and rear axles, causing a similar resistance to turning. By using drive torque to actually help turn the vehicle, the RDX can be more responsive, neutral and predictable, while simultaneously offering all of the usual benefits of all-wheel drive.

Electronic Controls and Parameters

The logic and control of SH-AWD™ is integrated with the RDX engine/transmission Electronic Control Unit (ECU), and Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) ECU. The engine/transmission ECU provides engine rpm, airflow meter and transmission gear ratio data, while the VSA® ECU provides data on wheel speed. The SH-AWD™ ECU also monitors lateral g-forces, yaw rate, steering angle and the status of rear right and left direct electromagnetic clutch torque. Drive torque is calculated based on the information from the engine/transmission ECU, then the acceleration situation, wheel spin, lateral g-force and steering angle are used to set the front to rear torque distribution as well as the torque split between the right and left rear wheels. SH-AWD™ operating parameters include:

2010 Acura RDX
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  • Up to 90-percent of available driveline torque can be transferred to the front wheels during normal driving
  • During straight line full-throttle acceleration, up to 45-percent of available torque can be transferred to the rear wheels
  • In hard cornering during acceleration, up to 70-percent of available torque can be directed to the rear wheels
  • Up to 100-percent of the torque sent to the rear axle can be applied to either rear wheel as conditions dictate


SH-AWD™ System Layout

SH-AWD™ is a full-time all-wheel drive system that requires no driver interaction for operation. A torque transfer unit is bolted directly to the RDX’s front-mounted transaxle. Attached to the front differential’s ring gear is a helical gear that provides input torque to the transfer unit. A short horizontal shaft and a hypoid gear set within the case send power to the rear propeller shaft, which in turn carries it to the rear drive unit.

2010 Acura RDX
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The rear drive unit of the RL sedan has a clutch and planetary gear set, called the "acceleration device," that can increase the speed of the rear axle up to 5.7-percent. In contrast, the RDX’s rear driveshaft is constantly overdriven by 1.7-percent and the resulting overdrive effect is regulated by the left and right rear clutch packs. The difference in the chosen rear axle speed increase is due to the differing handling dynamics of the two vehicles. The RDX achieves the desired SH-AWD™ cornering characteristics with less outside rear wheel speed increase. A matched pair of direct electromagnetic clutch systems, one on each side, control the power delivered to each rear wheel.

Direct Electromagnetic Clutch Systems

Located on either side of the hypoid gear (that drives the rear axle), two identical direct electromagnetic clutch systems control the amount of drive torque that reaches each rear wheel, and provide limited-slip differential function. These clutch systems can be controlled as a pair to alter the front/rear torque split, or can be controlled independently to allow up to 100-percent of the total rear axle torque to go to one side of the vehicle.

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An electric coil controls the pressure in each clutch device, which slows the sun gear in a planetary gear set to modulate the torque sent to the wheel. The amount of available rear axle torque transmitted to each rear wheel can vary continuously, between zero and 100-percent, depending on current conditions. Since the clutches are electromagnetically operated, the amount of drive torque delivered to each rear wheel can be controlled quickly and precisely, reducing wheel slip in low traction situations.

The clutch packs and friction material are specially designed to withstand the small amount of continuous slip between front and rear axles (created by the 1.7-percent speed differential), while ensuring the expected level of Acura durability. An oil-temperature sensor allows the ECU to estimate the clutch plate coefficient of friction (which changes with heat) in each clutch pack and then adjusts voltage sent to the electromagnetic coil that controls each clutch. To ensure that the amount of torque transmitted remains optimized as miles accumulate a coil provides a feedback loop that the ECU uses to adjust voltage to the electromagnetic clutches to compensate for any clutch wear.

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To eliminate unnecessary service visits while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, the RDX has a Maintenance Minder™ system that automatically monitors the vehicle’s operating conditions. When maintenance is required, the driver is alerted via a series of messages on the Multi-Information Display (MID) located in the instrument cluster. The alerts occur in advance of required maintenance for scheduling convenience.

The resettable system monitors operating conditions such as oil and coolant temperature and total engine rotations to determine the proper service intervals. Maintenance Minder™ indicates when maintenance is due on many normal service parts and systems, including oil and filter change, tire rotation, air cleaner, automatic transmission fluid, parts replacement and more. To prevent driver distraction, maintenance alerts are presented when the ignition is first turned on, not while driving - unless an urgent service need arises.


A challenging and varied urban driving landscape steered development of the RDX chassis. In an urban driving environment, the ability to accelerate, turn and brake quickly - with stability and control - are essential capabilities. But the RDX was also designed to excel on wide-open highways, sweeping mountain roads and long stretches of Interstate.

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The design goal for the RDX chassis was to provide the sporty handling of the Acura TSX sports sedan with the versatility of an SUV. These difficult goals for dynamic performance were not easy to achieve because the RDX needed a high eye-point (seating position) to provide the driver and passenger’s better visibility in urban traffic conditions. However, the higher the center of gravity a vehicle has, the more difficult it is to provide responsive and nimble handling like a sports sedan.

Acura designers answered this challenge by giving the RDX a low center of gravity and overall chassis specifications rivaling those of a sports sedan. The result is an especially confident experience when changing lanes or cornering.


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The RDX achieves its mission to provide sports sedan handling while simultaneously one-upping its rivals. When tested on the skidpad, Acura internal measurements show the RDX with SH-AWD™ achieves a maximum lateral acceleration cornering force of 0.85g. This exceeds the cornering performance of the BMW X3 in the same test conditions. Much of the credit for the RDX’s cornering performance goes to the SH-AWD™ system. As a result, the RDX provides sharp steering through corners, direct and linear response on winding roads and high speed stability on highways.


Acura engineers wanted to create a vehicle that transcended the traditional SUV driving experience. As a result, the RDX is at the top of its class for acceleration, turning and stopping, while delivering excellent ride quality. The SH-AWD™ system plays an important part in this, but so does the 4-wheel independent suspension, which provides compliant handling in the city and confident handling on the highway.

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Front Suspension

The RDX front suspension is a specially designed and tuned MacPherson strut arrangement with compact packaging along with the long wheel travel and ruggedness necessary to meet harsh urban roads. The geometry has been optimized with both a high caster angle and "trail" to provide sharp on-center steering response and stability.

Additional specifics of the front suspension that help achieve sports sedan-like handling include:

  • High-friction upper strut mount provides good on-center steering feel, along with increased linearity while reducing steering shimmy
  • Side-specific, symmetrically wound coil springs improve steering quality
  • Large-diameter lower arm compliance bushing reduces NVH
  • Optimized kingpin layout enhances steering feel and linearity
  • Large-diameter steering gearbox with rigid bushings adds stiffness and improves linear steer feel
  • 21mm diameter front stabilizer bar helps control body roll for flatter cornering


Rear Suspension

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A multi-link independent rear suspension system with aluminum knuckles fit compactly underneath the RDX’s rear seating and storage areas while providing excellent ride and handling characteristics along with low NVH. The suspension uses large-diameter trailing arm bushings to reduce harshness and improve ride comfort. A special steel suspension subframe with large "floating" bushings markedly reduces NVH while maintaining stability. Front and rear stays increase the subframe mounting point rigidity, improving stability and steering feel.

Rear suspension features:


  • Anti-squat geometry to reduce body pitching while under acceleration
  • 19mm diameter rear stabilizer bar helps deliver flatter cornering



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The Acura RDX has quick-ratio (15.1:1) power rack-and-pinion steering for response like that of a sports sedan. The hydraulically assisted steering is speed sensing, for easy maneuvering at low speeds and maximum feel and driving enjoyment at higher speeds. The curb-to-curb turning diameter of the RDX is 39.2 feet.

To improve steering precision, a stay (or stiffener) supports each end of the steering rack, further improving steering system rigidity. In addition, the rack-and-pinion gearbox has aluminum mounting brackets that, should a severe crash occur, will allow the aluminum brackets to break off when the engine is pushed rearward into the rack-and-pinion gearbox. This breaking action helps reduce intrusion into the interior which helps to improve occupant safety.

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The RDX was the first Acura model with standard 18-inch wheels and tires. For 2010, the RDX comes with new 18x7.5-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels paired with Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 P235/55R18 tires. The Michelin high-performance all-season tires are exclusively designed for the RDX, and have optimized sidewall rigidity that maintains vehicle stability in all load conditions. The low-profile tires also provide top class traction and braking in all weather conditions. In addition, an optional dealer-installed 19-inch wheel and tire package is available.


RDX features 4-wheel disc brakes with 11.7-inch diameter brake rotors in front and 12.0-inch diameter rotors in the rear. For 2010, changes to the brake booster and servo deliver even better brake pedal feel along with less initial brake "grabbiness". In addition, the brake system makes use of revised rear brake pad actuation that delivers less drag and longer pad life; also added to the mix are Geomet-coated rotors for improved looks and added rust prevention.

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An Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) is standard on the RDX. ABS helps the driver retain vehicle control during hard braking and EBD automatically proportions brake power to the rear brakes according to the vehicle load and driving conditions, helping to improve stopping performance.

The RDX also has Brake Assist, which uses a microprocessor that recognizes the driver’s intention to quickly and forcefully apply the brakes in a panic stop situation. In this case, Brake Assist immediately supplements the braking force, enabling the best braking performance in the moment when it’s most needed. Brake Assist only supplements the driver’s intentions, and its function terminates immediately when the driver releases the brake pedal.


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Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is included as standard equipment on the RDX. By continually monitoring the vehicle’s operating parameters (such as vehicle speed, throttle position, steering angle, individual wheel speeds, lateral g and yaw rate), VSA® detects if the vehicle is about to oversteer or understeer. To help correct either of these situations, 4-channel VSA® automatically reduces the engine’s torque output as needed, and applies one or more brakes individually, to help stabilize the chassis. The response is so quick that the instability may be corrected even before the driver knows that it is occurring. With the SH-AWD™ model, Traction Control is integrated into the VSA® to help the RDX accelerate smoothly on slippery surfaces. If required, Traction Control can be disabled.


Acura RDX has an onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that warns the driver if the air pressure decreases significantly in any tire. The system helps reduce the chance of damaging a tire or losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow leak, such as one that might be caused by a nail or road debris, might not be easily detectable but could over time cause significant air loss resulting in loss of grip or potentially a blowout.

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TPMS uses a sensor mounted in each wheel that continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to the TPMS electronic control unit (ECU). The process begins with a signal initiator located on the chassis just inboard of each tire. The initiator sends a unique signal for each TPMS sensor. Then the TPMS sensor sends tire pressure data to the TPMS ECU, which compares the values for each tire’s pressure against an acceptable range of pressures.

On the RDX the Multi-Information Display (MID) shows the location of the tire that is experiencing significant pressure loss.

On the RDX with Technology Package, the TPMS system can simultaneously display the air pressure in all four tires via the MID, making it simple to locate a low-pressure tire.


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The RDX’s 18-gallon fuel tank is located in a protected position under the body and forward of the rear wheels. Based on the EPA’s estimated city/highway fuel economy* of 17/22 mpg (SH-AWD™) and 19/24 (2WD) means that on the highway the RDX can cover nearly 400 miles (SH-AWD™) or about 430 miles (2WD) on one tank of fuel.

*Based on 2010 EPA mileage estimates, reflecting new EPA fuel economy methods beginning with 2008 models. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.


For added utility, the RDX has a 1,500-pound tow rating when equipped with the available towing package. The tow rating makes the RDX capable of pulling items such as a small camping trailer, or a personal watercraft or motorcycle trailer.


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Like all products from Honda of America Manufacturing’s facility in Marysville, Ohio, the RDX follows strict guidelines for environmental care - both in the manufacturing process and in the actual vehicle components. The following is a partial list of significant environmental processes used in creating the RDX that reduce its long-term environmental impact.

  • More than 90-percent of RDX parts are made of recyclable materials
  • The use of non-chromed tanned leather (in leather-equipped models) reduces hazardous waste generation during the tanning process, and it can be composted at the end of the vehicle’s life
  • Elimination of PVC material in most interior parts (door lining, seat trim, shift knob, etc.) and exterior parts (roof and door moldings, weather strips and tubes) improves recycling ability
  • Halogen is eliminated from fire-retardant materials
  • Wheel balance weights and electro-deposition paints do not contain any lead
  • Use of molded-in color plastics reduces paint emissions
  • Replacement of ABS plastic with polypropylene material (such as in the center console, instrument panel and doors) reduces emissions during plastic manufacturing
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All 2010 model year vehicles are required to meet the latest frontal and rear federal crash-performance regulations that are incorporated into known as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards FMVSS 208 (Frontal Occupant Crash Protection) and FMVSS 301 (Rear Fuel System Integrity). The FMVSS 301 requirements include a more severe rear crash test. The prior version of FMVSS 301 required that a 1,814 kg (4,000 lb.) flat rigid moving barrier strike the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. In the current test, a 1,367 kg (3,015 lb.) deformable barrier sled strikes 70-percent of the vehicle’s width at 50 mph. The new test requires that the vehicle absorb more crash energy than before - and the 2010 Acura RDX does.

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In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), conducts tests that which are often referenced by customers but are not necessarily performed on all vehicles. For the RDX, the engineering target was 5 Star crash-safety ratings for from NHTSA tests and GOOD ratings for all IIHS tests - the best test results possible in the frontal and side-impact crash tests, the best possible rating possible. (The RDX also received 4-star rating from NTHSA for roll-over resistance, the highest rating received by any SUV.) Not all of the RDX’s competitors can make the same claim.

Testing includes the IIHS ratings test called Side Impact Crashworthiness Evaluation (SICE), which limits the interior intrusiveness if the RDX is hit by an SUV in a side collision. Finally, the RDX adopts pedestrian head protection measures that are above and beyond NHTSA standards.


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The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure is an exclusive body design incorporated into the RDX that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. By doing so, is the cornerstone engineering feature that defines much of the RDX structure. ACE™ helps maintain the structural integrity of the passenger cabin in a frontal crash. It does so by markedly improving energy distribution away from the cabin during the crash, thus allowing a more uniform absorption of impact energy. This crash energy redirection helps reduce the chance of intrusion into the passenger cabin.

In addition, the ACE™ design also provides benefits in increases vehicle compatibility in frontal crashes, which can improve passenger safety when vehicles of dissimilar size and height weight collide.

The RDX also has a special lower member that extends below the front bumper beam. This lower member helps ensure that if the RDX collides with a smaller vehicle, the lower front member will better engage the other vehicle’s bumper system.

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The new requirements for NHTSA’s FMVSS 301 test include a more severe rear crash test. In the current test, a 1,367 kg (3,015 lb.) deformable barrier sled strikes 70-percent of the vehicle’s width at 50 mph. In contrast, the previous FMVSS 301 used a 1,814 kg (4,000 lb.) flat rigid moving barrier that struck the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. The new test requires that the vehicle absorb more crash energy than before - and the 2010 Acura RDX does.


As full-size pickups and SUVs have become larger and taller, so has the dilemma presented when such vehicles collide head-on with smaller vehicles. ACE™ helps distribute the impact forces of a larger and heavier vehicle across the front structure of the RDX. This redirection of crash energy helps to reduce the risk of interior intrusion as well as helps disperse the crash energy across a wider area of the front of the vehicle to help reduce the risk of occupant injury.

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The RDX also has a special lower member that extends below the front bumper beam. This lower member helps ensure that if the RDX collides with a smaller vehicle, the lower front member will better engage the other vehicle’s bumper system.


Even though there is no current governmental requirement to do so, as part of Acura’s "Safety Through Innovation" engineering philosophy, the RDX incorporates design elements that takes the well being of pedestrians into account.

Specifically, engineers optimized certain structures in the RDX front end to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research shows that these features can dramatically improve a pedestrian’s chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.


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Dual-stage, dual threshold front airbags are provided for the driver and front passenger. These airbags are designed to maximize protection for the head and chest during a front collision. In dual-stage technology, each airbag inflator has two stages rather than a traditional single inflation stage. Dual-threshold technology allows for these two stages of inflation to be activated at different times. Combining dual-stage and dual-threshold technology with technology that detects if the occupants are (or are not) using seatbelts, the RDX’s front airbags are deployed in a sequence based on seat-belt use and crash severity. To reduce the potential for airbag injuries during a moderate collision, assuming the seat occupant is wearing a seat belt, the airbag stages are deployed in a delayed mode sequentially to slow the overall rate of inflation. In the event of a severe crash or an unbelted occupant, both stages are deployed at the same time to provide immediate occupant protection.

Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Airbag parameters:


  • Airbag deployment characteristics are finely controlled depending on the severity of a collision
  • The dual stage, dual-threshold strategy applies to front airbags only and does not affect operation of front side airbags or side curtain airbags
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In addition, the airbag system also uses a seat weight sensor to assess the weight of the front passenger. The front passenger airbag is shut off if the weight sensor indicates that a small child or a baby carrier is occupying the front seat. Finally, a seamless dashboard cover conceals the passenger front airbag, while the driver’s front airbag is located in a small housing within the steering-wheel.


Side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to provide upper torso protection for front occupants in the event of a sufficient side impact. In addition, the front passenger’s seat is equipped with the Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a small child (or small stature adult) is occupying the front seat and /or if the passenger leans into the side airbag deployment path. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy and help protect the occupant in a side impact. The system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determines if it is safe to deploy the side airbag.


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In a sufficient side impact or rollover, the RDX’s side curtain airbags deploy from roof-mounted modules, providing head protection for outboard occupants seated in both rows of seating. Side curtain airbags effectively cover the window area from the A-pillar back to the C-pillar. Tests show that the g-forces acting upon an outboard occupant’s head during an accident collision are far lower with side curtain airbags.


The RDX includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for all rear seat positions. LATCH features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle’s seat belt system. Additionally, the LATCH system simplifies child seat installation when an owner installs a LATCH-compatible child seat. Up to two LATCH child seats can be installed simultaneously.


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Both front seatbelts have an automatic tensioning system with load limiters that work together to help protect the driver and front passenger in a sufficient collision. The components work automatically in a 1-2 sequence. In the first few milliseconds of a sufficient collision, the tensioning system automatically tightens the front seat belts. Research has shown that seat belts that are snugly secured around the occupants provide better protection. If the deceleration forces rise above a predetermined threshold, the load limiter releases a small length of seatbelt webbing (in a controlled manner) to reduce the pressure on the occupant. This helps reduce the likelihood of injuries that seatbelts can cause in a severe, high-speed collision.


The RDX front seats incorporate active head restraints that help minimize the potential likelihood of for neck injury experienced during a rear-end collision. In the event of such a rear collision, the occupant’s body is pushed against the seatback. The pressure to the seatback is then mechanically transmitted from a special lumbar plate via to links that push the head restraint upward and forward to reduce the gap between the occupant’s head and seat’s head restraint. Such action reduces the forces acting on the head, neck and spine at the time of the collision. This ability to help manage rear collision forces is a key component to reducing whiplash injuries. Active head restraints are standard on the Acura RDX.

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An 18-gallon fuel tank is located in a protected area in front of the rear body-deformation zone that minimizes the risk of tank damage in a collision.

Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the Topspeed.com team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with Topspeed.com ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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Show Comments


  (599) posted on 10.5.2011

Very fresh and cool car, it’s simple blended color scheme blends on the overall appearance of the car. And the details from wheels, to rear bumper and turn to headlights, etc. well fitted to the car.

  (647) posted on 04.8.2010

I would love to see an exterior change that makes it less truck-like. Then it would be the perfect luxury CUV in its class.

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