If there is one thing Acura knows well, it’s SUVs. It has long been an industry leader in luxury SUVs, and the RDX is no exception. It had massive success in 2014, as it led its class at 44,865 units sold. Despite this, Acura decided not to rest on its laurels, but has decided to give the RDX a refresh on the inside, outside, and under the skin. This new RDX debuted at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show on February 12.

With all of the details in hand, it is clear that Acura’s plan is to make every one of its vehicles as similar to the wildly successful TLX sedan as it can. Like the sedan, the 2016 RDX received the Jewel Eye headlights and a 3D grille. Also added were some tech updates and a slight power boost under the hood.

Updated 04/15/2015: Acura announced prices for the 2016 RDX, which is now on sale. The model will be priced from $35,270 – an increase of just $175 over the 2015 model year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Acura RDX.

  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    279 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    3.5 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    6.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    135 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    35270 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:


2016 Acura RDX - image 616650
2016 Acura RDX - image 616649
2016 Acura RDX - image 616651
"This update includes the addition of Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlights, which I thinkt are absolutely awesome, and a revised front fascia. "

The exterior refresh for the 2016 RDX is pretty much what I expected it to be: just enough to bring it up to date with the rest of the lineup. This update includes the addition of Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlights, which I think are absolutely awesome, and a revised front fascia, including a new 3D grille (yes, it’s still the horrendous Acura beak, but the 3D effect makes it a little better), revised and sportier intakes on the outer edges of the bumper, and an angular air vent in the center that also includes a small splitter.

Around back, the same basic theme from the front carries over. The taillights get a slight refresh with the installation of Acura’s light-pipe design, but the best part of the rear-end update is the lower fascia, which gains a new, more angular bumper and insert. This gives the RDX a sportier look from behind while retaining its refined appearance.

Also a part of this refresh are new wheel designs to better match the revised front and rear fascias.

Side-by-side comparison

2016 Acura RDX - image 616655


2016 Acura RDX - image 616652
"The center stack also received a color change and it appears to be suspended above the center console"

The interior of the new RDX also received a small number of changes, including a reworking of the two-tone color scheme, as the black section it now comes farther down the dash, and high-contrast silver brightens things up a bit. The center stack also received a color change, and it appears to be suspended above the center console as opposed to being connected to the console as it was last year.

In terms of new features, the 2016 RDX now comes standard with heated front seats and the new-for-2016, second-row air-conditioning vents.

New tech features include an eight-way adjustable power driver’s seat, a dual-screen, On Demand Multi-Information Display, HD radio, blind-spot information, and rear cross-traffic alert as part of the revised Technology Package. New for 2016 is the Advance Package, which adds rain-sensing wipers, front fog lights, bi-directional keyless remote engine start, front and rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats, an auto-dimming driver’s-side mirror, and AcuraWatch. In addition to those features, both the Advance and Technology packages get Acura’s navigation system with voice recognition.

Though the changes are light on the inside, Acura definitely built more value into its higher-end trim levels with the addition of all the new features and gadgets.


2016 Acura RDX - image 616647
" In the new model year, however, this engine received a bump to 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque"

In its engine compartment, the 2016 Acura RDX will carry the same 3.5-liter SOHC, i-VTEC engine it has had since its 2013 redesign. In the new model year, however, this engine received a bump to 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque – a 6 horsepower and 1 pound-foot boost. Acura also claims a broader torque curve for better acceleration.

On top of the added power, Acura also squeezed an extra 1 mpg highway from the 2016 RDX, pushing the all-wheel-drive model to 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, and the front-wheel-drive model to 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Speaking of the all-wheel-drive system, Acura revised it this year, giving it added rear-wheel bias to enhance its driving dynamics and give it better performance in inclement weather.

In the handling department, Acura installed active front and rear engine mounts for better weight transfer; enhanced the steering system, and stiffened up the suspension mounts.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC V-6
Output 279 HP
Torque 252 LB-FT
EPA fuel economy city/highway 19/28mpg (AWD); 20/29mpg (FWD)


2016 Acura RDX - image 616822
Model Transmission Fuel Consumption Price
RDX (FWD) 6AT 20/28/23 $35,270
RDW (FWD) with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package 6AT 20/28/23 $36,570
RDX (FWD) with Technology Package 6AT 20/28/23 $38,970
RDX (FWD) with Technology Package and AcuraWatch™ Plus Package 6AT 20/28/23 $40,270
RDX (FWD) with Advance Package 6AT 20/28/23 $41,920
RDX (AWD) 6AT 19/27/22 $36,770
RDX (AWD) with AcuraWatch™ Plus Package 6AT 19/27/22 $38,070
RDX (AWD) with Technology Package 6AT 19/27/22 $40,470
RDX (AWD) with Technology Package and AcuraWatch™ Plus Package 6AT 19/27/22 $41,770
RDX (AWD) with Advance Package 6AT 19/27/22 $43,420


Audi Q5

2013 Audi Q5 - image 451524

The Audi Q5 was hot on the tail of the RDX in terms of sales in 2014, as the German automaker saw 42,420 of its small SUVs find new homes. The Q5 does lose a little in terms of pricing, as it starts out at $39,300, but it more than makes up for it in terms of options, standard all-wheel drive, and overall brand recognition.

In its base trim, the Q5 uses a 2.0-liter TFSI engine that delivers 220 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. This gets the Q5 to 60 mph in a respectable seven seconds and up to a top speed of 130 mph. On top of being quick, the Q5 2.0 TFSI is also fairly fuel-efficient, at 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.

Audi also offers a 3.0 TFSI engine with 272 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque for those who need more performance, and a 3.0 TDI that gets 31 mpg highway for those looking for better fuel economy.

Lincoln MKC

2015 - 2017 Lincoln MKC - image 532099

The Lincoln MKC is a bit of a dark horse in this race, as it sat in the middle of the pack in terms of sales in 2014, but it was an all-new model in a lineup that was still trying to find its footing. In terms of pricing, the MKC is a bargain at $33,100, but the marque has been marred by mediocrity in recent years.

Under its hood, the MKC is based on the successful Ford Escape, which is certainly not a bad thing. The MKC comes standard with a 2.0-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. This powerful four-pot delivers 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, and 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg with all-wheel drive. Moving up to the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine turns up the wick to 285 horses and 305 pound-feet of twist, and it includes standard all-wheel drive.

In terms of standard features, the MKC is about even with the base RDX, save for the leatherette seating (the 2015 Acura RDX has standard leather and the 2016 model likely will too). The MKC comes standard with goodies like LED taillights, 18-inch wheels, a nine-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, and more.


2016 Acura RDX - image 616651

Acura has the luxury SUV realm pretty much locked down, and improving upon the best-selling RDX can only mean good things. Acura does need to tread lightly with this revision, as making it too crazy may chase buyers away, but then, going too light may bore buyers and allow the Q5 to catch it. I think Acura’s on the right path with the way the press release is worded, but it is really hard to tell everything the Japanese automaker has up its sleeve.

  • Leave it
    • A turbo four-cylinder would be a nice option
    • That beak...

Updated History

Updated 02/13/2015: We’ve added a series of images taken during the RDX’s official debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Updated 02/12/2015: Acura unveiled the new 2016 RDX at the Chicago Auto Show. Click past the jump to learn what the new model year brings new to the lineup.

Car Finder:

Competing Vehicles

Press Release

Coming off its best-ever year, the newly refreshed and energized 2016 Acura RDX luxury sport-utility made its world debut at the Chicago Auto Show, sporting a host of significant upgrades to performance, luxury prestige and styling. Launching at Acura dealerships nationwide this Spring, the 2016 Acura RDX receives Jewel Eye™ LED projector headlamps and LED taillights, a new, more powerful 3.5-liter i-VTEC® V-6 engine, an expanded list of AcuraWatch™ safety and driver-assistive technologies, and a host of new luxury features and technologies, including a new line-topping RDX with Advance Package.

2016 Acura RDX - image 616647

The Acura RDX and MDX have formed a potent 1-2 punch in the luxury SUV game, posting record sales in 2014 well ahead of European rivals in their segments. With the 2016 MDX also getting significant new features and technologies, including a 9-speed automatic transmission, the new RDX and MDX stand as an even more formidable presence in the luxury SUV space.

"The RDX ended on a high note in 2014, posting its best sales year ever, but at Acura, we are not content in resting on our laurels," said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of Acura. "The 2016 RDX gets a major infusion of Acura brand DNA including enhancements to styling, driving performance, and exciting new luxury feature-content, further solidifying its place as the one to beat in the entry luxury SUV segment."

The 2016 RDX gets an important performance boost courtesy of its new 3.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology. Peak horsepower and torque output are up—279 (+6 hp) and 252 lb.-ft. (+1 lb.-ft.), respectively, while sporting a broader torque curve for more immediate and powerful acceleration response—right where it counts. Variable Cylinder Management™ allows for deactivation of two of the engine’s six cylinders under light engine loads, helping the more powerful 2016 RDX increase its highway EPA fuel-economy ratings by 1 mpg, rising to 19/28mpg for AWD models and 20/29mpg for FWD models (city/highway). Driving refinement is further enhanced by new active front and rear engine mounts, updates to the steering control system and increased suspension mount stiffness. Additionally, the RDX’s all-wheel-drive system – AWD with Intelligent Control – has been tuned for greater rear torque bias to further enhance dynamic stability and all-weather performance.

2016 Acura RDX - image 616648

The 2016 RDX also gets key elements of Acura design DNA with restyled front and rear fasciae, including the addition of Acura’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights and LED taillights with light-pipe design on all models and a new three-dimensional grille treatment. The lower front and rear fascia areas also support the new look with fresh luxury details while all models receive new wheel designs.

Inside, the new RDX gets a fresh look with a high-contrast silver and black trim plus significant upgrades to both standard and available luxury features and technology, including standard heated front seats and new second-row air-conditioning vents. The RDX with Technology Package adds a new 8-way adjustable power passenger’s front seat (4-way power in base models), Acura’s intuitive dual-screen On-Demand Multi-Information Display (ODMD), HD Radio®, blind spot information (BSI) and Rear Cross Traffic Monitor.

A new Advance Package for the 2016 RDX adds rain-sensing wipers, front fog lights, Bi-Directional Keyless remote engine start, front and rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats, an auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, and AcuraWatch™ advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies. Both the Technology and Advance packages are equipped with the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™. All RDX models with AcuraWatch™ also get a new 4.2-inch full-color TFT Multi-Information Display with expanded, customizable information readouts such as average vehicle speed, fuel economy, fuel range, tire pressure monitoring system (TMPS) and turn-by-turn navigation.

While offered as standard equipment on the new Advance Package, all RDX models can now be equipped with the AcuraWatch™ suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System™ and Lane Keeping Assist, along with a standard Multi-View Rear Camera and Expanded View driver’s side mirror. AcuraWatch™ uses sensor fusion technology, the cooperative operation of a millimeter wave radar system and a windshield-mounted monocular camera to expand both the scope and fidelity of its sensing capabilities, including the ability to sense and respond to numerous road hazards, including a pedestrian detected in the roadway.

2016 Acura RDX - image 616649

In addition to the available AcuraWatch™ technologies, the 2016 RDX offers enhanced collision performance with numerous changes to its Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that further improve frontal collision performance. The 2016 RDX targets top-in-class safety ratings – a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The RDX is produced at the company’s award-winning East Liberty, Ohio, plant, using domestic and globally sourced parts. In January, Acura marked the sale of its two-millionth North American-made vehicle in America. Today, approximately 94 percent of all Acura models sold in America are made in the company’s plants in Ohio and Alabama.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?