Acura RDX: Years to Avoid & Best Models to Buy

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When we’re in the market for a used car, especially a luxury SUV like the Acura RDX, we all want to make sure we’re getting the best bang for our buck. It’s not just about the sleek design or the powerful engine; it’s also about reliability and avoiding those model years that might bring more headaches than joy. That’s why we’ve decided to dive deep into the Acura RDX’s history, pinpointing those years that might be best to steer clear of.

Navigating the world of used cars can be a bit of a minefield, but armed with the right information, we can all make choices that keep us happy in the long run. So, let’s get into it and uncover which Acura RDX years might just be worth skipping to ensure we’re all driving something that’s not only stylish but reliable too.

Acura RDX: An Overview

Following our discussion on the importance of selecting the right Acura RDX model, it’s essential to dive into the vehicle’s history and characteristics that make it a popular choice among luxury SUV enthusiasts. Launched in 2007, the Acura RDX quickly made its mark as a compact luxury crossover SUV that offered both style and performance. Designed to cater to drivers looking for a high-end experience without compromising on utility, the RDX has evolved across its generations, improving in comfort, technology, and driving dynamics.

The first generation, spanning from 2007 to 2012, introduced the RDX with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a rare feature in its class at the time. This initial model set the stage for the RDX’s reputation for having a sporty edge. With its all-wheel-drive system, it appealed to those who value both performance and safety.

Transitioning into the second generation (2013-2018), the RDX saw significant enhancements. Acura replaced the turbocharged engine with a more reliable and powerful V6, addressing feedback regarding fuel efficiency and engine response. Furthermore, this period marked an improvement in luxury and technology features, including upgraded interior materials and advanced safety systems.

The third generation, starting in 2019, brought a comprehensive redesign, focusing on luxury and technological sophistication. Re-introducing a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, now paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, Acura aimed to blend performance with efficiency. The latest models showcase Acura’s commitment to innovation, offering features like the AcuraWatch suite of advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies, a modern infotainment system, and refined interior design.

As we look at specific years to avoid, understanding these generational changes is crucial. It provides context for the issues that were addressed and the improvements made, helping us recommend the best options for those in the market for a used Acura RDX. Each generation brought its strengths and weaknesses, influencing which model years might be best to skip.

Acura RDX Years to Avoid

Building on our understanding of the Acura RDX’s evolution across three generations, we now turn our attention to specific model years that potential buyers might want to steer clear of. It’s crucial for us to highlight that despite the Acura RDX’s solid reputation for luxury and reliability, certain model years have been plagued by more issues than others. Identifying these problematic years can save you from unforeseen repairs and enhance your used luxury SUV buying experience.

First, let’s look at the first generation Acura RDX models, particularly the 2007 and 2008 model years. These early versions have faced concerns related to their turbocharged engine’s reliability and excessive oil consumption. Also, some owners reported issues with the air conditioning system, which could pose a significant inconvenience and potential expense.

Moving on to the second generation, the 2013 Acura RDX marks a year to be cautious about. Although this generation marked improvements in reliability and luxury, the 2013 model year has been noted for its problematic infotainment system, alongside sporadic complaints about the brakes and battery life. The shift to a more reliable V6 engine this year did mitigate some of the turbo-related issues of the previous generation, but it’s worth being wary of these electronics and hardware concerns.

As for the third generation, while it represents a leap forward in technology and luxury, early adopters of the 2019 Acura RDX have reported teething problems with the infotainment system, such as glitches and software reliability issues. Additionally, some have faced challenges with the electronic gear selector and the touchpad interface, which might detract from the overall driving experience.

In setting forth these model years to avoid, we aim to guide you towards making a more informed decision when selecting a used Acura RDX. Although the years mentioned have documented concerns, it’s also valuable to remember that individual experiences can vary, and a thorough inspection and test drive can often reveal much about a specific vehicle’s condition. Our aim is to help you find a luxury SUV that meets your expectations in performance, comfort, and reliability, ensuring your satisfaction for years to come.

The Best Years for the Acura RDX

After highlighting the Acura RDX years to avoid, it’s crucial to shine a light on the model years that stand out for their reliability, performance, and overall owner satisfaction. We’ve combed through consumer reports, reliability ratings, and owner reviews to identify the best years for the Acura RDX, ensuring you make a wise investment in your next luxury SUV.

Highly Recommended Years

  • 2016 Model Year: The 2016 Acura RDX is a gem in the lineup, offering a potent V6 engine that balances power with efficiency. Notable for its smooth ride and upscale interior, this model year marks a high point in the RDX series. Improved safety features and enhanced technology options also contribute to its appeal.
  • 2018 Model Year: Just before the debut of the third generation, the 2018 RDX stands out for its reliability, comfort, and strong resale value. Its consistency in performance and minimal reported issues make it a solid choice for anyone looking to buy a used Acura RDX.
  • 2020 Model Year: As part of the third generation, the 2020 RDX showcases Acura’s commitment to innovation and comfort. Equipped with the turbocharged 2.0L engine, it delivers a satisfying blend of power and fuel efficiency. The inclusion of Acura’s latest infotainment system and advanced safety features also sets this model year apart.

Key Considerations

Choosing the best Acura RDX year involves weighing options between advanced features and proven reliability. The 2016, 2018, and 2020 model years each offer a unique blend of attributes that cater to different preferences but share common strengths in performance, comfort, and value retention. Whether opting for the enhanced luxury and technology of newer models or the tested reliability of earlier years, these selections promise satisfaction for discerning buyers. Remember, pairing this guidance with a thorough vehicle inspection will ensure your chosen Acura RDX lives up to expectations.

How to Identify a Good Acura RDX

After discussing the Acura RDX years to avoid and those outstanding models worth considering, it’s crucial to know how to spot a good Acura RDX. Identifying a reliable and well-maintained vehicle requires attention to a few key aspects that go beyond the model year.

  1. Examine Maintenance Records: A well-documented service history indicates the vehicle has been cared for properly. Look for regular oil changes, brake service, and other routine maintenance tasks. These records not only prove regular upkeep but also can highlight if the vehicle has had any major repairs.
  2. Check for Recalls: Ensure any recalls have been addressed. Acura, like all manufacturers, issues recalls for certain models when defects are discovered. Verifying that the previous owner has taken care of these recalls is a good sign of responsible ownership and ensures the vehicle’s safety features are up to date.
  3. Perform a Thorough Inspection: Assessing the vehicle’s condition inside and out gives valuable insights into its history. Check for uneven tire wear, which could indicate alignment issues. Inspect the engine for leaks and the body for any damage or repairs. A clean, well-maintained vehicle is more likely to be a reliable purchase.
  4. Consider the Mileage: While high mileage isn’t always a deal-breaker, understanding how those miles were accumulated is crucial. Highway miles are generally less taxing on a vehicle than city miles. However, very low mileage might not always be a good sign, as it could indicate the vehicle sat unused for long periods, potentially leading to other issues like deteriorating seals or stale fluids.
  5. Take a Test Drive: No amount of visual inspection can substitute for how the vehicle feels on the road. A test drive can reveal issues with alignment, transmission shifts, engine performance, and overall comfort. Listen for unusual noises and pay attention to how the vehicle handles.
  6. Consult a Trusted Mechanic: Lastly, having a pre-purchase inspection by a professional mechanic can uncover hidden problems. They can provide an unbiased opinion on the vehicle’s condition and potentially save you from costly repairs down the line.

By following these steps, you’ll increase your chances of finding a good Acura RDX that hasn’t just survived the years but has thrived. Each step provides peace of mind in your pursuit of a dependable luxury SUV.


Armed with the knowledge of which Acura RDX years to steer clear of and which to gravitate towards, we’re confident you’re well on your way to making a savvy purchase. Remember, it’s not just about avoiding the pitfalls but also about recognizing the gems in the lineup. With the 2016, 2018, and 2020 models standing out for their excellence, you’ve got some great options to consider. And let’s not forget the crucial steps to ensure you’re bringing home a reliable luxury SUV. Inspecting maintenance records, checking for recalls, and getting that all-important mechanic’s thumbs-up are key. We’re here to help you navigate the journey to finding your perfect Acura RDX. Happy hunting!

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Warren A. Holden

Warren A. Holden, the visionary behind Drive Cruise, is a dynamic automotive enthusiast driven by an unwavering passion for cars and a profound desire to create a unique space for fellow enthusiasts.