Acura Automobiles: 2012 Acura RDX


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 was given a fresh new look, a new drivetrain choice, better fuel economy (2WD), numerous interior and convenience upgrades, as well as a lower base price.

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.

When it debuted, the RDX was only available in all-wheel-drive. However, the 2012 RDX can be ordered in two-wheel-drive form that generates a reduction in vehicle weight, improved fuel economy and a lower purchase price. Externally, all 2012 RDX feature striking 18-inch diameter aluminum wheels, bold front and rear bumper fascias, Acura’s signature front grille and satin trim accents.


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 sports, 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 the cargo flexibility of an SUV – 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.


  • Turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-liter inline four cylinder engine
  • 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm
  • i-VTEC® (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control)
  • Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters
  • Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) (available feature)
  • Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system
  • EPA estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy: 19/24/21 mpg (2WD); 17/22/19 mpg (SH-AWD™)
  • EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions compliance


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Unit body structure with extensive use of high-tensile steel
  • Independent front suspension with MacPherson struts
  • Independent rear suspension multi-link design
  • Torque-sensing, variable power-assist rack-and-pinion steering
  • 18×7.5-inch 10-spoke aluminum wheels with P235/55R18 99V M+S all-season tires
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control
  • 1,500-pound tow rating
  • Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) front headlights
  • Heated outside mirrors with integrated directional turn indicators and Reverse gear tilt-down function (passenger-side mirror)


  • Luxurious cockpit designed for performance driving
  • Perforated leather-trimmed seats
  • Driver’s 8-way power seat with power-adjustable lumbar support
  • 2-position memory seat
  • Heated front seats
  • LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination
  • Leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with fingertip controls and racing-inspired paddle shifters
  • Manual tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Multi-Information Display (MID)
  • Rear view camera with rearview mirror integrated viewing screen
  • Power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off operation
  • Dual-mode rear cargo system
  • Locking center front console with dual-level storage
  • 60/40 split-folding flat-folding rear seating
  • 7-speaker Acura Premium Sound System with multi-format 6-disc changer, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Radio
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control system with air filtration
  • USB port (such as for iPhone®, iPod® and USB “memory stick” connectivity)
  • AUX input jack (for external music player connectivity)
  • Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® connectivity

Optional Technology Package Features

  • AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System
  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™
  • 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System with multi-format DVD-Audio, 6-disc changer, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Radio with Note function
  • Multi-Information Display (MID) with steering wheel mounted controls
  • Rear view camera with 8-inch color viewing screen
  • GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, automatic climate control system


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Impact-absorbing crumple zones (front/rear)
  • Dual stage, multiple threshold front airbags (SRS)
  • Front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbags for front and outboard rear seats with integrated rollover sensor
  • Active head restraints for front seats
  • Adjustable-height 3-point front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters
  • 3-point seat belts at all three rear seating positions
  • Automatic Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR) seat belt mechanisms (excluding driver)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with pressure readout
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control
  • Theft-deterrent system with electronic immobilizer


The RDX is engineered to be a technical tour de force within its segment. The engine and powertrain feature a host of technologies 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 4-cylinder engine features a 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 quick off-idle 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 engine produces 260 lb-ft of torque. It also returns an EPA estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy* of 19/24/21 mpg (2WD) and 17/22/19 mpg (SH-AWD™), while meeting EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards.

Acura’s commitment to making the RDX fun to drive continues with a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission fitted 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.

*Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. 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.


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 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.

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.


A finely appointed urban loft apartment was 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.

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. A USB port and AUX jack makes it easy to connect an external music player such as an iPod®, iPhone® or MP3 player.

The RDX seats five, but caters to the driver and front passenger first and foremost. The RDX seating generates 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 actuated driver seat is 8-way adjustable with adjustable lumbar support for a custom fit.

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.

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 an 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.


The RDX breaks ground in a number of important safety areas. Its Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes, and it has a specially engineered hood and other components to reduce the chance of injury in the event of a collision with a pedestrian.

Passive safety features include the latest dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbag technology for the driver and front passenger, side airbags for the driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags with rollover sensors for all outboard seating positions. The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system makes it easy to quickly secure a child seat in the rear seats.


The RDX was the first Acura light truck to be assembled* in Honda of America Manufacturing’s facility in Marysville, Ohio— the same factory that produces the Acura TL. As a result, it now brings light-truck production capacity and even greater versatility to the Marysville, Ohio plant.

Producing both a SUV and a sedan on the same assembly line requires additional flexibility because of vast dimensional differences (in particular the height and width of the RDX rear section). The assembly process in Marysville was optimized to reduce overhead lifting and reaching for workers installing the rear hatch. In addition, the assembly plant was modified to accommodate the installation of the RDX’s SH-AWD™ system.


A host of 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.

*Using domestically and globally sourced parts

Leave a Comment