Acura Automobiles: 2012 Acura RDX


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.

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 design 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 that outfitted in protective gear. The look is muscular, taut, and poised for acceleration and agile split-second maneuvering.

In 2010, the RDX exterior was significantly upgraded including a new front fascia and grille, a hood with a new front edge design and updated HID headlights controlled by an Auto on/off function. Looking at the side of the RDX you’ll notice 18×7.5-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, an aggressive bumper fascia, rectangular exhaust finishers, revised taillights and satin finish trim give the 2012 RDX a fresh look.

Exterior Dimensions

When looking at exterior dimensions, the RDX is most similar to the BMW X3.

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 busy urban intersections. And finally, excellent angles of incidence (28.0-degree approach angle, 22.2-degree departure angle) pay dividends with steep driveways or off-road driving.


The RDX marries aggressive styling with function. The front fascia features a main opening that feeds the aluminum engine radiator. A top inlet, located behind the 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.


Xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) low beam headlights command the front corners of the RDX fascia and fenders. Their design incorporates a “smoke style” chrome plating treatment and compliments the angular pattern set by the Acura grille. Fog lamps are standard and are mounted within separate side grilles located at the corners of the front fascia. Both front and rear wheel arches are bold and broad, and 18×7.5-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 lower priority.


A powerful combination of Xenon HID low-beam and halogen high-beam front headlights provides excellent lighting for the RDX. 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. The RDX has as standard Auto On/Off headlight functionality. The RDX also features Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which enhance its visibility for other drivers and can help reduce the likelihood of 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.


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 helps enable 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.


The use of varying grades of steel in the construction of the RDX 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 located at the bottom of the body. Additional high tensile steel (HSS780 and HSS590) is used in other areas under the floor, along with 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.


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- such as tailgate hinges that are hidden at the top rear edge of the roof. The hinges make the RDX 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. Two lift handles are integrated into the rear hatch, allowing for a more secure grip when opening/closing the tailgate.


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 passengers. Acura internal testing measured the RDX at 71 decibels during normal city driving speeds- a dB level similar to other luxury vehicles.


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


Power operated front windows with integrated auto-reverse feature are standard. The RDX front windows also incorporate a 1-touch auto up/down feature. Window operation is retained for 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off or until the front doors are opened. Tinted door glass reduces eye strain along with the sun load on the inside of the vehicle.


A large power moonroof with auto-reverse function can be opened or closed with one touch of the ceiling-mounted switch. A timer allows the moonroof 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-mounted sliding shade is provided to block the sunlight.


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


The 2012 Acura RDX is available in a choice of three pearl and two 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 dedicated array of exterior accessories have been developed for the Acura RDX. When installed at the time of vehicle purchase, the accessories are covered by Acura’s 4-year/50,000-miles basic warranty.

  • Back-up sensors
  • Remote engine starter system
  • Engine block heater
  • Nose mask
  • Splash guards
  • Door edge guards
  • Door edge protection film
  • Body side molding
  • Sport running boards
  • Moonroof visor
  • Roof rack
  • Roof rack with attachment for: bicycle, kayak, luggage basket, short roof box, skis, snowboards, surfboard
  • Trailer hitch (Class I)
  • Trailer hitch ball (1 7/8-inch)
  • Trailer hitch ball (2-inch)
  • 19-inch diameter aluminum wheel (chrome look finish)
  • 19-inch diameter aluminum wheel (sparkle silver finish)
  • Wheel locks

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