Acura RDX Years to Avoid – These Used Models Have Major Issues and Complaints

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you considering purchasing an Acura RDX, but worried about potential reliability issues?

It’s important to be aware of specific model years that have a higher likelihood of problems to avoid ending up with an SUV that frequently requires repairs and maintenance.

In this article, we’ll discuss some Acura RDX years that you should avoid and why these particular years have garnered a less-than-stellar reputation.

First-generation models between 2007 and 2011 faced airbag failures and high maintenance costs, while the 2019 model year has been identified as problematic due to various concerns.

By arming yourself with this motor-car knowledge, you can make a more informed decision when shopping for an Acura RDX and increase your chances of enjoying a smooth and hassle-free ownership experience.

Acura RDX Worst Years

First Generation: 2007-2012

During the first generation of the Acura RDX, some years were more problematic than others.

Specifically, the 2007-2011 model years were known to have issues with airbag failures and high maintenance costs.

As for the 2012 model year, things seemed to improve, making it a better option within the first generation RDX lineup. Here are the list of Acura RDX best year worth your investment.

Second Generation: 2013-2018

The second generation RDX had its own set of issues. The 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 models should be avoided.

The 2016 model, in particular, has numerous braking complaints such as high-pitched screaming, rapid brake fading, and longer stopping distances.

In these model years, you might also come across infotainment system glitches and quality issues with interior materials.

However, the 2017 and 2018 models proved to be more reliable and can be considered among the better choices within the second generation.

Third Generation: 2019-Present

The third generation of the Acura RDX began in 2019 and continues to the present day. Most notably, the 2019 RDX is considered the worst model year and should be avoided.

It had numerous problems like loss of engine power, excessive battery drainage, infotainment system issues, and squeaky brakes.

While the 2020 model year also had some issues, improvements were made with the 2021 and 2022 models, making them more reliable options in the third generation RDX lineup.

To sum up, when purchasing an Acura RDX, try to avoid the problematic years like 2007-2011, 2013-2016, and 2019.

Common Complaints

Engine Issues

One of the most reported issues with the Acura RDX is engine problems. For instance, the 2019 Acura RDX model received numerous complaints mainly related to stalling engines.

This not only hampers the vehicle’s performance but also poses a safety concern. Additionally, some other models experienced loss of acceleration, which could create unwanted situations on the road.

Transmission Problems

Transmission issues are another area where certain Acura RDX models fall short. While the search results didn’t point to a specific model year, transmission issues could impact your experience with the vehicle.

Make sure to pay attention to any signs of malfunctioning, such as difficulty in changing gears or slipping gears.

Electrical Issues

Electrical problems are quite common in some Acura RDX models, especially those from 2007, 2008, and 2010.

The suspension, brakes, and electrical systems were all reported to be problematic in these particular years. Some other potential electrical issues include:

  • Infotainment system failure: Many drivers complained about issues with the infotainment systems in their vehicles.
  • Airbag problems: The Acura RDX is one of the 100 million vehicles fitted with Takata airbags, which have been a considerable safety concern in the past.
  • Brake issues: The 2016 Acura RDX model received several complaints related to braking problems, such as high-pitched screaming, rapid brake fading, and increased stopping distance.

Safety Concerns

In this section, we’ll discuss recalls and defects, as well as airbag issues.

Recalls and Defects

Several model years of the Acura RDX have experienced recalls due to various issues. For example, the first-generation RDX (2007-2011) faced airbag failures and high maintenance costs.

Additionally, the 2019 RDX is considered the worst model year and has problems such as loss of engine power, excessive battery drainage, infotainment system problems, and squeaky brakes.

It’s important to research any recalls or defects before purchasing a specific year to ensure your vehicle is as safe as possible.

Airbag Issues

Airbags are crucial safety features in any car. Unfortunately, some Acura RDX models, particularly those from 2007-2011, have experienced airbag issues.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that these vehicles may face problems related to their Takata airbags, which could result in airbag failure during an accident, placing occupants at risk of injury.

To evaluate the safety of any Acura RDX you’re considering, research the specific model year to ensure it does not have any outstanding recalls or known issues related to airbags or other safety features.

Remember that your safety and the safety of your passengers should be a top priority when choosing a vehicle.

Maintenance and Repair

Costs and Dependability

When considering an Acura RDX, it’s important to be aware of the maintenance and repair costs associated with certain model years.

The 2007-2011 models in the first generation are known for their airbag failures and high maintenance costs. However, they also offer luxurious features and premium style.

The 2019 model stands out as another year to avoid due to its engine stall issues, which could potentially lead to dangerous situations and expensive repairs.

Additionally, the RDX has been known for its inconsistent reliability ratings and high repair costs at the 10-year mark, with some years having issues like loss of engine power, excessive battery drainage, and squeaky brakes.

Regular Maintenance Requirements

Your Acura RDX will require routine maintenance to ensure it lasts for years and continues to provide a quality, luxury driving experience. Some of the recommended maintenance tasks include:

  • Regular oil changes
  • Tire rotations and inspections
  • Brake pad and rotor checks
  • Air filter replacements
  • Transmission fluid changes

By keeping up with these regular maintenance requirements, you can potentially prevent more serious issues from arising and improve overall dependability.

Although certain model years have been known to have higher maintenance costs than others, taking proper care of your RDX will ultimately help keep repair costs down and ensure you get the most out of your luxury SUV.

Soy-Based Insulation Problems

One issue you may encounter with some Acura RDX models is soy-based insulation on the electrical wiring.

This type of insulation has been known to attract animals, who are drawn to the undercarriage of your vehicle for warmth. As a result, these critters can cause costly problems for your car.

When animals are lured to the underside of your Acura RDX, they may chew on your vehicle’s electrical wiring.

This can cause various types of damage, from minor repairs to complicated and expensive fixes. In some cases, the repairs have been reported to cost around $2,000 to fix the problems these animals bring.

To reduce the risk of encountering these types of issues, you might want to avoid purchasing specific Acura RDX model years, such as 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2019.

It’s essential to always research the car model and year you are considering buying to ensure that you are aware of any potential problems.

Best Years for Acura RDX Models

You might be wondering what the best years for Acura RDX models are before making a decision on your next vehicle purchase.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top years for this luxury crossover SUV based on factors like performance, reliability, and features.

2018 Acura RDX

The 2018 Acura RDX stands out as one of the best model years. Benefiting from a refined powertrain, comfortable interior, and a smooth ride, this year was praised for its performance.

In addition, it received high marks for reliability, ensuring a pleasant and dependable driving experience.

2021 Acura RDX

Another excellent choice is the 2021 Acura RDX. This model offers a comfortable and upscale cabin, as well as a smooth and powerful turbocharged engine.

It also boasts advanced safety features and a user-friendly infotainment system, making it a great choice for those seeking luxury and the latest technology.

2012 Acura RDX

For those looking at slightly older models, the 2012 Acura RDX is up there with the best.

Praised for its superb handling, strong engine, and good reliability ratings, it provides an enjoyable and dependable ride.

Its well-appointed interior and spacious cargo area for its class make it a practical yet luxurious choice.

2011 Acura RDX

Another solid option from the older generation is the 2011 Acura RDX. This model is known for its excellent safety scores, powerful engine, and comfortable, stylish interior.

It boasts impressive handling, which adds to the overall appeal and enjoyment of driving this vehicle.

By choosing one of these top-rated model years for your Acura RDX, you’re bound to enjoy a reliable, high-performing vehicle that suits your needs. Happy car shopping!

Exterior and Interior Features


The exterior design of the Acura RDX is quite eye-catching. With its aggressive and bold front end, featuring LED headlights and fog lights, you’re sure to turn heads wherever you go.

The aesthetically pleasing design elements, such as the 19-inch wheels, make a strong statement and add to the overall appeal of this compact SUV.


Inside the Acura RDX, you’ll find a technologically advanced cabin equipped with advanced features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

These connectivity options make it easy for you to sync your smartphone and access your favorite apps, navigation, and entertainment while on the move.

The infotainment system is user-friendly and responsive, ensuring you remain connected and entertained during your journeys.

Cargo and Comfort

As for cargo capacity, the Acura RDX offers ample space for all your belongings.

With rear seats that can easily be folded down, you’ll have plenty of room to accommodate everything you need for a weekend getaway or a shopping spree.

The cargo area is designed to be versatile, allowing you to conveniently store and organize your items.

The interior of the RDX is not only attractive but also comfortable. Premium materials such as wood trim and leather upholstery give the cabin an upscale feel, while the well-cushioned seats ensure maximum comfort during long drives.

To further enhance the experience, you’ll have access to various convenience features like automatic climate control, a power liftgate, and a panoramic moonroof.

As you explore the Acura RDX, you’ll find that its exterior and interior features strike a perfect balance between style and functionality.

Performance and Driving Experience

When it comes to the performance and driving experience of the Acura RDX, there are several aspects to consider, especially if you’re looking into the years to avoid.

To help you make an informed decision, let’s dive into two critical sub-sections: Acceleration and Handling, and Fuel Economy and Efficiency.

Acceleration and Handling

The Acura RDX is a crossover SUV that promises a sporty driving experience with its powerful engine.

However, some model years did not meet these expectations. For instance, the 2019 Acura RDX faced issues with powertrain performance and engine power, negatively impacting the driving experience.

Nevertheless, the RDX generally delivers a good balance between performance and comfort.

With its agile handling, the small crossover SUV maneuvers effortlessly through tight turns and offers a smooth and controlled ride over most road surfaces.

Fuel Economy and Efficiency

When it comes to fuel economy, it’s essential to consider the efficiency of your chosen Acura RDX model.

While many RDX models provide decent fuel efficiency, keep in mind that some model years, such as 2016 and 2013, are known for excessive battery drainage, which could result in higher costs when it comes to regular maintenance.

To help pick the right RDX based on fuel efficiency, you can refer to the EPA-estimated ratings:

Model Year City MPG Highway MPG Combined MPG
2022 22 28 24
2022 A-Spec 21 26 23
2022 Advance 21 26 23

Acura RDX vs Competitors

Audi Q5

When comparing the Acura RDX to the Audi Q5, you’ll find that both luxury crossovers offer a comfortable ride and upscale interiors.

The Audi Q5 has a higher starting price but offers a more powerful engine and better fuel economy than the RDX. One common issue in the Q5 is related to the infotainment system, which can be laggy and unresponsive.

Lexus RX

The Lexus RX is another competitor in the luxury SUV market, but unlike the RDX, it offers both mid-size and full-size options. If you value a smooth and quiet ride, the RX might appeal to you more than the RDX.

However, similar to the Q5, the Lexus RX has also experienced infotainment system problems, making it less user-friendly than one would desire. Read issues reported for RX 350 models!

Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is a well-rounded luxury crossover that offers a plush interior and advanced safety features.

It’s important to note that while the XC60 comes with a higher price tag, it offers better fuel economy than the RDX.

Unfortunately, the XC60 also has issues with its infotainment system, specifically in terms of responsiveness and ease of use.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V, a related vehicle in the mid-size crossover segment, offers excellent fuel efficiency and generous cargo space.

While it may not be a luxury SUV, the CR-V has a lower starting price than the RDX, which may make it a more budget-friendly option. In addition, most CRV best models are highly rated.

One common problem for the CR-V relates to the 1.5L turbocharged engine experiencing oil dilution.


Finally, the BMW X3 is often considered when shopping for a luxury SUV. The X3 boasts a refined performance and a spacious cabin, with a higher starting price than the RDX.

A common issue in the BMW X3 is suspension problems, which can result in a less than comfortable ride quality.

When comparing the Acura RDX to its competitors, you’ll notice different strengths and weaknesses for each luxury crossover, as well as some common problems like infotainment system issues.


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