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Old 13 Jun 2008, 04:11 am
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Default 2009 Acura RDX - Body

TORRANCE, Calif. - Jun 12 —


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 format 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 its designers call "athletic armor," a design approach that suggests the powerful image of a football running back, outfitted in protective gear. The look is muscular, taut, and poised for acceleration and agile split-second maneuvering.

Starting with the front end, the signature Acura grille has an aggressive flair with a sharply creased leading edge. This first theme in the body form decisively sets the tone for the rest of the design, which follows with a long 104.3-inch wheelbase and wide track (61.9-in. front, 62.6-in. rear). 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.

In exterior dimensions the RDX is most similar to the BMW X3.

2009 Acura RDX 2007 BMW X3
Overall length, in. 180.7 179.9
Overall width, in. (excludes mirrors) 73.6

Overall height, in. 65.2 66.0
Wheelbase, in. 104.3 110.1
Track, front/rear, in. 61.9/62.6 60.0/60.7
Turning diameter, ft. 39.2 38.4
Curb weight, lbs. 3,932 4,067 (AT)
Tire size P235/55VR18 P235/55HR17

Form Follows Function

The overall size of the RDX matches the needs of the 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. New "skin-mount" exterior mirrors have specially designed compact housings that improve the A-pillar area visibility, providing good outward visibility for urban intersections. And finally, excellent approach and departure angles pay dividends when approaching or leaving steep driveways or parking garages.

RDX Design Elements include:

  • Dynamic urban style

  • "Athletic armor" look

  • Sharp body lines

  • Standard 18-inch wheels and tires

  • Tailgate surface flush with bumper


The RDX marries aggressive styling with function. The windswept front fascia features a main opening that feeds the aluminum engine radiator. The top inlet, located above the bright Acura badge, is a separate cold-air inlet for the large aluminum turbocharger intercooler, which is horizontally mounted above the engine. This fully functional inlet takes in ambient-temperature 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 and high-volume cartridge 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 speed), strakes located in front of the rear tires, and the streamlined "skin-mount" mirrors.


High-intensity discharge (HID) low beam headlights command the front corners of the fascia and fenders. Their design compliments the angular and elegant pattern set by the trademark Acura grille. Fog lamps are standard as well.

Both front and rear wheel arches are bold and broad, further adding to the dramatic appearance of the standard 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, the first application for an Acura. The RDX's beltline rises visibly from the sharply raked A-pillar back to the substantial C- and D-pillars.

Door dimensions were selected to enhance the RDX's primary mission as a driver's vehicle while retaining high usability for children or adult passengers in back. The front doors have long proportions for easy ingress and egress, while the rear doors are shorter.


In styling the rear portion of the RDX body, Acura designers introduced a unique new design element. Instead of a conventional rear tailgate panel positioned above a large protruding bumper, the RDX tailgate panel drops cleanly downward and terminates smoothly at the trailing edge of the body. This creates a custom look for the rear of the body.

For accident repairs, the rear tailgate uses a replaceable resin lower panel that has a far lower replacement cost than an entire conventional metal tailgate. Without a thick bumper to reach over, loading and unloading cargo in the RDX is also easier. The tailgate design is another way the RDX creatively balances style, safety and convenience.


A powerful combination of Xenon HID low-beam and halogen high-beam front headlights provides excellent lighting firepower for the RDX. Contained within aerodynamic headlight units, the inner lens of the HID unit glitters, making the headlights more distinctive. The RDX also features Daytime Running Lights (DRL), which enhance its visibility to other drivers and can help reduce accidents 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, keep the ride squeak- and rattle-free, and provide long-term durability and high levels of crash protection for the occupants. The widespread use of high-tensile steel enables the RDX to meet all of these challenges.

Polygonal-shaped frame members, which are computer 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 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, which 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 (see the Safety section for more information). 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 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 at the bottom of the body. Additional high tensile steel (HSS780 and 590) is used in other areas under the floor, and 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 while keeping vehicle weight under control.


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 reduces wind noise and adds to the RDX's clean lines. Even the 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 with the RDX's target audience in order to 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, like the tailgate hinges that are hidden at the top rear edge of the roof. This makes the body lines smoother, while allowing for a higher tailgate opening.

The RDX's clean exterior look is further enhanced by the use of an electronic tailgate switch, which replaces 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, tuned to suit the forward hinge positioning.


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 was key to achieve a low NHV character in the RDX. The low road noise allows easy conversation between the driver and all seats. Internal Acura tests measured the RDX at 71 decibels during city driving speeds, similar to other luxury vehicles.


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


Front power windows with auto-reverse are standard. The RDX's front power windows also incorporate a 1-touch auto up/down feature for convenience. Window operation is retained for 10 minutes after the ignition is turned off or until the front doors are opened. Tinted door glass reduces eyestrain and the sun load on the inside of the vehicle.


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


A sleek mirror design that maximizes the mirror area while minimizing the size of the mirror housing provides good outward visibility in the A-pillar area. Both the driver and passenger-side mirrors are heated, and the passenger-side mirror has a reverse auto-tilt feature.


For 2009 the RDX is available with four new exterior paint colors: Basque Red Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Grigio Metallic and Palladium Metallic. The 2009 Acura RDX is available in a choice of four pearl and three metallic colors. All are topped with durable clear-coat finishes that resist scratching and urban pollutants.

Exterior Color Paint Type Interior Color
Basque Red Pearl Pearl Ebony Taupe
Crystal Black Pearl Pearl Ebony Taupe
Grigio Metallic Metallic Ebony Taupe
Palladium Metallic Metallic Ebony Taupe
Polished Metal Metallic Metallic Ebony Taupe
Royal Blue Pearl Pearl Ebony Taupe
White Diamond Pearl Pearl Ebony Taupe
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