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Acura RDX Real World MPG

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  • Anyone who sees 19 city 24 hwy on the EPA sticker who is disappointed @ 18.6 mpg overall may not be familar with this trend with 95% of the SUV's on the market. Tough to get great fuel economy (particularly around town) from any SUV with AWD. 23-24mpg on the hwy isn't really too bad...
  • mdrdxmdrdx Posts: 2
    i got 22mgp at 55mph and 19mgp at 75mph on hwy. no complaints on mgp ;) . i drive a bit agressive and keep tire pressure at 32psi :shades: .
    rdx is only ugly, but very good engine :D .
  • My RDX is beeuuuuteeeful. I wonder what's wrong with yours?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Congratulations! Be sure to post your mileage as soon as you have numbers. :)

    tidester, host
  • By the way all my mpg experience on this car - generally 16-19mpg is with a Thule roof rack. I'd say you can easily add +2mpg to that once you subtract the significant NON aerodynamic roof factor. I'll take the rack off soon and let you know. I'd anticipate going to 18-20mpg+ immediately once the roof only has the side rails from the Acura roof rack instead of a Thule rack, fairing and bike carriers....

    All things considered: roof rack, unbroken in car - I think the RDX will average about 20+ mpg when all things are said and done. Which for a small high performance SUV (and it remains an SUV) - is actually quite good. Compare it to the REAL WORLD mileage Figs from other AWD wagons and SUVs. None of them are exactly fuel efficient like sedans and coupes can be.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    In my experience, smaller streamlined vehicles take the most hit from roof racks. Wagons and SUVs take less of a hit because their drag is already high. With a large separated base flow and wake on most wagons and SUVs, the roof rack is very much a secondary factor. MPG on my last 3-4 wagons has not been impacted by the rack, not to the point I can measure it. However, racks have impacted MPG on coupes and sedans I have owned, sometimes significantly.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,809
    Interesting insight - my minivan only got hammered about 1 mpg on a long road trip I did with a 17' foot canoe on top of 78" wide rack.

    I still take it off when I'm not hauling stuff.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • I did an informal survey of cycling enthusiasts on a cycling forum and the consensus is that roof racks lead to a 2mpg+ reduction in fuel economy - more when bicycles are being carried on the roof too...
  • I have no idea how some people are driving their RDX's, but they must be babying them to get 25 mpg! My Mercedes E320 gets 23 mpg on my route to work (combo freeway and city), my Porsche C4S gets 19 mpg on the same route, and my RDX with 1200 miles on it gets 16.5 mpg also on the same route. It makes no sense why the smallest engine gets the worst gas mileage!

    I noticed that on another trip that was mostly flat for 60 miles on the freeway, I could get 19.5 mpg doing 68 mph average. On that same stretch, my Mercedes gets 26 mpg @ 80 mph and the Porsche gets 27 mpg @ 80 mph. It's a good thing I was driving at night or I'd get run over by the other California drivers by driving that slow!

    So does going 65 mph get me the extra 5 mpg that others are getting? That's crazy!

    I've been working on cars for about 30 years and I can't see how Acura could have messed up the RDX's engine/weight combination so badly - unless they didn't test the RDX that well in the real world. Once you hit a hill of any sort on the freeway, the mpg dives down to well under 10 mpg when you try to maintain the same speed. No amount of break-in will solve that problem, especially when you consider that modern-day Japanese engine manufacturing basically delivers a broken-in engine to the consumer. It's not like the old days when the engines were rough and burned a lot of oil at break-in.
  • The curb weight of 3900 lbs and the tall (read non-aerodynamic) SUV shape may have something to do with this. This car is an ESSS UUUU VEEEE boys.

    Cross over THIS Acura. Well, OK, with the handling it crosses over something. Fun to drive. But still a sport ute no matter how you slice it. This is a shock to people? Not me.
  • And this notion that Acura 'messed up' with the power to weight ratio on the car is based on WHAT?

    • The curb weight of 3900 lbs is quite light for a small SUV. Consider: the new Ford Edge weighs more than 600lbs MORE. The RDX is an AWD small SUV. Yet it's only 400lbs heavier than my FWD Acura TL. That doesn't seem unreasonable.

    • The car goes 0-60 in 6.3-7.3 secs (depending on which major magazine road test you believe). How much more power could the car have? What's wrong with that power to weight ratio? The only SUV's I could find that are faster are the Rav 4 (6 cylinder, slightly faster, but the handling blows) and $50K-$80K Porsches, Mercedes and Audi SUVs. My car cost $33K.

    • Despite this the RDX still gets 15-22mpg. Which for the type of car it is, isn't bad.

    You want fuel economy? Get a Honda CR-V. It has 90 less HP, a far simpler AWD system, rides better, has more cargo space and might suit the style of some of the hand wringers here. I'll be carving up my local Hudson Valley roads in my RDX with a big smile on my face. Oh yes, the little mpg computer readout will NOT be showing on my speedo. I'm resigned to 17mpg, maybe moving up to a combined 19mpg when I do more hwy driving. I can live with that. You want to get REAL? Start comparing that to most of the SUV's out there. They're worse.

    The consumer expectations for the mpgs on this car seemed based on unrealistic assumptions and comparisons to non SUVs. In fairness any negative buzz is exacerabted by the turbo's tendency to guzzle gas if you have a perpetually heavy foot or drive in very tight city/urban driving environments all the time - much more so than a naturally aspirated car might.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    The RDX is 400 lbs heavier than a CR-V EX-L AWD and 300 lbs heavier than the Rav4 Ltd V6 AWD. Given that the vehicles are more or less the same size, I think the extra lbs on the RDX are certainly open for criticism. There are a few extra luxury features, perhaps more sound insulation, the SH-AWD system, and the turbo/IC on the RDX that probably contribute to the extra lbs. But it still is a porker (and one could criticize the engine choice and AWD system if they really are so heavy). But all of the new luxo crossovers are overweight for some reason. I would love to talk with one of the auto engineers and see where all the weight is coming from. It certainly doesn't "flatter" the concept of the CUV...
  • The RDX is heavier than the lightest vehicles in its class, but substantially lighter than the heaviest (probalby the Ford Edge @ 4500 lbs). The RDX is closer to +200lbs over the RAV 4 (not +300) by the way. I think it's +225 or so.

    My guess is the weight is coming from the RDX's incredible rigidity. The car is built like a tank. I'd trade off an extra 100-200lbs for that any day. To really get the mpg's up on the car you'd have to address the drivetrain. At the end of the day would it really make that much difference? I dont' think so. The RAV 4 gets maybe 2-3mpg better fuel economy than the RDX with more HP. Too bad Acura couldn't squeeze THAT motor into the RDX, eh?
  • I wouldn't use the Edge as a baseline for comparison for ANYTHING in its class; it is by far the fatty of the bunch, and apparently a fine example of how NOT to build a crossover. It's not far off the weight of my old 4x4 F-150 which handled like, well - a truck. Consider all the airbags and leather you want, the Edge needs a crash diet if it is ever gonna be the benchmark for American crossovers.
  • I have the Rav4 V6 AWD with 3rd row, that probably adds another 100 lb to it and my worse mileage was 23 MPG. On the interstate I can get 27+ MPG. Hardly the 2-3 MPG you are talking of.

    The problem with smaller engines is that they have to work harder and it is a known fact that turbo engines are not really fuel efficient when reving and boosting high. Good examples of smaller vs. bigger is the 2.5l vs. 3.0l X3 or the 2.4l vs. 3.5l Rav4. Both engines get similar mileages.

    Having said this, when I kick the Rav4 around town I will get sub 20 mileage too according to the trip computer. You need to cruise in 5th to get 25 MPG or better. :)

    Still looking for a nice car for my wife. Guess the RDX is out of the picture. :cry:
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Small engine or large, turbo or normally aspirated, fuel economy is directly affected by power that is being used. Nothing is free, power certainly isn't.

    That said, I was looking at reported mileage by owners of various vehicles, and here is what I found:

    RAV4 V6/4WD
    EPA Rating (City/Hwy/Combined): 21/28/24 mpg
    Reported (City 80%): 16.0 mpg
    Reported (Hwy 74%): 24.6 mpg

    CRV I4/4WD
    EPA Rating (City/Hwy/Combined): 22/27/24 mpg
    Reported (City 83%): 20.3 mpg
    Reported (Hwy 80%): 27.9 mpg

    The reason I bring this up is to point out how meaningless EPA estimate has become. On spec sheet, it would appear RAV4 V6 is about as good as CR-V I-4 (or RAV4 I-4), but then, where are the results?

    Patentcad1, it will be nice if you and other RDX owners will sign up to share mpg numbers on the fueleconomy.org website. The website lacks important details like miles driven, average speed etc, but still provides the best real life numbers.
  • Here's 1900 miles of real world experience with my new RDX on mpg:

    Generally 16-18mpg. I live in a very hilly semi rural area and mostly drive the car locally. As soon as I factor in substantial hwy driving that will start going over 20-21mpg. The car seems to get 21-23mpg on the highway if I drive 65-80mph using the cruise control. My car has the factory roof rack (I currently only have the side rails on) which probably costs me 1mpg or so, more when the Thule rack is strapped on.

    My general impression is that if you live in a typical suburban area with a fair bit of hwy driving you may be happy with the RDX mpgs (the car will probably average close to 20mpg under those conditions). All that depends on your expectations. The RAV 4 is a nice car, but would I want a car that gets a few mpg more and give up the RDX's wonderful mojo? Not me.

    On the other hand the RDX is a stiff riding car to be sure. Not for everyone. Really loving the car so far. Drove my 2004 TL the other night (which has a much softer ride). The TL is really faster. But I like the RDX cabin/driving experience more after two months. Talk to me a year from now. But the car is doing what I need it to. Swallows up my road bicycle with BOTH WHEELS ON with the seats folded down. Really suits my lifestyle. I'm the guy they wanted to sell this car to. I feel like I got an SUV and didn't give up that sporty handling/drive that I liked in the TL. The RDX actually feels sportier to me (even though it's a bit slower). The whole SH-AWD/great handling/turbo/paddle shifter thing really works for me.

    It would appear there aren't enough customers like me out there. Oh well : ).

    By the way, I've read a few reports about body panel issues on RDX's. My car seems excellent (no rattles, etc.). Tight as a drum. No issues so far.

    I don't think Acura missed the mpg mark on the RDX. Bigger SUV's are generally even worse on gas. Some of the competition may do 10-20% on mpgs - but they're all considerably slower and can't handle like an RDX. Life is a series of compromises. The RDX is just another. By the way, my RDX mpg is almost identical to my pal's Audi All Road (4000 lb. AWD A-6 based wagon).
  • I gotta wonder how efficient Acura's SH-AWD system is. AFAIK, none of their SH-AWD vehicles gets very good mpg. So combine a small turbo engine that's always working, plenty of weight and an inefficient drivetrain...

    Maybe Honda can improve the mpg before they drop SH-AWD into the next TL/Accord.
  • pommipommi Posts: 7
    Today I just test-drove a loaner RDX Tech from the local Acura dealership, on mostly freeway, and very light-footed at 75-85mph: 20.6 mpg. I had the feeling to get a bit better gas mileage when using S mode and paddle shifters, vs the automatic. Gas mileage quickly went into the single-digits on the trip computer when accelerating. Just cruising on the freeway should probably comes out at 20-25mpg. If it weren't for the worse gas mileage compared to my A4, I'd be buying an RDX in an instant.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I think the SH system is very heavy, which doesn't help. They are primarily using SH-AWD to compensate for the understeer dynamics of the FWD configuration, but you pay for it in weight. Any time you take a FWD platform with a transverse engine and turn it into an AWD vehicle, the packaging gets inefficient and the weight shoots up. If Honda is serious about AWD vehicles, they need to develop a new platform. Only then would they truly see the overall benefits of AWD. Right now, I'd say it's a wash -- you have to trade light weight to get good handling. Can't have both.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    What vehicle(s) are you comparing them to? Acura RL has surprised quite a few people with its mileage. Although rated "only" 18/26 mpg (do people still believe in EPA estimates?), it has been easy to beat the estimates. Even magazines are reporting reasonably good overall mileage with that car.

    However, boxy vehicles like RDX and MDX aren't going to return as good mileage. Remember, its not in the turbo, its in the amount of power one uses. It doesn't come for free. Turbo in RDX is delivering as much or better torque than a 3.5/V6, can't expect it to deliver fuel economy of a 2.3-liter engine.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    SH-AWD is no heavier than competing AWD systems. In fact, it might be one of the lightest, at an estimated 220 lb. And I don't see how transverse layout w/AWD would result in more weight and worse packaging compared to longitudinal layout. Audis, Infinitis and BMWs aren't quite light weight either.

    To provide a perspective, BMW 328xi Coupe is 231 lb heavier than 328i Coupe (3582 lb versus 3351 lb). Or you could compare these three:
    Acura RDX - 3968 lb (EPA rated: 19/23 mpg)
    BMW X3 - 4067 lb (EPA rated: 16/23 mpg)*
    Infiniti FX35 - 4268 lb (EPA rated: 16/21 mpg)

    The Acura is 100 lb lighter than X3 (* 2006 model), and 300 lb lighter than FX. All three vehicles seem to offer similar interior volume, although FX is larger on the outside. BTW, the FX is also rated worse than the much larger Acura MDX (17/22 mpg).
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    My point is that the RDX would almost surely be lighter if it was not based on a FWD platform with a transverse engine. Nothing about that drivetrain orientation is beneficial in AWD applications -- it only contains penalties. And if it was relieved of the FWD bias with its inherent understeer, the need for the "SH" aspect of the AWD system would go away in large part. I think the RDX would be a better, simpler, lighter vehicle if it started with a clean sheet of paper platform -- not being limited by Honda's reliance on FWD platform engineering.

    Yeah, the competition is also heavy (with some notable exceptions in the 3600 lb range) but that doesn't mean Acura couldn't have done better.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Honda has CR-V which is about 400 lb lighter, also FWD/AWD set up. OTOH, RWD based X3 is heavier than RDX. So, I don't see your point as being valid. I am sure Acura did as much weight trimming as possible, but features, chassis engineering (for ride/handling quality etc, all add weight). Even BMW 325xi wagon (2006 model) tipped the scale at 3800 lb.

    Usually, in platform sharing the "Bottomend" vehicles suffer in terms of weight. TSX would be a classic example, sharing platform with RL, as would be looking at a car like 350Z which shares platform with likes of Infiniti FX/M at the heavier end. If RDX were based off MDX platform, I suspect it would have been even heavier, unless it already is.
  • All of this hand wringing over the mpgs of a small SUV seems to be a red herring to me. It's costing Acura sales, keeping people out of a car they'd generally love, and it might have kept me away too - except I NEEDED a car within a week when my wife's car was totaled. So yes, I overpaid - by $1500-$2000 or so - but in a way I'm glad, because after two months in the RDX it's the coolest overall vehicle I've ever owned. Loving the drive, handling, utility, SH-AWD - and the car gets 17-18mpg around town and 21-22mpg on the hwy. Which may be less than what I hoped for, but is essentially identical to the Volvo Cross Country wagon it replaced. The Acura is WAY more fun to drive, has considerably more advanced safety features and has a nicer interior. The Volvo did have a nicer ride (softer). But I'll trade that fot the incredible handling/performance the RDX delivers. Just a pleasure/blast to drive. Thule rack equipped, this car can handle just about all my utilitarian needs. It even will tow my motorcycle on a trailer in the future if I ever decide to do that. That is all I personally need. I'm an urban cowboy with bicycles, skis and a motorcycle, not a Ford Expeditiion dude with a 25' boat to tow. You know, a guy who would purchased an AWD station wagon back in 1998. They don't really make those anymore, do they? Besides Volvo I mean.

    I can't convince anyone. I can only tell it like I see it. If the car sucked, I'd be here telling you. It doesn't. It rocks. Which is essentially what most of the road tests have said. But nobody on the Internet seems to believe it. Go figure.
  • I'm right there with you on loving this car. I'm not a big car guy, but I can't wait until the weekend when my wife lets me drive it. While we won't use the RDX to pull or haul stuff, it is a nice combo of a luxury car and SUV.

    If folks are going to get uptight about a couple of MPGs, then the car is not for them.
  • I'm writing this from Virginia (I live in NY, we're here for Thanksgiving weekend). The RDX got 22.4 mpg on the trip down - that's with 3 people (my wife and I and our 13 year old daughter), all our stuff (the back was full) our 80lb. dog and a full Thule rack with a road bicycle strapped to the roof. At speeds of 65 to 80mph.

    All things considered, that's fine in my view. Better than I expected.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    22 mpg is not bad at all, especially considering the load. Hope you're enjoying the visit (I live in Williamsburg VA).
  • Here's my take on RDX mpgs after two months, 2500 mi:

    The car really does OK on the hwy, where it seems to get 20-23mpg unless you go 90mph. Then around town it's more like 18-19mpg if you drive conservatively, 16-18 if you don't, and 15 mpg if you hammer the crap out of the car. The worst I've done on a tank is 15.5mpg, and I was driving the car locally in sport mode with the paddle shifters for most of that tank. You're not going to drive the car like that much of the time, and it's likely that you'll be doing some hwy in addition to your local driving. If you do it's a car that will deliver 20mpg+ in mixed driving. If you don't do hardly any hwy driving you're mostly going to get 17-18mpg.

    It ain't no Prius, but that's better than most SUVs in real world driving, and actually fairly reprentative of similar cars like the CX-7. Except the RDX blows most of those other small SUV's or crossovers into the weeds on a performance basis. So pick your poison. The ride could be plusher, some don't like the interior, yada yada. I'm happier with my RDX every day. Glad to hear it's safe, glad to hear Honda came out with some aggressive financing. Add a better lease program and the car will sell.
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