The most common problems seen in the 2021 Acura RDX include “limp mode,” in which the vehicle loses power at high speeds. Along with less serious issues such as poor Apple CarPlay connectivity.
It’s hard to find a luxury crossover SUV with the unlikely blend of luxury and performance of the Acura RDX. For a starting price well behind the competition, the RDX is astonishingly well-appointed in even its sparest iterations, and the solid reliability of Honda engineering ensures that you’re getting a vehicle that delivers on function as well as form.
But even the RDX isn’t without its problems. Here to break down everything that’s wrong with the 2021 Acura RDX—from shortcomings in the lineup to the most common mechanical faults reported by actual drivers—is
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The most common 2021 Acura RDX problems
Let’s start with the good news: the 2021 Acura RDX is a car with very few problems, at least as compared to other models. That’s because it shares the rock-solid engineering of the
Honda CR-V, a sturdy crossover that showcases the best of Honda’s famously reliable manufacturing.
But the 2021 RDX does have its share of problems, and one of them can be a very big deal. That’s the so-called “limp mode” reported by some RDX drivers, who say their vehicles lost power while driving at high speeds (often while trying to pass another vehicle on the highway).
Limp mode isn’t actually a mechanical problem—in fact, it’s a security measure that vehicles use to prevent more serious issues. By turning off non-essential systems like air conditioning and reducing the vehicle’s speed, limp mode allows the driver to “limp home” and address the mechanical failure (often a transmission problem) in a safe environment.
So while limp mode can be scary, it’s actually better than the alternative. It’s also a relatively uncommon complaint for 2021 RDX owners: just seven drivers submitted complaints about limp mode to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (
NHTSA). However, those seven complaints make up a significant percentage of the model’s 24 overall owner complaints.
Other common problems with the 2021 RDX include:
- Apple CarPlay connectivity failures
- Brake system issues, including auto-emergency braking malfunctions
- Exploding sunroof/moonroof
- Shattering or cracking windshields
- Hood cable/latch prone to breaking
While many of these are more annoyances than serious mechanical failures, any of them could pose major dangers in the right (or rather, wrong) circumstances.
The only formal recall for the 2021 Acura RDX is related to possible driveshaft failure, which Acura found could lead to a sudden loss of drive power. This problem could be the underlying issue behind many RDX drivers’ reports of limp mode.
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Is the 2021 Acura RDX reliable?
Despite these problems, the 2021 Acura RDX has above-average reliability scores for a luxury compact crossover.
Let’s be clear about what that means. If you’re looking for the absolute most reliable SUV, it’s probably not a luxury model. For instance, the nearly identical but less shiny Honda CR-V gets higher marks for reliability than its high-end cousin. RepairPal gives both SUVs an above-average 4.5/5.0 rating for reliability, but J.D. Power rates the 2021 CR-V 84/100 for quality and reliability, while the 2021 RDX gets a mere 74/100.
The average annual cost of 2021 Acura RDX repairs is approximately $497. While those repairs may be slightly more frequent than in other luxury SUVs, they’re considerably more affordable and rarely serious.
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The 2021 Acura RDX is a crossover that understands the power of technology, from best-in-class driver aids to cool navigation and infotainment options. If you’re a proud owner of an RDX, you’ll want to protect it with the right car insurance.
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