With a little over 8000 miles on the odometer, the RDX transported photographer Brian Vance and a couple friends to Northern Nevada for a "helping of genuine off-roading" while in search of "a hot-spring tub in the East Walker River Canyon." Though the RDX is more soft-roader than hard-core rock-climber, it impressed Vance with its "gripping abilities," which managed to maneuver the little luxury 'ute "off the beaten path and down a skinny, steep, rocky trail." Unfortunately, "At one point, the terrain became more than the Acura bargained for. I stashed it on the side of the path and hopped into my friend's Ford Ranger 4x4."

When not noting the RDX's off-road abilities, Vance was keen to observe its "luxury aspirations (or lack thereof): The cargo area is poorly lit, with no lamp above the area or on the inside of the hatch; no auto headlamps, yet the less-expensive 2008 Accord has them; the nav system is slow to zoom in and out; and the hood isn't equipped with struts but rather a prop stick like the CR-V. " At the end of the trip, Vance began to wonder, "If you just spent $36,500 on this entry lux 'ute but have to turn on your own headlights and prop up the hood for oil checks, have you spent too much?"

The RDX's second service made us feel like we spent too much indeed. Just shy of 12,000 miles, the Acura's on-board diagnostic computer informed us a "B1" service was due, so we took it to Acura 101 West in Calabasas, which, for $177.91, inspected the front and rear brakes, performed an oil change (with requisite Mobil 1 synthetic oil), and rotated the tires.


2007 Acura RDX
Months/miles in service 5/11,701
Avg econ/CO2 17.7 mpg/1.10 lb/mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $294.33 (2 oil change/inspection/rotate tires)
Normal-wear cost $0