2019 Acura RDX Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Steering, brakes, electrical and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When it comes to living in the lap of luxury, many discerning shoppers turn to the 2019 Acura RDX when looking for a midsize crossover SUV to own. After all, the automaker claims this model provides “Polished Power at Every Turn.” Yet, current drivers argue that the engine, electrical system, powertrain, vehicle speed control and service brakes make this vehicle a lemon.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2020   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Engine

When it comes to getting power, a vehicle must have a potent engine. Considering the word “power” is in the tagline of the 2019 Acura RDX, one would expect that this SUV has a mighty motor, but that’s simply not the case.

One Edmunds reviewer had this to say, “The new RDX is a lemon.  Engine and transmission failure from second day of ownership. Neither Acura Customer Care or the dealership is trying to rectify the situation.  Keep putting me on hold.  They tell me they need the car for a couple of days to research, but will not offer a loaner for over a week’s time.”

While this customer faced a failed engine, many other owners find themselves having trouble getting adequate power. Even Service Bulletin #B18-063 refers to how the engine idle fluctuates, especially during cold starts because the engine idle is set too low. To repair the problem, technicians must update the PGM-FI software. Then, maybe the vehicle will respond with polished power.

2019 Acura RDX Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Engine
72
72
Unknown Or Other
62
62
Visibility/wiper
31
31
Power Train
29
29
Electrical System
27
27
Fuel/propulsion System
21
21
Service Brakes
20
20
Vehicle Speed Control
15
15
Air Bags
9
9
Structure:body
9
9

Problems with the Electrical System

A vehicle’s electrical system is like the nerves of the body. There are wires running throughout the entire SUV, transmitting power and helping all of the luxury amenities work correctly. In the Acura RDX, these wires might be crossed or short-circuited, because problems are rampant.

One Edmunds reviewer says, “I had my dream car for 7 months and then traded it in for something more reliable. When I first purchased the Acura RDX Advance I was ecstatic. Everything seemed to be customized for me. From the memory seats to the technology, to the safety components. I was in love with my SUV. However, things seemed to go south the longer I owned the vehicle. First it was the constant issues with the Infotainment System. I would exit the vehicle and it wouldn’t turn off. I called the dealership and they either thought I was dumb and didn’t know how to operate a car, or they would say “this is the first time we’re hearing about this…” I found a site called AcuraZine which had a workaround for turning off the frozen system so I wouldn’t get a dead battery. So that was the first issue. The second was the constant brake squealing after about 3 or 4 months of ownership. I drive typically on the interstate, so nothing weird about my driving habits. The last, and most terrifying issue was the electronic issue. I was on my way to work, driving about 65 mph, and everything shut off except for the engine. So I had no dials (since they’re digital) / no GPS / no A/C nothing electronic whatsoever in my car. It was pitch black. I was in the middle lane and there was no way to pull over. I safely made it to work. When I placed the vehicle in park all electronics came back on but they were “strobing.” I called the dealership who told me to bring it in ASAP. After an hour they found nothing wrong and sent me on my merry way.”

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Problems with the Transmission

When it comes to the powertrain, it’s necessary to have a properly running transmission. Without this, owners face shifting trouble and a rough ride.

Just look at this Edmunds review. “After a month of ownership, with two weeks in the shop during this month, we are finally getting a new transmission for our RDX. Sadly they should be replacing the car considering the transmission started acting up with 30 miles on it, but instead have wasted weeks of our time and act like they are doing us a favor by replacing it. It would slam in to gear, feeling like it was skipping multiple gears at a time. Sometimes it would just hang up between gears, other times it would just rev up and not go before finally shifting in to gear. My favorite solution from the dealership was to just let the car warm up and auto start it and it won’t be as bad. Granted, the issue was worse when the car was cold, but it also did it while warm.”

The manufacturer has nothing to say about these problems, which is probably why dealers are advising people to let the car warm up. These factory-trained technicians have no idea what to think about this problem so they begin to short-circuit themselves. Common sense seems to fly right out of their brains while they advise customers to do things that logically aren’t correct. Apparently, the Polished Power only occurs if the engine is warmed up first. Maybe they should have warned people before purchase.

Problems with the Vehicle Speed Control

When it comes to advanced technology, the adaptive cruise control is one that has been extremely helpful – in most vehicles. In the Acura RDX, however, customers have very little good to say about it.

Just peek at this Edmunds review. “Adaptive cruise control was slow to react to a vehicle in front.  Rather than gradually slowing it would wait until the last second then brake the vehicle.  When traffic resumed speed the RDX would do a near full throttle acceleration back to the set speed.”

In Service Bulletin #B19-051, it’s acknowledged that the adaptive cruise control shuts itself off unexpectedly, even while it is in use. To fix this, the automaker tells dealers to update the PGM-FI software. Then, it’s possible that the SUV will have the continuous power it’s expected to. There appears to be a long list of things the dealer must do to get this vehicle to display its polished power.

Problems with the Brakes

The last system to look at is the service brakes, although it’s certainly not the least important. In fact, with all the other parts malfunctioning, everyone wants to know that the SUV can stop.

According to this Edmunds user, the RDX isn’t scoring high points in this area either. “I have owned this car for 3 months. It’s been in the shop 4 times. Twice for the brakes, which still is not fixed.Once for the sensor just randomly going off. And twice for the struts, suspension, and shocks that had to be completely replaced!! I regret this purchase!”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the automakers have yet another Service Bulletin regarding the brake system. #BER18100A discusses a front brake noise when lightly applying the brake. It is described as a squeal or squeak. They don’t offer any type of repair. Instead, they look to gain more information from consumers by getting feedback. In fact, they have requested this data three separate times from dealerships. Apparently, they don’t have enough information right now to help consumers stop the brakes from squeaking, because this is a very complicated issue. If a car company can’t figure out a simple brake noise, they can’t be trusted to create a vehicle that creates Polished Power at Every Turn.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Acura pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
8 COMMENTS
  • Valerie J

    I also have a 2019 Acura RDX bought new in September 2018, and it’s the worst car I’ve ever owned. I am seriously considering turning it in for a Toyota! I’ve always driven a Acura RDXs since the 2016 version which was amazing. I only have 23,000 miles on this car but have had it over 5 years so no longer under a warranties when none of this should be happening to a vehicle with only 23,000 miles! Done with Acura RDXs.

  • Eve

    Too many problems to list. Worst purchase ever.

  • Mark F

    I like to get one but why pay for stuff that I wont use. I like the shape and interior of the car. I wish that the base model had no panoramic sunroof for ridgitidy, no lane assist, no automatic braking or automatic engine shut off that is useless and more components will fail faster..No power passenger seats. Dont really car about 30 speakers since I can hear quite good. No LED headligts so that I can replace a $15 bulb and not a $1000 headlight. Talking about waste of money and plastic. Yes I know some of these are safery but some arent. Yes engine loss of power. Seriosley Honda? This is a saferty issue when someone gets rearended. Not sure why they arent fixing or being sued for this. I suppose they will address this if someone gets hurt or even worse. CRV has a CVT transmission that is garbage and wont last 100k. I suppse that Im left with a Toyota.

  • Ron S

    I have a 2020 Aucura rdx aspec. The brakes are making a loud squeaking noise. My infotainment system freezes and some buttons don’t work on it. When it is taken out of park it lurches forward. It is 1.5 months old with 930 miles on it. I can’t believe that the 2019’s have the same problems. How is Aucura allowed to sell the 2020’s knowing the problems on the 19’s weren’t fixed. After searching the internet the brake problems seem to be very common. This is unacceptable for any car but especially if it’s a known problem on a brand new $48,000 car. I wish I would have read comments before. Terrible!

  • Richard D

    My 2019 RDX seems to have a short in the sound system. Whenever I start the car and turn on the radio, I hear a loud electrical snapping sound. Dealer can not locate.

  • paul

    once a month engine dose not shift till warm up or restarted . squeaky brakes until warmed up. lane assist only works if driving straight. rolling up windows noisy. sometimes stopped it will lurch forward out of brake assist. when shifting out of park into drive on a driveway the transmission makes loud cracking noise. the navigation is difficult to use. city driving only get 16 to 17 mpg.

  • Patrick M

    Several issues with the Infotainment system, breaks, tailgate suspension issue, lumbar support issue and loud popping noises.

  • John J

    I have a 2019 Acura RDX. It has been in for service over 3 times. It is still in the shop at Acura of Peoria after 3 weeks waiting for Acura to come up with a fix for the multiple failures of our car. We are driving a loaner. Acura refers us to the dealer. The dealer doesn’t know how to fix it.

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