2020 Acura RDX Problems and Top Issues – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brakes, electrical system and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Luxury crossovers provide high-class transportation with the 2020 Acura RDX leading the pack. The automaker claims that this model offers “polished power at every turn,” but customers couldn’t be more disappointed. This SUV contains many defective parts, including the air bags, engine, powertrain, service brakes and electrical system.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2021   2022   2023

Air Bag Problems

Air bags are meant to provide protection for the occupants in a vehicle, but Acura failed on producing a reliable system.

One NHTSA complaint states, “On Oct. 31, 2019 we purchased the 2020 RDX Advance and the passenger front seat rating light off has been sporadically staying on when my wife is sitting in the passenger seat. Which indicates that airbag is not armed on that side. Luckily we have been taking photos of the switch coming on with her sitting in the seat. They say it’s a weight issue which is unacceptable. If you turn the car off the airbag light resets to off when she is sitting in the car. If the car is running and you pick up a passenger the airbag light does not turnoff. Dealer responded it being a weight issue and that the sensors are different between the driver and passenger. This is an unacceptable safety issue.”

Acura has nothing to say about these problems and there are no recalls at this time. For now, the company is okay with Americans traveling around with a high-priced crossover that may or may not protect occupants. That’s what is called “polished power” apparently.

2020 Acura RDX Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Service Brakes
Power Train
Fuel/propulsion System
Vehicle Speed Control
Electrical System
Air Bags

Problems with the Engine

Moving away from safety, one expects that an Acura model would be equipped with a powerful engine, but this is another aspect that seems to fail.

Here’s another NHTSA review. “After driving on secondary roads for an hour, I entered a highway. I was accelerating on the entrance ramp and noticed a car going very slow in the slow lane. I put on my blinker, accelerated more and moved to the middle lane of the highway. The car immediately went into limp mode, losing all power and the Check Engine was blinking. I could not pass the car that was going about 30 mph and had to apply my brakes in the middle of a highway as trucks were bearing down on me. This was terrifying! I was able to pull off to the side and shut down the engine. After 30 seconds I restarted the car and all power was returned with no Check Engine light. The dealer could find no problem, but Honda needs to fix this before someone gets killed.”

With all of the apparent problems, it might make more sense for customers to save some money and buy the comparable CR-V instead. Acura doesn’t seem to care and still hasn’t issued any bulletin about engine trouble. It’s as if the company believes their cars suffer from no issues at all – maybe because they are so “polished.”

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Transmission Problems

Working in conjunction with the engine is supposed to be a strong transmission. Yet, this system doesn’t work the way it should either.

Just read this Edmunds review. “Transmission is ridiculously slow for up/down shifts and has no business being paired to this motor; because of this the teeny shift paddles are more toys than tools.”

Looking at the service bulletins to see what Acura had to say brought researchers to find the same thing yet again – there’s nothing being said. Nada – zilch! If someone didn’t know any better, they would think that this is the perfect car brand without one single problem.

Problems with the Brakes

No matter how a vehicle drives, it must be able to stop. Sadly, Acura owners have a lot say about these aspects as well.

Within this huge complaint on Edmunds, there is a section on the brakes. “We’ve had the car 60 days and I’m on my 5th trip back to the dealer and have a follow up to repair the issues from today. I’ve never had this happen before. We’re Honda/Acura loyalists, this being our 9th Honda/Acura vehicle and it’s an embarrassment to the brand. Within the first month we had to have lower control arm bushings replaced, and the brakes squeal, lift gate is misaligned and damaged the plastic tailgate trim/spoiler that the regional Acura manager offered to sand-down versus replace, and it has the worst leather seat upholstery stitching and assembly I’ve ever seen.”

For once, there is a communication from Acura regarding brakes. Service Bulletin #B19-053 talks about the brakes on the RDX squealing. However, just when everyone thought Acura might take responsibility, they claimed that it simply has to do with driving at low speeds and that the brakes need to be warmed up first. For a second, everyone got excited, thinking that Acura might be honest.

Electrical System Problems

One last stop brings us to the electrical system. As would be expected, this system is just as dysfunctional as everything else.

Another Edmunds comment says, “So there is a class action lawsuit against Acura for the 2020 RDX. My car is 5,000 miles on it. Ever since the very first day I drove it, every few weeks I turn on the car and it acts like it’s a frozen computer. The display shows a constant circle in motion that never stops until you turn the car off and then back on again. My most recent issue is out of the blue, while on vacation, we received alerts for every system. Emissions, brakes, cruise control, etc, warning us of high speeds and acceleration. This happened as soon as we turned the car on after it had been driven the day before no issues and was parked in a garage. My husband backed up the car thinking it was some kind of fluke and the car would not accelerate at all. Had to tow the car to the dealership it was undriveable.”

What Acura is willing to acknowledge is issues with the stereo. Service Bulletin #B20-031 points out that the speaker might crack or pop and the display might be blank. Still, it’s a little too late Acura. Many customers are tired of the company trying to pawn off its “polished” crossover as something that it simply isn’t.

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
  • sandip s

    My 2020 ACura RDX dealer adjusted panaromic roof then second time replaced the frame and still the noise coming up while driving in and out from curb specially afternoon. I do have all the proof but dealer doesn’t want to acknowledge.
    At this point i really hate this $43K car.

  • angela

    I too have had to replace my squeaky brakes on my brand new 2020 RDX (they told me it was because they were new and only squeaked when cold…. no…) and my auto idle is temperamental…regardless of weather or how long the car has been driving, it sometimes doesn’t engage. When it doesn’t engage, my engine revs. the Dealer told me that I have a Honda engine and nothing will go wrong……hmmmm

  • Gabriela

    My acura has radio problems with static noise on speakers, blank screen etc. Dealer just don’t know what to say.
    But yet don’t understand why any lemon law office says they can’t help.

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