Top Acura Certified Pre-Owned Models: RDX, MDX, and ILX

These are challenging times to buy a new car. Inventories are tight. Prices are up. There’s a lot of money involved, and you want to make sure you get something you love. For this reason, we suggest taking a look at a certified pre-owned (CPO) car or SUV. These vehicles are typically only a few years old and are thousands cheaper than a brand-new model.

Acura’s CPO program is particularly robust. Vehicles must be no more than 6 years old and must pass an aggressive 182-point inspection by factory-trained mechanics. Once a vehicle gets approved for CPO sale, Acura adds a 2-year/100,000-mile limited warranty and up to 7 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage. Let’s look at three popular Acura CPO models, the 2018 RDX, MDX, and ILX.

2018 Acura RDX 

2018 Acura RDXKelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price = CPO: $27,962

Sticker price when new: $43,495

Unlike many car companies that offer a list of á la carte options, Acura typically bundles its options in packages. In this case, we think the sweet spot is the all-wheel-drive RDX with the Technology and AcuraWatch Plus packages. AcuraWatch is Acura’s suite of safety features, and the Technology package adds such things as navigation and a top-quality ELS surround-sound system. This trim also offers a great value, with a price drop of more than $15,000 from the original MSRP. You’re paying about $700 more than KBB’s non-CPO retail price, but given the increased warranty and thorough inspection by factory techs, we think that’s money well spent.

See the Certified Acura RDX models for sale near you

Overview

There’s a lot to recommend about the 2018 Acura RDX compact crossover, including its reputation for reliability and excellent build quality. Perhaps most significantly, however, 2018 was the last year for the 3.5-liter V6, replaced by a turbocharged 4-cylinder in a 2019 redesign. Fuel economy of 22 mpg combined is so-so, but the V6 provides excellent power for highway merging and many hours of comfortable driving. The RDX also acquits itself well when the road starts to turn.

There’s more good news inside, with plenty of soft-touch materials, good use of space for passengers and cargo, and a clean, well-laid-out dual-screen infotainment system. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control and a 10-way power driver’s seat. Front-wheel drive is the default, but we like the all-weather security of all-wheel drive.

What to Look For

There’s only one engine choice in the 2018 Acura RDX, but we recommend all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is virtually identical to front-wheel-drive models, but the enhanced traction you get with AWD gives added peace of mind when the weather turns nasty. We think having a premium audio system is always a good idea, and the Technology package replaces the 7-speaker standard system with a top-quality ELS Studio 10-speaker premium audio system. Also included are real-time traffic and a navigation system with a 3D view.

2018 Acura RDX Key Features

While the AcuraWatch suite of safety features is offered as an extra on the lower trims, we think it’s an essential touch and well worth the money. It includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and warning, and forward-collision braking and warning. We also love the clarity and sound reproduction of the ELS surround-sound audio system. Acura’s navigation system includes real-time traffic, 3D view, and voice recognition. There’s also an 8-way power front passenger seat and sport seats with perforated leather throughout.

2018 Acura RDX Ratings

Kelley Blue Book Rating: 4.5

NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

2018 Acura RDX
Most Common Powertrain
Engine 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 279 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 252 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 23 mpg (20 city/28 hwy)
Also Available AWD
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Max Seating Capacity 5
EPA Passenger Volume 103.5 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 61.3 cubic feet

 

2018 Acura MDX

2018 Acura MDX Sport HybridKelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price = CPO: $35,500

Sticker price when new: $53,595

We think the sweet spot for the 2018 Acura MDX includes all-wheel drive and both the Technology and Entertainment packages. Prices are down about $18,000 from new. With front-wheel drive, expect to pay about $250 less, but given that all-wheel drive was an extra $2,000 when new, it’s well worth the money.

The 2018 MDX Sport Hybrid makes more power and returns better city fuel economy, and it’s the same price as the Technology package but does not include the Entertainment package. The top trim with the Advance package is about $1,500-1,800 more, depending on whether you want the gas-powered or the hybrid.

Expect to pay about $900 less across the board if you go with a non-CPO model, but we think the 182-point inspection and extended warranty make it a good deal. Not to mention all the time saved by buying directly from a dealer rather than combing through ads, making test-drive appointments, and arranging a pre-purchase inspection.

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Overview

If you want a solid 3-row family-friendly SUV, the 2018 Acura MDX is a great choice. Acura built its reputation on reliability and strong build quality, and the MDX also offers performance, high safety ratings, and a very pleasant interior. The base gas engine is a 290-horsepower V6, although there is also a 3.0-liter V6 hybrid. Front-wheel drive is standard, but Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is worth the investment, particularly if you live in a four-season state.

Considering the size of the MDX, it handles like a much smaller car, particularly with SH-AWD, and the V6 provides plenty of power for passing and driving excitement. The ride is comfortable and luxurious, and the interior is clean and elegant. Every 2018 Acura MDX comes with the AcuraWatch suite of safety and semi-autonomous driving features and a leather interior.

What to Look For

There are lots of goodies in the Technology and Entertainment packages that we think are worth the upgrade, including larger 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and an upgrade ELS Studio premium audio system with 10 speakers rather than the standard 8-speaker setup. A navigation system with 3D view and voice recognition makes it easier to find your way, and real-time traffic and traffic rerouting will help you get there more efficiently. Added safety features include a blind-spot information system and a rear cross-traffic monitor. As the 7-passenger MDX is good for families, the rear Entertainment package helps keep the kids occupied during long drives.

2018 Acura MDX Key Features

Some of the Technology and Entertainment packages highlights include the navigation system with real-time traffic rerouting and the ELS Studio premium audio system. The Entertainment package increases speaker count to 11 while adding a DVD rear entertainment system, a 9-inch screen, two pairs of wireless headphones, and a 110-volt power outlet in the front console.

2018 Acura MDX Ratings

Kelley Blue Book Rating: 4.7

NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

2018 Acura MDX
Most Common Powertrain
Engine 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower 290 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission 9-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 22 mpg (19 city/27 hwy)
Also Available 3.0-liter V6 hybrid; AWD; 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Max Seating Capacity 7
EPA Passenger Volume 132.7 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 90.9 cubic feet

 

2018 Acura ILX

2018 Acura ILX

Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price = CPO: $23,748

Sticker price when new: $34,095

The 2018 Acura ILX represents a great combination of performance and luxury. Originally priced in the $30K range, it was also a great value even when new. Now only a few years later, a CPO ILX is still a solid value, with prices ranging from $22,541 to $26,156.

We think the Technology Plus trim is the way to go since it bundles the content of two other packages while adding navigation and a premium audio system at a price only a few hundred dollars more. For example, the ILX with the AcuraWatch Plus package can be had for $23,541, but the Technology package adds to that for only a few hundred dollars more.

Typically the higher trims tend not to sell as many, so there may be fewer available. But if you’re patient, you’ll get a lot of car for just under $24,000. Non-CPO prices are about $700 less, but we think certified is the way to go with the extra warranty and thorough inspection of cars in Acura’s CPO program.

See the Certified Acura ILX models for sale near you

Overview

With a sporty 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, the 2018 Acura ILX is a lot of fun to drive. It’s front-wheel drive only, but it maintains a good balance between sport and luxury.

The interior is quiet, and the steering and well-tuned suspension make it fun in the corners. The interior is mostly high-quality, with a few plastic touches, but the seats are comfortable. It’s best for four passengers, but five will fit if necessary. New for 2018, the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assistance features was available across all trims, and an active noise cancellation system was added for a quieter cabin. Standard features include a rearview camera, automatic headlights, push-button start, an 8-way power driver seat, and heated front seats.

What to Look For

If you’re looking to save a few bucks, a lower trim still includes AcuraWatch Plus, a suite of driver-assistance and safety features. But the top Technology package bundles not only that but the Premium Package, a navigation system, an ELS sound system, and leather seats. A-Spec is a sporty appearance package that adds foglights, a rear spoiler, sport pedals, suede upholstery, and contrast stitching on the interior trim, but expect to pay nearly $27,000 for an A-Spec with the Technology package. There’s also a Premium plus A-Spec package that’s just under $25,000, but it doesn’t include the navigation or audio upgrade.

2018 Acura ILX Key Features

AcuraWatch is a suite of safety systems that includes adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation braking system, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and road-departure mitigation. Add to that the Premium package, which includes perforated leather-trimmed sport seats, HD Radio and Sirius/XM Satellite radio, the blind-spot information system, a rear cross-traffic monitor, and power-adjustable front passenger seat. To those, the Technology package adds a navigation system with 3D view, real-time traffic rerouting, voice operation, and a 10-speaker premium ELS surround-sound audio system.

2018 Acura ILX Ratings

Kelley Blue Book Rating: 4.3

NHTSA Safety Rating: 5 Stars

2018 Acura ILX
Most Common Powertrain
Engine 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower 201 hp @ 6,800 rpm
Torque 180 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Transmission 8-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 28 mpg (25 city/35 hwy)
Also Available n/a
Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles
Max Seating Capacity 5
EPA Passenger Volume 89.3 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 12.3 cubic feet

Source: KBB Feed