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Is the RDX a suitable first car?

 
Old 02-08-2017, 08:36 PM
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Is the RDX a suitable first car?

Hello everyone!
I have been hunting for the perfect first car now for quite sometime and I keep coming back to the RDX. I can't quite put my finger on why I love Crossovers/SUVs so much but I do. I live in a small country town in the province of Ontario so ground clearance as well as AWD is a must. I currently drive a 2006 Subaru Forester X 2.5MT (hand me down) and I love her. Sadly the flywheel has cracked in 3 places and the transmission is toast. The quote I got from my mechanic is 1900 dollars... I CAN pay for that fix or I could put my current savings towards a new used vehicle. My budget as of right now is 9000$ with very little "wiggle" room. For reference other vehicles I have been looking at are: MDX, FX35/45, 4Runner, Outback XT (hard to find), Older WRX Wagon.

tl;dr Have 9000$ wondering if the RDX would be a good first car.

Thank you in advance for the help!


-Nez
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:56 PM
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When you say "AWD is a must", do you mean "Real AWD is a must"? Make sure to research the different kinds of AWD before you go out and try a bunch of cars. The RDX is a fine vehicle, but the AWD system is heavily front biased. Your Subaru is a tad front biased (something like 60/40 front to rear) but the RDX/CR-V AWD system is unable to really move the car without front wheel traction.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:04 PM
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I have done quite a bit of research ofnthe different kinds of AWD systems Torsen,Haldex,ETC. SH-AWD is torque vectoring if I am not mistaken? It can send power to the wheels that need it. Unlike Subarus which is symmetrical AWD all of the time. Correct me if I am wrong I really am keen on learning more. I just would prefer something with Ground Clearance and AWD over say, a GTI with fwd (even knowing that they are capable to some degree in the snow). I like having the ability to haul stuff around if I need to.

Thank you for the reply btw!
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kurtatx View Post
When you say "AWD is a must", do you mean "Real AWD is a must"? Make sure to research the different kinds of AWD before you go out and try a bunch of cars. The RDX is a fine vehicle, but the AWD system is heavily front biased. Your Subaru is a tad front biased (something like 60/40 front to rear) but the RDX/CR-V AWD system is unable to really move the car without front wheel traction.
I believe you are talking about the current gen RDX that shares an AWD system with the CR-V. The OP is inquiring about the SH-AWD models, based on posting in this forum. Still front wheel-biased (but yes, torque vectoring) but much better than a CR-V slip and grip in the current RDX. Put some snow tires on these, and they are snow-beasts!

Do your research and you will learn that these early RDXs are a blast to drive.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:09 PM
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Edit: You got me. Sorry, I thought this was the 2G forum.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:52 PM
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It's all good! I thought I had read they are beasts in the snow!
I also wanted to know if there is at all a tuner crowd for these vehicles? I know the FX35 shares the same VQ as the g/z so TT and superchargers are "abundant". Is there any sort of support for the RDX like that?
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Nezran View Post
It's all good! I thought I had read they are beasts in the snow!
I also wanted to know if there is at all a tuner crowd for these vehicles? I know the FX35 shares the same VQ as the g/z so TT and superchargers are "abundant". Is there any sort of support for the RDX like that?
Yes, there is tuning support. Hit the search engine and lots will turn up.
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Old 02-08-2017, 11:34 PM
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The RDX is a good first car, but not necessarily the best choice. The best choices would be things like the rav4 and CRV just because they cost less to run (regular vs premium and better gas mileage) and there are leas complex things to get ruined. I like the FX but the early ones (with your budget you are most likely looking at 2003-2005 models) were reliability nightmares from what I read online. There are much better alternative choices.

Do your research and read around. My RDX was bullet proof and I still miss it almost a year later. But I was glad when I sold it.
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:04 AM
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At that price, you'll likely be looking at cars already north of ~150k km or so. Not a big deal as these cars can easily go double that and then some, but you really need to make sure the car was properly maintained. Even the most reliable cars will fall apart without proper TLC. Poke around and you'll see several people that are tuning their cars without worry even though they're closing in on 200k miles. Yes, a Rav 4 or CR-V would likely be cheaper to buy and easier on gas, but if you're looking to have something practical and reliable, and give up a bit of economy in the name of fun, a 1G RDX is hard to beat.
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:07 AM
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suitable?!
it's a entry level luxury sport CUV!

IT SURPASSES suitable.


my first car was a 1989 Mazda MX-6...
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:11 AM
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2000 is less than 9000 significantly.. I would just fix the transmission on the Subaru.
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:20 AM
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I guess I should have read the full thread and not just answer the title.

agreed, I would fix the Subbies tranny, since you said you dont have much wiggle room
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:10 AM
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I love my 08 RDX tech with +135,000 miles. It is a very fun vehicle to drive and has more than enough utility for me to add a bike rack, roof cargo carrier, or just folding down the rear seats. At your price range, you will be looking into 2nd-4th owners and mid-high 6-digit mileage. The least amount of owners, maint records, no accidents, and min amount of engine mods would be my choice for a used RDX. The RDX is getting cheaper as an used vehicle; but, it can get expensive to fix simple things like A/C, steering rack, door actuators, Navi DVD player, HIDs, etc... I would plan to spend $500-$1200 extra over several months for a used RDX because there will always be something that needs to repaired, upgraded, or modified with any used car (alignment, fluid changes, tires, brakes, engine/cabin filters, battery, serpentine belt, etc...).

Some of us "old folks" realized as encounter normal life problems down the road, having $$$ can solve 99.999% of them. I wouldn't deplete your cash on hand if it is going to be really tight going for the RDX and you haven't factored in gas, scheduled/unscheduled maint, insurance, and mods yet.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:13 AM
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OP is 18. Throwing your entire life's savings on a car is not a good way to start adulthood.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:09 PM
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My "life savings" isn't exactly what I would call it. My bank account does not just consist of 9000$ and school is paid for by scholarships and bursaries. I worked hard to not have to pay for school and have never bought myself anything luxurious. All things considered (i love idioms btw) I feel as though the RDX is a responsible choice. It does not sacrifice fun for practicality and that's why I am so obsessed with this vehicle.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:13 PM
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Rereading my last post I feel as though the tone comes across differently then how I had hoped. I don't mean to sound so arrogant and/or ignorant to the fact you guys are just giving your honest opinions! Thank you for the input everyone. I just love this car so damn much.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:32 PM
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Feel free to do whatever you want. All we can do is give you advice, what you do with it is your perogative. If you want it, get it.
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Old 02-09-2017, 10:34 PM
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Thanks @RDX10 I appreciate your feedback! I just wanted the communities input, you guys 100% know better than I do. I just want to have a smile everytime I get in my car and go for a drive.
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:41 PM
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Delayed gratification is what many of us are trying to instill on you from an early age.
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Nezran View Post
Thanks @RDX10 I appreciate your feedback! I just wanted the communities input, you guys 100% know better than I do. I just want to have a smile everytime I get in my car and go for a drive.
I am not that much older than you man (only 22). But I was your age once obviously (not that long ago either ) and did have a car with the potential for big issues and a small(ish) budget. My dream car at the time was the VW touareg. Absolutely loved it, but my budget was around 10-12k and most were going for 16k+ with reasonable KMs. I did eventually find one, but it has much higher km's than I care to admit. I sold it just as soon as problems started. Bought another one, flipped it and made a little cash. Finally my luck ran out on the third (and newest with lowest KM's mind you of all of them) Touareg and I ended up paying 5k in repars in 3 months (was only 20 at the time, had a 4k cushion and my dad bailed me out on the last k). This is why I am in a Japanese car and not a German anymore.


This is a long ass way of saying I get exactly how you feel, but you might want to heed some of the advice. Don't let the Japanese badge fool you. For the money you have, you will be looking at high mileage RDX's. Although the RDX is capable of being VERY reliable. It also has the potential to shit all over your day. Let me tell you something, the Touareg went from putting a smile on my face to making me hate my life VERY fast. If I was you, I would look at other options and see what is out there. I'm just like you, I only like crossovers/SUV's and have only ever owned an SUV/Crossover (8 so far). There are a LOT of choices.

If you get lucky and find a good mileage one with good records. Go for it. Otherwise look elswhere. Do what you will with the advice given.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:04 PM
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Is this a good first car? I sure hope so, because I'm in the process of helping my daughter buy an RDX!

It's a wild-hair of a bright idea that I've had only for a week or so, but here's my justification-
- She wants AWD, decent ground clearance, and a top-opening tailgate (unlike the CRVs and Rav4s you can find for under $10k).
- She needs a roomy car that can transport a pair of college students from Denver to Seattle and back
- I demand, as a protective dad, some form of electronic stability control, since she'll mostly be driving in rain and snow

She wanted a Subaru, but they didn't include stability control until 2009. Denver is Subie's strongest resale market, so I'd be near $10-11K to buy one of those. Decade-old Outbacks are notorious for their "ghostwalking" problems (google it-- a frightening built in flaw of their suspensions). And the friendly family Forester we owned six years from new needed three costly repairs, almost $4000 in all. So she'll just have to settle...

This RDX has 140,000 miles of "experience." I'll be getting it inspected soon. But it has to be a safer bet than the high-mile alternatives, like the BMW X3. It's a Japanese car - a Honda! -- and I'm a long-suffering but contented VW enthusiast who's always had amy mechanic on speed dial.

I hear the caution expressed about the RDX, but I don't see much added complexity to it except for the turbo system. A first-year, one-off turbo engine seems risky, but by most rankings I've seen, this engine is the most reliable part of the car. (Try to find a 200,000-mile-plus Subaru that hasn't had two belt and head jobs.) In the olden days, luxury cars had costly accessories like power windows and air conditioning, but now it's a different era.

Most persuasive to me is the marvel that I don't hate the RDX. Liked it a lot more after driving it, in fact. Wow!

The deal is $7999 for an '07 RDX base model, red over tan, with 142,000 miles. Deal or steal? Or will I be the meal? Your comments are welcome.
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:06 AM
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Having documented maintenance records is key.

Anything less than that is not worth considering.

If it was properly maintained it's worth checking out.

Edmunds retail value est of $7396 for a 2007 in clean condition

$5542 for private party sale

Clean defined - some normal wear but no major mechanical or cosmetic problems; may require limited reconditioning
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:31 AM
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The engine, turbo, 5AT, and sh-awd systems are extremely reliable for the RDX. Most of us had issues with door actuators, sun visors, torn center arm rests, A/C compressors, blown speakers, or leaky steering racks. I've taken plenty of trip to Colorado and Utah in my RDX and it performs better than expected as the altitude gets higher. My RDX performed like a champs at +11,000 feet on I-70 Eisenhower Pass with the turbo. The only thing that might be a pain for her is the 2007 RDX had the stiffest ride and the combined mpgs are 17-18 mpg at best. I never got above 22 mpg on the hwy because I'm always setting the cruise control to around 80 mph (you are still getting passed A LOT in Colorado at 80 mph). A good set of all seasons like Conti DWS 06 would be a good choice for the RDX to handle the summer sun, winter snow, +80 mph hwy speeds, and wet weather of Seattle. The weather can change 3-4 times in a few hours from sunny dry roads, rain, snow, to icy roads, and back to dry and sunny in the Rockies. Straight summer or winter tires don't work as well for me compared to splitting the difference with the Conti DWS 06 tires with +20,000 miles I put on a year.

I have 137,000 miles on my RDX and have zero reason to even think about selling her for the next 3-4 years. The 07 has the stiffest ride and base model doesn't have a lot tech. The 08/09 are pretty much the same and bluetooth phone was standard for the base/tech versions, memory seats, and they added the M.I.D. maint reminder system. The +10 RDX had the new styling and fwd or sh-awd versions. I just didn't like the +10 styling and some folks had problems with the front drive version of the RDX (drive shaft issues). The 08/09 are the model years I like the most.

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Old 03-21-2017, 10:56 AM
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Thanks for the replies and advice. I don't put a lot of stock in price estimators. When I checked the kbb site, it showed mid $7000s value. But talking to the credit union where she'll borrow 60% of the price, the agent said, "Good deal! NADA shows ten thousand for this." Searching online nationally, there are almost no intact RDXs below $7000. There's another one here for $7000, but it has 30,000 more miles. Every other RDX in Colorado now is $10K and over. That's the market I'm shopping in, not some hypothetical market. Cars are more costly in Denver- we're kind of a captive market, with no other real city to shop in within 400 miles.

Yes, mrgold, good tires are crucial. This car's tires are good for the summer, and depending on how much she drives, may need replacement by winter. She doesn't care about the tech, because her iPhone is smarter than any 10-year-old car. The stiff suspension doesn't feel so stiff after so many miles. And after scanning all the topics here on this forum, I can say that the reported RDX problems are trivial compared to the other cars we were hunting, like Subarus and Passat 4 Motion wagons. But we'll see what the Honda/Acura specialists say when they inspect it tomorrow.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:04 AM
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If you take care of this car, the total cost of ownership is quite low. I'm FWD so missing from my maintenance would be the differential fluid changes, but that's on par with the transmission service in terms of cost and frequency, so you're not adding much. For reference, on my 2010 RDX with 114k miles, the only non-maintenance work I have done on the car is the following:

Replaced center console lid and front door vinyl with new stuff due to bubbling / wear - $400. I replaced with better material than OEM, so I don't expect to do this again.
Replaced positive battery cable due to excessive corrosion - $200
Replaced driver-side sun visor - $80

Maintenance spending so far has been low as well:
$40 oil change every 6-7k miles - DIY (expect more if at a mechanic)
$75 transmission service at about 90k miles, and will do about every 30k from here on
$50 for spark plugs at 75k - DIY
$200 for brake and coolant flushes at 100k
$15 for power steering fluid change - DIY
$150 (I think) for front brakes at 75k - DIY

Obviously your mileage may vary, but I am definitely a satisfied owner thus far. I bought mine 3 years ago with 48k miles, and it had maintenance records at the dealership (plus a bit of factory warranty just in case), so despite me being the 4th owner I was confident that it was well taken care of in its early years
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:26 AM
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Don't confuse asking price and selling price.

I know we all have to make our own way, but please don't be offended by my pushy advice, which is based on buying a lot of cars over the last 40 years.

If the CU thinks it a good price, it is so? They make money off you by loaning you the money to buy the car.

Did the CU do an appraisal? If not see if the seller will let you take the car to your local Honda/Acura dealer for to est value based on private sale, dealer sale and trade in values, as well as do an inspection of the condition of the vehicle, ~ $100 well spent.

Don't be afraid to offer the seller way below the asking price. They want and need to sell it. And you have money to buy it. Put them over the barrel, not yourself.

If possible bring your daughter along so she can learn how best to buy a car.

The worst the seller can do is say no. If they do, then up your price by $100 or so, and then let them think it over if they say no again. Be confident about it.

If you walk away they will call you back. Have faith in your negotiating skills.

It's your money, make it work for you. You are the boss here. Make sure the seller knows that.

Be patient, don't rush into a deal good or bad.

What have you got to lose?

Lots if you over pay.

And you can lose even more if you buy a car without confirming proper maintenance was done by verifying the maintenance records.

You could end up with high $ repairs. The actuator for the variable turbo is just one of the things that seems to be one of those high $ repairs.
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Old 03-22-2017, 11:34 AM
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One more thing...23,356 Acura RDX's were sold in the US in calendar year 2007, allowing one to patiently find a well maintained one at the right price.

You may need look beyond your state border to find the right RDX.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:47 PM
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I hear you, DRR, and I think I'm being patient. After all, it's not my own car! Took the car to an indy Acura/Honda shop today. They called it better than average, with only one big issue- a leaking steering rack. It was seeping, not dripping to the ground, but it would require fluid level monitoring and topping off. At some point, could be years, it would require a $2000 replacement. Not a deal-killer, but a concern. I'm taking another car, 2008 w/ tech, 175k, $7000, to the same shop Friday. At that point I'll have spent over $300 in prepurchase inspections and searched among other vehicles (Passat wagons, X3s, Tiguans) for several months, so please don't think I'm being impulsive here, ok?
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:09 AM
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The leaky steering rack was also fairly common on CR-Vs of the same time period, so not too surprised. If it's only seeping you might try cleaning the area where the seepage is and doing a fluid exchange with some added seal conditioner (assuming you go through with the purchase), then watch to see if/how much it seems going forward. Additionally, inspecting and topping off the p/s fluid is extremely easy - the reservoir is right next to the passenger headlight. So, if you are able to get the seller to knock some extra money off due to the leak, you might be able to make it work in your favor if all else checks out.
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:58 AM
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I had a leaky power steering pump on my 06 TSX about a month ago. The TSX is the kid's car in college and just by luck I had him check under the hood with me and I noticed extremely low PS fluid and the mess the leaky PS pump was making. It wasn't leaking enough to leave fluid on the ground. He would of probably destroyed the pump and rack a few months later if we didn't notice when we did. Acura wanted +$1000 to replace with OEM or around $600 to replace with aftermarket. I went on eBay motors and found a PS pump form an 08 TSX with 73K for $101+free shipping. Down to my local shop at $90 per hr labor and it was installed for under $200 (also did the serpentine belt+tensioner at the same time). I did a quick search on eBay and prices range between $200-$400 for the rack (maybe 2-4hrs of labor).

With the age range and mileage, I would expect most RDXs will need one or some work on the alternator, ps pump, ps rack, A/C system, struts/shocks, suspension parts, etc... Just depends what expense is worth paying out of pocket if you find a RDX in good shape. I would just stay away from any RDX that needs engine, turbo, transmission, or sh-awd work (and I might include the ELS system if it is not working). Everything else can fixed and is usually a "one and done" thing.

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Old 03-23-2017, 07:22 PM
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Oops. I haven't been here long enough to send private messages. Gentleman GTI thiink about trying Utah. I've been shopping, and our local prices are lower than yours. Check Cargurus - there are some RDXs in the mileage bracket at which you're looking.
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:25 PM
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P.S. I like Cargurus -- local listings seem quite prevalent there.
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:37 PM
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In Salt Lake, I find fewer RDXs and even higher prices. CG has one at $9K, and CL shows two in the $15000s.

I've traveled to purchase a used car before, and it's risky. If you travel all that way to see that one car, it's emotionally hard to change your mind and go home emptyhanded. And RDXs are so rare that there would probably just be one or two cars to look at in my low price range. I might travel to buy a new or CPO, though.

I feel lucky to be considering one at $7000 and another at $8000!
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gentleman GTI View Post
I've traveled to purchase a used car before, and it's risky. If you travel all that way to see that one car, it's emotionally hard to change your mind and go home emptyhanded.
^That is 100% truth. It is a real risk.

We flew to Arizona twice to buy our vette triple black 6 speed (few and far between). Our 4 of RT airfares would equal some amount of repairs made on a lesser example closer to home. But there were none closer.

But if all you can find within a few hundred miles are in poor shape, what are you going to do?

At least today you can get a distant seller to send you a ton of picks incl mechanical areas so you can see it before you fly.

Maybe try a CRV. Not exactly a hot rod or good looking, but it shares the same Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure as the RDX, which is designed to absorb energy from a collision. It get better gas mileage by ~ 10 mpg.

Sorry if I sounded accusing. I sure don't mean to.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:25 PM
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Thanks for your input. I've backed off the RDX hunt for a little while. If you see my thread about "steering rack: deal breaker," you'll see how both the RDXs I checked had failed fluid hoses and leaking steering racks, meaning a $3000 + repair was coming down the road. The shop, a H/A specialist, told me, "Acura has those parts in stock, which tells you something." Then I read this in a BMW board last night, which I think applies to these cars and almost anything else I might buy: "Lifetime" Isn't as Long as You Think - Bavarian Machine Specialties

It's long-winded. but convincing. This BMW mechanic criticizes today's maintenance schedules and "lifetime" fluids as a dangerous marketing gambit that shortens the lives of cars whose owners boast, "I've never had to to anything to it." He adds, "If you think oil changes at the nearest quick lube shop is maintaining your car, think again. Well intentioned but untrained oil jockeys will guarantee you a false sense of security." That's what happened with the second car I checked, which was more flawed than the first. it had been faithfully "serviced" at Grease Monkey, where the hardworking simain technician didn't have a spare minute to spot those fluids seeping.

The RDX may have a special complication. None of the sellers I met had any idea that valve adjustment was necessary. Indeed, they were sure that hydraulic valves in all cars made that unnecessary. So how many owners skip this procedure, especially when it costs $600 with plugs replaced? So that's a front-end cost passed on the used car buyer. Granted, that's less than a timing belt change, but it's still a big cost.

Either of the low-market RDXs I checked would have cost $11-14K after all the deferred maintenance and repairs were done. That's what I'm seeing asked for the higher-cost, low mileage 2007s and 2008s, too. I guess that's just what it costs to drive of these with confidence, and that's over budget for this vehicle, which was to be a college student's first car.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:32 PM
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As for the CRV-- That side-hinged tailgate is a deal-killer. It's not even hinged on the correct side! They took the Japanese design, unchanged, and sold it to a hundred million US owners who have to put up with a swinging door between their groceries and the sidewalk. And Toyota got away with the same caper! I'd rather stand under a real tailgate, out of the sun, rain and snow, thank you. Once I drove a newer CRV- that problem was redesigned, out, but the doors creaked whenever I accelerated, giving me a bad feeling about the car's structural rigidity. My impression is, please don't be offended, those Hondas and Toyotas are sold to folks who are proud of how little they know about cars, and they expect little, too... except low maintenance.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:34 PM
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Not sure if you have your short list limited to 4WD SUVs or if you would consider fwd sedans. My 06 TSX with Conti DWS tires performed better in the snow/slush compared to my 08 sh-awd RDX with OEM Michelin tires. The 06-08 TSX is the MMC version and it probably has the best record for being the most reliable Acura in its lineup. MPGs will be in mid to upper 20s in the city and low to mid 30s on the hwy (even at +75 mph). You just don't have the space like you would in the CR-V.
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:40 PM
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That sounds like a nice car. But this one's for my daughter, 20, for her first car. Her dream is to be a park ranger. She wanted a Forester, but I was looking for an alternative CUV that wouldn't share Subaru's weaknesses of frequent and costly timing belt and head gasket services, plus dull dynamics. Here in Denver, the RDX and the Forester prices match up well in the used car market. The RDX is much more rare, of course- I see one a day, instead of one Forster per block. That's a big plus to me, but she probably can't understand why.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:36 PM
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Huh?

CRV has a lift gate hatch. Not a side hinged one like the RAV4.

Lots of room and wide opening doors, easy to load kids and car seats. Some day right?

Have you priced a 3rd gen CRV? Should be easier to find a well maintained one. Maybe even cpo.

218,000 were sold in the US in 2011.

I'm not sure if it is a belt or chain driven timing.

Our daughter bought a new '11 CRV and loves it. Did I mention it uses the same ACE body structure as the RDX?
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:51 PM
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When did they make that change in the tailgate, DRR? I doubt she can afford any 2011 CUV on the target budget (under $10K, and add $200 to usual values because Denver).

My advice to her now is to get a non-AWD 2009 Tiguan. That saves at least $2K from the AWD versions around here, and she gets a bug, sturdy, lifted hatchback- basically a Golf, inflated. I see them with &0K miles around $7000, well equipped.
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