Expect it to do about as well as any of its rivals, maybe slightly better due to Acura’s prudent decision to not go crazy with the 2017 RDX’s wheel/tire selection. Like most of its rivals, the RDX is based on a front-wheel-drive design that places the weight of the engine over the primary drive wheels, maximizing available grip. You can purchase a RDX with front-wheel drive, and it will handle in the snow as well as a similarly sized front-wheel drive car.
For extra peace of mind, we would strongly recommend spending the extra $1,500 to equip your 2017 RDX with Acura’s excellent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Don’t let the Super Handling name fool you. While the system improves dry-road cornering performance, SH-AWD works exceptionally well in the snow.
Under normal driving conditions, all power goes to the front wheels. During moderate acceleration or when the system detects a slight amount of slipping in the front wheels, it can send up to 40 percent of the engine’s torque to the rears to compensate. In snowy conditions, the power split can go up to 50/50 front/rear. SH-AWD adds only 165 pounds to the RDX’s curb weight (some systems can 200 pounds or more), and it only has a 1 mpg impact on fuel economy, according to EPA estimates.
Further aiding handling in the snow are the standard 18-inch wheels on all-season tires. Several of RDX’s rivals offer 19-, 20-, and even 21-inch tires, which are wider and have a lower profile, meaning they don’t provide as much traction on wet and snowy roads. Some in the competitive set, such as the BMW X3, even have run-flat tires, which allow you to drive up to 50 miles even if you’ve suffered a puncture. The tradeoff is that the rubber compound used on these tires is much harder, which compromises ride quality and traction in the snow.