Acura RDX couples luxury, power with AWD
Smooth, quiet and useful, with a strong interior luxury quotient. That’s the new Acura RDX AWD Advance, the top-of-the-line model that should be making European makes nervous.
Well, it’s awfully nice and for substantially less cash than equally equipped German makes, such BMW, Mercedes and Audi. There’s still some panache to such nameplates, but folks looking for luxury and value will find both in the Acura.
This is an incredibly quiet and comfortable crossover vehicle that will carry five passengers. It’s handsome but certainly not a head turner. But the dark metallic blue of the test vehicle made this RDX stand out in a sea of gray/silver crossovers populating suburbia.
There’s much to like here, and little to loathe, or even think twice about.
Power is good from the 3.5-liter iVTEC V6 that creates 279 horsepower with a torque rating of 252 ft.-lbs. Plus there’s a sport mode that increases throttle response if you’re needing quick acceleration. Certainly the RDX will quickly get you to highway speeds for easy merges. However, and this was only a moderate concern, sometime there is a lag in acceleration once you are at speed and get on the gas quickly to pass, or when powering out of a turn. This is not uncommon in many of today’s vehicles, no matter their price.
Acura’s 6-speed automatic is a smooth one though, even if it doesn’t have as many gears as many makes. Chrysler is up to 9-speed transmissions in some vehicles now. This one also has paddle shifters if you choose to shift manually. I never found it necessary.
Ride on the 105.7-inch wheelbase is decent; mostly smooth with some stiffness on sharp bumps. Acura uses an independent rear suspension and MacPherson struts up front. Stretching the wheelbase a bit would likely give this an even better ride.
Handling is fine too, as you’d expect in this size crossover. It’s mostly quick with slight play in the wheel and a less heavy steering feel than the RDX I had just a few years back in my first test of this crossover.
A major plus for our climate, the test unit was the primo version with all-wheel-drive for firm footing in nasty weather. The RDX also is available with front-wheel drive. I’d go for the AWD.
A base RDX with the same V6 and FWD begins at $36,210, including delivery, while an AWD model begins at $37,710. The test crossover listed at $43,420. Add in the delivery fee of $920 and the damages are just $44,340. I say Just, but for most of us that’s on the high side. Yet in the entry-level luxury crossover market that’s reasonable and this is a fully loaded vehicle. Most luxury brands hit $50 grand with such equipment.
What all do you get for that price?
The AWD Advance model comes with an 8-way power passenger’s seat and 10-way power driver’s seat, an active noise cancellation system, which is why it’s so darned quiet in this one, a 10-speaker surround sound stereo with 360 watts of power and Acura’s Jewel Eye headlights, which adds LED lights that give the nose a bit of a jeweled look. I also like that there’s a dual-screen infotainment system/
That’s just for starters. The test vehicle also had a sunroof, power rear hatch, rearview camera, blind-spot warning system, three-level heated and cooled front seats, and lane keeping and warning feature along with collision mitigation braking system. So you’ll get beeps and blips if anything is in your way while driving or parking, plus braking if a vehicle slows too quickly in front of you.
There’s more too, including two memory settings for the driver’s seat and mildly contoured leather seats that are comfortable. The driver’s seat also has a power lumbar support. Then there’s the standard fare, XM radio, Pandora, HD radio, MP3 and other hookups, Bluetooth, heated power door mirrors, voice recognition for the nav system, rain-sensing wipers and sun visors that slide. (Thought I was gonna forget that, didn’t you?)
Of course there are radio, cruise and phone buttons on the steering wheel hub and a trip computer. The dash is well laid out and all buttons and knobs are easy to reach and figure out, not at all overwhelming.
One thing the RDX doesn’t have though is power tilt/telescope steering wheel, but most of us will likely set the wheel once and leave it, so not a major concern.
Cargo space is generous under that power hatch at 61.3 cubic feet. You can fold down the split rear seat too and boosth that to 77.0 cubic feet.
At today’s gas prices you may not be overly concerned with gas mileage, but this falls in the middle of such crossovers at 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway according to the EPA. I got 22.6 mpg in about 60% highway driving. That was significantly better than my last test of an RDX, where I spent more time in the city. Premium fuel is recommended, but not required.
The RDX is as pleasant a small luxury crossover as any out there and certainly has all the electronic gadgets you’d expect and even for less than much of its competition. This should be on your test drive list if you’re in the market.
FAST STATS: 2016 Acura RDX AWD Advance
Hits: Quiet, comfortable 5-passenger crossover with good power, decent ride, AWD and loaded with goodies. Sunroof, power hatch, rearview camera, blind-spot warning, three-level heated and cooled front seats, 8-way power passenger seat, dual screen infotainment system. Lower price than most small luxury crossovers
Misses: Some engine hesitation during acceleration.
Made in: East Liberty, Ohio
Engine: 3.5-liter, iVTEC V6, 279 hp
Transmission: 6-speed automatic w/SportShift
Weight: 3,946 lbs.
Length: 184.4 in.
Wheelbase: 105.7 in.
Cargo: 61.3 cu.ft. (77.0 cu.ft. rear seats folded)
MPG: 19/28 (EPA)
MPG: 22.6 (tested)
Base Price: $43,420
Dealer’s Price: $41,785 (includes delivery)
Major Options: None
Test vehicle: $44,340
Sources: Acura, www.autos.yahoo.com
Photos: Mark Savage