2012 Acura RDX

12AcuraRDX

RDX Delivers Luxury And A Sporty Personality

The Acura RDX is geared for young urban professionals. This is the same group that buys sporty SUVs, like the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. The RDX is a “crossover” vehicle that’s built on a car, rather than a truck, platform. Crossovers have the advantage of providing more car-like driving qualities, but are not as capable in serious off-road situations.

The RDX came out in 2008, and was given a facelift for the 2010 model year. It received what became Acura’s signature styling cue, an aggressive shield-like grille. This styling feature polarized potential buyers. People either loved it or hated it. However, with the passage of time, the styling now appears more mainstream. I heard no negative comments about its looks while it was with me.

The RDX is the only Acura to be powered by a turbocharged engine. It’s a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder job that cranks out a hefty 240 horsepower. Acura uses a “variable-flow” technology to provide quick response, whether you are taking off from a traffic light, or passing a big rig out on the road. Teamed with the turbo engine is a five-speed automatic transmission. This gearbox comes with Acura’s Sequential SportShift that enables the driver to change gears manually by pressing paddles on the steering wheel. The only shortcoming with this combo is the gas mileage. I averaged only 18 mpg.

Acura offers the RDX with either front-wheel drive, or its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD.) This AWD system, like the one in my test car, is one of the best in the market. It transfers power not only from front to rear, but from side to side. In cornering situations, power goes to the outside rear wheel to improve handling.

The RDX seats four comfortably, five in a pinch. The seats up front are well bolstered and comfortable. The seat in the rear is mounted slightly higher, and provides passengers with a good view of the road. Head- and legroom, fore and aft, is very good. The storage area is on a par with others in its class at 60 cu-ft, and will hold a couple of bicycles when the rear seat is down. Additionally, there’s a large storage compartment in the center armrest up front that will swallow a laptop computer.

In keeping with its upscale image, the RDX features a cabin with luxury amenities. Heated leather seats, a moonroof and a premium sound system, with satellite radio, are all standard. Numerous safety features are part of the package as well. These include Xenon headlights, side-impact and side-curtain airbags, and Acura’s anti-skid system.

Acura offers only one option, and that’s the Technology Package. This $3100 package includes a navigation unit (with real-time satellite traffic information,) a backup camera, the AcuraLink communication system, upgraded surround-sound audio and solar-sensing automatic climate control. I had difficulty operating the Tech system when it first came out, but had no trouble this time around.

However in my view, the real attraction of the RDX is its sporty personality. The turbo engine is strong and responsive. It will rush you up to sixty in 6.5 seconds. The handling of the RDX is surprisingly good. The steering is quick, and provides good feedback from the road. Body-lean in corners is well controlled. This is an SUV that feels sure-footed on the highway and on twisty back roads. The ride quality is somewhat stiff, but certainly acceptable for an SUV.

Pricing for the RDX starts at $33,780 for the front-wheel drive model, and $35,870 for al-wheel drive. My test car, with SH-AWD and the Technology Package, had a bottom line is $38,880.

Snapshot Review:

Responsive Engine
Sporty Handling
High Tech Features
Stiff Ride

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