2014 Acura RDX Review
Sales have been steady for the RDX, still amongst the leaders of this segment. Their owners are highly satisfied with the small Acura crossover. CarSoup.com wondered what is the story behind this mighty premium crossover.
To understand the initial reactions to the RDX, you have to look at it. It is a very handsome package. The taut size and lines shape an attractive silhouette with varying creases, textures, curves and lines. The RDX was designed to entertain the eye, not polarize it.
Every detail went unnoticed. The Acura shield, a design element now commonplace with Honda’s premium brand, received some sculpting. The side glass profile and the liftgate simply attract the curious and excite the enthusiast. Big eighteen-inch wheels finished off the RDX just right. The RDX shows a sensitive, but elegant side to Acura.
The same theme was found inside the cabin of the RDX. There are many of the brand’s cues inside. Start with a big TFT screen in the middle of a shrouded area topping the center stack. A big center knob controlled the TFT screen’s functions, which were pretty easy to figure out and use. Information came from two big dials in the instrument panel along with a small center screen for trip and vehicle functions. Gear selection was done in a non-obtrusive area right next to the driver. To start the RDX, all you do is press the red button on the dashboard – one of the unique touches found on Acuras today.
Getting used to the gadget-laden steering wheel may take some time. However, today’s Acura owners would show you some tricks on how to master the buttons dotted around the wheel’s center hub. When you set up your infotainment options – Bluetooth connection for the mobile phone included, all you need to do is to ensure that the voice recognition works well with your speaking style.
The front seats were big, comfortable, and offered many adjustments for drivers of all sizes. There was some bolstering, but not enough for more enthusiast tastes. Rear seats are thick and offer comfort along with ample leg and head room for adults. The RDX does not come with a third row of seating – which is probably for the best. There was more than enough room in the cargo hold for a weekend away or a night at the drive-in movie.
Acura’s ELS Surround sound system offered up 10 speakers of fantastic sound. XM radio joined the usual AM/FM and CD/DVD playback in the audio system. The Bluetooth connection worked not only for your phone, but also for your audio files on said device along with connectivity for the AcuraLink system. Navigation is part of the Tech Package and offered exact positioning.
One note regarding the ELS Surround audio system: Take the RDX to a drive-in movie. The sound rivals that of a movie theater.
Under the hood is Acura’s (and Honda’s) familiar 3.5liter V6 with dual overhead camshafts and four valves-per-cylinder. With 280 horsepower on tap, the RDX’s V6 winds through the revs quite nicely – whether driven normally or a bit more spirited. Do not let the 251 pound-foot of torque number fool you. There was plenty of low-end grunt, sending the 3,800 pound crossover down the highway with ease.
The V6 is connected to a six-speed automatic gearbox with power sent to all four wheels. Just like all Honda/Acura transmissions, this one was very good. Shifts were unobtrusive and sure.
One would forget that it the RDX a crossover and not a premium mid-sized sedan. Driving dynamics are on the soft side, but expected for a vehicle of its sub-class. You get a smooth ride that does its best to absorb road imperfections and bumps. Once you get the RDX onto a smooth piece of tarmac, it simply flattened out the experience. There was some lean and roll in the corners and curves, but not enough to cause alarm. Otherwise, the RDX loved every road it was asked to tackle.
Stopping power was very good in both normal and panic braking. The steering was pretty good. Cornering action from the wheel was very responsive and turns were made pretty tightly. In all, the RDX was a very light vehicle that is simply worth running around in every day.
Whenever a six-cylinder compact crossover shows up for review, there is an immediate concern about fuel economy. To say that 19MPG is acceptable for such a vehicle could be seen as “defeatist.” In the end, the RDX turned an average of 21.7MPG – right where it was expected to be.
For being a luxury compact crossover, the RDX may be the best buy of the lot. At $40,890, it is an honest value when compared to the competition – an advantage of at least a few thousand dollars.
The Acura RDX could be the best and easiest to live with premium small crossover on the market. That speaks volumes when it is up against some formidable competition. You would agree that the Acura RDX would be the most civilized option amongst a growing field. Bieng civilized means your style will never be cramped.
**If you are interested in owning an Acura RDX, check out CarSoup.com for what is available in your area. **
Photos © Honda North America