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February 13, 2007 > ACURA RDX 2007

ACURA RDX 2007

The Acura RDX is a brand new vehicle for the 2007 model year that went on sale in August 2006. A compact, luxury, all wheel drive, SUV it is smaller than its big brother the MDX. The RDX is a "crossover" SUV featuring Acura's first turbo charged production engine. Crossovers combine the functions of larger SUVs with the reasonable size and economy of family sedans. This 5-passenger vehicle shares its basic platform with its sister company's (Honda) CR-V.

RDX comes in two models: the RDX and RDX Tech (technology package). Both are similar, but the Tech adds many high technology features including a navigation system with voice recognition and response, a rear view camera for more safety when backing up, satellite communication system with real-time traffic congestion updates, a 10-speaker premium sound system with a 6-disc DVD and XM radio, a hands-free wireless telephone link, a computer that controls all of the RDX's systems, and finally a GPS-linked solar sensing dual zone automatic climate control system for the interior. The tech package is the only option available for the RDX.

The voice response system is great for driving in unfamiliar areas. You can ask it hundreds of questions about locations and it will calculate a route to get there. For example, you say, "Find the nearest seafood restaurant." A few seconds later the nav is programmed and starts to guide you; for instance, "Go straight three miles and turn right onto Oak Street." Or you can say, "Driver's temperature 69 degrees, passenger temperature 74 degrees" and the climate control system makes it happen.

The RDX's power comes from a 2.3-liter, dual overhead cam, turbocharged and intercooled 4-cylinder engine that develops 240 HP and 260 foot pounds of torque. It also uses continuously variable valve timing technology. A 5-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) drives all 4 wheels. Its EPA testing produces 19 mpg city and 23 on the highway test. It also meets California's low emissions standard of LEV II ULEV.

Acura's press literature calls the RDX a sporty, entry level, luxury SUV that feels similar to a sports sedan. I would agree with that. It has the stiff, well-controlled ride of a sports car (if you want a super smooth glide, go elsewhere) and handles well for a tall, fairly heavy - 3935 pound - vehicle. It is responsive to control inputs and has very little body roll.

The engine is a dream. It only has a hint of turbo lag and powers up quickly after kicking the throttle. She really gets up and goes after the blower spools up.

I do have one complaint; Mr. Acura listen up. The RDX's parking brake is one of those pedals you push down with your foot to set it and push again to release it, no problem there. But the engineer that designed it put it way too far to the right. It seems like it is directly over the main brake pedal, although it really isn't, and caused confusion each time I got into the RDX. If at all possible, it would be better if the parking brake pedal was moved 4 or 5 inches to the left.

The RDX is a good size for a 2 to 4 person family. It would probably be too small for two adults and 3 or 4 kids. Four adults are fine; five is a bit of a squeeze.

The MSRP for the RDX is $32,995. Adding the Tech Package increases the cost by $3,500 to $36,495. I think the best summary for this report is my wife's line, "I could see myself buying an RDX."




By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists
RRYAN@FRK.COM

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