Acura’s RDX falls into the compact SUV/crossover segment and in Honda’s luxury division, it’s a size below the larger MDX. Looking at the market as a whole, there are basically four SUV sizes out there now subcompact, compact, mid-sized and full-size. Although the RDX is sited at the lower end of the size range, most buyers will find it “just right” and neither too small for a family or too bulky and fuel-thirsty for urban driving.
The RDX is styled very much like the MDX and has pretty much the same level of luxury. In recent years, Acura has done a fine job of creating a “product identity” and its vehicles have a cleverly uniform and appealing look about them. When you spot an MDX or RDX on the road, there’s no mistaking it for anything else but an Acura. My test vehicle was an Elite, the top choice of the three RDX packages on offer.
One feature that makes this Acura stand out is its 3.5-litre V-6 engine. Most competitors in this class have switched to turbocharged four-cylinder engines for their products and although many of them are excellent powerplants, a V-6 does give you that much more grunt, flexibility and towing capability. The RDX would have no problem towing a small boat or travel trailer and that’s the reason many people buy this crossover. The towing capacity is given as 1,500-lbs, which is more than respectable in this class.
The RDX Elite I tested was equipped with all-wheel drive, which is another plus for towing. Despite its power levels, the RDX is very good in the fuel consumption department and surprisingly economical on the highway. The engine is quiet and responsive with great levels of torque. The 6-speed automatic transmission handles its role well, with none of the “buzz” or “surging” you get with some of the continuously variable transmissions often found in this class.
As with other Acura vehicles, the interior is very well executed with lots of useful features and very comfortable seating. As with all competitors, the rear seatbacks fold to create a roomy load area if there are just two occupants aboard. The instrument panel has two screens, one for navigation and the other for entertainment and other tasks. The navigation system was very intuitive, once played with for a while, and I never had to refer to the owner’s manual to sort it out. Convenience features included heated seats and steering wheel for winter conditions and an air conditioning system that coped well with BC’s seemingly endless summer.
The RDX is a great choice for luxury buyers who don’t want to drive too large an SUV. It has some worthy competitors from Lexus, Audi and others, but it can more than hold its own when it comes to performance and level of luxury.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Five door compact crossover
ENGINE: 3.5-litre V-6, 279-horsepower
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
TOWING CAPACITY: 1,500-lbs with towing package
FUEL ECONOMY: 9.4-litres combined
PRICE: Starts at $42,390 MSRP