Review: 2007 Acura RDX
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
The new Acura RDX is getting in on the ground floor of the small, premium crossover vehicle market, which Acura expects to grow five-fold in the next few years.
Some auto analysts feel that Acura's prediction is probably on target. That market promises to take off because of uncertain fuel prices that encourage the purchase of smaller vehicles, the trend toward more upscale vehicle sales and the continuing desire for more vehicle utility.
The RDX is the first premium entry crossover from Honda's upscale Acura division. It combines sports sedan performance with the roominess and utility of car-based crossover vehicles, which have sport-utility vehicle attributes without truck-based SUV drawbacks.
The RDX has Acura's first turbocharged engine. It also has the first adaptation of the Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system from Acura's top-line RL flagship sedan.
Innovative AWD System
Beyond that, the RDX has enough ground clearance to use the system when on deeply rutted roads, although this is primarily an on-road vehicle.
Acura acknowleges that the RDX was designed to mainly compete with BMW's X3, which also has a five-passenger design and no third-row seat. The X3 is smaller than BMW's redsigned 2007 X5 SUV, and the RDX is smaller than Acura's redone 2007 MDX SUV.
The Nissan Murano SE and Subaru Forester XT 2.5 Limited also could be considered RDX competitors, but lack a prestigious nameplate.
No Styling Ground Broken
The standard RDX has many comfort, convenience and safety features. They include air conditioning with automatic dual-zone climate controls, leather upholstery with heated front seats and cruise control.
There's also a premium 7-speaker sound system with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer, split/folding rear seats, 8-way power driver's seat and power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry.
Among safety features are anti-lock brakes with brake assist for surer emergency stops, front- and side-curtain airbags and traction/anti-skid control.
Potent Turbo Engine
The dual overhead camshaft 16-valve engine whisks the RDX to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds and allows quick merges and passing on highways. Power delivery is linear, with almost no turbocharger lag.
Marginal Fuel Economy
The smooth engine shoots power through a responsive 5-speed automatic transmission with an easily used manual shift feature.
Fun to Drive
Four tall persons fit comfortably in the quiet, futuristic-looking interior. Five such occupants would fit because there is especially good rear-seat room, but the center of the rear seat is too hard for comfort. It's thus best to fold down the wide rear armrest, which contains dual cupholders.
The quiet interior has supportive front bucket seats and the backlit gauges can be quickly read. Controls are easily reached, but some are undersized. The central console control knob and dashboard screen are used for audio and other functions, complicating tasks.
Roomy Cargo Area
The RDX has a heavy hood that must be held open by a prop rod, instead of a more convenient hydraulic strut.
One need not be a "high-energy urbanite" to appreciate the RDX, which offers a good blend of performance, function and technology.