San Francisco: As
buyers continue their exodus away from expensive truck-based SUVs, Acura
is hoping to cash in by entering the crossover field with a new model,
the RDX. This sporty wagon is focused like a laser at the so-called
entry premium market, which is expected to grow fivefold in the next few
The new RDX starts with
a distinctive appearance, which takes the tall-wagon shape and adds
Acura-style edges and points from the brandís newest design language.
Acuraís first vehicle with standard 18-inch wheels and tires, the RDX
flaunts a macho stance devoid of the stigma of working for a living. The
RDX is for taking friends to the cabin at Lake Tahoe, not for hauling
loads of gravel to the worksite. With its flat-folding rear seat and
liftgate you could haul a pretty good load of stuff if you wanted to.
Every RDX comes with
Acuraís 2.3-liter first-ever turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This
intercooled turbo cranks out a vigorous 240 horsepower and an even more
remarkable 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Under the hood Acura provides a
Variable Flow Turbo (VFT) and Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic
Control (VTEC), and Variable Timing Control (VTC). All of these acronyms
represent the use of a sophisticated computer and sensors that evaluate
the carís needs and make sure that the engine is providing whatever is
necessary for performance, safety, and low emissions. The car leaps
ahead effortlessly, so it must be doing its job.
Acura claims mileage of
19 City and 23 Highway, but my weeklong test drive accumulated 16.9 mpg.
If you want better mileage, there are host of non-luxury crossovers with
non-turbocharged fours that can do better, but you wonít have as much
fun driving them.
Acura offers only a
five-speed automatic on the RDX, but it works well with the engine and
can be shifted manually with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. These
paddles have a precise, nicely weighted feel, but are nothing like a
manual shifter, which you cannot have (and most buyers presumably donít
Acuraís Super Handling
All-Wheel Drive system (SH-AWD) has been available in their cars for
awhile, and now in the RDX provides safe traction while serving up
generous servings of road feel and responsiveness. The SH-AWD system
balances the torque load between the front and rear axles and also
through the left and right rear wheels. The system reduces understeer
(the tendency of a car to go straight in a turn) so steering chores are
precise and easy.
My Carbon Gray Pearl
test car looked muscular but compact on the road compared to a
traditional SUV. The laid-back windshield, raked sides, and tapered rear
panel eliminate the boxy look and make the vehicle look like itís
shearing through the air. Acura uses satin-finish trim rather than
chrome outside, which is elegant and unusual. I was surprised how far
the lower front panel was tucked under until I realized that despite the
carís 65.5-inch overall height, the optical trick made the nose look
lower and car like.
The gray, silver, and
taupe interior of my tester looked and felt upscale, and had a bit of
whiz-bang styling that created a mood of adventure and play. Honda and
Acura cars are starting to deliver some excitement now after years of
following a restrained, sober design philosophy.
There are loads of
standards on the RDX, from the typical power windows, locks and mirrors
to dual zone climate control, a potent 360-watt premium sound system,
leather seats (with eight-way power driverís adjustment), tilt and
telescope steering wheel, power moonroof, and information display. Every
RDX is a premium model, thereís nothing less loaded available.
That doesnít mean you
canít have more. The Technology Package offers a host of worthwhile
items, from a ten-speaker super sound system with XM Satellite Radio to
a navigation system with voice recognition (very Star Trek), a rearview
camera, hands free cell phone availability, the AcuraLink Satellite
Communication System, and more. Itís fun to talk to the system to make
changes, just push the little button on the steering column as you speak
and the screen changes to what you want. My tester came with a
formidable list of commands and the few I used worked perfectly. Over
time, this could be a major safety feature as your eyes stay on the road
instead of dropping down to the dashboard.
The RDX feels tight and
fun around town and stretches out and cruises happily on the freeway.
Wind and road noise are minimal, the seats are supportive, and the
engine sings as it flies. The RDX gives you a boost gauge, so you can
see dramatic results every time you mash the accelerator (the gas gauge
heads down as the boost goes up, of course).
Acuraís larger MDX SUV
has been around for years now, and has been redone and grown a bit for
2007. The RDX, however, is exactly 10 inches shorter, about five inches
narrower, and sits on a four-inch shorter wheelbase. Itís also more than
600 pounds lighter, so this is really a different class of car, one that
fits nicely into todayís narrow parking spots and feels nimble out in
The RDX starts at
$32,945, and the model with the Technology Package lists at $36,495. Add
$670 destination charge to either when you take yours home. All hail the
new sportier, leaner, more-enjoyable-to-drive luxury crossovers.
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Acura Home Page
Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The RDX is Acuraís first crossover wagon
Topic: The 2007 Acura RDX
Word Count: 961
Photo Caption: The 2007 Acura RDX
Photo Credits: Acura RDX Internet Media
Series #: 2007 - 07
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2007 Acura RDX
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2007 Acura RDX