Acura enters the compact SUV segment this summer with the RDX, a vehicle slotted below its midsize MDX sport utility vehicle. The RDX competes with other compact luxury SUVs, namely the BMW X3 and Land Rover's upcoming Freelander replacement, the LR2.
Significant features on the RDX include Acura's first production turbocharged engine, the automaker's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system and a navigation system with traffic information. Built on an all-new platform, the RDX is assembled in Ohio.
The RDX wears Acura's five-point grille, below which sits a rectangular opening in the bumper. Ridges in the hood flow from the outer edges of the grille toward the windshield. Taken as a whole, it looks much like a scaled-down MDX.
Other exterior features include dual exhaust pipes, a liftgate spoiler and high-intensity-discharge headlights. Side mirrors include redundant turn signals, and chiseled taillamps recall Acura's TSX sedan. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard.
At 180.7 inches long and 73.6 inches wide, the RDX is 8 inches shorter and 3.4 inches narrower than the MDX. It's also incrementally larger than the X3.
Two front bucket seats and a 60/40-split, folding rear bench seat provide seating for up to five people. The driver faces a three-pod instrument cluster that has a center-mounted speedometer.
Center console storage space is growing on U.S.-market vehicles; the RDX's lockable bin can accept a laptop computer. Standard features include leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and a moonroof. An optional Technology Package adds a 410-watt, 10-speaker audio system, a voice-recognition navigation system with traffic information and a rearview camera.
Passenger volume measures 101.4 cubic feet, while maximum cargo volume with the rear seats folded is 60.6 cubic feet. In contrast, the X3 offers less passenger volume (90.1) but more maximum cargo space (71).
Under the Hood
Acura's new turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine generates impressive power figures: 240 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. Teamed with the engine is a five-speed automatic transmission that can be controlled by the driver through paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The SH-AWD system can manage torque distribution to the front and rear wheels, and between the left and right rear wheels.
The RDX has a litany of safety features, including antilock brakes, Acura's Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability system, active front head restraints, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain-type airbags.
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