2010 Acura RDX TechPosted on December 17th, 2010
Five-passenger crossover with sport sedan performance
By Nina Russin
Acura has a talent for filling a car buyer’s practical needs without compromising the visceral aspect of driving. The RDX crossover vehicle is a case in point. By combining the sporty performance of the TSX sedan with a larger, more versatile interior, Acura gives buyers with active lifestyles a means to enjoy the road as much as the destination.
Power comes from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and five-speed automatic transmission. For 2010, Acura adds a two-wheel drive model, giving buyers who don’t need all-wheel drive a less expensive option.
Base price for the two-wheel drive RDX is $35,620, not including the $860 delivery charge. The crossover comes standard with most of the comfort and convenience features buyers want, including Bluetooth connectivity, a power moonroof, 18-inch wheels, a ten-way power driver’s seat, XM satellite radio and a USB port.
An available technology package adds navigation with real-time travel updates, a premium surround-sound audio system and dual-zone climate control. Acura simplifies the buying process by including the cost of the upgrade in the RDX Tech model. Price as tested is $36,480.
Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain
Having spent the past fifteen years living in the desert, I’ve come to appreciate the value of a good soaking rain. Rain keeps the mountain lions in the mountains as opposed to drinking out of area swimming pools, and prevents what trees we have from turning into fire tinder. Rain also sends the locals running for cover, leaving wide open stretches of road for me.
A rainstorm this week left just enough oil and water on the road to break a set of tires loose: perfect conditions for a test drive. High desert surrounding the unusually quiet Bush Highway took on a silver hue as clouds clung to mountains to the east. It was very Zen.
The RDX fulfills Acura’s promise of a spritely, fun-to-drive vehicle. Eliminating all-wheel drive shaves 200 pounds off the curb weight, though the front-wheel drive version is slightly more nose-heavy. I broke the wheels lose accelerating hard from a stop. The car tracked straight, and continued to accelerate hard despite the temporary loss of traction.
The four-cylinder engine has no noticeable lag during acceleration. Engineers used variable valve timing in concert with the turbocharger to maintain linear power delivery. Turbocharging enhances performance at altitude, and fattens up the torque curve for better acceleration on steep grades.
The five-speed automatic transmission seems well matched to the engine, though a six-speed box might delivery better gas mileage. There is no manual gear select option: most likely a cost containment measure.
A fully independent suspension with stabilizer bars on both axles produces a pleasantly compliant ride without feeling mushy. The chassis stays flat in the corners, with no obvious tendency to push.
The speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system has plenty of assist at low speeds while maintaining positive on-center response on the highway. A 39.2-foot turning radius makes U-turns difficult on all but wider four-lane roads.
Visibility around the car is good. Unlike the Acura ZDX, the RDX has a reasonably large rear glass, minimizing blind spots in the back corners. A standard rear wiper keeps the glass clear in rain and snow.
A rearview camera displays a wide angle view to the back on the central navigation screen. The option makes it easier and safer to back out of vertical slots in crowded parking garages. It adds an extra measure of safety for parents who might not be able to see their children behind the vehicle.
Engineers did a good job of isolating passengers from wind, road and engine noise. Second-row passengers should have no problems conversing with those up front.
Ergonomic interior with appealing high-tech features
The spacious interior holds five adult passengers. A flat floor in the second row maximizes legroom in the center seating position. There are no vents behind the front seats, which might make the second row uncomfortable in temperature extremes.
While the driver’s seat is on the hard side, I found it comfortable for my two-hour test drive. Ten-way power adjustments provide good lower lumbar support. Two-position memory allows multiple drivers to share the car.
The steering wheel with redundant controls is the correct diameter for a woman. Redundant audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls on the steering wheel minimize driver distraction. A tilt feature keeps it out clear of the driver’s forward view. The dead pedal reduces leg fatigue on longer drives.
Both the gauge cluster and navigation screen are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. The blue and white gauges minimize eye strain on extended drives. A digital display in the gauge cluster includes ambient temperature, trip meters, tire pressure and fuel economy information. Average fuel economy for the test drive was 24.2 miles-per-gallon.
One of my favorite interior features is the locking center console bin: large enough to hold a laptop computer. Flip-down trays hold portable electronic devices and other small items. The standard USB port enables the driver to plug in an iPod or music stick.
Acura’s optional navigation system works seamlessly, with easy-to-read graphics. The system recalculates routes faster than competitive products I’ve tested. Real-time traffic updates with automatic rerouting around problem areas can be a life-saver for commuters.
The rear seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor: the RDX meets our bicycle friendly standards. A low lift-over height makes it easier for small drivers to load in larger items. The spare tire is located under the cargo floor for easy access.
All models come with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction and stability control. Acura’s factory warranty includes 24-hour roadside assistance and concierge service. The RDX received five-star federal crash test ratings for frontal and side impacts.
Acura builds the RDX at its Marysville, Ohio assembly plant.
Likes: A spacious five-passenger crossover vehicle with excellent ride and handling characteristics. Designers added appealing storage options to the interior, including a locking center console bin large enough to hold a laptop.
Dislike: There are no air vents behind the front row.
Model: RDX Tech
Base price: $35,620
As tested: $36,480
Horsepower: 240 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 260 lbs.-ft. @ 4500 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 19/24 mpg city/highway
3 responses to “2010 Acura RDX Tech”
seems like this is better than the subaru forester?is it so? how do rate this with it?
Sort of apples and oranges. Although both compete in the crossover category, they appeal to different types of drivers. To me the Acura is more of a sporty car, whereas the Forester is closer to a SUV, and is going to appeal to people who want to spend more time off-road.
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