The RDX is among the growing number of sporty crossover vehicles that are easier to enter and maneuver in traffic than regular SUVs. It comfortably seats four tall adults and has a large cargo area with a low, wide opening. The entire rear seat folds forward without removing headrests to enlarge the cargo area to an impressive 61 cubic feet.
There was no room for a potent V-6 in the RDX, so Acura gave it the next best thing that it could slide under the hood -- a turbocharged, intercooled 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. With 240 horsepower and an impressive 260 pound-feet of torque, the RDX does 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds, although it's no lightweight with all its equipment at 3,924 pounds. Power delivery is linear, with virtually no turbo lag.
The engine works with a responsive five-speed automatic transmission with an easily used manual shift feature.
Estimated fuel economy is 17 mpg in the city and 22 on highways. Premium fuel is recommended.
Steering is quick and informative, although rather heavy at low speeds. Handling is sharp, with a suspension and all-wheel-drive system that makes the RDX feel tied to roads. However, rough side streets caused a jumpy ride. The brake pedal is rather soft but has a linear action for well-controlled stops. The powerful brakes have electronic brake force distribution and an assist feature for surer panic stops.
The RDX's low floor makes it easy to slide in and out of the quiet, futuristic-looking interior. Seats are supportive, and backlit gauges can be easily read under all lighting conditions. Climate controls are large, and the adjustable steering wheel has handy audio controls.
However, audio and climate settings are small readouts in a distant dash-top slit. A large central console knob and dashboard screen (that can be hard to read) set audio, navigation and other functions. Rear roof pillars somewhat hamper driver visibility, but large, heated outside mirrors (with turn signals) help here.
The front console has a large, covered bin, but the dual front console cupholders have a lid that partly blocks a driver's access to them when open. The glove compartment is small, but all doors have storage pockets. The rear armrest has dual cupholders and is best yanked down to cover the hard center-seat area. Hand grips above all doors are a nice touch, but the foot-operated parking brake feels dated. The heavy hood lacks a hydraulic strut, so it must be held open with a prop rod, which can get hot and dirty.
One need not be an "energetic lifestyle" person to appreciate the RDX. It has a blend of performance, technology and function that should satisfy sophisticated drivers with all sorts of lifestyles. 2009 Acura RDX
Fast. Distinctive styling. Carlike. Sharp handling. Advanced all-wheel drive. Dislikes:
Occasional jumpy ride. Hood prop rod. Slit-like dashboard audio readouts.