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Features

January 10, 2013

Acura's redesigned RDX is stylish, affordable

—  

Good riddance.

Yes, Acura officials took a bold move by tossing out a four-cylinder turbo powerplant in place since the RDX debuted in 2006.

As part of its redesign, a rugged V6 now moves the 3,700-pound small luxury SUV. Horsepower has increased from 240 to 273, and fuel economy also improved by 1-3 miles per gallon for city and highway driving according to EPA estimates. An impressive result.

Acura says the higher fuel efficiency numbers are due to innovative engine tuning and a cylinder deactivation system that shuts down up to three cylinders at cruising speeds. The new engine is mated to a retooled six-speed automatic replacing last year’s five-speed gearbox.

The SH-AWD system borrowed from sibling Honda CR-V and re-tuned for the Acura has been scrapped too in favor of a newer lightweight system. The new version supplies more power to the front wheels than before and will only provide a 50/50 split in severe weather when slippage is detected; otherwise, power is split 75/25.

For the spirited driver, there are paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel that perform shifting maneuvers on the fly when the gearshift is set to manual operation.

The all-new RDX has curb appeal with a tweaked front grille assembly and body styling flares. The test car I drove for a week was perched on18-inch alloys included in the AWD Tech Package.

With a refined interior and more available luxury features, the new RDX takes closer aim at its main competitors, the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Cadillac SRX. It has more power and features than most and costs significantly less than the BMW so Acura officials hope their new RDX can gain ground.

Seating surfaces front and rear are exceedingly roomy, comfortable and provide the type of head and legroom found in larger SUVs.

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