Acura's SH-AWD all-wheel-drive system can vector up to 70 percent of the engine's torque to either rear wheel, helping to guide the SUV through corners rather than allowing it to understeer. It works very well, allowing full-throttle launches around tight, ninety-degree bends without embarrassing wheelspin or head-bobbling stability control interventions.
The RDX's two biggest flaws are to be found in its cabin. A bright and airy place to be, the RDX's interior is let down by some inexpensive looking (and feeling) materials. The lower door panels, for example, are made from hard and scratchy plastic, and the speaker grilles look like they're from a Fisher-Price toy. The second shortcoming is the navigation system. Though it includes most functions present in modern nav systems, Acura's system is particularly difficult to use. The menus are displayed in a somber, non-contrasting grey, and are easily washed out in the sun. The big controller on the dash is sometimes counter-intuitive in its function. Worst of all, many of the radio and climate control functions are displayed in a narrow LCD strip atop the dash - a strip that becomes invisible in bright daylight, and one which we didn't even notice for the first few miles. Acura's ergonomic engineers would do us a favor by concentrating the displays for each function closer to where the controls are. And, like every other Acura vehicle, the Bluetooth doesn't work properly with many phones, and is full of background noise.
Still, these are some eccentricities to which many owners would become accustomed. The RDX is a capable entry-level upscale SUV, and one that will remain successful in the face of its forthcoming competition. Especially if consumers keep getting excited at the prospect of owning a four-cylinder vehicle.
Engine: 2.3-liter DOHC I-4
Horsepower: 240 hp at 6000 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft at 4500 rpm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
L x W x H: 180.7 x 73.6 x 65.2 in
Legroom F/R: 41.8/37.7 in
Headroom F/R: 38.7/38.3 in
Cargo capacity (seats up/down): 20.1/102.4 cu ft
Curb Weight: 3933 lb
EPA Rating (city/highway): 17/22 mpg
2009 Acura RDX MSRP: $34,455 (including $760 destination)