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November 13, 2009

2010 Acura RDX Road Test Review

By Bob Plunkett

2010audirdxred Clutching a leather-wrapped steering wheel while flicking the shift paddles on the SportShift electronic automatic in a tuned-up crossover utility vehicle, we're carving a keen line around oh-so-tight curves on Route 88 as it winds through sandstone canyons in Arizona's Superstition Mountains.  This is play time:  The agile CUV, cast on a rigid chassis with a turbo-boosted four-in-line engine directing a considerable load of torque to front wheels dressed with Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 rubber, snakes through the curlicue canyon course like a sidewinder rattler slithering through Sonoran Desert sand.

A label on the hatchback trunk pegs our CUV as the RDX by Acura, marque of performance and luxury vehicles derived from Honda of Japan.  RDX slots into the compact class with a 104-inch wheelbase and totes a unique variable-flow turbocharger to nix the typical turbo's power lag.  All RDX '10 models show fresh styling on the body, more luxury content in the five-seat passenger compartment and a number of new technology features on-board.  Sole transaxle is a silky smooth electronically controlled automatic with five forward speeds plus Honda's Sequential SportShift override for clutch-less manual shifts with those paddle tabs mounted behind the steering wheel's center spoke.

Federal EPA fuel consumption numbers for the RDX FWD come to 18 miles per gallon for city driving and 24 mpg on the highway.  For RDX AWD, the numbers tally to 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

RDX with AWD employs Acura's SH-AWD (Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive) equipment.  The computer-controlled AWD system can disburse the engine's considerable torque not only to wheels fore and aft but the left or right ones too. It's always engaged and enables the vehicle to maneuver on wet or dry pavement with the uncanny agility of a wily sports car.  There's a computer-managed vehicle stability control (VSC) system aboard coupled to a traction control system (TCS), plus a four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) units.

The 2010 issues of RDX look more aggressive due to styling revisions for a streamlined body posing in a hunkered stance.  In the handsome cabin there's room for five riders with supportive sport bucket seats in front of a bench for three and a rear bay for cargo.  The driver-oriented cockpit features a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an instrument cluster with light-emitting-diode (LED) back-lighting for an easy read and a Multi-Information Display (MID) which provides access to a variety of electronic functions.

Posh gear includes perforated leather trimming the seats, automatic controls for the climate system with dual zones for comfort, power operation for windows and mirrors and door locks, the driver's bucket with 8-way power controls including adjustable lumbar support, heat elements inside both front buckets, a center console up front with dual-level stow bins, a power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off functions, a keyless entry device, the back bench with a 60/40 split-folding seatback and a 360-watt Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM/6xCD/MP3/WMA plus seven speakers and XM satellite radio service.

Acura establishes MSRP figures for the 2010 RDX CUV beginning at $32,520 for RDX FWD, or $35,620 with the Technology Package aboard. The 2010 RDX SH-AWD lists for $34,520, or $37,620 with the Technology Package.

For more information see Road & Travel’s Acura Buyer’s Guide or visit

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