Acura’s crossover gets a needed refresh for its 2016 model year, but consumers should still easily identify this compact SUV as part of Honda’s luxury division.
The biggest changes appear on the exterior, notably with Acura’s jewel headlight design, which sees an elegant string of five LED lights in the front and a reshaped rear fitted with LED taillights.
When you’re up against the likes of the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Volvo XC60 and Mercedes’ GLC C Class, you certainly cannot afford to stand still.
It’s not that the RDX was in a poor standing to begin with, not at all. I’ve always liked the styling and size because it looked good (yes, even with the “beak”) and had some bite beneath the hood and was still functional as a high end people/stuff mover.
But with the competition refining exterior appearances, Acura did the modest refresh opposed to a 180 degree flip.
The standard 18” wheels give the RDX a strong stance and there are crisp design lines and a refined front end that can be appreciated by nearly any buyer in this segment.
There’s a bit more power for 2016, courtesy of a 3.5 litre V6 producing 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft. of torque that runs on a maximum of 60 litres of premium fuel.
For my week with the Elite trim, I enjoyed every kilometre behind the wheel driving wise. The steering was very responsive, handling was accurate and the power plentiful. With the RDX’s small size, you truly get that car-like feel whether you’re on rural or urban roads.
The six speed transmission was incredibly smooth between changes both up and down, further strengthening its overall appeal. Think you can do a better job than the engineers at Acura? There’s paddle shifters to play with, complete with rev matching as you downshift.
With some other Acura/Honda offerings seeing the ZF nine-speed gearbox, I think it’s only a matter of time before they unify this across all their vehicles.
But for this iteration, the six-speed performs exactly as you’d expect a luxury vehicle to.
Fuel economy is rated at 12.4/8.6/10.7 L/100 km for city/highway/combined, which isn’t too bad.
With some smart driving, you should be able to lower those figures.
So the RDX looks good and performs well…let’s delve into where you spend the majority of your time.
The interior is mostly a carryover from the previous year, complete with a well-dressed layout and high end materials. The seats are supportive, very comfortable and ventilated, steering wheel controls are easy to operate and there’s still that clean overall layout.
There’s a larger TFT display on the dashboard and some upgraded trim panels that add to the allure of the already well-designed interior.
The large upper screen gives you your navigation information and the easy to use lower touchscreen controls your audio, climate etc. Thankfully, Acura included a volume knob so my passenger didn’t have to poke her way to a quieter cabin. Steering wheel volume controls make it easier for the driver but since this is a family-esque car, that volume knob will get plenty of use.
I’m a fan of the interior layouts of Acuras and the RDX is consistent with making it a happy place for drivers and passengers alike.
There’s an available 410-watt premium sound system (which sounds really, really good!) that’s dispersed via 10 speakers. My 91.1 FM tunes sounded sleek and my 107.9 FM rock n’ roll was loud and clear.
On the safety side, the AcuraWatch safety suite houses such features as forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, among many others.
Rear seating, as with most vehicles, is good for two comfortably and if you’re curious about the cargo space, there’s 2178 litres with the rear seats folded and 739 with them being upright.
As the RDX turns 10, it’s one of the “older” small SUV/Crossover luxury vehicles on the market and still is an attractive option for those who want to enjoy the premium segment and have a flair for utilitarianism.
It’s a pleasure to drive, is well equipped out of the box, starting at a ten-spot below $42,000 and maxes out at $46,590 (I really like how there’s such a small gap between top and bottom) and there’s very little to dislike about the vehicle.
It carries Honda’s “lasts for soooo long” reputation, which is a huge plus, along with their “damn fun to drive” factor, which is why the RDX has been so popular in this segment.
With the recent refresh, look for more of these on the road as Acura’s tweaked an already good recipe and made it better.
See the full gallery below.