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2015 Acura RDX Road Test Review by Bob Plunkett

2015 Acura RDX Road Test Review

By Bob Plunkett

Acura's agile handling and enthusiastic RDX luxury crossover utility vehicle for the compact class whips smoothly through curves on corkscrew blacktop winding through the cactus-spiked Arizona desert west of Tucson.

Dressed in slinky sheetmetal skin encasing a new collision-absorbing unibody structure fitted with new suspension amplitude reactive dampers and a motion adaptive electric power steering system, the RDX of 2015 stocks a feisty 6-cylinder engine linked to a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with standard front-wheel-drive (FWD) or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction.

The CUV first appeared in Acura's line as a 2007 model slotted for the compact class with a 104-inch wheelbase and a turbo-charged 4-in-line engine. For 2013 RDX earned a complete makeover with a 105.7-inch wheelbase and a naturally-aspirated V6 replacing the original turbo-4.

Foundation for the 2015 RDX is a unit-body platform which shows the extensive use of high-tensile steel. The platform merges chassis and superstructure to forge a single framework that's extremely strong and rigid. It has a low center of gravity and a wide-track tread to enhance vehicle stability when set to motion.

Working in favor of a dynamic vehicle is the independent suspension -- tuned MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link design in back with the amplitude reactive dampers and stabilizer bars added front and rear to check lateral body sway when RDX tackles a set of curves.
And there's a computer-managed vehicle stability control (VSC) system on tap coupled to a traction control system (TCS), plus a 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) units.

Motivating RDX is a single-overhead-cam (SOHC) 3.5-liter V6 with i-VTEC (variable value timing and lift electronic control) valvetrain. It produces 273 hp at 6200 rpm and torque of 251 lb-ft at 5000 rpm.

This engine employs a variable cylinder management (VCM) device to conserve on fuel by modifying the number of engine cylinders at work. The VCM can switch from six down to three cylinders, depending on the power demand at any particular moment, by closing the intake and exhaust valves of a particular cylinder while also shutting off fuel injectors on that cylinder.

Body styling seems sleek and strong. There's a low hood line to enhance forward visibility for the driver and a V-shaped grille rimmed in chrome. Fender blisters bulge around front wheels to forge a forceful stance, as the roofline arches over the cabin and strips of flank windows get black-capped pillars. At the rear long red lamps streak horizontally into the top-hinged tailgate which carries a roof-mounted spoiler lip.

The driver-oriented cockpit stocks a leather-wrapped steering wheel with fingertip controls and racing-inspired paddle shifters, 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.

The layout consists of bucket seats and center console in front of a bench seat for three and a bay in back measuring to 26.1 cubic feet for cargo and sports equipment. Rear seatbacks split 60/40 and fold forward to increase the aft storage space to 61.3 cubic feet.

Posh standard gear includes perforated leather trimming 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 power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off functions, a keyless entry device, Active Noise Control system, Multi-Angle Rearview Camera and a 360-watt Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA plus seven speakers and XM satellite radio service plus Pandora interface.

RDX/FWD and RDX/AWD may be upgraded with a Technology Package of electronic gear like the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, a 60-gig hard disk drive, GPS-linked solar-sensing 2-zone automatic climate control system, Acura/ELS Surround Premium Sound System, power-controlled tailgate, bi-xenon HID headlamps and front foglamps.