Friday, September 5, 2014

Acura's RDX holds up well through the years

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – Sometimes in this auto-reviewing business, the vehicles stack up, and you get seat time in back-to-back model years of the same vehicle…all within the span of a few weeks.

So it was with me recently, getting a 2015 Acura RDX with all-wheel drive and the Technology Package (pictured) shortly after testing the 2014 version of the same sport-utility vehicle.

No worries mate. For me, it was a fairly basic assignment.  The two vehicles were pretty much the same animal, taking model years out of the equation.  And what was there reflected well on the upscale Acura brand.

For a starting price of slightly more than $40,000, Acura’s entry-level SUV has a fairly peppy 273-horsepower V-6 engine.  On the move, the power plant handled most everything competently and with a pleasingly low level of noise creeping into the cockpit.

I had to sink my foot deep into the accelerators on both testers when steep hill climbs were required.  Given the horsepower rating, that wasn’t necessarily a surprise, and certainly not a deal-breaker.

Fuel mileage was OK on both: 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

Luxury, comfort, convenience and safety features were plentiful, and I was pleased that the Technology Package included an easy-to-operate power tailgate, a responsive navigation system and a rearview camera.  Alas, one of my complaints was sun glare frequently disturbing my view of the high, center-mounted dash screen.

The exterior look is pretty standard, understated and definitely in line with what I expect from an Acura SUV.

Overall, the vehicle is loaded, comfortable and an able performer, a solid “B” if not higher.  And Acura touts the long-standing sales popularity of the RDX.

Case closed…Well, almost.

I was stunned with much of what I saw from customer reviews of the RDX online.  Some of the criticisms were downright mean-spirited and brutal.

In kinder terms, here’s some of what I saw: The RDX doesn’t have enough technology, even with the Technology Package.  The technology is difficult to use.  The dash layout is a mess.  It’s nothing but a dressed-up Honda CR-V.  There are not enough power adjustments available on the front seats.

Wow, really?

I will concede that $40,000 for a motor vehicle is indeed a hefty chunk of change in this day and age.  And I know that the auto-selling business is so competitive now that automakers are stuffing more and more standard perks into their products in an effort to draw the ever-wandering eyes of consumers.

But frankly, after doing a line-by-line comparison of standard features in the RDX with competitors’ similar offerings, I concluded that the RDX fits fairly and nicely in this entry-level, luxo SUV segment.  And you can take that to the bank.