Thursday, September 3, 2015

Improved Acura RDX is a loaded, enjoyable SUV

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California ­Another one of my favorite sport-utility vehicles gets a major reworking for the 2016 model year.

My recent week in the 2016 Acura RDX AWD with Advance Package, wearing a bottom line of $44,340 on the sticker, gave me time to catch up with all the upgrades and enhancements.  And yes, those are plentiful, pushing the RDX to a level far above its 2007 introduction.

The exterior look is bumped up with exotic-looking “Jewel Eye” LED headlights, super-sporty grille sculpting and new alloy wheel designs (18-inchers on the tester).  It’s unmistakably an SUV on first glance, but you get the impression it’s capable of a high-velocity romp.

And you’d be right to think that, with a more powerful, yet more efficient 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 279 horsepower.  Fuel mileage is pretty fair at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

The tester was aggressive off the line and remarkably nimble at freeway speed.  I had the option of paddle shifting through the gears, and given the vehicle’s sophisticated handling characteristics, I’m guessing many RDX buyers will opt to have fun with the paddles.

I’ve been in a string of SUVs of late, and I must confess that this one topped the list in terms of driving ease and enjoyment.  No surprises, rock-solid suspension and nary a rattle to be found.  Truly, an enjoyable ride.

The “Advance Package” designation simply translates to “really loaded.”  Parking sensors, auto-dimming side mirrors, remote engine start and a lengthy list of high-tech safety features are part of the deal.

Interior space also has grown for the 2016 model year, a move appreciated by my passengers, who spent a lot of time playing with the interior gadgetry.  There’s a ton of that, so much that I literally could not get to all of it in a week.  Somehow, with so much communications technology in the RDX, I think I missed an opportunity to order a Chicago-style pizza and have it delivered to my driveway by helicopter.

Maybe next time.

The list of traditional standard luxury features is long and includes heated front seats, a driver’s 10-way power seat, a power moonroof and a power tailgate.  But again, the high-tech linking, communication, navigation and audio systems on this SUV make you feel that you are driving a state-of-the-art 2016 luxury/performance machine.

I can’t imagine parting with the RDX once I had it in my possession.  It has that much to like.

Therefore, it’s a no-brainer “A” of a vehicle.   And 2016 is already looking pretty fantastic.

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