California Autos Examiner

Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 Acura RDX SH-AWD review: Part one

2010 Acura RDX (Courtesy: MSheena)
Since the Acura RDX has been on the market for a few years, the brand decided that it was time for a slight refresh of the 2010 edition of the compact crossover.
In this link is a gallery of pictures I took of the RDX.  Be sure to check them out!

The first order of business was grafting on the new corporate nose.  To say that the shield grille has caused its fair share of controversy is an understatement, but in this application it looks just fine.  Click the read more link below to continue on...

There were cosmetic tweaks to the exterior, quoting from the press release:  "More aggressive, sporty appearance. Exterior changes include redesigned 18-inch diameter aluminum-alloy wheels, bold new front and rear bumper fascias, revised headlights and taillights, new exhaust tips and satin trim accents."
Other notable changes for 2010 include the availability of a front-wheel drive model, which lowers the entry price on the RDX, is lighter weight and offers slightly better fuel economy.  Inside the 2010 model, changes include a standard rear view camera system (non-navigation models have this in the rear view mirror), electronic compass, a pull handle to make closing the rear hatch easier, auto-function headlights, ambient footwell lighting, a center console storage tray, improved cupholders, USB-port connectivity, and "Note" function for XM® Radio. The 2010 RDX interior also scores changes to the leather that improves the look and feel of the seating surfaces.

In an interesting note, the 2010 Acura RDX has Geomet-coated brake rotors, which are supposed to improve looks and offer better corrosion protection.  I will be interested to see how these rotors perform because rusting on brake rotors is a pet peeve of mine.  I simply walk into my house, walk back out again and when I look at my wheels I see the rotors showing rust (slight exaggeration).  I remember asking my uncle about this phenomena when I was a kid and the let me tell you that was some time ago, manufacturers are only getting to this now?  Any improvement in this area would be welcome.

I liken the RDX to that of a nice watch:  It is precise, feels well constructed and goes with almost any attire.  When I allowed some co-workers to crawl over the RDX, they did make some observations.   Firstly, they questioned price premium over a Honda CR-V.  There are several things to consider when answering this question.

Firstly, the RDX is equipped with a turbocharged, 240 horsepower engine and offers the availability of super handing all wheel drive (SH-AWD).  What is SH-AWD?  First appearing on the top of the ranger Acura RL, it has the ability to distribute torque between the front and rear axles and left and right wheels.  The system improves cornering performance and vehicle stability.  With the RDX you also get a longer warranty, better cabin materials, HID headlights, more sophisticated electronics and the cachet of a premium brand.  You are the ultimate decider if all of that is worth about an $8,000 premium (when comparing similar trims), but I think there is enough there to support the price difference.

Secondly, the RDX’s interior raised some questions within the staff.  Fit and finish were good and soft touch materials were in all the right places, but some staffers wanted more eye appeal.  For example, one person suggested contrasting piping on the seats to add a bit of pop.  I found the taupe interior to be bright and airy, all controls to be well laid out and the cabin to be a comfortable place to live and work.  I was able to customize things such as having the doors lock when I shifted out of park and unlock when I placed it back into park, adjust how the interior lighting functioned and how the alarm made its acknowledgments.  I appreciated that ability to control these functions on my own as I did the exact tire pressure reading for all four tires (as opposed to a generic low pressure warning).

How did the RDX drive?  Other likes, dislikes?  You can find out all about by clicking on this link to read Part Two!


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