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2009 Acura RDX


By Katrina Ramser
The Auto Channel
San Francisco Bureau


The 2009 Acura RDX is testament you need to start watching your crossovers more carefully. They are getting meticulously specific in their offerings to stand apart from the pack.

Acura introduced this smaller crossover in 2007. The vehicle is the smaller sibling to the Acura MDX, but has the handling and performance of the Acura TSX sports sedan.

I drove a 5-passenger 2009 Acura RDX with a 240-horsepower 2.3-liter turbo engine and all-wheel drive (AWD). Total manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) came to $37,755.

Acura's first turbocharged engine features an advanced variable flow turbocharger designed to provide quick response. The advantage is immediate acceleration, passing and hill-climbing ability of a traditional 6-cylinder engine.

The Super Handling All-Wheel Drive First is specially adapted for the RDX. The system deters understeering – when the front tires have a loss of traction in a corner – by shifting power to the outside rear wheel for more accurate turning precision.

True to its marketing word, the RDX does offer a "class-leading array of sophisticated electronic technologies that are seamlessly integrated to keep its passengers informed, in touch and entertained." The interior offers a labyrinth of features, from a voice recognition navigation system to a 10-speaker surround-sound radio. The Technology Package also includes AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System with Real-time traffic, a rearview camera, and a GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, automatic climate control system.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: Acura describes the shape as an "urban sports utility vehicle." I think by this they mean something that handles like a sedan, but showcases the crossover trend with a higher eye-point or driving position. Generous wheel arches for the 18-inch wheels make it muscular. The power driver's seat is 8-way adjustable with power adjustable lumbar as well as a 4-way adjustable power-activated passenger front seat. As far as the backseat is concerned, I had two passengers constantly fighting over who would get the second row.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Large 4-wheel disc brakes that include a 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Its ACE™ front body structure makes the RDX compatible with smaller vehicles if a car-to-car frontal collision should occur, and it has a specially engineered hood and other components to reduce the chance of injury in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. It also features LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), a child-seat mounting system.

Cost Issues:The price sits on the higher end of smaller crossovers. Aside of the reliable, premium name, you're paying for the technology and turbo engine – it's one of the most technologically equipped and fastest crossovers on the market.

Activity & Performance Ability: No doubt this engine displays the climbing and passing power of a 6-cylinder engine. Very low road noise.

The Green Concern: Gas is sited as 17-mpg city and 22-mpg highway with an average of 19; but watching that gas gauge sink made me think – I found out in 2007 the EPA estimated this model at 17-mpg. Any turbo engine with AWD sucks up gas rather quickly.

FINAL PARTING WORDS: The Acura RDX is unique in the sense it addresses many consumer issues: You've got higher-up seating found in a SUV, but the look of a smaller crossover that handles like a sporty sedan.

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2010 and 2009 Model Reviews
2008 Model Reviews

©2008 Katrina Ramser