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2012 Acura RDX SH-AWD Review By John Heilig

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SEE ALSO: Acura RDX Specs - Acura Buyers Guide



Model: 2012 Acura RDX SH-AWD
Engine: 2.3-liter DOHC turbocharged I4
Horsepower/Torque: 240 hp @ 6,000 rpm/260 lb.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 182.5 x 73.6 x 65.2 in.
Tires: P235/55R18
Cargo volume: 27.8/60.6 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway/17.4 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.0 gal.
Curb weight: 3,931 lbs.
Sticker: $38,880 (includes $885 destination and handling charge)

Top 5 Reasons To Buy This Car

1. Good transportation
2. Comfortable
3. Loaded with features
4. Luxurious
5. Practical

The Bottom Line: The Acura RDX may have been one of the easiest mid-size SUVs, and it still is the standard by which the others are measured. The RDX combines luxury, practicality and comfort in a nice-looking package that has the advantage of all-wheel drive, something many of the others don't offer.

One thing I've always liked about the Acura RDX is its styling. It has always been modern, but it isn't way out there in never-never land. "Tasteful" is probably the best description.

I also like the RDX's size. In this case, it isn't that much unlike most of the other mid-size SUVs. To me, this is the most practical size. Sure, there are times when a big Suburban or 15-passenger van suits your immediate needs, but the RDX's size is near-perfect. It's comfortable for trips around town or on the Interstate. Goldilocks would like it; it isn't too big, nor is it too small.

The "standard" RDX has always been equipped with a 3.5-liter V6, or one of similar size. However, this version is fitted with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four. The engine puts out 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, so there's enough power there to do most anything you'd want, apart from drag racing.

It also delivers decent fuel economy at a tested 17.4 mpg that included some highway miles. Sure, everyone hopes for the magical 40 mpg highway, but the effort to reach that number can often not be worth the cost. Seventeen mpg is a good number.

The one drawback is that the engine is noisier than you would expect from an Acura.

The RDX also exhibits very nice handling. Again, while you wouldn't take it to a drag strip, you also wouldn't take it to a road racing course, but on the highways and back roads around my home town it behaved itself very well.

There were a couple of nagging points. For example, in order to install a child seat in the rear you have to wrangle the seat to get at the seat belt receivers. This isn't a major point, but if you're toting children, you have to do this EVERY time.

Also, the doors don't unlock automatically when you shut everything off. I'll concede that there may be a switch that I didn't use hidden somewhere, but as I received the RDX, it didn't unlock.

Cargo areas inside the RDZ are abundant. There's a lockable center console that's deep and has a USB connection inside. The glove box is small, however. There are the requisite two cup holders in the center console.

We liked the headroom, which was excellent. My wife also liked the door pulls, which gave her something to hold on to when I was checking on the cornering abilities of the RDX.

Besides a standard instrument panel, there's a digital clock and small information panel at the base of the windshield. It also contains HVAC temperatures and audio information. It's nice to have it there, but you have to remember to look. This wouldn't be a problem for a person who drives the RDX all the time.

The front seats are comfortable. The rear seats are flat, but have good leg room and a flat floor that permits a center passenger to ride there. There are four assist handles for those of us infirm enough to need them

And finally, there's a lot of glass all around, so no one will get a claustrophobic feeling.

As it was when it either created or defined the midsize luxury sport utility market, the Acura can be almost all things to almost all people.

2012 The Auto Page