Heels On Wheels: 2016 Acura RDX Review +VIDEO
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE RDX VEHICLE
The 2016 Acura RDX undertakes an ambitious redesign just three years after an overall that turned this premium crossover into the perfect fit and choice it already is. Improvements for the model year include a new grille along with head and taillights, plus a bump in standard equipment and the option of more safety technology.
I drove a 2016 Acura RDX with the standard 279-horspower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift along with all-wheel drive. Available in one model with three optional packages – the AcuraWatch Plus, and Advanced Package – a base RDX comes with the following standard features: five-inch color display; voice recognition software; Bluetooth; USB and auxiliary input jacks; SMS messaging; Siri Eyes Free; steering-wheel mounted controls; eighteen-inch wheels; and a power tailgate. Total price as described without options came to $35,270.
In the smaller premium crossover segment, competitors include the all-new Lexus NX, BMW X3 and Buick Encore. I would also advise testing fully loaded models like the Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson as well.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: The RDX’s revised cabin now features a two-toned interior that effortlessly blends its myriad technology into a straightforward center stack. The base is a great start, with the power tailgate and the GPS-linked dual-zone climate control now served as standards, but it’s the optional equipment that really puts the piazzas into the RDX. My test drive featured all three: the Technology Package (Acura’s voice-recognizing navigation system, an upgraded split-screen interface, multi-angle rearview camera, a ten-speaker upgraded audio system); the Advanced Package (remote engine start, parking sensors, fog lights and ventilated front seats); and the AcuraWatch Plus Package (safety technology like Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning).
Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2016 Acura RDX is a Top Safety Pick with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as it earned the highest ratings of “Good” in all crash-test areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it a 5-Star rating. Standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist, an advanced airbag system, anti-lock brakes, ACE body structure, LATCH for child seats, side-impact door beams.
Cost Issues: Starting price for the RDX is $35,270. My fully loaded test-drive with all three optional packages brought the price to $43,420. If that’s a little shocking, the 2016 Hyundai Tucson starts at $22,700 – I recently drove a mid- to upper trim for $26,150 that featured some safety technology, heated and powered front seats, a rearview camera (but no navigation system); the Limited top-of-the-line Tucson trim will cost roughly $29,900.
Activity & Performance Ability: Aside of excellent handling, smooth pickup and spot-on braking, the real thrill of the RDX is the fact it feels like the perfect sized ride – no maneuverability issues, sway at the corners, or a general feeling you are being swallowed by the passenger seats and vehicle dimensions. While the Hyundai Tucson doesn’t offer an engine of such caliber, the new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is paired with a quick-shifting seven-speed transmission an average fuel economy of 27 miles-per-gallon with front-wheel drive.
The Green Concern: The RDX retains an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 miles-per-gallon city and 28 highway for 22 combined with all-wheel drive – very good for a 3.5-liter V6. While the Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage can deliver a combined 25 miles-per-gallon under their four-cylinders with all-wheel drive systems, the acceleration and overall ride is not as impressive.
FINAL PARTING WORDS
Opting for the 2016 Acura RDX means you’ve chosen performance and a premium feel in a smaller-sized crossover – features you won’t regret, but keep in mind if you want must-have options like navigation and a safety suite the price tag will reach over $40k. Take a spin in some fully loaded non-luxury brands like the Hyundai Tucson and Toyota RAV4 if your budget is more in the $30ks.
©2015 Katrina Ramser
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