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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

If you want all the premium features of a luxurious crossover but none of the bulk, the more compact 2017 Acura RDX may be the right vehicle for you. For what you get – and that includes space and comforts – the RDX clearly delivers more wiz-bang for your buck.

I drove a 2017 Acura RDX with the singular 279-horspower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift along with optional all-wheel drive. Available in one model with three optional packages – the AcuraWatch Plus, Technology and Advanced – a base RDX comes with the following standard features: premium leatherette upholstery; heated front seats; five-inch color display; dial controller; voice recognition software; Bluetooth; USB and auxiliary input jacks; SMS messaging; Siri Eyes Free; steering-wheel mounted controls; eighteen-inch wheels; sunroof; and a power tailgate. Starting price as described without options comes to $35,570.

Unchanged from last model year, in the smaller premium crossover segment competitors include the Lexus NX, BMW X3 and Buick Encore as well as the Volvo XC60 for its impressive turbocharged four-cylinder engines.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The RDX has grown in size over the years, so the vehicle does project a formidable presence. Inside, Acura went to town swaddling the interior in convenient technology and refined cabin materials. The base is a great start, with the power tailgate and the GPS-linked dual-zone climate control as standards, but it’s the optional equipment that really elevates these entry-level luxury rides. My test drive featured the Advanced Package which is basically all three optional packages rolled into one: Acura’s voice-recognizing navigation system, an upgraded split-screen interface, multi-angle rearview camera, a ten-speaker upgraded audio system; remote engine start, parking sensors, fog lights and ventilated front seats, and safety technology like Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Mitigation, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning – you can see these features are a necessity to really glam it up.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2017 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 2017 Acura RDX is $35,570, which isn’t so shocking. My fully loaded test-drive with all the bells and whistles brought the price up to $43,520. Compare that to an entry-level 2017 Volvo XC60 that starts at $40,950 with a recent test drive reaching $53,585 with options. A BMW X3 starts at $39,250.

Activity & Performance Ability: In a segment of trending four-cylinders (think Volvo), the Acura’s V6 remains a smooth and responsive choice paired to quick braking, sound suspension, and firm seats. The real thrill of the RDX is its perfect size – that means no maneuverability issues, sway at the corners, or a general feeling you are being swallowed by the passenger seats and vehicle dimensions.

The Green Concern: The RDX retains an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 19 miles-per-gallon city and 27 highway for 22 combined with all-wheel drive – very good for a 3.5-liter V6 and right in line with the Volvo’s supercharged 2-liter engine which retains 20-city and 27-highway for a combined 22 miles-per-gallon.

The 2017 Acura RDX feels like the right fit in terms of crossover size, features and price – just take a quick spin in an impressive turbocharged four-cylinder competitor before final purchase.

©2016 Katrina Ramser

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