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2015 Acura RDX: A Small Luxury SUV with Large Appeal
« : Martie 25, 2015, 09:55:37 a.m. »
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kbrauer/2015/03/23/2015-acura-rdx-small-luxury-suv-with-large-appeal/

The U.S. automotive industry continues its upswing, rising roughly 5 percent last year. But Acura’s growth didn’t keep pace, clocking in at about 1.5 percent. Acura hopes to improve things going forward with a heavily revamped sedan line up. That’s a good area to focus on, because nearly two-thirds of Acura’s total volume last year came from its SUVs, with the company’s RDX leading the compact luxury SUV segment in sales. And while Acura’s RDX has done consistently well in the category, at 44,865 sales last year it was essentially flat, even as the segment grew 18.6% (new entrants and an improving economy are key reasons for the increased interest in premium SUVs). The good news for Acura? An impending refresh for the RDX next year should keep it at the top of its class. In the meantime, we had a chance to check out the 2015 Acura RDX, outfitted with all-wheel drive and the Tech Package, and came away with a clear understanding of why the vehicle sells so well.

For starters, the RDX provides competent performance from its 3.5-liter V-6 engine, offering 273 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Variable Cylinder Management system, or VCM, automatically alters engine operation to run on 3, 4, or 6 cylinders, depending on driving conditions. This helps optimize fuel efficiency while keeping the drivetrain so smooth it’s impossible to detect the car cycling through these modes. This helps an RDX with AWD earn EPA estimates of 19 city, 27 highway and 22 combined mpg. We achieved between 23-24 mpg after a week of drive time, with a bit more highway than city driving. If you opt for the standard front wheel drive version, the EPA rates it at 20/28/23 mpg.

The RDX also offers a spacious interior, despite a relatively small exterior footprint. It has a wheelbase of 105.7 inches, which is a few inches shorter than some of the competitive set we see it cross-shopped against on Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. However, its overall length is 183.5 inches, right in line with those models,, while rear legroom is measured at 38.3 inches, or larger than many competitors. Interior space is a key factor for people buying utility vehicles because that’s what these vehicles are supposed to offer over a comparably sized and priced sedan – space. For those counting, cargo volume with the rear seats up is 26.1 cubic feet, or 76.9 cubic feet with the seats folded down. Once again, both numbers are near the top of the RDX’s competitive set. A 60/40-split rear seatback allows for additional levels of flexibility if simultaneous cargo and people hauling is required.

Beyond its functional space, one of the RDX’s more compelling features is the quality of its interior. An impressive level of soft touch material is utilized throughout the cabin, including the second-row seating area that is often neglected by competing luxury automakers. Leather seating surfaces, heated power front seats and a power sunroof are among the standard features on the 2015 model. Every RDX also includes a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way power adjustable passenger seat.

Acura is known for its option simplicity. Beyond the 2015 RDX’s impressive list of standard items buyers can add all-wheel drive, a Tech Package, or both. The Tech Package adds a host of advanced features, bumping the standard 5-inch touchscreen to an 8-inch HD touch screen with Acura’s navigation system. The sound system also gets a boost from the Tech Package. Standard audio specs include 7 speakers, an 8-inch subwoofer, and a 360-watt sound system, but with the Tech Package a premium ELS sound system is included, featuring 410 watts, 10 speakers, DVD audio, Dolby Pro-Logic II and 15 gigabytes of music storage.

Comfort in the 2015 Acura RDX continues to be a highlight of the vehicle. The aforementioned leather seats are superb, keeping aches and soreness at bay even after a 3-hour, non-stop drive up the California coast. The RDX ‘s suspension features shock absorbers with Amplitude Reactive Damper technology. The system utilizes two piston valves per damper (a.k.a. shock absorber) instead of one. The main valve absorbs road vibration while the second, stiffer valve controls suspension motion for increased stability. The end result is remarkable ride quality combined with handling confidence when the road gets twisty. Nearly 40% of the vehicle’s structure is comprised of high-tensile steel. This helps Acura keep the RDX’s curb weight under 3,800 pounds without sacrificing chassis stiffness or safety. The bulk of the RDX’s competitors weight closer to 4,000 pounds.

The 2015 Acura RDX has a starting price of $34,895, while an RDX with AWD and the Tech Package is priced at $39,995. Acura’s bumper-to-bumper vehicle warranty is 4-years/50,000 miles; the powertrain warranty is 6-years/70,000 miles. As previously mentioned, Acura will be refreshing the RDX for the 2016 model year, upgrading its suspension mounts while adding increased rear torque bias for the AWD system, LED headlights, a restyled fascia and additional safety features, including Acura’s advanced AcuraWatch suite of technologies. But even without those items the 2015 RDX delivers a compelling blend of style, comfort, and value. Shoppers looking for a compact luxury SUV might want to check it out.


 

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