Quick Drive: 2010 Acura RDX, bring on the shield
After three years on the market, the Acura RDX is getting its first comprehensive makeover for the 2010 model year. Unlike the automaker's new TSX V6, where the changes were largely restricted to the bits you don't see, the opposite is true of the RDX. Acura's cute 'ute gets a mid-cycle facelift to bring it in-line with the rest of the Acura line-up – meaning if you haven't warmed up to Acura's shield grille you might want to look elsewhere.
If, on the other hand, you're partial to the new corporate beak, the RDX benefits from a few well-designed tweaks to boost its exterior appeal. The shape of the headlamp clusters remains the same, although the internal arrangement has been shuffled around, while below the bumper you'll spot a new air intake sitting in between the revised fog-lamp housings. Out back, the taillights receive a few minor revisions that most observers probably won't notice and the satin frame around the license plate pocket now matches the finish on the front grille.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
The powertrain of the compact crossover is carried over intact, meaning propulsion still comes from a turbocharged 240 hp 2.3-liter four with a healthy 260 lb-ft of torque. Although a new six-speed automatic is likely to be fitted next year, the RDX retains its predecessor's five-speed 'box, complete with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The only mechanical change for 2010 is the addition of a front-wheel drive model to the RDX range. Unfortunately, Acura didn't have the FWD model on hand for our First Drive.
On the road, the torquey four still provides reasonably brisk and responsive acceleration whether you roll into the throttle or stab the long pedal. Our drive loop didn't provide much opportunity to exercise the Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system, but our past experience with the torque vectoring drivetrain has been positive, sending twist to the outside wheel to keep understeer at bay. The 2010 model retains its forbearer's ride and handling, with good steering feel from its hydraulic power assist and minimal roll.
Acura has also made some changes to the brake actuation hardware with a new pedal ratio, vacuum booster and servo. The front brakes are unchanged and we didn't notice any significant difference in feel. The stoppers apply smoothly and were easy to modulate during our brief drive, although the changes should be more apparent when the CUV is driven hard and temperatures rise.
The RDX receives a variety of technology upgrades for 2010, including new real-time traffic and weather data for the optional navigation system. The information is automatically retrieved via the satellite radio and routes are re-calculated on the fly if the system detects congestion between you and your destination. All new RDXs get a compass, automatic headlights and a rear-view camera as standard equipment, and for those that take a pass on the navigation system, the rear camera display shows up in an LCD embedded the mirror. A USB port for connecting your audio player is now installed along with Bluetooth connectivity, both of which are standard on the 2010 model.
Gary Robinson, assistant manager for product planning at Acura, explained that offering the new front-wheel drive RDX was a means of offering customers more variety, while also lowering the price point and improving fuel efficiency. While customers in Northern states enjoy the safety and security of AWD, those in southern regions are apparently less enamored. Discarding the extra hardware means a $2,000 reduction in the base price of the 2010 RDX, with the front-drive model coming in between $32,520 and $35,620 when it goes on sale August 7. Acura expects about 30% of buyers to opt for the two-wheel drive variant, and you can expect a full review of the FWD model soon.
Acura RDX Turbocharged Crossover Receives Numerous Upgrades and New Two-Wheel-Drive Option for 2010
Fresh Exterior Looks, Revised Interior, Additional Technology and a New Drivetrain Choice Increase the Appeal of the 2010 RDX
TORRANCE, Calif. – Never content resting on its laurels, Acura brings to market the 2010 RDX with a fresh new exterior look, a more luxurious interior, and a host of new technology features. For 2010, the RDX is now available with a two-wheel drive option which offers improved fuel economy and a lower price point over its SH-AWD™ counterpart.
"The RDX has always offered a unique mix of great performance, good utility, lots customer relevant technology and sharp looks- but for 2010 these attributes get even better," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. "The availability of a new 2WD model with improved fuel economy and a lower price make the 2010 RDX a smart choice."
The RDX continues to be the compact luxury SUV of choice for drivers with energetic lifestyles who need a responsive and sporty vehicle with plenty of utility and leading edge styling. 2010 marks the first time ever that the RDX is available with a two-wheel-drive option, which is appealing to customers who live in warmer climates and who don't need the all-weather capability all-wheel drive offers. Due to the decreased weight of the two wheel drive model, the RDX gets improved fuel economy over the SH-AWD model- resulting in an improvement of 1 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway.
Externally, the 2010 RDX receives numerous changes resulting in a more aggressive, sporty appearance. Exterior changes include redesigned 18-inch diameter aluminum-alloy wheels, bold new front and rear bumper fascias, Acura's signature design front grille, revised headlights and taillights, new exhaust tips and satin trim accents.
While the RDX's sport-minded chassis remains the same, the 2010 model features revised braking system components that deliver better feel and enhanced durability. Also for 2010, the RDX receives several new standard interior features including a rear view camera system, electronic compass, a pull handle to make closing the rear hatch easier, auto-function headlights, ambient footwell lighting, a center console storage tray, improved cupholders, USB-port connectivity, and Note function for XM® Radio. Additionally, the RDX interior gets subtle changes to the leather, resulting in a richer, more premium look to the interior seating surfaces.
True to Acura's leadership in the application of advanced technology, the RDX incorporates a class-leading array of features that keep passengers informed, entertained and in control. Every RDX features as standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® connectivity with new Bluetooth® audio capabilities, a 7-speaker Acura Premium Sound System and a new USB port that allows the connection of (and charging of) items such as an iPhone® or iPod®. For those who want to be even more connected to the world around them, the optional Technology Package includes Acura's signature Navigation System with Voice Recognition which has expanded voice capabilities for 2010. Additionally, the AcuraLink™ Satellite Communication System with Real-Time Traffic™ now features Traffic Rerouting™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™.
The RDX also incorporates leading safety technologies based on Acura's "Safety Through Innovation" initiative including advanced front, side and side curtain airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist ™ (VSA™), ABS with Brake Assist and an Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure- all of which have lead to the RDX earn the highest designation by the IIHS of 'TOP SAFETY PICK'.
The RDX is equipped with a turbocharged 2.3-liter DOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine incorporating computer-controlled "intelligent" i-VTEC® intake/exhaust valve actuation that delivers enhanced performance across a broad powerband. The heart of the RDX's performance is its Variable Flow Turbocharger (VFT) that delivers an unusually broad powerband with virtually no lag in throttle response. The turbocharger works in concert with i-VTEC® to deliver outstanding acceleration and efficiency while driving at a variety of speeds.
For 2010, the turbo system makes use of a new inlet pipe that is thicker to reduce noise during high boost situations and the RDX incorporate a dual-stage radiator fan to further reduce cabin noise.
Rated output for the 2.3L I-4 engine is 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm with 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The RDX has an EPA city/highway fuel economy rating* of 19/24 mpg (RDX) and 17/22 mpg (RDX SH-AWD™) along with meeting EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV-2 ULEV exhaust emissions standards.
A performance-minded Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission is standard on the RDX and an electronically-controlled Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system works with the transmission to execute exceptionally quick and smooth gear changes. The Sequential SportShift feature allows the transmission to function in a conventional automatic mode or can be controlled manually via steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) system is available on the RDX, helping it to maximize available traction while improving handling balance and responsiveness in a variety of weather conditions. SH-AWD™ distributes optimum torque not only between the front and rear axles, but also between the left and right rear wheels while also being able to overdrive the rear wheels. The system's direct yaw control utilizes torque vectoring to help reduce understeer thus enhancing steering accuracy and adding to total cornering ability.
New for 2010 is a two-wheel-drive version of the RDX that offers a lighter vehicle weight, improved fuel economy and a lower purchase price. The 2WD RDX employs a front wheel drive drivetrain design, but otherwise retains the same exceptional chassis and driving dynamics for which the RDX is known.
Precise and responsive handling is generated by fully independent front and rear suspension. The MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension system is tuned for compliant control, and the suspension is assisted by large-diameter front and rear stabilizer bars for flatter cornering. Standard to the RDX is Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control to further enhance vehicle controllability and grip.
For 2010, changes to the brake booster and servo deliver even better brake pedal feel along with less initial brake "grabbiness". In addition, the brake system makes use of revised rear brake pad actuation that delivers less drag and longer pad life; also added to the mix are Geomet-coated brake rotors for improved looks and added corrosion protection.
RDX exterior styling further emphasizes the crossover SUV's sporty athleticism. Large wheel arches, aggressively raked body sides, steeply raked windscreen and a short rear overhang generate an RDX with a taut and muscular presence. A unique rear hatch allows for a smooth transition of the body to the rear bumper- a transition that delivers a more custom look as well as eases loading and unloading of cargo.
For 2010, the RDX gets a new front fascia, Acura's signature front grille, a hood with a new front edge design and updated HID headlights that are now controlled by a standard Auto on/off function. Looking at the side of the 2010 RDX you'll notice new 18x7.5-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels that team with the vehicles wide track (61.9-in. front, 62.6-in. rear) to deliver excellent handling. At the rear, a much more aggressive bumper fascia, rectangular exhaust finishers, revised taillights and satin finish trim give the 2010 RDX a fresh new look.
Redesigned high-intensity discharge (HID) low beam headlights command the corners of the RDX's front fascia and fenders. The headlight's new design incorporates a "smoke style" chrome plating treatment and complements the angular pattern set by the Acura grille. Front bumper integrated fog lamps are standard on the RDX, and for 2010 they are mounted within separate side grilles located at the corners of the new front fascia. Both front and rear wheel arches are bold and broad, and new 18x7.5-inch 10-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels further add to the dramatic appearance of the RDX.
Inside every RDX, leather trimmed front seats deliver a high outward visibility "eye point" that provides a confident field of view. The 3-passenger rear seat has a 60/40 split-folding capability and, when folded flat, significantly expands the load area and increases the total cargo volume to 60.6 cubic feet.
Multiple interior storage compartments are positioned throughout the interior, including a lockable dual-level center console (that is large enough to accommodate a briefcase) conveniently located between the front seats. For 2010, two revised interior color themes are available: a darker, richer Ebony and; a lighter, more premium looking Taupe.
Acura interior design has always made intuitive functionality a priority, and in the 2010 RDX all important systems and controls now feature even more intuitive button placement along with easier-to-read markings. The systems used most frequently – audio and cruise control – have switches positioned on the steering wheel, and for 2010 the HVAC buttons have been moved closer to the driver. Technology Package items like Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, Multi-Information Display (MID) and the AcuraLink™ Satellite Communications System can be controlled via switches on the steering wheel. AcuraLink™ messages consist of text displayed on the navigation screen, plus full details via Text-To-Speech can be heard over the RDX audio system. For 2010, the RDX has improved Text-To-Speech voice recognition with more words that can be recognized.
Also new for 2010 is a center console tray that is a convenient way to store items such as a wallet, spare keys, or an iPod®. In addition, integrated to the underside of the lid is a coin holder and place for holding credit or gate cards. New for 2010 is a USB port (also located in the center console) that allows for the easy connection of items such as an iPod®, iPhone® or a memory stick storage device. Standard is an Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM tuner, 6-disc in-dash CD, MP3, WMA, XM® Radio, 7 speakers and a 360 watts watt amplifier. The RDX has soothing blue low-level ambient lighting in the ceiling that illuminates the front center console area, and new for 2010 is ambient blue footwell lighting.
For 2010, the available Technology Package adds even more capability, and integrates seamlessly into the RDX's performance-oriented driving environment. The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ has a revised 8-inch screen and with improved navigation system feature use and content, a faster reacting and more useful rear view camera. Non-Technology Package RDX's now get a standard rear view camera system with a viewing screen that is integrated into the auto-dimming rearview mirror.
With the AcuraLink™ Satellite Communication System and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™, the RDX driver can easily navigate around complex freeways. In addition, the navigation system now includes Traffic Rerouting™ that allows automatic rerouting around problem areas. Also new for the 2010 RDX is AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ with weather radar image maps that provide weather tracking for area-specific, continually-updated weather conditions between your current location and your final destination.
Part of the RDX Technology Package is a spectacular Acura/ELS Surround® premium audio system with 6-disc DVD-audio, CD/MP3/WMA player, DTS®, AM/FM tuner, XM® Radio, Dolby Pro Logic II 10 speakers and a 410 watt amplifier. The Acura/ELS® audio system was designed by 6-time Grammy® award winning sound engineer Elliot Scheiner. When playing DVD-Audio discs (DVD-Audio is 500 times clearer than traditional CD), this advanced system delivers eight discreet audio channels (up from the usual two channels) to create an exceptionally accurate listening experience. For 2010, the Acura/ELS Surround® audio system receives a Note function for XM® Radio that allows the driver to later recall the song title, artist, a short excerpt of the actual song along with the XM® channel that played the song.
The Technology Package also includes a GPS-linked, solar-sensing, dual-zone, automatic climate control system. In total, these advanced technologies put the RDX at the cutting edge of the Entry Premium SUV segment.
Safety and Security
The RDX's technology leadership also extends to safety, where a long list of advanced technologies, including an Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure allow the RDX to achieve NHTSA's top rating (5-Star) for both frontal and side impact crash tests, along with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) premier rating of TOP SAFETY PICK.
The ACE™ body employs a network of interconnected front frame structures that work to absorb and redirect collision forces away from the passenger cabin while helping improve crash compatibility with vehicles of different sizes in a frontal collision. A special frame member located below the RDX's front bumper is designed to engage the front bumper of a lower vehicle, allowing the bumper systems of both vehicles to attenuate crash energy more efficiently.
In addition, a specially engineered hood, collapsible hood hinges, breakaway wiper pivots and other features help reduce the chance of pedestrian injury in the event of a collision with the vehicle.
Inside, the RDX has a full complement of passive safety features. Key technologies include the latest generation of dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags for the driver and front passenger, plus side airbags for the driver and front passenger along with side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor for all outboard occupants. The front passenger's side airbag features an Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) to prevent airbag deployment if a child or small-stature adult leans into the deployment path. LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat mounting systems allow the quick and secure installation of a child seats.
Like all Acura models, the 2010 RDX is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a 6-year/70,000 miles powertrain limited warranty. Additional ownership benefits include Acura Total Luxury Care®, which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.
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