2007 RDX New Car Test Drive
A new term seems to have settled for vehicles like this: CUV. Crossover Utility Vehicle, not simply 'crossover vehicle,' which has been used for a while. Meaning, basically, an SUV with unibody construction, like a car: the chassis, floorpan and body are all one piece, which adds rigidity to the structure, saves weight and rides softer, but isn't as rugged as a body-on-frame vehicle, like a pickup truck or an SUV built on a pickup truck platform. Fine. But who can tell?
Acura calls the all-new 2007 RDX a CUV. Here's the irony: it earns the name because it's sportier than a Sport Utility Vehicle. Sporty driving is what this CUV-formerly-known-as-SUV is all about. The RDX most resembles the BMW X3, which BMW separates from the SUV crowd by calling an SAV: Sport Activity Vehicle. Got it?
What makes the RDX different is that it uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to make its hearty 240 horsepower, rather than Honda's smooth V6. Because the RDX is built on the small Honda CR-V platform, there wasn't room under its hood for the V6. This is the first turbocharged engine that Acura has produced. It's 2.3 liters, and comes out of the Acura TSX, with many changes making a completely different powerband.
Proving its commitment to sport, the RDX uses a sequential five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, a firm independent suspension made for cornering, and Acura's patented SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) system, which delivers a higher proportion of power to the outside rear wheel under hard cornering, thus keeping the car on line.
But also proving a commitment to luxury, the RDX offers only leather, no cloth interior, and other standard luxury touches, such as a power moonroof and dual-zone climate control. That narrows the intended buyer down, to someone who doesn't want to compromise the cornering for a comfortable ride (the firm suspension), but isn't willing to sit on cloth seats. Also someone who doesn't care about dramatic or distinctive styling, because the RDX closely resembles the Honda CR-V. Women, who normally go for the Acura approach toward silky style with performance, will want to think twice about the niftiness of the RDX.
Acura RDX ($32,995) comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, power moonroof, 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, xenon HID headlights with foglamps, the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel, the patented SH-AWD (SH for Super Handling) system, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.
The RDX Tech ($36,495) features the Technology Package: a 10-speaker, 410-watt sound system designed by legendary recording engineer Elliot Scheiner, navigation system with voice command, rearview camera, hands-free phone interface, XM satellite radio, and the AcuraLink Satellite Communication System with Real Time Traffic.
Safety features include dual-stage frontal airbags, side airbags in front, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, electronic stability control (VSA), active front head restraints, side-impact door beams, and a tire pressure monitor. The RDX received a 2007 'Top Safety Pick' from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which crash-tests cars more thoroughly than the government (NHTSA).
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