More Expert Reviews
|2010 Acura RDX
|2010 Acura RDX 5-spd AT w/Tech Specs|
By Bill Clark
- Fun to drive
- Voice activated navigation helps keeps eyes on the road
- Concert-hall 10-speaker stereo
- Luxuriously appointed interior
- FIRM ride
- That turbo is thirsty!
- Minimal cargo room
- Front fascia styling only a mother could love
Just when I thought there was no hope for the crossover segment, Acura introduces the game-changing 2010 RDX with a fresh new exterior look, a more luxurious interior, and a host of new technology features. The 2010 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.
OK, Acura… Let’s get the bad out of the way so we can get on with the good stuff. What’s the deal with your visual branding “power plenum grill” that has plagued your car line? You have damaged the looks of one of the most handsome lines of cars out there. I have not yet met anyone who thinks it’s attractive. Enough on that. The rest of the exterior styling is great – the sheet metal looks very fluid and dramatic. The updates to the rear-end styling for 2010 are great. Acura has really perfected the appearance from the rear.
All RDX models come with a 240 hp, 2.3L turbocharged, direct-injection, 4-cylinder engine with i-VTEC™ (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control). I had the pleasure of driving the lighter-weight 2WD version. The ride is firm, but the RDX is quite nimble when slicing through the turns. I was impressed by how the RDX drives more like a sports sedan than an SUV. Potential RDX buyers will be elated to know that there is no significant loss of the driving feel when comparing the all-wheel drive system to the front-wheel drive alternative.
The technology package, which brings voice-activated navigation, rearview camera, real-time traffic and weather, 10-speaker surround w/subwoofer, and dual zone, GPS-enabled climate control, provides a generous level of comfort and convenience. The RDX felt like a perfect partner in crime… er travel.
The RDX’s small size limits cargo capacity, but the car is just so nimble and agile, the small size turns out to be one of its assets. It’s also deceptively quick. If you are first in line at the traffic signal, a few seconds after getting the green you are already separated from the rest of the pack as they continue to shrink in your rear-view mirror.
Acura’s quality Michelin tire choice and substantial sound damping help with the exceptionally quiet ride. This is the quietest Honda/Acura I have ever driven. A small amount of wind noise creeps through at freeway speeds, but it’s remarkably quiet overall.
The primary sound you hear is some sexy engine noise under brisk acceleration – Acura engineered that sound and I can appreciate it immensely; it doesn’t happen by accident. The engine makes a nice growl along with a little wisp of turbo spool. It’s intoxicating and addicting!
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
I loved the nicely perforated, supportive and heated leather seats. They are a bit on the firm side, but I felt great even after long trips and I think they’ll hold up to years of use. There’s a lot going on with the dash, but its well worth the effort to learn it.
After taking a minute to study the layout, I found the buttons easy to decipher. There are four basic button areas: Nav Interface Dial, Audio, Climate control, and steering wheel buttons, and three display areas: Nav Screen, Center display, Multi-Information Display on the speedo cluster.
The center interface dial and surrounding buttons can be used to control navigation, weather, and traffic info; fine-tune the 10-speaker stereo settings including bass, midrange, treble, center and subwoofer volume, all using the navigation screen for visual feedback.
Below the interface dial, you’ll find basic radio controls in a typical half-din style interface. You can control volume, select sources and presets, load CD’s, seek/scan, and and there is an analog, audio Aux-in jack. There is a USB connector in the center armrest console and the iPhone/iPod controls work great.
Flanking the Interface Dial area are the Dual-zone, GPS-enabled, sun-position-sensing climate controls. That’s the wordy-way of saying it keeps you and your passenger comfortable no matter what. You can set and forget the temperature controls. The temp and fan-speed feedback display is near the windshield next to the ubiquitous, yet expanded Honda/Acura digital clock (called the ‘center display’). This display also shows audio system status including artist/song titles.
There’s a small multi-information display at the bottom of the center speedometer gauge. Use this display along with steering wheel buttons to personalize basic car options. Do you want the doors to unlock when you shift into park? How long do you want the auto headlights to remain on after you exit the vehicle? Do you want to enable hands-free Bluetooth? All of these can be done with the multi-information display.
I need to take a few sentences to praise the voice-activated Navigation. For one, you can operate it while driving without taking your eyes off the road. There are a host of voice-commands you can speak to it, making it infinitely useful.
On your way to your destination, you decide you need gas. You press a button on the steering wheel and say “Find nearest gas station” or “Find nearest fast food” in a couple seconds; the Nav display lists search results on the screen.
Not wanting you to take your eyes off of the road to read the list, you twist the Interface Dial and the Nav reads out the listing to you; “Chevron”, “Shell”, or “In-n-out burger”, Taco Bell”. You press the Interface dial when you hear the one you want and the nav asks if you want to ‘set as new destination’ or ‘set as a way point’ on your current route. You select “add as waypoint” with the Interface Dial and the voice-assisted nav guides you there.
I just can’t get over how easy and intuitive it is. Nissan, GM, and others should take note of what Acura has done with their navigation. Oh, and you can use your voice to control almost every function of the car – audio, climate control – you just need to learn to use the proper vernacular.
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