2017 Acura RDX AWD Leading the Crossover Marketplace with Value and Cool features

Acura’s  RDX SUV has been around for a number of years, all of which have seen sales success to make the competition green with envy. Where competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Lexus NX use turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, the RDX sticks with a robust V6 teamed to a smooth-shifting 6 speed automatic powering either the front or all four wheels. With seating for five passengers and a decent-sized cargo bay, the RDX makes a great luxury SUV for those who don’t need the added size and extra cost of the larger MDX. Acura’s full suite of luxury, technology and safety features is here, as is its unimpeachable reputation for reliability and excellent resale.  My test vehicle is a load All wheel drive with the loaded advance package.

The cool thing about the RDX when equipped with the Advance Package that includes every available feature offered on the RDX in one simple grouping. Add in all-wheel drive and you’re looking at price tag around $45,000.

The 2017 Acura RDX gets a few color revisions to its interior trim this year, but that’s about it. Acura’s dual-screen infotainment system presents a cleanly styled interface without of the multitude of buttons found on some competitors. Other touches of note include soft-touch materials, an available 8-way-power passenger seat, 10-way-power driver’s seat and a smart use of space for both passengers and cargo. For example, if the comfortable rear seats aren’t holding passengers, they quickly fold forward to create up to about 77 cubic feet of cargo space.

Fresh from an update last year, the 2017 Acura RDX SUV carries over its subtle tweaks that bring it in line with the more modern design language of the brand. Brilliant Jewel Eye headlights flank a revised 3-dimensional grille design, while around back the RDX’s taillights have the same signature look as the rest of the Acura lineup.

Most of the luxury SUV competitors the RDX faces don’t have the long list of standard features as the Acura, and fewer still at the price. The 2017 Acura RDX comes with things like dual-zone climate control, a 10-way-power driver’s seat, active noise cancellation, a multi-view rearview camera, and a 7-speaker/360-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with a 5-inch LCD display, USB/auxiliary inputs, voice-activated text messaging and Pandora Internet radio. Safety features include six airbags, stability and traction control, and Acura’s ACE body structure, which has helped it earn top crash-test ratings from both the government and the insurance industry.
While Acura tends to divide its major options into different model levels, Acura’s 2017 RDX breaks with this rule by offering the AcuraWatch package as a stand-alone option on all models, except the Advance Package, which includes it. AcuraWatch bundles adaptive cruise control, forward-collision braking and warning, and lane-keeping assist and departure warning in one package. All-wheel drive (AWD) is also available across the board. Navigation is available on the Technology and Advance packages, while the Advance adds luxury touches like ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, remote starting, and automatic windshield wipers.

Under the Hood the 3.5 liter V-6 is not a powerhouse putting to a modest 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is good  EPA city rated at 19 city and 27 highway with my test vehicles advanced all wheel drive system.

On the road the 3.5-liter V6 delivers its power smoothly with plenty of low-end torque for quick acceleration and passing.  Cruising long highway stretches is where the RDX feels most at home, although the suspension is appropriately tuned for aggressive driving. However, don’t expect the RDX to perform like a BMW X3 or an Infiniti QX30. Acura’s almost fanatic desire to silence the RDX’s cabin is achieved through ample insulation and an active noise-cancellation system, while the AcuraWatch system helps keep everyone safe via the adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, collision warning and mitigation and lane-keeping assist.

While Acura tends to divide its major options into different model levels, Acura’s 2017 RDX breaks with this rule by offering the AcuraWatch package as a stand-alone option on all models, except the Advance Package, which includes it. AcuraWatch bundles adaptive cruise control, forward-collision braking and warning, and lane-keeping assist and departure warning in one package. All-wheel drive (AWD) is also available across the board. Navigation is available on the Technology and Advance packages, while the Advance adds luxury touches like ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, remote starting, and automatic windshield wipers.

Acura’s RDX might not lead the premium-compact SUV class in any one area, but this is a vehicle that does just about everything well. A refined drivetrain, a ride/handling balance that’s among the best in the class, and a roomy, well-appointed cabin are its biggest strengths. RDX offers lots of comfort, convenience, and safety features at reasonable-for-the-class prices. Value-conscious luxury buyers would do well to put this Acura at the top of their shopping lists.

Lets talk about the sound system with ELS Surround Sound. the RDX for 2017 doesn’t need 20 speakers in every door to pull off amazing sound quality. The Acura ELS audio system is so well-engineered and fine-tuned, it blows the coils off systems costing twice as much. Fortunately, it’s incredibly affordable.

The system is designed by my friend Elliot Scheiner recording engineer and producer or Steely Dan, Donald Fagen,  The Eagles, Sting, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters and dozens of others.  I have had pleasure of interviewing the “Master Of Sound” with 7 Grammys on his resume so far.many times.  He remains one of my personal favorite people to talk with about music or automotive surround sound.

Acura’s RDX might not lead the premium-compact SUV class in any one area, but this is a vehicle that does just about everything well. A refined drivetrain, a ride/handling balance that’s among the best in the class, and a roomy, well-appointed cabin are its biggest strengths. RDX offers lots of comfort, convenience, and safety features at reasonable-for-the-class prices. Value-conscious luxury buyers would do well to put this Acura at the top of their shopping lists. congratulations Acura  on the extremely well executed RDX.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-AWD  6  speed automatic

Highlights

Value

ELS Surround Sond

All Arond Comfort

Lowlights

A little more power from V-6 would be great

So-So Fuel Economy

The Long Drive Rankings 1 Low 10 High

Exterior Styling 7
Interior styling and quality 8

Handling 7

Braking 7

Fuel Economy 5

Performance 7
Trunk-Cargo Capacity 8

Audio System 10

Value 10

All New 2017 Prius Four The Original Hybrid is Still The Best

 

In 2003, I was on the Motor Trend jury that selected the 2004 second generation Prius as the 2004 Motor Trend Car Of The Year.  I will always remember that it was a heated contest between the “rally twins” the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX STi and hybrid Toyota.  But in the end, it was a bold move to choose the hybrid game changer. Today, is not such a big deal but going back more than deacde it was a big deal.

Fast forward to 2017 recently I had the opportunity to sample the all new 4th generation Prius for the first time.  The’s 2017 Prius hybrid embodies the original car’s same basic concept, that being an internal-combustion engine coupled to an electric motor, the latest version is both stylistically and technologically leaps and bounds better. The latest Prius now has lots of competition, but it remains the segment’s fuel-economy leader and is bolstered by a new model, the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Able to travel up to 25 miles solely on electric power, the Prime offers one more Prius competitor to challenge Ford’s C-Max Energi and Chevy’s Volt. With its slick new styling, refined interior, improved chassis and new standard suite of driver-assist technologies, the 2017 Toyota Prius remains the gold standard in hybrid automobiles.

Despite its small size and lightweight frame, Toyota’s 2017 Prius hybrid is amazingly rigid. A rigid chassis allows for a better suspension, which endows the Prius with surprising agility. Body roll in the corners is kept to a minimum and the steering, although not on par with the Mazda3 or Honda Civic, is light and precise.  I found the overalll driving experience to best to date of any Prius model to date.  .  A couple of minor egonormic areas of improvement include giving some adjstablibilty to height of the heads up color sisplay, and changing the location of the frony heated seat switches which now are located  too far ahead in the center console for my liking/

The Prius’ brakes are strong and capable and despite the skinny fel economy friendly tires hauled the Pruis down from speeds much better than anticapated. .. On the highway, the 2017 Prius hybrid delivers a smooth ride and a quiet cabin with very little wind or road noise evident. One downside is the Prius’ front seats that sit low to the floor, making entry and exit somewhat of a challenge for some drivers..

Although the shape seems familiar, with the same wedgy design theme, there’s more drama in the 2017 Toyota Prius compared to previous generations, which looked a little boring by comparison. Longer, lower and wider than its predecessors, with more character creases in the bodyside panels, the 4th-generation Prius has a strong curbside presence, as well as a distinctive going-away view. The lower hoodline contributes to improved aerodynamics the coefficient of drag (Cd) goes from 0.25 to 0.24and also enhances the driver’s forward sight lines.  That is amazing exotic sports car like Cd number.  I not a huge fan of the face of the vehicle but all other styling angles are grearly improved.

Some folks don’t care for the rear tailight treatment I myself like it and thinks it works quite well with the theme of the overall car.

The feature list for the basic Prius Two makes it clear that “basic” does not mean “stripper” for this car. Dual 4.2-inch customizable color information displays, 6.2-inch color touch screen, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD Entune audio, 2.0 USB port, Bluetooth streaming, Siri eyes-free, hands-free phone link, voice recognition, 3-mode driver pre-sets (EV, ECO, Power), cruise control, tilt/telescope steering column, cargo area tonneau cover, rearview camera, stability control, traction control and eight airbags. Toyota’s Safety Sense P includes full-speed dynamic cruise control, capable of bringing the car to a complete stop.

The interior on Toyota’s Prius Hybrid for 2017 employs two 4.2-inch color info screens with primary instrumentation parked atop the dashboard. Higher trims also include a color head-up display, as well as pedestrian detection. The instrument screens ride the center of the dashboard, reducing eye redirection, according to Toyota, though some think otherwise. Interior materials including the new synthetic leather was extra comfortable looking and feels quite rich. A low center-console height gives the front compartment a more open feeling, and the rear compartment feels roomier despite a very small reduction in interior volume and lower roofline compared to the previous generation.  Yes as always it has that funky dash monted transmission selector I hold out hope that genaration five will change that feature

My Prius Four model had the Advanced Technology package adds a power tilt/slide moon roof with a sliding sunshade, and the color head-up display. The Premium Convenience Package includes a 7-inch touch screen, navigation, Entune 10-speaker JBL audio, advanced voice recognition, as well as the standard Prius Two and Three features, and a good many others. Premium Convenience is limited to Prius Four and Prius Four Touring trims.

Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive has been adapted to a number of the company’s vehicles. It’s also been licensed to other carmakers. The latest electric motor is rated at 71 horsepower and 120 lb-ft of torque. Combined system output is down 13 horsepower at 121 horsepower compared to generation three, but efficiency is up. On all but the base trim, the electrical side of the powertrain is supported by a lithium-ion battery pack.

Fuel economy was fanatstic, rated at 54 city and 50 mpg highway with a 52 MPG combined number which is quite impressive. This is the best Prius to date hands down. My well euqipeed test vehicle was priced at 32,216.00 making for a great value as well.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-FWD Automatic

Highlights

Value

Fuel Economy

Comfortable Front seats

Lowlights

A  little slow 0-60 mph

The Long Drive Rankings 1 Low 10 High

Exterior Styling 7
Interior styling and quality 7

Handling 5

Braking 6

Fuel Economy 10
Performance 5
Trunk-Cargo Capacity 8

Audio System 6

Value 10