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

The original Crossover Vehicle is still the Best…. Lexus RX-450H All New for 2016

By Bob Long

The Lexus RX is the crossover that started a whole new category of vehicle when first introduced in 1998.   The first generation RX 300 laid the ground work for one of hottest segments in the car buying world today the luxury crossover vehicle.

For the 2016 model year The Lexus RX is all-new.. Now in its 4th generation, this mid size luxury crossover features a bold new exterior design, revamped interior, and a bump in power over its predecessor. The vehicle has grown slightly and offers a lot of cool features.

Over the years the RX has become the Lexus brands best-selling vehicle and a benchmark for rivals such as the MDX from Acura, Mercedes GLE, Cadillac SRX  and the MKX from Lincoln.  My test vehicle of the week is a beautiful front wheel drive RX 450 H which combines a powerful  V-6 gasoline engine with electric hybrid drive for great fuel economy.

Styling wise Lexus calls the new  2016 RX as a “dramatic re-imagining”of the benchmark crossover.  In fact it is both bold and aggressive from many angles.  Keeping in step with the rest of Lexus lineup the RX wears the brands signature spindle” grille up front, fluid headlight housings with LED lights, a high belt line, and the 2016 RX’s most divisive element: a flowing, blacked-out C-pillar behind the rear windows. This element makes the Lexus’ roof appear to float. You’ll like it or you won’t. Personally I like the look of the new RX but admit some will find the RX face a bit polarizing.

There are many different favors of the RX but was great to sample the hybrid model for a week.  On the road the RX 450h hybrid model is super smooth and almost imperceptibly switches between gasoline and electric power.  The 450h hybrid pairs a 3.5-liter V6 with a battery-electric powertrain. Like a standard Prius, no plugging in is required, but premium unleaded gasoline is recommended. The 2016 RX 450h has total output of 308 horsepower and delivers great mpg numbers. The  gasoline engine alone cranks out 267 lb-ft of torque.  EPA  city mileage is rated at an impressive 31 MPG with a highway rating of 30 MPG.  Sticker price of my loaded RX450H model came to $60.359.00

Inside the all new RX-450H is great place to spend time.  Beautiful craftsmanship combined with is own unique style. One of the biggest changes for the new 2016 model is gear selector placement, which abandons its long-held position in the center dash to a more traditional spot in the console below. This opens space in the dash for easy-to-access climate and audio controls. The mouse controller just south of the gear selector is easier to operate. The seats are great, and there is plenty of legroom in back.  Cargo space is very impressive, with over 18 cubic feet behind the rear seats. That number expands to over 56 cubic feet with rear seats folded.

The Lexus RX has always been well-equipped, and the latest model is no different. My loaded 450H had the very cool huge 12.3-inch infotainment display, a heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, the touch-free tailgate, navigation, a treat for audiophiles like myself in the exquisite upgraded Mark Levinson audio system.  My vehicle also had a full color heads up display and the world first  Touch-Free Back Door option makes it go presto by merely placing a hand near the Lexus badge.

Driving the RX 450H is a real pleasure even if you are not hybrid fan. This is one of the best systems out there in the automotive world.  The RX-450H is smooth operator at all speeds much as they have been in previous generations.  The vehicle is: comfortable, quiet and confident. This is an SUV for those who long for a soft ride and serenity, vs. drivers who prefer blasts down twisty roads accompanied by a roaring exhaust note.  Lexus does offer an F Sport model for a more sporty flavor and sheer performance.

Bottom line if you are in the market for a five passenger high fuel economy luxury crossover SUV the all new 2018 Lexus RH-45oH is a grand slam home run.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-FWD 

 

Highlights

Styling

Luxury Features

Comfort

Fuel economy

 

Lowlights

60K may seem like a lot but is not in 2016

Bold Like it or not front grille

 

Scale 1 low-10 High

Exterior Styling 8

Interior styling and quality 9

Handling 7

Braking 6

Fuel Economy 10

Audio System 9

Performance 6

Trunk-Cargo Capacity 10

Navigation   8