Cutting through marketing hype, the Acura RDX is one of relatively few crossover vehicles that actually do feel like agile sport sedans—especially if you'd like to keep the price well under $40k. That is, provided you're one of those people who won't consider wagons like the BMW 328i Sport Wagon, Cadillac CTS Wagon, or upcoming Acura TSX Sport Wagon. Both the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 are both well over the $40k mark after you add just an option or two. The Mazda CX-7 is one of them; Mitsubishi's upcoming Outlander GT also looks like the real thing. But other than that, if you want a vehicle that's luxurious, too, your only two choices are the Infiniti EX35 and the Acura RDX.
The Acura RDX is the older design of these two; it's already been on sale in the U.S. for three years, but it still manages to look quite fresh. And thanks to some subtle changes for 2010, it's been updated nevertheless. For 2010, the RDX gets its own version of Acura's controversial grills, along with new bumper fascias, slightly different headlight and taillight designs, new exhaust tips, and satin brightwork throughout. Inside, the RDX gets a similar touch-up, with new ambient footwell lighting, a compass, a pull handle for the hatch, automatic headlamps, USB connectibity, and an XM satellite radio Note function for the sound system. Plus, there are some improvements to interior storage.
Of note for 2010 is that the RDX is now offered for the first time in a front-wheel drive model—which costs $2,000 less and gets 2 mpg better both in the city and on the highway, for EPA estimates of 19/24 mpg.
We, however, just got a follow-up drive in an all-wheel-drive 2010 Acura RDX, loaded with the Tech Package and pricing out at $38,430.
First impressions? The engine—2.3-liter i-VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder, making 240 horsepower—initially gives no hints (except if you spot the boost gauge in the dash) that it's the only turbocharged one in Honda/Acura's U.S. lineup, and the first for the automaker to ever bring to this market. It settles into an isolated, distant purr that's worthy of a luxury vehicle.