While some folks think larger is better, I have found some smaller SUVs that do the job of carrying people and their belongings just as well as larger machines – plus there’s always the mileage factor and those ever-rising summer fuel prices.
A good choice is the 2010 Acura RDX, the upscale manufacturer’s entry-level vehicle in the model range. This SUV leaves a proper footprint in world tending toward ecological balance. It’s 182.5 inches long, 73.6 inches wide, stands 65.1 inches tall on a 104.3-inch wheelbase.
Offered this year as a front-wheel-drive (as well as SH all-wheel-drive) version, the 2010 Acura RDX Tech FWD weighs 3752 pounds, retains 6.3-inches of ground clearance and has a nice turning circle of 39.2 feet. Under-the-hatch storage is 27.8 cubic feet, expandable through the rear seats’ 60/40-fold to 61 cubes. It’s not best in class but it’s usable volume, and isn’t that what matters?
Good driving manners are important to the experience and that’s where the Acura RDX shines. While it has the tall body of an SUV, its willing 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine gives this machine sufficient power to launch into traffic, helped by 260- lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm and 240 horsepower at 6000. And it’ll tow 1500 pounds.
A five-speed automatic transmission with sequential sport-shift is standard on the 2010 RDX; I might have preferred a six-speed automatic but cruising at 70 mph yields all of 2000 rpm from the engine and 75 ups that to 2200 en route to a 6500-rpm redline. This gearing gives the transmission rather long legs and certainly enhances fuel mileage of 19/24-mpg from the 18-gallon tank. Acura prefers premium fuel for the RDX.
The 2010 RDX Tech as driven comes in a beautiful white diamond pearl exterior with a subdued taupe interior that features perforated sport seats for the front seat occupants that are both comfortable and fully supportive. The driver has dual memories to other operators a chance to have fun in the RDX and power lumbar support. Lateral support is a bit lacking on this car.
Gauges are black with a blue rim and include 160-mph speedometer, fuel, boost, gear indicator and tachometer. The temperature gauge has been banished to the central information center. The central stack includes a well-hooded navigation system with its controls beneath the screen, along with air outlets and heating, air conditioning and ventilation controls. Below that are audio buttons – there’s XM satellite radio free for the first three months.
The leather wrapped steering wheel is a virtual hub of information with audio buttons on the left spoke, cruise control on the right, phone operation on the lower left and info center on the lower right. The included paddle shifters on the steering wheel revert to Drive if not used rapidly on the fly. Front windows have 1-touch down/up capabilities and the automatic headlamps are very sensitive to changing light. Acura fits a one-touch moonroof for this version of the RDX.
A display above the navigation system gives driver/passenger temperatures, audio information and clock. Outside temp is on display below the speedometer with both trip odometers and the overall odometer. This Acura RDX Tech had just over 2300 miles on it at pickup; it felt tight and all seams were uniform.