2000 Acura 3.2TL
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Acura has lots of nicknames for its new $30,000 RDX crossover, none of which are its actual initials.
On one hand, it’s the “TSX SUV,” meaning they think it has the agility of that award-winning sedan. Then it’s the “DINK SUV” — sized and sported up perfectly for couples with dual incomes, no kids. In my favorite one, it’s the “urban running back,” which reminds me of drunk Redskin John Riggins telling Supreme Court Justice O’Connor to “lighten up, Sandy baby,” which still makes me laugh, but doesn’t tell you much about the car.
All this seems to prove our perennial point that cars, like people, need real names to telegraph their intent. But it also helps to pin down the new segment of vehicles to which the RDX belongs. In the auto industry’s painfully dull lingo it’s an “entry luxury crossover.” What the RDX offers up to the rest of the world — and what has those DINKS and TSX fans enthused — is the driving position and flexibility of a sport-ute, but performance closer to that of a sports sedan in a compact shape.
Add a layer of refinement, a spiffy interior and Acura’s first turbocharged engine, and the RDX is ready to take on all challengers. Right now, the only direct competitor to the RDX is the BMW X3, a vehicle that fails to tingle any of my pleasure centers due to its rather Bulgarian grade of interior plastics. But Acura marketing types say this segment will blow up 500 percent in the next five years with Audi Q5s and Benz MLKs and the like — and they’re betting the RDX is exactly what citified shoppers want right now.