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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
shifts through the gears are above-average
powerful turbocharged engine
Firm-ride suspension makes for an agile little SUV
fuel economy was 3 mpg worse than the ballsier BMW [X3]'s
Car and Driver
With 240 turbocharged horsepower, along with deft steering and braking, the 2010 Acura RDX is a dynamic favorite of TheCarConnection.com and other respected automotive sites.The energetic feel of its powertrain hasn't changed-the 2010 Acura RDX still comes across as a little spastic, thanks to turbo lag. The 240-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the Acura RDX is "slightly weaker than the less-expensive Mazda CX-7 and its turbocharged 244-hp engine," according to Car and Driver. Autoblog, however, likes the power of the Acura; 2010's RDX is fine with a "5-speed automatic transmission [with] manual shifting capability [that] is the only one available," the reviewer says. This is probably because the "260 foot-pounds of torque at 4500 rpm rival the power produced by some six-cylinder engines," ForbesAutos points out. Autoblog adds, "the torquey four still provides reasonably brisk and responsive acceleration whether you roll into the throttle or stab the long pedal."
Autoblog predicts the transmission will be upgraded to a six-speed automatic in 2011, but still approves of the current five-speed in the RDX. Cars.com initially complains "power doesn't come immediately when you're driving with the automatic transmission in standard drive," but in sport mode, the automatic's "shifts through the gears are above-average."
A new front-drive version doesn't feel substantially different from the all-wheel-drive model available last year and carried over for 2010; both are a joy to drive, compared to the more family-oriented crossovers in other auto lineups. Strong brakes are a part of the package, as is light, quick steering that cues up the least SUV-like driving experience in the class, but ride quality can be a little harsh. Autoblog calls the Super Handling AWD feature the "best part of the RDX" and explains that the system sends "twist to the outside wheel to keep understeer at bay." This innovative technology means "you'll never worry about taking a turn faster than you planned," according to Cars.com. The front-drive version hasn't ruined the driving experience: "Steering feel seems mostly unfazed by the concentration of power at the turning wheels," Car and Driver reports, and the RDX still "offers an excellent balance of feel and composure while keeping body roll in check."
Fuel economy is much improved for the front-drive model at 19/24 mpg, while the AWD version still lags at 17/22 mpg-about the same as the turbocharged, seven-seat, 4,800-pound Lincoln MKT. Reviewers aren't won over by fuel economy; "17 miles per gallon in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway" disappoints ForbesAutos, since it's the same rating given to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Car and Driver mentions that the 2010 Acura RDX's "fuel economy was 3 mpg worse than the ballsier BMW [X3]'s."
Athletic moves are part of the 2010 Acura RDX's personality, but fuel economy dulls its brilliance.