2014 Acura RDX Performance

8.0
Performance

The Acura RDX was once way ahead of the game in the trend for crossovers to go to turbochargers and downsized engines. Yet with this latest version--continued for 2014--it's moved to a 3.5-liter V-6.

The big V-6 in the 2014 RDX gives up some of the surge and urge of the previous turbo engine, but it's much smoother, quieter, and fitting of its luxury badge. We found the six-speed automatic transmission to be frustrating at times, with delays and indecision when multiple-gear downshifts are demanded, yet the engine's flexibility allows confident passing, and the rest of the time the automatic shifts smoothly and unobtrusively.

The smooth, strong V-6 in the RDX highlights excellent handling and a really well-tuned chassis.

Compared to other luxurious crossovers its size, the RDX still bends toward the sporty side. The suspension has been softened considerably since the 2013 model year, and it's no longer a brittle-riding vehicle. It leans a bit more in corners, but more capable two-mode shocks mean that it can absorb more road imperfections. The steering has gone softer and more vague, but it's weighted well for drivers who will use it more on highways than back roads.

The RDX has strong brakes that don't modulate as well as they lay on lots of stopping force.

Finally, Acura has simplified the RDX's all-wheel drive. It doesn't vector torque to individual wheels anymore, but when the car senses it's going uphill, it can send more power to the rear wheels for better traction.

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