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 ranks on the sporty side. it's not as crisp as the pre-2013 model, but it's not as brittle either. The RDX leans a bit in hard corners; then an ingenious new double-piston design engages, increasing damping force and making for a surprisingly capable crossover. Steering feel is a little too light and vague at lower speeds, but the system has a nice weighting at the speeds you'd drive on highways or two-laners.

Brakes are very strong, with a strong capable feel in around-town drivine--although modulation isn't great in sportier driving and harder stops.

The all-wheel drive system is no longer of the SH-AWD variety (that's left to the MDX), but as the angle of ascent changes or wheel slip in front is sensed, more torque is delivered to the rear wheels.

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