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Test Drive: 2016 Acura RDX

2016 Acura RDX
2016 Acura RDX

2016 Acura RDX AWD with Advance Package    

Class: Premium Compact Crossover

Dates tested: 12/14/2015 – 12/21/2015

Miles Driven: 348

Fuel Used: 17.8 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 19.5 mpg

Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/25/22 (city, highway, combined)

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortA-
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyB-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.

Base price: $43,520 (not including $940 destination charge)

Options on test car: N/A

Price as tested: $44,460


Quick Hits

The great: Powerful and responsive powertrain

The good: Impressive array of available safety equipment

The not so good: Mediocre-for-class observed fuel economy

Check out Consumer Guide’s Compact Midsize Crossover Best Buys


John Biel

With great power comes great responsibility, they say. Acura’s RDX premium-compact sport-utility vehicle shows that pretty good power can come with a lot of responsibility, too.

The RDX is updated for 2016, with freshened styling and a new V6 engine.

The 5-passenger SUV bears updated front and rear styling, and a revised interior with new trim accents for 2016. There’s a little more oomph under the hood, though: a new 279-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that replaces a similarly sized 273-horse V6. The added go comes with a deep well of technologies—some of them safety features—that account for the $44,460 price of a “loaded” all-wheel-drive RDX with Advance Package like the one that Consumer Guide® tested.

Test Drive: 2016 Acura RDX

The RDX cabin features plenty of soft-touch surfaces and quality detailing.

There’s fine power from the V6 on tap under almost all conditions but it is at its liveliest on the highway. Just as good as the power is the engine’s smoothness and refinement. Working with a highly cooperative 6-speed automatic transmission, the AWD RDX is rated by the EPA at 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which represents a 1-mpg gain in highway mileage from before. In this driver’s test, a 160.1-mile stint with 38 percent city-type driving, he averaged 20.22 mpg. Note that Acura recommends premium-grade gas.

Ride and handling are equally impressive, with fine bump control even at full-out expressway speeds. This CG “Best Buy” benefits from a multilink rear suspension akin to that found in its sedans, and electronic power steering.

The basic RDX can be outfitted with AcuraWatch Plus, Technology, or Advance option groups. Top-line Advance equipment adds front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing windshield wipers, automatically dimming side mirrors, remote engine start, ventilated front seats, 18-inch machine-finish alloy wheels, and fog lights. That builds on standard features like keyless entry and starting, heated front seats, rearview camera, sunroof, automatic climate control, and power tailgate, as well as content from the AcuraWatch and Tech packages such as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning and mitigation system, leather upholstery, navigation, and an upgraded audio system.

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Headlamp LEDs make for cool-looking design jewelry.

Controls for many of those electronic features are easy to reach. Indeed, a number of them for the various infotainment functions are located on a podlike projection below the On Demand Multi-Use Display touchscreen that comes with the navigation system. (The nav display has its own 8-inch screen atop the dash.) Climate controls include convenient dials for setting temperature, with a small cluster of buttons to activate other settings.

The RDX cabin sports lots of soft-touch areas. Interior detailing in the test vehicle was good, and the black/light gray look up front was attractive. Seats are comfortable and supportive. Driving position, outward vision, and entry/exit are all worthy of high marks.

Among the RDX’s strengths are good leg and head room in both rows. Three well-acquainted adults might fit across the back if the trip isn’t too long.

Personal-item storage isn’t as ample. The glove box is wide but not especially tall, which limits overall capacity. The covered console box with removable shallow tray isn’t bad for considering the size of the vehicle. Front doors have small, hard-to-reach pockets with bottle holders; rear-door pockets are only big enough to serve as bottle holders. Rear-seat storage is pretty much confined to pouches on the front seat backs. There are 2 cup holders in the center console, and 2 more in the rear pull-down arm rest.

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In-cabin small-item storage is limited, but there’s plenty of space in the RDX’s cargo hold.

Groceries, luggage, and the like load at bumper height through a wide opening. The cargo space is ample, and well shaped. Built-in conveniences include tie-down hooks in the floor, and sidewall levers that release the 60/40-split rear seats for lots more cargo room. Unfortunately, the folded seats sit a few inches above the level of the cargo floor.

For features, ride, room, and zoom, Acura has put together an altogether worthy compact SUV in the RDX.

Our loaded Advance-Package AWD test truck came to $44,460. A base front-wheel-drive RDX starts at $36,310.
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