2007 Acura RDX review:

2007 Acura RDX

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Starting at $32,995
  • Engine Turbocharged, 4 Cylinder Engine
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • MPG 21 MPG
  • Passenger Capacity 5
  • Body Type Crossovers, SUVs

Roadshow Editors' Rating

9.0 Overall
  • Cabin tech 9
  • Performance tech 9
  • Design 9

The Good The 2007 Acura RDX is a very fun car to drive, with a peppy engine and excellent handling. It has one of the best-sounding stereo systems we've heard, as part of its Technology package, which also includes voice-command Bluetooth integration and navigation. The navigation system has live traffic reporting.

The Bad With all the included cabin technology, Acura should have worked on a more integrated interface.

The Bottom Line The 2007 Acura RDX is a good value, with practical interior space and very good drivability. Techies will delight in its cabin systems, but luddites will be overwhelmed by the many buttons and voice commands.

Looking at the body of the 2007 Acura RDX, we couldn't help but think of it as a truck, until we got behind the wheel. And that's the essence of a crossover--the industry's new favorite vehicle type--a vehicle that combines the utility of an SUV with the drivability of a car (and maybe some of the fuel economy). In an interesting design note, the RDX looks a little like a boat when viewed head-on, thanks to the way the underside is raked up toward the front bumper.

The RDX is smaller than other crossovers we've tested recently, such as the Mazda CX-7 and the Ford Edge. It feels quicker and more agile. The interior isn't particularly roomy, although seating position is higher than in a sedan. The driver's seat gets 10-way power adjustment, but the front passenger seat has manual controls. We also discovered that front legroom is minimal, with one of our 6-foot-plus review staff brushing the dashboard with his knees--even with the seat all the way back. As a nice touch, the center console hatch is very wide and deep, with room enough for a couple of laptops.

All the tech that fits
Acura chose to make the RDX a tech powerhouse, including a similar Technology package to the one available on the Acura RL, a previous winner of our Tech Car of the Year award. The Technology package includes Bluetooth cell phone integration, voice recognition, and navigation with live traffic information. But the RDX takes it a step further by adding an excellent stereo system. While we like all of this technology, Acura didn't do a good job of making the interface very usable, mounting buttons wherever they fit around the dashboard and steering wheel.

The main interface for the RDX is a LCD screen mounted at the top of the stack, with function buttons and a joystick/dial right below it. The joystick/dial is big enough that it's easy to use, even while driving. But the software interface isn't so good, as it's difficult to determine from what's on the screen whether the dial should be turned or the joystick moved to make a menu selection. A CD changer sits at the bottom of the stack, and has some duplicative controls to those displayed on the LCD screen. Unfortunately, the lower stereo controls don't mirror the look of the screen controls at all. Further complicating things, there are no Bluetooth phone controls on the screen, as they're relegated to a voice command system.

Live traffic on the navigation system reports accidents and road construction.
The steering wheel has controls for the stereo, cruise control, voice commands, and telephone--we counted 13 separate buttons in all. And to further illustrate this interface mess, there are two buttons for accessing telephone voice commands between the left and lower spoke of the wheel. There is also another set of two buttons below these two telephone buttons for accessing voice commands for all of the other car systems. We would think Acura could engineer a single set of buttons to activate all voice command functions. People who complain about BMW's iDrive should give this system a try.

Beyond this profusion of buttons, we've always liked the voice command systems offered in Acuras and Hondas. It's fairly intuitive and does a great job of recognizing spoken words. When we said, "Show restaurants," the system added restaurant icons to a displayed map, and when we asked, "What time is it," it told us the current time. The phone system works well, too. We paired it with a Motorola V551 cell phone, and found it simple to make calls by pressing the voice command button (the top one on the steering wheel) and telling the system to dial a number. We didn't find any straightforward way to access our phone's address book or recent calls log, however.

As in other Acuras we've seen, the navigation system is top-notch. It's easy to enter destinations, and its points-of-interest database goes beyond restaurants, gas stations, and ATMs to include all sorts of retail stores. It's like having a yellow pages in the car. The navigation system also does a good job with route guidance, showing a split screen with a graphic to indicate upcoming turns. Best of all, the RDX has the same live traffic reporting found on the RL. The system shows icons for traffic incidents, such as construction or crashes, as well as traffic speed on freeways and major roadways. The traffic information is a service from XM satellite radio; owners will need to maintain a subscription which costs $12.95 a month, after a three-month free service period.

The surround sound stereo in the RDX sounds amazing.
XM satellite radio is one of the many sources of music available to the RDX's ELS Surround Sound stereo system, along with MP3, WMA, RedBook CD, DVD audio, radio, and an auxiliary input. An iPod adaptor is also available as an option. As we pointed out earlier, the software interface isn't designed well, making it difficult to navigate MP3 and WMA CDs. We were also surprised to see that the system doesn't display ID3 tagging information, just file and folder names.

But the stereo does sound good--really, really good. The system uses a 6-channel, 410-watt amplifier, pumping music through 10 speakers, including one center fill and a subwoofer. The Surround effect works very well, making it hard to pinpoint a sound source. Highs are extraordinarily crisp, the mid-range is excellent, but lows get just a little muddy at high volumes. It's a rich and clear sound, making every instrument stand out in a track. With our most bass-heavy music, we found the subwoofer tame enough not to shake the car.

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