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2015 Acura RDX (pictures)

With a new engine, the 2015 Acura RDX is more refined than its turbocharged predecessor. Too bad that its dashboard tech is just as dated.

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

With a new engine, the 2015 Acura RDX is more refined than its turbocharged predecessor. Too bad that its dashboard tech is just as dated.

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2 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The RDX's design is simpler and more approachable than the previous model, but still feels sporty and compact in person.

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3 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

HID headlamps come as part of the Technology package. As we'll learn, that option is a bit of a mixed bag.

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4 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

I'm just a bit disappointed that the larger MDX's available full LED headlamps haven't trickled down to the smaller RDX.

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5 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

However, the largest changes happen beneath the surface in the form of a new V-6 engine and a lighter all-wheel drive system.

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6 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The RDX's cabin isn't bad looking at all. While the Acura doesn't quite pull off "luxury," it does "premium" well.

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7 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The RDX's steering wheel falls nicely into the hand and adjusts manually to tilt and telescope.

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8 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

This 2015 model is using what looks like an older version of the Acura infotainment system.

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9 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

There's no touchscreen in the RDX's cabin. On-screen selections are made with this rotary controller.

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10 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The only gearbox available is a 6-speed automatic transmission. Shifts were smooth and quick.

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11 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The new power-plant is a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that outputs 273 horsepower.

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12 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

However, variable cylinder management allows this V-6 to behave like a V-4 or an I-3 in low-load situations, saving fuel when you're just cruising.

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13 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

Acura has also outfit the RDX with a new all-wheel drive system. In the wake of SH-AWD, the newer, lighter system feels like a step backwards.

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14 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The new system is an on-demand setup that can send up to 25% of available torque to the rear wheels.

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15 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

Push-button starting is a standard feature.

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16 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

Keyless entry doesn't require you to remove the remote transponder from a pocket. Just approach the vehicle, grab the handle, and the doors will unlock.

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17 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

It's also a bit disappointing that the MDX's advanced driver aid technologies haven't trickled down to the RDX. A standard rear view camera is as advanced as it gets here.

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18 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The RDX gets a lot of the fundamentals right. It goes well, stops fine, and the cabin is fairly quiet. But the dashboard tech's cobbled together controls are a sore spot.

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19 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

Something about the RDX's physical controls and the clunky on-screen display just didn't jibe with me.

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20 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The on-screen graphics looked dated and pixelated, especially when compared to the smooth interfaces of Audi and BMW.

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21 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The text entry system would attempt to auto-complete street names for me by graying out unusable characters. However, I saved no time on my inputs, because it still made me scroll through every character.

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22 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The Technology package upgrades the audio source list with internal HDD storage for your digital media, but I don't know anyone who would use this over a simple USB drive.

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23 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

Thankfully, USB and iPod connectivity are standard features, as is Bluetooth for audio streaming, hands-free calling, and text-to-speech messaging.

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24 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

The Technology package, one of the only options available on the RDX, also includes an upgraded ELS audio system.

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25 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

A power liftgate is yet another reason to consider the Technology package.

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26 of 26 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

2015 Acura RDX AWD with Technology

I really wanted to like the 2015 Acura RDX. The new engine is surprisingly good and efficient, the new chassis seems well put together, but the tech nearly ruined the experience for me.

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