Roadshow Video Reviews
2015 Acura RDX AWD TechBrian Cooley takes the newest Acura RDX for a ride and finds an evergreen power plant, but also cabin tech that is rather dated.
Sometimes a car is a lot like a Snickers bar. Nothing's too surprising inside, it just satisfies. And a few things about it are nuts. Let's try the 2016 Acura RDX, all-wheel drive, loaded up with a deck package. Check that nutty deck. [NOISE] Now, if you haven't driven an RDX in a while, you might notice the lines have been a little cleaned up and streamlined. It's got less of an overt kind of a sporting look and more of. What most agree is a mature look, whether you like that or not. There's a big change under the hood in the last few years I'll ya about in a moment, and overall this remains a compact, premium SUV. Not quite the full luxury category. And two rows, no third available. Just no place for it. Now, the first thing I notice when we get into our RDX, is our old friend from back when Nixon was in office. This is one of the oldest, dated head units in auto dumb right now. Doesn't mean it's not functional, but wow, it is not exciting anymore. The maps, I've always thought, have just looked kinda crunchy and juvenile. The audio system and other menus have kind of a strange way that they arrange things with a control knob rolling you through a rectangular square of menus. It's just not great UI and it isn't pleasing to the eye. The rest of the cabin is, so that's why it bothers me. As well as the fact that Acura is supposed to be a tech forward brand, and this is tech backward. It doesn't have any live search, 3D building representations that are s-. Sophisticated ways of showing the map. It doesn't have any live Google Earth, none the things we're seeing in other brands out there that would be tech forward in this car. Specifically you've got AM/FM radio but no HD radio, that's a little frustrating. Satellite radio is in there, with pretty decent meta tags. Although a lot of things get truncated, even though it's a huge screen. Like the title of that song right now, is that really what it's called? Under your special media menu you've got bluetooth streaming on this guy. And then you're gonna get into your hard drive. 15 gigabytes that I'll never use cuz I don't get those kind of things. You've got a usb jack for your iPod, what have you. There's no app support except Pandora and even that's only if you have an iOS device. There is no Pandora support for Android. You just go through bluetooth streaming like I'm doing here which is okay. But. Again, Hot Tech Forward. Now, one interesting tech trick on here that is notable is song by voice which is more than just songs. The music on your iPod or AOS device and your trip to the hard drive is searched by the car and indexed by all of its meta information then you can call things out by artist, by genre, by song title. Works like this. IPod search. Please say the music. Play song Green, Green. Song playing, playing. Ta-da. That's pretty cool. A lot of cars can't do that. Now entering destinations, you have this menu here, much of which is locked out when you're driving. So you drop back to voice command. Let's see how well that works cuz you're gonna need it, this is not a touch screen. How would you like to set your destination. After the beep. Please say one of the highlighted options. Address. Street. I gotta push the button I guess again because the next thing said, even though it doesn't tell me that. It should be listening. And notice when I want to turn up her voice, this knob doesn't do it. It's buried in a menu somewhere. I hate that. Would you like to find a California? Address by city or street. After the beep, please say one of the highlighted options. City. Push the button again. After the beep, please say the city name or say one of the. San Francisco. After the beep, please say the street name. Listen, you verbose pain in the ****. Cancel. Basically, after you enter an address once by voice you're gonna wanna do it a little differently. You're gonna wanna put your fist through the screen, which is my inclination. Or better yet, I got out my windshield map and went back to my phone. Oddly tied to the GPS in this car is the climate control system. This is an old Acura thing from years ago. Supposedly it monitors what side of the car the sun is on. And then will adjust the climate control to make up for that sun. But shouldn't you just monitor the temperature and it doesn't really matter where the sun is? I've never quite understood that mumbo-jumbo. But it's in here, if you want to impress your friends. Rear-view camera is standard on these RDXs, and the nice thing is you've got several views. As you can see here you've got a sort of a main wide view. Hit the button again and you're gonna little more of a close in focus. And then if you hit it again you get a trailer view basically. If you got a hitch on this guy that let's you match up the hitch and the tongue real easily. So that's very functional and it's actually great that it's included. Now under the hood is a big story. A few years ago they moved away from a highly regarded. Turbo-charged four in these RDX's to a more garden variety three and a half liter V6. Those who are kinda enthusiasts are not pleased about it, but I think for everyday driving, this may be the better choice. We're gonna find out. Three and a half liters I mentioned, sitting side saddle, front wheel drive by default. All wheel drive is optional like we have here. The numbers. 273 horsepower, 251 pound feet of torque. 0 to 60 in about 6.5 seconds for a car that weighs about 3850. And delivering MPG of 19.27, which is dramatically better than that little Turbo 4 used to do. Honda's not stupid. Part of how they're getting good. Out of this is cylinder management. It will run as a 3, 4, or 6 cylinder engine depending on the load. But by the way, it does not use the latest direct injection, which tends to help MPG, it's still using older style multiport. Now all that power goes out to a single choice transmission setup which is a six speed automatic. Which goes straight back from reverse to drive and then an additional notch back to get into sport mode. And then your shifting is accomplished by the paddles here on the wheel when you really want to get engaged. When you're in the sport mode its going to hold gears longer, hold revs higher, shift into a next gear, a down shift, more aggressively. A basic sport profile. I think that Honda Acura made the right choice in going with the V6 here. First of all because they raised the MPG by two on the city and five on the highway. A highway, if I recall correctly. That's a significant jump with more cylinders except when it runs on fewer with that cylinder management. So overall, you've got an engine that's got plenty of guts when you want it. And you just have to unbundle a couple of top gears from time-to-time to get to that power, but the paddle in the sport mode help you do that. Now, the [UNKNOWN] drive in this car is interesting. It biases or defaults to front wheel drive, But then when it. It has too much power for the front wheel grip to handle. Or you're getting some kind of a bad road condition. That's when it'll send the power out to the back. 25 up to 50% front rear. But it's not a handling all wheel. Drive as much a traction and bad service all wheel drive no buttons or controls for it as you may notice. No drive mode controls at all just you are in sport or drive the suspension is not terribly sporty I've got some pretty good body roll here. Choppy bad tarmac, like I'm going around this corner right here. It's hopping and losing traction in kind of an unnerving way. Whoa, it's a little bit on the taut side without being all that compliant, so the ride quality can be annoying at times. Not bad. Add, but it's not gonna impress you in that respect. Now, a lot of you ask about space inside of compact SUVs. I'm 6'2" and this is plenty of room in this vehicle. This is a well-proportioned interior in this car. Nothing about. Feels tight. In fact, nothing about it feels as small as it seems from the outside. That's a nice trick. So, as I mentioned, nothing really excites me about the RDX, but it satisfies on many levels at a pretty good price. In the market, by the way, it's chasing the Cadillac SRX, it's been a big hit in sales so far in 2014. And kind of neck and neck with the BMW X3. Now. let's talk about pricing. [UNKNOWN] this car. You are gonna start off at about $35,800 for a RDX base front wheel drive, $1,400 more gets you all wheel drive, $3,700 more gets you into the tech package and that includes quite a bit. GPS nav with voice recognition, the rear camera,. Power lift gate, enhanced surround sound with more speakers and power, that G.P.S. Climate Control I'm a little dubious of, Xenon high intensity discharge front headlights and fog lights as well. All in your a little under $41,000. [MUSIC]