THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2007 Acura RDX luxury SUV with Tech Package.
DOWN THE ROAD: Available in two trims, the RDX is a fitting companion, admittedly smaller, to the full-size MDX SUV. The all-new athletic-looking vehicle offers responsive steering and nimble handling. Credit goes to the turbocharged V-4 engine, which is comparable to power output and performance from a six-cylinder engine.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 2.3-liter turbocharged and intercooled V-4 engine cranks out 240 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 260 pounds-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission but with the option of a sport mode or paddle shifters on the three-spoke leather steering wheel for the performance-oriented folks. Suspension is handled via an independent MacPherson strut in the front and a rear multilink suspension. Both get stabilizer bars. A variable power-assist, rack-and-pinion steering proves its ability to handle any boost in torque from the turbo engine. The standard all-wheel-drive system, also found on the flagship RL sedan, distributes power not just between the front and rear wheels but also the left and right rear wheels. As a result, the ride is impressively compliant, enabling the RDX to attack corners with a gusto usually seen in a sports car.
LOOK & FEEL: A steeply raked windshield and a sloping hood are greeted quite elegantly by a centered Acura emblem in the grille with xenon HID headlights at the corners. If you want to be "wired" like other computer savvy folks, go for the Tech Package, which comes with a navigation system and real-time traffic information, rearview camera, wireless phone link, 10-speaker DVD audio system and dual-zone automatic climate control. The LED backlit instrument gauges with a blue hue in the background look impressive. Storage areas are abundant, with a lockable 6.3-liter glove box and two-tier center console that can gulp down a laptop, 60.6 cubic feet of cargo space and clever door armrest bins and door pockets. The upscale aura continues with the eight-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, power moonroof, manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel, all standard in keeping with the Acura tradition.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard is the key, starting with dual front and side airbags, side curtain for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, stability control, three-point seat belts, daytime running lights, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear crumple zones, active front head restraints and a LATCH system for children.
OUT THE DOOR: $36,495, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. The price includes the Tech Package.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P235/55R18 all season; wheelbase, 104.3 inches; length, 180.7 inches; weight, 3,924 pounds; fuel capacity, 18 gallons; highway, 23 mpg; city, 19 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Acura has made the right move by introducing the RDX. So what if the five-passenger luxury SUV field is getting crowded? This Honda luxury division vehicle boasts a carlike ride, spirited performance and high-tech luxury goodies that should be the envy of its competitors.