Buyer’s Guide: Acura’s RDX Packs More Technological Punch

The car manufacturer rolls out a an upgrade of last year's model with a few added perks

The RDX hits the pavement (Source: Press)

2011 ACURA RDX SH-AWD

  • MSRP: $38,580 (Base RDX starts out at $33,400)
  • Engine/Horsepower: 2.3 liter, 4-cylinder turbo/240
  • Fuel Mileage: 17-city/22-hwy (all-wheel drive)
  • Highlight: The Acura RDX was awarded J.D. Power’s prestigious Initial Quality Award in 2010 for being the highest-ranked vehicle in the entry/premium-level crossover/SUV segment

WHAT’S NEW:

Since Acura’s RDX got overhauled last year, this latest model is basically a carryover. The brand’s trademark grille is still in place, as well as a new drivetrain, slightly improved fuel-economy, and numerous interior upgrades. There’s also a price adjustment, due to adding a non all-wheel drive model to the lineup, with the roomy, entry-level five-seater premium crossover.

PROS:

There were only two upgrades available on the RDX: the SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) system and the Tech Package, which consisted of a voice-activated nav system, rearview camera, real-time traffic (and weather) updates, an upgraded 10-speaker surround-sound system with a DVD player and a dual-zone automatic climate control system. Both features were on our test vehicle, and we found the SH-AWD system to be quite handy during a recent ice storm I encountered while test-driving the vehicle. As nice as that was, though, I don’t advocate driving any type of vehicle on ice.

Acura packs more bells and whistles on the inside (Source: Press)

CONS:

With all of the high-tech features incorporated into the RDX, I was surprised the vehicle wasn’t outfitted with a push-button keyless starter. The only other minor gripe I had about the RDX is that this year’s standard auto-function (auto-delayed) headlights don’t stay on long enough once the vehicle’s ignition is turned-off.

FINAL VERDICT:

Since Acura has added a non all-wheel drive model to the lineup, this puts the entry-level premium crossover in a competitive situation, shaving $2,000 off the sticker price. The functional and versatile crossover now gives Acura customers the flexibility to determine if they prefer an all-wheel drive or non all-wheel drive configured crossover.

In addition to Acura’s entry-level crossover acquiring a new drivetrain configuration and grille, inside the cabin there were big changes, too. All RDX’s are now equipped with a rearview camera, an electronic compass, a pull-handle for the rear hatch, auto-function headlights, ambient footwell lighting, a center console storage tray, better grip cup holders and a USB-port connectivity for iPhone/iPod or USB “memory stick” use. Overall, the RDX is a perfect alternative for a small family not wanting a sedan or station wagon, but looking to move into the luxury segment.

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com.

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