2015 Acura RDX
The best value in the compact premium crossover space
Date Posted: May 18, 2015
By Zack Spencer
The Acura RDX is the best value in the compact premium crossover space. Acura does a great job of offering just the right amount of content for a great price.
Without question, the fastest growing segment of the Canadian auto industry in is the compact SUV, from premium or non-premium brands. One of the best selling units is the Honda CR-V, which has been a favourite of Canadians ever since it was released. Built off the same platform of the CR-V is the premium version called the Acura RDX. Acura takes what makes the CR-V so versatile and amps up the refinement, luxury, power and features.
What Acura does so well is offer true value in this segment. The RDX is sold in only two trim levels; the base is $41,690 that is almost dollar-for-dollar the same starting price as all other small luxury SUVs. It is the optional Tech package that makes this vehicle a steal. Fully loaded, the RDX with the Tech package is just $3000 more at $44,690. Many of the competitors continue to pile on more and more expensive trims, where Acura has a simple two-model approach that is refreshing. With every great deal there is usually one area that could be improved and in the case of the RDX it is exterior styling. The Acura grille is less intrusive than the previous model but it might be rather bland. Wheel sizes are kept to 18-inches, even the optional sport wheels are only 18-inches. The rest of the RDX is inoffensive but not striking either. The good news is that Acura will teak the outside just slight for 2016 to include new headlights, similar to the larger MDX. Regardless of minor quibbles, the size and shape is perfect for most buyers looking for a compact SUV with large, easy to use doors and a power rear lift gate with the tech package.
Acura takes the Honda CR-V’s selling points like a roomy cabin, flat rear floor, automatic folding rear seats and pumps up the features. The dash is nicely arranged with much higher trim and finish on the dash, doors and armrests. Standard features include heated leather seats, power moon roof, push button start and a multi angle rearview camera. The Tech package adds an 8-inch centre screen with voice activated navigation, a power tailgate, duel climate control and an upgraded stereo system, for just $3000 more. Try and find these features in one of the competitive German of Japanese vehicles for just over $44,000. It doesn’t exist. Acura is moving towards a two-screen centre console in the 2016 RDX but thankfully the 2015 model still has a single screen and this makes the operation much simpler. This one-screen system is ingenuous and easy to master, plus it is placed high in the centre of the dash as an easy reference. The new systems are eye catching but simplicity over flash has a place.
With manufacturers including smaller turbocharged engines, the RDX is still sold with a trusty 3.5L V6 and a proven 6-speed automatic. The 273hp engine is very quick off the line; it cruises with ease and passes without hesitation. In real world highway and city driving the RDX returned 13L/100km just slightly worse than the 12L used in the CR-V. All wheel drive (AWD) comes standard on all models but it is a simpler system than the previous model. The suspension is less aggressive than the past model too. This has all been done to produce a ride that will appeal to a wide range of buyers. In everyday driving, the laid-back approach is welcome but the powerful engine always makes the commute fun. What might be appealing to some buyers is the tried-and-true reliability that comes from the V6 engine and 6-speed automatic. Some new Acura models come with an 8-speed or 9-speed gearbox, adding complexity and unknown reliability. Time will tell if the RDX will come with these same units but right now the existing setup is superbly reliable and effective.
As it stands, the RDX is a bargain in the small luxury SUV space. The next model will have more advanced safety systems like a forward collection warning system, lane departure alert and others but the current 2015 model might be a bargain as dealers get set for the slightly updated model later in the year. If you are in the market for a fantastic, very well equipped small SUV with plenty of luxury touches then the RDX should be on your list.
Power: 3.5L V6 with 273hp
Fill-up: 12.1L/8.7L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $$41,690-$44,690
If you are in the market for a fantastic, very well equipped small SUV with plenty of luxury touches then the RDX should be on your list.