Until a short while ago, if you thought your life needed a premium compact SUV you could buy a BMW X3 or ... well, there weren’t any real alternatives.
Currently, the X3 stands beside Infiniti’s EX35, the Land Rover LR2, upcoming Volvo XC60, and so on.
Now, Acura has hopped into the arena.
The new Acura RDX has its sights trained on the X3 and similar entries in what is expected to become a fast-growing niche in the vast SUV/CUV pantheon.
And why not? For a long time, drivers have been craving a utilitarian vehicle that doesn’t look like a wagon or guzzle gas like a full-sized SUV.
Like all Acuras, the RDX is based on a car-like, front-drive architecture, but it adopts the Super-Handling-AWD concept first seen on the flagship RL luxury sedan. This street-oriented system (no transfer case, no differential locks) not only can vary torque distribution from 90/10 per cent front/rear to 30/70 per cent, it can also speed up the outside rear wheel during cornering.
The net result is an SUV that — riding on 18-inch wheels and with near-50/50 weight distribution — can corner like a rear-drive sport sedan.
One price you pay for this, however, is a stiff ride.
The 2.3-litre ‘four’ under the RDX’s hood is Acura’s first turbo unit. It’s good for 240 hp, and zero to100 km/h in 8.0 seconds. The engine isn’t as musical, however, as we usually expect in an Acura.
Athletic road moves don’t come at the expense of utility. The driver gets a commanding seating position, and there’s ample room for passengers and cargo. An optional Technology Package adds GPS navigation, a rear-view camera and super-duper audio.
The interior is simply a nice place to be whether or not you opt for the high-zoot Tech package or stick with a base model rig.