Acura is a quirky brand. It hasn’t quite achieved the reputational cachet of Lexus, where their parent brands, Honda and Toyota, are rarely discussed independently and without comparison, Acura is a bit of an outlier in the luxury world. Personally, I have a soft spot for the Acura RDX, a compact luxury crossover that received a mid-model-year refresh for 2016.
The RDX underwent a complete redo for 2013, and for the mid-year update, addressed most of the major concerns from the previous model year. First, in terms of power, the RDX gets a more powerful 279-horsepower V-6 engine. It also gets some ride and handling enhancements that increase the already excellent ride comfort. It easily absorbs road imperfections before they ever reach the cabin, which is whisper quiet on the road.
The interior gets some upgrades too, with significant additions to its standard-features list, including heated front seats, second-row air-conditioning vents, power tailgate, and multi-view rearview camera. The look is updated too, with high-contrast silver and black trim that give it an upscale, classy feel. The curvature of the dash and overall cockpit composition give it a feel that Acura calls “dual personal” design, where passenger and driver feel ensconced in their own, individual space. The ergonomically designed seats are comfortable for long road trips; the RDX seats five in relative comfort, benefitting from more leg and shoulder room from the previous design cycle.
On the outside, the RDX is about as attractive as a midsize crossover can be. It strikes an attractive profile, with contours and curves in all the right places. But, vehicles in the segment have a fairly generic visage, mostly interchangeable with one another with a few telltale brand signatures — in this case, Acura’s signature front fascia featuring an LED headlight array.
Really, the RDX has all the features luxury drivers demand and desire, including lots of touch-screen heavy tech features, niceties like rain-sensing wipers, and a vast array of safety features that earned it the distinction of being a Top Safety Pick. And for five consecutive years, Acura has held the distinction of having the highest projected residual value of all luxury brands, based on Edmunds True MarketValue price (47.6 percent retained value after five years of ownership).
Still, it seems to be a brand in search of an identity. Those looking for a comfortable ride, luxurious appointments, and an overall pleasant experience will be happy with the RDX. I enjoyed my week in the RDX, and could find little to fault with it, but didn’t come away feeling inspired as I did with the excellent new Lexus RX. If you favor comfort and predictability and aren’t necessarily in search of heart-pounding excitement, the RDX will not disappoint.
Our all-wheel drive RDX came with a base price of $44,340, including the Tech Package, Advance Package, and Acurawatch Plus Package.