After driving around town in the refreshed 2016 Acura RDX for a week, we found the RDX mostly meets the expectations coming with the Acura brand. Exceeding those expectations, however, is another story altogether.
Our team unanimously agreed the ride quality of 2016 RDX was excellent. The 273-horsepower V6 engine was smooth, quiet and provided the appropriate amount of power to propel the compact crossover. The 6-speed automatic transmission was smooth and intuitive, and never seemed to hunt for the right gear. Even the handling of the RDX felt great to everyone on the team. While we did think the RDX drives smoothly and confidently, we also believe fuel economy could have been better. Driving on a mixed route of 50 percent streets and 50 percent highway, we were only able to achieve a meager 23 miles per gallon. These aren’t gas-guzzler numbers by any means, but we tend to expect better fuel economy from small SUVs.
The exterior of Acura’s entry-level SUV has been upgraded for the 2016 model year, and we approve. The 2016 RDX sports a newly restyled front and rear fascia, front grille and the inclusion of Acura’s new Jewel Eye LED headlights. The team appreciated the new styling cues of the exterior, as it definitely shows its MDX roots, albeit in a smaller, more maneuverable package. The size of this compact SUV makes it a great choice for urban dwellers who constantly navigate congested streets.
Luxury (Kind Of)
While we loved the MDX-like styling of the RDX, the team felt there wasn’t much premium on the interior. The inside of the small crossover offers little to differentiate itself from the Honda brand, which made some of our team members feel as if they were driving a slightly raised Honda Accord wagon. While it’s not the worst thing in the world for the $43,000 price tag with the advanced package, the Acura RDX underachieves when it comes to the expectation of luxury. The team, however, did love the leather-wrapped steering wheel of the RDX.
When it comes to technology, the RDX comes chock-full of almost every tech feature you could want. Technology features drivers have come to expect in luxury cars, such as dual-zone climate control, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control, are included with the advanced package, and each does its job sufficiently well. We did feel the infotainment system needed updating, which has come to be par for the course with Honda vehicles. Dwight felt the inclusion of so many buttons on the system and the two screen setup is beginning to feel dated. Tommy felt the navigation system seemed archaic at best. In luxury vehicles, drivers expect a certain ease of use, and the infotainment system of the RDX comes up short in that department.
The 2016 Acura RDX is a great looking crossover, but we think it leaves a bit to be desired when it comes to luxury. The RDX provides silky smooth ride quality and looks great from the outside, but the price tag on this Acura seems steep for the amenities it offers. This compact crossover might be perfect for young professionals tasked with traversing traffic-clogged city streets and squeezing into tight parking spots. If you like your SUVs nice and small with a bit of luxury, the Acura RDX might be right up your alley.