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2007 Acura RDX Review

A Dash of This, A Pinch of That

A three-quarter front view of a black 2007 Acura RDX in San Francisco, CA

In short: A small, turbocharged luxury SUV.

If Emeril Lagasse were put in charge of designing the newest Acura, he might go about it like this. He’d start with the size and engine of a TSX, and toss in some height and utility from an MDX. Then he’d sprinkle in some RL technology here and there, and BAM! kick it up a few notches with a turbocharger. Out of Emeril’s Acura oven would pop the new 2007 RDX, a happy medium between some of the Honda luxury division’s best attributes.

At 180 inches long, the RDX is about the same size as a BMW X3 (its target competition), but it’s lighter and more powerful than the compact Bavarian. The all-new platform (shared with the Honda CR-V) features the same Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system found in the RL. This system not only aids bad-weather traction, but transfers power between rear wheels during hard cornering to limit understeer and produce a zestier handling experience akin to–quite fittingly–the Porsche Cayenne.

Acura pulled a surprise off its spice rack when it announced the RDX would sport Honda’s first mainstream turbocharged engine–a 2.3-liter inline-4 roughly based on the unit found in the TSX. Making 240 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque, the turbo-4 was designed to produce V6-like power with non-V6 fuel economy (although at 19 city, 23 highway, it's not exactly great). The turbo itself is designed to spool up quickly at lower revs, reducing turbo lag, and together with iVTEC (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) manages to get a big kick of thrust from a relatively puny engine.

In typical Acura fashion, there are only two trim levels–standard and a technology package. The latter includes useful items like Bluetooth cell phone connection, rearview camera, a superb ten-speaker surround sound stereo and the excellent voice-activated navigation system from the RL that features real-time traffic information. Like RL and MDX, though, it comes with a multi-purpose control knob that just isn't as useful as the touchscreen set-up found in the TL and TSX. Also, the high-mounted screen can become illegible when the sun hits it just right.

Both models come standard with leather, heated power seats, XM radio, an MP3 auxiliary jack, curtain air bags, and a slew of other goodies come standard on all trim levels.

With a base price of $32,995, the RDX falls somewhere in between the new Mazda CX-7 and the X3 in terms of sporty small SUVs, with larger entries like the Nissan Murano and Lexus RX 350 providing some competition. Acura hopes its little crossover will find a niche of its own, though, particularly for loyal customers who want an SUV but don’t need the MDX’s added girth and third row of seats. For them, and for the increasingly mpg-conscious, the RDX could be just the right recipe.

Read a review of the 2010 Acura RDX Tech

Warranty/Service: 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty; 6-year/70,000 powertrain warranty.

Base Price: $32,995 / As tested: $37,165

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door SUV

Engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4
Horsepower: 240 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 260 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Curb weight: 3,982 lbs
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
180.4/73.6/65.2 in
Turning circle: 37.4 feet

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS and electronic brake assist
independent front and rear
Super Handling all-wheel drive, traction control and stability control

Safety: front air bags, front side air bags, front and rear curtain air bags, tire pressure monitor

0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph (governed)

EPA City: 19 mpg
EPA Highway: 23 mpg

Likes: Sports sedan handling; mostly lag-free turbo; high-tech features; well-made

Dislikes: Rough ride; Bluetooth doesn't work with Trio phones; tight back seat; wimpy front end

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Photography: Acura

(Updated: 09/03/10 NW)

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