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Weidel on Wheels: RDX makes shopping for a crossover a little easier

Acura's small luxury crossover offers solid power and a roomy interior
By: Jeffrey Weidel
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If you’re out there shopping for a small luxury crossover and having trouble pulling the trigger, the car-buying dilemma is understandable – it’s a difficult choice to make. The crossover sector, which combines the enviable qualities of both a smooth-running sedan and the versatility of a sport utility vehicle, is more popular than ever. The ultimate purchase decision might come down to which manufacturer one trusts the most. It’s an all-star lineup that features some industry favorites, such as the BMW X3, Infiniti EX35, Mercedes-Benz GLK350, Audi Q5 and the Volvo XC60. They all feature a blend of style, sportiness, versatility, power and grace. Now entering its fourth year of production, the Acura RDX slips comfortably among these segment heavyweights. The luxury division of Honda, Acura is keeping pace in this competitive segment with the help of a modest makeover for 2010. What’s new this year is the RDX becomes the last Acura to receive the brand’s large front grille, giving this crossover a bolder appearance that is also enhanced by new taillights and headlights. The braking system has been improved while a back-up camera, Bluetooth capability and automatic headlights all come standard. Smaller than the popular Acura MDX, the RDX raises a few eyebrows with its 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower that some deem underwhelming. That’s not the perception here. The RDX definitely has some power on demand, getting clocked from 0 to 60 mph in a brisk 6.8 seconds, reportedly the fastest in its class. A responsive five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is the only choice with the RDX. It does offer the SH-All-wheel drive system, which is an appealing feature that guarantees more traction. What some car shoppers may not like is the gas mileage, which only ranges between 17 to 22 miles per gallon. The starting sticker price is $37,620, yet does include a large list of standard features. Maximum towing capacity is about what one might expect - 1,500 pounds. The sporty handling is a definite plus with the RDX. The ride is firm and maneuvering sharp curves is certainly easier with the strong traction and cornering capability. It’s mostly good news to report regarding the interior. Both front and backseat occupants will be pleased with the RDX’s roomy and comfortable seating. There is solid storage space in back and the cockpit layout makes sense and is easy to learn. __________ 2010 Acura RDX Price: Starting at $37,620 Mileage estimate: 16 mpg city, 20 mpg highway Power: 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower Standard features include: Antilock brakes with brake assist; stability control; xenon headlights; sunroof; heated front seats; power driver seat with memory, power passenger seat; back-up camera; Bluetooth phone and streaming audio connectivity; leather upholstery; dual-zone automatic climate control; seven-speaker audio system with a six-disc CD/MP3 changer, satellite radio