Acura RDX A-Spec Advance | PenBay driver


Acura is, of course, Honda’s posh brand, and the RDX is Acura’s two-row sport utility vehicle – smaller and more aggressive than Acura’s MDX, better equipped and more luxurious, powerful and expensive than the Honda’s similarly sized CR-V.

Like the TrailSport version of the Honda Passport reviewed last week, A-Spec is a cosmetic trim package. All RDX models share the same engine (a 272-hp turbo four), transmission (a 10-speed automatic with manual paddle shifters) and multi-link suspension; “upgrading” just by adding bits of flash that remind Detroit at its worst of the 1970s. an involved driver feels a bit more special.

The Advance package, however, has meat: adaptive dampers, a bright and crisp head-up display in the (heated) windscreen, a 360-degree camera, rain-sensing wipers, electric front seats with 16 directions, hands-free tailgate, heated steering wheel and rear seats and better stereo.

These attractive features on top of an already excellent vehicle don’t leave the RDX in serious need of further upgrades. Our deep blue tester might not be as country club-worthy as its more expensive European counterparts, but it exudes a distinct sense of completeness. It’s just the right size for empty nests, with just the right level of comfort and functionality, and underfoot it feels at least as competent as any highway burner that costs 10 or 15,000 $ more.

When this third-generation RDX appeared, as a 2019 model, Honda told us that, thanks to new steel alloys and high-strength adhesives, its body was stiffer and tighter than that of the Gen Two. , but slightly lighter. Honda was waiting and saw improvements in crash test safety ratings and cabin noise. Drivers expected and got improvements in handling and comfort.

A stiff, stable platform helps the RDX make the most of its Advance adaptive suspension and all-wheel-drive and torque-vectoring system, which helps curve the vehicle into tight corners. It is noticeable, especially under tension.

The new cockpit of the RDX, which perfectly envelops the driver and helps her to concentrate, is also an integral part of this attitude focused on the road. High quality positive switchgear and crisp graphics add to the sense of purpose. Even the quirky shifter, which requires pushing or pulling buttons, seems easier to use when it sits a few inches higher than in other Honda vehicles.

Apart from the A-Spec and Advance versions, the RDX 2022 has been gradually refreshed. The four driving modes have become more distinct – Honda says Comfort is more comfortable, Sport is more responsive – and, in addition to all its other duties, the active driver safety system now reads traffic signs, reacts better at obstacles, shows blind spots with the lane change assistant and reminds us to check the rear seats when leaving the vehicle.

The base RDX starts at just under $40,000 with front-wheel drive; AWD is a $2,000 option. From there, prices and options zigzag up through Technology, Advance, A-Spec + Technology, and A-Spec + Advance. With destination and handling charges, our A-Spec Advance sample comes to $52,845. At this price, it feels like good value for money.

Silvio Calabi reviews cars since Ronald Reagan removed solar panels from the White House. He lives in Camden.

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