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Motoring: Acura RDX is still the one when it comes to utes

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | October 19th, 2009

While the Acura RDX has been around for a few years, it is on the verge of getting a facelift. Though many competitors have stepped into the ring with ambitious models (some of which are really good indeed) in an attempt to give this car a run for its money, in all honesty, time has done nothing to diminish the RDX's appeal, and here's why:

First of all, it's a smart-looking sports ute. It might not be the biggest or most flamboyant machine, but its design is well-conceived. Not one of those utility vehicles that pretends to be an off-roader, the RDX has the drive-ability of a sports sedan, and is definitely equipped to tackle our winter snowfall.

As for the styling update this vehicle is about to receive, thankfully, Acura knew not to spoil an already good thing. An area that needed no alteration was/is the interior.

When it comes to quality, this is one supremely-made vehicle. Nothing shakes or rattles, and when you close the door, you feel like you're in a bank vault. This vehicle is so well - insulated that when I drove past a Mariachi band, I couldn't hear a thing they were playing, until I rolled down the window!

Then there is the equipment. With the RDX, Acura offers all the toys you could ever really need, like satellite navigation and reversing cameras. Plus, this vehicle comes pre-outfitted with all of the usual goodies: power windows and locks, an electric sunroof, and a stereo system compatible with your iPod device. In terms of safety, you get traction and stability control, ABS brakes, and enough airbags to turn a crash (God forbid) into a romp comparable to that produced by a bounce castle.

So, what about the ride? The RDX, I think, has the most perfect balance between “sportscar tight” and “luxury car smoothness.” Allowing you to travel very long distances, without feeling fatigued, I drove to Montreal, in one of these vehicles, and it was just perfect for the trip. The only complaint a friend of mine pointed out pertained to the size of its trunk: it is fine if you are only using it for yourself and a partner, but if you have kids, forget it.

The best thing about the RDX, however, is the way it drives. Its handling and steering make every inch of the road feel exciting, and I love it for that. Because it is considered a “new generation Acura,” the RDX is armed with the company's famed SH-awd (super-handling all-wheel drive) system which monitors and sends power to whichever wheel can best put it to use. In addition, around tight corners, the aforementioned system slows down the car's inside wheels, while accelerating the outside ones, in order to make it move more sharply. Often times, these systems only look good on paper, but the RDX's actually works in the real world too.

I also love its power plant: a 2.3-litre, inline four-cylinder, turbo-charged motor that produces 240hp and a very impressive 260 lb/ft of torque. Mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox with paddle-shifters, this little ute can really cover distances quickly. The downside is that it will cost you a bit in fuel. I averaged only 12.8-litres/100km, in my test week, which isn't exactly great, but considering how fantastic this vehicle is in every other regard, and the fact that you can buy one for just $41,990, I think this is a small price to pay.

Hands down, one of the nicest vehicles available at any price range - if I could have just one car to drive all year round, it would be an Acura RDX.
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