- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2006

The crossover vehicle segment seems to be taking over the conventional four-wheel drive. It stands to reason that, while there continues to be a strong market for rough and ready four-wheel-drive vehicles, the trend is toward a more comfortable yet equally versatile vehicle.

Acura has taken that idea a step forward by equipping its new RDX four-wheeler with a turbocharged engine that adds performance to your road trip. Granted with the RDX has some off-road capabilities, but the real use this system will get is going through the mush of a winter’s day or getting you closer to the ski slope.

Typical of the Acura philosophy, the RDX is complete with all the features you might expect. On the inside the passenger compartment is fitted with just about every bell and whistle. Standard equipment includes items such as dual-zone climate control, six-disc compact disc player, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and steering-wheel control switches. The list of optional features is full of upscale additions such as voice recognition navigation system, rearview camera and an ELS sound system. Plenty to keep all your riders entertained on a long drive.

The interior is dressed in fine leather and attractive trim. The seats are more than comfortable with adjustments that make it easy for anyone to find the correct position. Dash and instrument panels consist of more angles than arch or curves, yet add an air of utility in a sort of elegant manner.

Under the hood sits a capable performance-rated four-cylinder engine that gets a boost from its turbocharger. The intercooled engine is also equipped with Honda/Acura’s i-VTEC system that brings the horsepower rating to 240.

The torque number is also impressive with a rating of 260 foot-pounds Typical of this design, the horsepower comes in at a higher rpm. All this is managed through a five-speed automatic transmission making a smooth transition of power to the road.

The RDX continues the use of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system SH-AWD is capable of directing 70 percent of the vehicle’s torque to the rear axle. Here up to 100 percent of the torque can be distributed to either wheel. This depends of which wheel has the traction needed to get you out of a tenuous spot. Just be aware that this system is centered toward on road stability rather than off-road ravine crawling.

Taking the exterior styling in a new direction is the eye of the onlooker. There is no mistaking the RDX is a relation to everything Acura.

While the front grille is redesigned, it continues the Acura look with the “caliper A” front and center.

The combination melded into the RDX is set to offer many levels of satisfaction. Performance and economy from the drivetrain comes from 240 horsepower combined with an estimated 19 miles per gallon city and 24 mpg highway rating.

Comfort and luxury come from an interior that looks contemporary and offers all the features buyers ask for.

And the knowledge that the Acura badge instills confidence for quality and reliability means that Acura will have no difficulty meeting its objectives in selling the RDX.

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