2009 Acura RDX Tech Package
2009 Acura RDX Tech Package. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Acura RDX

Winnipeg, Manitoba – When it was introduced two short years ago, a drive in the RDX with the technology package meant piloting one of the most advanced compact CUVs (crossover-utility vehicles) on the market. Navigation, rear-view camera, premium audio, Bluetooth connectivity: it had it all.

Fast forward to 2009, and the $45,100 Acura RDX with technology package (the base RDX starts at $41,400) marches on unchanged. But the automotive landscape? Let’s just say the trickle-down effect is more aptly described as a waterfall.

Trickle-down happens when advanced technology initially available only on premium vehicles due to its high development costs becomes less expensive to produce and adapt for different, more mainstream entries as demand builds.

A prime example of this can be found in the 2010 Mazda3. I just spent a week driving a loaded GT press car that came with swiveling bi-xenon headlights, navigation, Bluetooth, heated leather seats, premium audio, stability control, and the list goes on. The price? About $28K.

2009 Acura RDX Tech Package
2009 Acura RDX Tech Package. Click image to enlarge

When the RDX was first introduced, its $45,000 price tag represented a bargain for such a high-tech ride. So I was a bit disappointed that for 2009 the technology package in the RDX hasn’t expanded to include a few more current goodies to keep techies salivating. The new Audi Q5, for example, can be had with parking assistance, blind-spot warning, and keyless ignition, none of which is available on the RDX. Mind you, a Q5 so equipped would set you back more than fifty grand, but Acura prides itself on offering high-tech rides for thousands less than the Europeans, so I don’t think I’m asking too much.

Over at the Infiniti camp, the year-old EX35 offers an around-view monitor (four strategically located cameras to make even the most helpless parallel parker look like a pro) and parking sensors for $49K and change, or with the additional Tech package buyers can get brake assist, lane departure warning, and intelligent cruise control. Clearly, it doesn’t take long for new technology to make existing offerings look stale.

Still, even though the RDX is no longer on the forefront of technology, it is a well-equipped package at a competitive price. And for those who enjoy driving, it offers a uniquely sporty experience thanks to its turbocharged four-cylinder engine and “Super-Handling” all-wheel drive system.

2009 Acura RDX Tech Package
2009 Acura RDX Tech Package. Click image to enlarge

All RDXs benefit from a 2.3-litre force-fed unit that generates 240 hp and a stout 260 lb-ft of torque. Turbo lag is there, but mostly off the line and quickly becomes a distant memory once the tach hits about 2,500 r.p.m. After that, a satisfying (and uncharacteristic) whoosh from the variable flow turbocharger is accompanied by serious forward thrust.

Beyond its healthy acceleration, the RDX satisfies with responsive steering that incorporates eager turn-in and appropriate levels of effort. Its firm suspension might be a little too jittery for some, but those who are after a tight handler will be happy to put up with its unsettled nature on bumpy roads.

Power is transferred to Acura’s “Super-Handling” all-wheel drive system via a five-speed automatic transmission. The automatic is augmented by shift “paddles” mounted behind the horizontal steering wheel spokes, but this isn’t one of those slick quick-responding, rev-matching units that was designed to be manually shifted (see Infiniti for that), so most of the time I left it in D and found that it did a fine job of anticipating my needs as a driver and responding accordingly.

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