If you’re looking at the 2015 Acura RDX and thinking “That looks familiar”, it’s hardly surprising. The RDX has become a top seller in a robust segment, slipping past the Mercedes-Benz GLK to sit in second spot overall among small luxury SUVs this year, just behind the bestselling Audi Q5.
The current, second-generation RDX debuted in 2012 for the 2013 model year, and it has continued essentially unchanged since then, with a new Kona Coffee colour introduced for 2014 and no further changes for 2015. Clearly, Acura feels it got this one right, and it’s tough to argue that given the RDX’s solid sales record and positive driving impressions.
During my week with the RDX, however, I think I finally got it.
Maybe it was the weather that made the difference, with dark early nights and monsoon rains creating lakes and rivers across Vancouver’s roads. It was certainly nice to have the extra ground clearance needed to press on through a low spot along Stanley Park Drive when limousines and small hatchbacks were getting swamped and drowned mid-stream.
Perhaps it was the “carved from a solid block of granite” feel of the RDX: The doors close with a muted thud, and the interior is a hushed, cocooning space.
Possibly it was the experience of taking my wife and mother-in-law shopping: Not only did my mother-in-law coo over the RDX’s well-fitted interior (I don’t even own the vehicle, yet it still raised her opinion of me by several notches), but also I didn’t have to worry when she impulsively decided to purchase a tall bathroom cabinet. “No problem,” I said, “the car has split folding seats so we’ll be able to fit everything in.” An added bonus is the convenient release levers in the cargo area that make folding the seats a snap, and the intelligently designed power tailgate that lets you easily override it for quick manual operation.
2015 Acura RDX Tech, dashboard. Click image to enlarge
Most likely it was a combination of all these things, aided and abetted by the RDX’s willing and capable engine, its well-sorted suspension, and the awesome-sounding 10-speaker audio system included with my test vehicle’s Tech package. For sure, the RDX isn’t as plugged-in feeling as a good sedan, nor even as some of the more performance-oriented crossovers out there for that matter — but it’s still really rather good in a nice middle-of-the-road kind of way, and it’s just the right size to be genuinely functional yet not unwieldy around town.
Under the 2015 RDX’s hood, Acura eschews turbochargers and multiple engine choices and sticks instead to a simple, tried-and-true formula, fitting all RDXs with a 3.5L 24-valve V6 that cranks out an ample 273 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. The engine is hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels, with power distribution monitored and adjusted by Acura’s AWD with Intelligent Control system. This normally runs things in front-wheel-drive mode for efficiency, and shifts up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels as needed if the front wheels begin slipping (it’s essentially the same system as in the Honda CR-V).