2015 Acura RDX Driving Impressions

We found the Acura RDX smooth, stable and comfortable 99 percent of the time, but when you hit sharp bumps they’re transmitted through that nice bucket seat. It’s a shame the ride delivers jolts, because otherwise it’s all good. We also tested a larger Acura MDX, which was better, but still had traces of the jolt.

The V6 that comes on all RDX models makes 273 horsepower and produces plenty of smooth acceleration. It’s rated at an EPA-estimated 20/28 mpg with front-wheel drive, 19/27 mpg with all-wheel-drive. The Acura V6 a 60-degree single-overhead-camshaft design with 24 valves, actuated by iVTEC, or intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control. The engine has an aluminum block and heads, with iron cylinder liners.

The 6-speed automatic transmission is as smooth as the engine. There are two automatic modes, plus Sequential SportShift with well-designed paddles. The first five gears are relatively short, for sharp acceleration; sixth gear is tall, for lower rpm at freeway speeds and thus better highway fuel mileage. The transmission has all the latest technology, including a multi-clutch lock-up torque converter, Grade Logic Control, Shift Hold Control and Cornering G Shift Control. None of those little brains in the transmission intruded, during the time we had the car. Fuel economy is boosted by a tall sixth gear and the Variable Cylinder Management system, which uses 3, 4, or 6 cylinders depending on need. It’s totally invisible; we never once felt it.

The RDX handles really well. The all-wheel drive enhances cornering by moving torque to the rear wheels when needed, although it’s not Acura’s SH-AWD (super handling all-wheel drive), as used in other models.

Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering uses sensors to detect understeer (front tires sliding) or oversteer (rear tires sliding), and the stability control does its thing by applying the brakes to an appropriate wheel. But next, if the driver is turning the steering wheel too much in one direction or the other, the weight of the steering is increased by reducing the electric assist to the power steering, making it harder for the driver to continue his or her imperfect pursuit of control.

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