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Injected ‘Sportitude’ takes 2016 Acura RDX to next level

With the introduction of a much refined and more powerful 2016 RDX SUV, Team Acura's perseverance in recapturing the U.S. manufactured mark's last century dominance is paying dividends in the resurgence of a great American made brand. We believe that Acura RDX represents the greatest value found in a compact entry level premium SUV today.

It’s not an easy task. How do you take the best selling entry premium SUV in North America and broaden its market appeal? Ask Team Acura. RDX is set for a white hot sales trajectory in 2015. We look to an injection of “Sportitude ™” on the road to segment domination.

A close encounter with Acura’s G.M. Mike Accavitti and Team Acura can be exhausting at times. Their enthusiasm for America’s fastest growing premium brand is contagious. An Acura press event, while staged at some of the finest premium resorts on the planet, is a mixture of meet and greet, encounters “Professor Gadget” on stimulants.

Getting there and back is half the challenge while compressing a week’s worth of travel, social encounter, technical education and drive-time into 3 days. It’s a whirlwind experienced through the lens of a smartphone or digital camera on the road to automotive enlightenment. We wouldn't have it any other way, we love this business!

When it comes to new product stage and video presentation, Team Acura plants the flag at the pinnacle of audio, visual conveyance. No one does it better, ask Jerry Seinfeld, if you can catch up with him.

So, while Thursday’s reveal of a much improved 2016 RDX was not a live feed, as viewed earlier in the morning with Honda’s next generation Pilot SUV, it was viewed via podcast Thursday afternoon, to the delight of Acura aficionados, featuring the stage persona of Acura’s Toastmaster, life-time auto enthusiasts and industry insider Mike Accavitti, arguably the best spokesman in the business.

Dressed to the 9s while exuding the coolness of an early spring breeze blowing over the vast expanse of Lake Superior, Mike shared through an elegantly descriptive and informative script penned by a writer known only to us as “The best in the business,”(Thank you Mike) the “refreshed” 2016 RDX. We managed a glimpse of the latest manifestation of our favorite Acura SUV offering. Built in the U.S. since its 2007 release, Acura RDX is the best selling entry level premium compact SUV in North America.

Why RDX sales are red hot

We could point to the reasonable price point and fuel economy, but that’s just part of what makes RDX so popular. While spending some seat time in Calistoga, California, we soon discovered that we preferred RDX to MDX for daily driving, and what we refer to as Sportitude. ™

RDX brings the driving manors of a compact car to the truck-based SUV realm of North America, without sacrificing structural integrity and utility. Yet, this compact SUV retains its stability, truck-like elevated driver’s visibility and adequate ground clearance, while not requiring a side step for those with shorter stature to enter it. For buyers that don’t require a 3 row SUV, RDX is a logical, uncompromising SUV purchase or lease option. Acura’s taken the fatigue-factor out of SUV driving through the development of a very civilized street-smart, off-road transformer found in RDX. It handles well, accelerates with the best of them while maintaining exceptional Flatitude. ™ Brake pedal pressure is minimal, steering feel solid and city traffic maneuvering an easy task.

2016 RDX power to weight ratio is impressive

You can’t buy it yet, so we don’t have access to the full specifications. Here’s what we do know: The 2016 RDX will be released for sale sometime in the late Spring of 2015.

As if the best selling entry premium 2 row SUV in North America didn’t produce enough power and torque: For 2016, Acura RDX will be equipped with a more powerful, fuel efficient Earth Dreams ™ 3.5 liter V6 gasoline VTEC motor featuring direct fuel injection and VCM (Variable Cylinder Management.) looking to the specifications, we discover a marginal MPG increase of 1 mpg on the highway,(19 city/28 hwy/22 combined) exceptional MPG for an AWD, SUV.

looking to the torque: We discover a measurable increase in mid-rpm range torque(+1 ft-lb at a lower 4,900 rpm) this increase translates to a solid mid-range driving experience with little to no transmission(gear search) wandering. In other words, you stay in the “sweet spot” for a longer duration without the need for downshifting.

Improved AWD and Intelligent Control

As Acura tech puts it: “Driving force is ideally-distributed via increase in rear differential torque capacity.” As with all Acura offerings( NSX excluded) RDX is a primary front wheel drive vehicle. For 2016, improved torque distribution to the rear differential of RDX will all but eliminate the front-heavy drive feel of most FWD vehicles.

The list of RDX upgrades and improvements is a long one. We’ll share full specks at the time of market release. What we do find that we like here is the addition of yet another trim level,(Advance) a broader distribution(throughout top two trim levels) of premium comfort and electronic safety features, and from a guy’s point of view, the overall “chunkier look” of RDX.

As punctuated through body upgrades, LED head, tail and running lights, a wide selection of rims, a 3 dimensional active grill and wide-track wheel well body-flairs, RDX is damn good looking!

Connectivity, creature comforts and bling. Oh, and the drive

Admittedly, we don’t look first to electronic personal connectivity and safety features when test driving a car or light truck; we like driving. For us the sound of the engine, mesh of a finely executed gear change and the wind blowing past a well designed driver’s side mirror is music to the ear. So for us, the fact that Acura has taken RDX tech-driven features to the next level is simply icing on the cake.

For those of you that love to drive, RDX is your SUV. It’s fun, nimble and quick footed. Power is at your command, it handles well on and off the pavement, possesses a better than average turning radius, stops on a dime, cleans up easily and looks great on a night on the town.

The RDX interior in all trim levels is uncompromising Acura quality. The driver’s 10 way power seat is infinitely adjustable and within easy reach of all controls. The utility of the second row and back storage area is best in class. All materials utilized in the construction of RDX are of top quality. RDX Fit and finish is exceptional without compromise down to the seatbelt mount bolt. Get it? RDX is a superior SUV.

For you folks that do want exceptional personal connectivity, multiple charging terminals, a hidden storage pocket or two, rear passenger adjusted climate control, one touch rear seat folding and near flat cargo deck capacity, found in a premium SUV smaller than MDX, RDX is for you.

Premium and personal space

New for 2016 is a much improved driver and front passenger driving experience. Featuring premium 10 way power adjusted driver’s seat with(2) position memory capabilities, heating and cooling options, a two screen center dash panel monitor module, featuring touch and voice command options for audio and navigation functions; and rear passenger climate control.

From a woman's perspective: My co-pilot Nancy King often feels a bit cheated by passenger seat design and adjust-ability, she generally insists on driving. Acura RDX passes the “Nancy Test” for overall comfort and adjust-ability. Not necessarily an SUV fan, Nancy tells me that she’d purchase and drive-daily an RDX, high praise from a past BMW, Jaguar owner.

Also new for 2016 is a bi-directional remote engine start option for pre-heating your RDX on those cold mornings. For rain rain events, Acura’s upgraded RDX to rain sensing(automatic on/off) windshield wipers. You’ll also find a standard equipped wide-angle backup camera featuring directional guidance lines. Love it!

AcuraWatch ™

Want more? For 2016 Acura proudly presents as an option available in “ Advance or higher trim levels” arguably the most advanced electronic accident prevention suite of safety and driver assist technologies available in any SUV today. Featuring a forward collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning system, lane keeping assist system, road departure mitigation, blind spot information system, multi-rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines and cross traffic monitoring, RDX may be the safest SUV of any size or make on the road today.

In closing

We find Acura RDX presented in any trim level to be an exceptional SUV drive and ride experience. It’s the best selling compact entry-premium level SUV in North America for several reasons beyond the sticker price; the first being for us is what we refer to as exceptional and measurable Sportitude. ™ Financially attainable, mechanically bulletproof, fun to drive while being safe, Acura RDX is a logical choice for buyers wanting car-like comfort and ride characteristics while retaining the higher visibility and stability of a light truck platformed compact SUV. We believe that Acura RDX will continue to set new sales records as we progress into 2015, the year of Honda.