More Power on the Way for Updated 2016 Acura RDX
Chicago Auto Show Debut Also Shows Facelift for Hotselling Luxury Compact SUV
The 2016 Acura RDX will make its debut at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, boasting a facelift and some equipment upgrades for the company’s compact SUV.
The most obvious changes, as you’d expect, appear on the RDX’s front and rear ends. A new fascia up front is more aggressive than before, with a more pronounced, Acura-trademark shield grille and the company’s signature Jewel Eye LED headlights, including fancy light pipes. The bumper cover also looks more sculpted, with a more obvious point on the leading edge. The lower fascia gets bigger air inlets on either side of a new, “a-frame” lower center grille opening. It’s a much sportier look for the Acura.
The rear bumper cover is updated as well, including simulated exhaust openings on either side whose shapes echo those of the lower front air inlets. LED taillights get a new design as well, which unfortunately look a bit similar to the ones on the new Kia Sorento (an attractive SUV in its own right). The skin for the rear hatch looks like it’s the same as the current model, but the new bumper and taillights nevertheless update the RDX’s appearance nicely.
The interior gets a slight redesign, including additional silver and black accents for switchgear. Additionally, models with the Technology Package will include a new dual-screen infotainment layout, featuring a touch screen mounted underneath the carryover navigation/stereo display. The package also includes an eight-way power passenger seat, HD radio, blind spot monitoring, and a rear cross-traffic alert system. Additional equipment comes in the way of the Advance Package, which will include rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, remote engine start, parking sensors front and rear, ventilated seats, auto-dimming mirrors, and AcuraWatch, the company’s new suite of safety and driver-assist technologies. Voice-operated navigation is an optional addition for both packages.
As with the 2016 MDX, the compact luxury crossover’s powertrain is updated as well, including slightly higher horsepower and torque ratings of 279 hp and 252 lb-ft (up 6 hp and 1 lb-ft from 2015). The company’s Variable Cylinder Management, which shuts down two cylinders under light loads, will help the new RDX eke out an additional 1 mpg on the open road, with city/highway ratings of 20/29 mpg for front-wheel-drive models and 19/28 mpg for RDX’s with all-wheel drive. Those numbers compare favorably to the the BMW X3 xDrive28i and Audi Q5 quattro equipped with the supercharged V-6.
AcuraWatch will include lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, active braking to help mitigate or prevent collisions, and lane-keeping assistance. The system uses millimeter wave radar and a windshield-mounted monocular camera to detect and prevent situations that could lead to a crash. It is even sensitive enough to detect pedestrians in the roadway. Acura also claims that the adjustments made to the 2016 RDX’s body structure should help it return a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Pricing information hasn’t been released, but we expect the RDX to maintain its value equation compared to its European competition, as the current RDX starts at thousands of dollars less than some of its rivals and comes with more standard horsepower (although the Audi does come with standard all-wheel drive).
The Acura RDX enjoyed its best-ever sales numbers in 2014 (and its big brother, the MDX, is so hot it needed to expand to another factory), and we’re sure the company is looking forward to expanding its presence in the luxury utility market with the updated RDX.