Twenty years ago, SUVs were largely characterized by their cargo and towing capacity, and not particularly known for their driving dynamics or being the enthusiast's first choice behind-the-wheel. Today, car-based crossovers by far dominate SUV sales, with the truck-based behemoths now only representing a fraction of overall sales. A great example of an agile, fun-to-drive smaller SUV is the re-designed Acura RDX. Usually a tough critic to please when it comes to new cars, Motor Trend Road Test Editor Scott Mortara shared how the new RDX proved to be the perfect combination of fun and function for him and his young son.

With new wheels in the driveway almost every night of the week for work purposes, Mortara said his son proclaims almost everything he gets as "Daddy's cool car." A favorite father/son pastime for Mortara is buckling his son in to whatever he has, and taking a spirited trip to their favorite park and picnic spot. The road to the park has plenty of twists and turns to get a good feel for a vehicle's dynamics, and a fun ride for dad and son. The 2013 RDX dropped its surgy and thirsty turbo four for a smoother, more powerful, and ironically more fuel-efficient V-6, and Mortara said the blown four-pot won't be missed.

The RDX proved entertaining enough that instead of getting out and playing in the park, Mortara's son wanted a ride back down the hill. A "chip off the old block" as he says.

Our Car
Service life 7 mo/13,469 mi
Average fuel economy 21.7 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.89 lb/mi
Energy consumption 155 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $82 (oil change, inspection)
Normal-wear cost $0