On the road since 2006, the Acura RDX was about due for a makeover. Acura has delivered a relatively minor update, but one that is certainly noticeable. The RDX now sports Acura's controversial new corporate styling and has picked up a host of minor improvements that put it back on par with modern luxury crossovers.
Most who take a gander at the new RDX for the first time are going to see one thing: the beak. Acura has updated the RDX's exterior styling to encompass the company's new direction, one that features a large, solid overhang on the front grille that resembles a can opener. Because the RDX is a larger vehicle than many of its corporate brethren, the new grille doesn't look as bulky and awkward on the RDX as it does on, say, the TL. Along with the beak, Acura has added new HID headlights and a revised front fascia to spruce up the nose. Around back, the RDX gets new tail lights, satin trim pieces, and hexagonal tailpipes. Completing the sharper, edgier new look is a new set of shoes, with18-in. aluminum alloys in a split five-spoke design.
Underneath, though, the RDX is mostly unchanged. The biggest mechanical difference is the option to drop half of the drivetrain in favor of better fuel economy. For 2010, the RDX will also come with a 2WD configuration powering the front wheels. Dropping the rest of the SH-AWD drivetrain saves 200 lbs. and improves fuel economy by 2 mpg city and highway, to a tune of 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Power still goes to the ground via Acura's SportShift five-speed automatic gearbox with manual paddles, and that power comes from the same 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The only work under the hood involved a thicker intake pipe and a new, dual-stage radiator fan designed to reduce engine noise. Power numbers remain the same for the RDX's turbo four, sitting at a healthy 240 hp and 260 lb-ft.
While the RDX didn't get any more go, it did get some more stop. Acura went through the whole brake system and retuned it to improve brake pedal feel and decrease the grabbiness that had reportedly been a slight issue with the old model. Along the way, Acura also made some adjustments to improve brake life and durability.
Brakes and drivetrain aren't the only technology Acura played with. Indeed, most of the new RDX's updates come in the form of driver-friendly gizmos and creature comforts. Chief among them is the new USB connection that allows iPod, iPhone, and other MP3 player integration to the standard 310-watt, seven-speaker sound system. Check the box next to the Technology Package and you'll pick up a 10-speaker, 410-watt stereo as well as an updated navigation system with a new, higher-quality, 8-inch screen. The nav system also picks up real-time weather with radar maps, increased word-recognition for the text-to-speech system, and a back-up camera. Those not inclined to choose the full Technology Package will still get the back-up camera standard, but the display will be mounted in the auto-dimming rearview mirror instead.