But the RDX's turbo engine is part of its charm, and we would be disappointed if Acura offered a naturally aspirated four in its place. Steering feel is the 2011 RDX's other drawback. More feedback and far more heft from the RDX's high-quality leather-wrapped steering wheel would be welcome. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are standard and a five-speed automatic is the only available transmission.
That's as negative as our review gets for the RDX. MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup in the rear help the RDX corner far better than you would expect for a crossover, and that's at the heart of this Acura's appeal. Curving highway onramps become fun tests of the RDX's abilities, followed by a burst of acceleration from the turbo engine. Around town, it's not difficult to get wheelspin if you slam on the gas pedal. Spending the extra money on the all-wheel-drive system is worth it if you live in an area where it snows, or if you'll push the RDX to 9/10 or all of its capabilities on back roads.
The RDX's cabin is premium in a modern way -- wood trim has no place in this Acura. The functions of the countless buttons on the center stack aren't immediately clear, but become easier to use over the course of a couple days. At the front of the dash, a digital display shows temperature and sound system information. If you can afford it, go for the excellent 10-speaker Acura/ELS sound system, part of a technology package that includes a navigation system that is simple to use, but some information menus on the 8-inch screen look primitive. Electroluminescent gauges with blue accents feature a huge speedometer and smaller boost gauge. The sizable, lockable center console storage area can hold a computer.
Good outward visibility is one of the RDX's strengths, especially because many SUVs sacrifice sightlines for bold styling and blind spot-monitoring systems. The Acura RDX's dimensions allow for cargo space of 27.8 cubic feet with the rear seats in use and 60.6 cubic feet with those seats folded down. That compares to 30.8 and 67.4 cubic feet for the Volvo XC60 or 29.1 and 57.3 cubic feet for the Audi Q5.