What Makes The 2014 Acura RDX A Driver's Crossover

Front 3/4 view of the 2014 Acura RDX
The 2014 Acura RDX.

As we told you recently, the 2014 Acura MDX is a solid contender for your large luxury crossover dollars.  But what if you want something a bit less large...a bit more involving behind the wheel?  Say, 17 fewer horsepower in a 150-pounds lighter package...tilting the fun ratio in your favor.

Well, that would be the 2014 Acura RDX.  It's most of what makes the MDX good (high quality materials and construction, high feature count) in a smaller, more maneuverable, sportier and significantly less expensive package.

Rear 3/4 view of 2014 Acura RDX
2014 Acura RDX.
"Less expensive", of course, should not be read "cheap".  Not at the base price of our top-of-the-line AWD Tech model...$39,620. But that is a few thousand less than the least expensive MDX and very nearly $17,000 below the starting price of the top-level MDX reviewed in this space earlier this month.  Best of all, as is typical with Honda/Acura trim levels, it's a one-price-includes-all kind of deal.  No options.  Just pay the $895 destination and handling charge and the numbers stop spinning at $40,515.

Acura, having once been deeply involved in Formula 1 racing, used to produce cars with proudly pronounced sporting character...the Integra, RSX, TSX (still in production and still, two years after our last review, on the TireKicker's Best Cars list) and, of course, the fabulous for its time and soon to return NSX. There are hints still there.  The handling of an Acura generally is tighter and more involving than its Honda cousin. That's true with the MDX, which also throws in additional nods to the brand's racing heritage with paddle shifters to control the 6-speed automatic transmission and leather-trimmed sport seats.

Interior view of 2014 Acura RDX
2014 Acura RDX interior.

Also standard on the RDX AWD Tech: XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and USB, pushbutton ignition, heated front power seats with memory (10-way for the driver, 4-way for the front passenger), a power moonroof, 18-inch wheels, remote entry, navigation with voice activation and a rearview camera, real-time traffic and weather, an Acura/ELS 10-speaker Dolby Pro Logic II audio system with hard disk drive and DVD-Audio (a dinosaur technology that never really caught on, but should have, as you'll agree when you listen to the demonstration disc that comes with the car) GPS-linked, dual-zone climate control with air filtration, Xenon HID headlights and fog lamps.

You don't get much of a gas mileage break by stepping down.  The RDX gets 19 miles per gallon city to the MDX's 18 and the exact same 27 highway (EPA estimates...your mileage may vary). But that could be because this car doesn't inspire a light foot on the throttle. It's as close to a sport sedan as a crossover gets.