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2nd Generation RDX Reviews

 
Old 03-21-2012, 07:52 AM
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Arrow 2nd Generation RDX Reviews

Is there going to be a 2nd Generation RDX sub-forum? Thanks
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:25 AM
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Meh, the jury is still out.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:23 PM
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It would probably make sense to have a sub-forum, since the questions and issues are likely to be quite different between the generations.

Too bad the guy on the video couldn't say what the thought of the car yet! I'm curious why everything has been so low key on this model so far. You would think that they would want to begin building interest, well before they come into the dealer.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:45 PM
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Good find, rear handle in the cargo area to lower the back seat is not safe IMO, what if your kid is playing back there or is sitting on the right side and his hand is in the left seat area when you lower the seat, bam! one broken arm, as you can see on the video, the seat slams down.
Guy made a point about going the other way with the engine, everybody is going from 6 to 4 turbo and they did the opposite, good fuel economy is due to cylinder deactivation, so the only way you'll get 28mpg is if you cruise and drive the fwd model, city driving won't get much better fuel economy than the turbo 4.
Guy said they inproved performance..., and he clearly said that was yet to be seen, he hinted that performance wasn't that great, I can't wait for the official 0-60 time numbers.
Front end looks good though.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:02 PM
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21mpg where is the improvement lol. im getting 23 combined atm with the turbo and that includes rush hour traffic.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:59 AM
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but your MPG is rare.... Most are happy to get 17 mpg... I was thrilled if I could get 18, but that wasn't often.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:16 PM
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I hope the rumors are true that the Audi Q5 is bringing in the diesel in 2013. That would be great.

I don't see the attraction of this over a VW Sportwagen TDI either.
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by XIS View Post
but your MPG is rare.... Most are happy to get 17 mpg... I was thrilled if I could get 18, but that wasn't often.
oops i meant 21 combined as well. 11.2l/100km for 6000km but mostly city. so no change really. according to fuelly.com most people average 19-23mpg with their rdx.

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:46 PM
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^ a bigger downpipe and midpipe would fix those mpg.. just saying
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:10 AM
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Thumbs up AutoNews


The redesigned RDX reflects lessons Acura has learned in the fledgling entry-premium crossover segment, which other luxury brands are only now entering.

The new RDX is larger than the 1st generation, and the turbo-4has been replaced with a V-6. The price has also been jacked up by nearly $1,500, even though the RDX is built in East Liberty, Ohio, and somewhat immune to the effects of the strong yen.

The basics: Acura customers gave a lot of pushback about driving a jerky turbo-4, especially those who had downsized from larger vehicles with smooth V-6 engines. So for this model change, Acura dropped in a V-6 with 33 more horsepower and better fuel economy, thanks to variable cylinder management. Its 0-to-60 mph time is 0.3 seconds quicker, at 7.3 seconds for front-wheel-drive models.

The new RDX adds a 6th gear ratio. The 5 lower gear ratios are much shorter, for quicker acceleration, but 6th gear is taller for freeway cruising.
PHP Code:
2013 vs2012 Acura RDX
     2013 Acura RDX    2012 Acura RDX
Wheelbase    105.7 in
.    104.3
Length    183.5 in
.    182.5
Width    73.7 in
.    73.6
Height    66.1 in
.    65.1
Engine    3.5
-liter V-6    2.3-liter turbo-4
Horsepower    273 hp at 6
,200 rpm    240 6000 rpm
Torque
lbs.-ft.    251 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm    260 4500 rpm
Fuel economy    20
/28/23    19/24/21
Curb weight    3717 lbs
.    3743 lbs.
Base price    $35,205*    $33,780*
incldestination charges 
Notable features: The electric power steering and some front suspension pieces like the torsion bar and lower A-arm are shared with the Honda CR-V. But the shock absorber pistons have secondary reactive dampers for a better ride than the CR-V.

Little else is common between the 2 similar-sized vehicles. Besides the engine, the front subframe, rear subframe and suspension also are different.

The instrument panel and center console follow the Acura design ethos: technical, smartly laid out, with a premium feel in the stalks and buttons.

Standard features include a moonroof, 18-inch wheels, keyless access, heated leather power seats, SMS text messaging and a 360-watt CD stereo with USB link and Pandora Internet radio. The back-up camera display is now integrated into the monitor, rather than the rear-view mirror.


The instrument panel and center console follow the Acura design ethos: technical, smartly laid out, with a premium feel in the stalks and buttons.

What Acura says: "Empty-nest MDX owners don't want to go back to a 4-cylinder engine," said Ichiro Sasaki, the RDX large project leader. "The turbo-4 and 5-speed transmission meant lag and slippage in the torque converter, which hurt fuel economy. A V-6 with variable cylinder management is much better suited for this car."

Compromises and shortcomings: The V-6 has less torque than the turbo-4— made obvious in the V-6 torque curve's flat spot between 2,500 and 3,500 rpm, which was implemented for fuel economy. Also, this is an old V-6, shared with the Odyssey minivan. A new-generation V-6 arrives later this year with the Honda Accord, and executives said a midcycle freshening may include the new engine family.

The market: Acura predicts the entry-premium crossover segment will grow from 186,000 units this year to 337,000 units by 2017. The RDX, an established nameplate, will be well-positioned to take advantage of this growth.

Acura will aim for young couples without children, as well as empty-nesters. But Acura missed the mark with its 1st-generation RDX, aiming for "urban achievers" in their 30s but instead attracting suburban baby boomers.

Acura hopes to sell 30,000 units a year, up from 15,196 last year and a peak of 23,356 in 2007. The new RDX goes on sale today, April 2.

The skinny: Despite some shared components, it doesn't feel like a CR-V. The doors close with a reassuring thunk. 2nd-row legroom is surprisingly spacious for a compact crossover, without sacrificing a commodious rear cargo area. The navigation system has a weather-warning overlay, which came in handy as the test group drove smack into a spring snowstorm. Driving both front- and all-wheel-drive versions in the snow, the RDX performed capably. This is a strong effort and a good sign for a brand needing a home run.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:30 AM
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Turn the key in the ignition and the crude powerplant comes to life like the firewall has all the sound deadening of a cardboard box. It's engaging but rather unrefined for a luxury machine. It is, however, a hoot to drive with a sophisticated all-wheel drive system and plenty of thrust from its turbocharged engine.
FAST FACTS
1. All-new RDX trades its turbo 2.3L 4-cylinder for a more powerful, efficient and refined 3.5L V6..

2. Gone is SH-AWD in favor of a lighter, lower-tech solution.

3. Standard equipment includes leather, heated seats, a backup camera and keyless access with a push button ignition.

4. Pricing starts at $34,320 for front-drive or $35,720 for AWD.
But this is not the 2013 Acura RDX. Rather, it's the car's predecessor, a 2012 model provided to journalists to gauge the level of improvement made to the all-new 2nd generation compact luxury crossover during a launch event held in Scottsdale, AZ. A bold move by Acura, it's not unusual for an automaker to bring along a few competitive vehicles (in this case a BMW X3 and Audi Q5) to a drive event like this, but almost never is there a previous generation model, lest the improvements prove to be less than dramatic, or the previous generation car is better.

But "better" is a relative term. Acura targeted the 1st-generation at young urban males with a focus on performance and much less concern for fuel economy or ride quality - both of which the premium sport-cross lacked considerably. On sale for half a decade Acura's sales figures for the car reflect the fact that the folks in product planning got it all wrong. As a result, the RDX has done an about-face.


CAN COMPROMISE BE A GOOD THING?

Compromise may be valued in diplomacy, but in the auto industry it's a 4-letter word. Still, every car is full of compromises, with success determined by a careful balance between opposing factors. The RDX is no different, although the creative minds at Acura prefer to replace "compromise" with what they call a "high contrast" philosophy.

Exactly what is being contrasted in the RDX? For starters there's the juxtaposition between fuel economy and performance, not to mention agile handling and ride quality, a dramatic design vs. a timeless 1, and let's not forget compact size versus interior space - an area Honda brand vehicles (ZDX aside) always excel in.


Starting on the outside, the RDX, like all modern Acuras, has moved away from the brand's controversial styling cues of recent memory. Its lines are unlikely to wow anyone, just as they're also designed not to offend, with far too much CR-V in the window design. Larger than its predecessor, it's now much harder to distinguish it from the MDX. That perception of exterior size will, likely, help sell a few extra units. If the RDX does have a best angle, like much of the rest of the Acura lineup, it's from the rear.

The proportions are misleading, however, as the RDX is no wider than before, although its wheels have been brought out by roughly an inch side to side. Less of a handling gain, this helps deliver a more stable ride on the highway. With a new shock setup, further comfort gains are made by using slightly higher profile 235/60/18 tires.

It is an inch longer overall with an extra inch and a half between the wheels, although despite a more imposing presence on the road, it's actually a touch (5mm) lower overall. As a result, the center of gravity has been improved.


LUXURY RIDE

That should help improve the overall driving dynamics of the RDX, was it not now a much softer vehicle. That's not necessarily a criticism either. Sure it's no longer something we'd take on a canyon road, but it is vastly superior as a daily driven machine that will bring you to your destination in luxurious comfort. Compared to the BMW X3, the RDX soaks up bumps easily. Acura even designed to electric power steering specifically to offer less resistance at low speeds, acknowledging this as a preference for female drivers. In low speed driving around town or on the long sweeping highways running through Arizona's Tonto National Forest the new RDX makes the old 1 feel downright crude.

Another sign that Acura has tossed aside any sporting ambitions for its crossover is the removal of the brand's impressive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. A high-tech and heavy unit, it was axed in the name of cost and fuel economy. The "high contrast" factors being fuel economy versus performance. SH-AWD was a trend-setting technology, distributing power not just front-to-rear but up also side-to-side in the rear, allowing the car to essentially rotate on just 1 wheel. Perfect for serious performance, that's not what buyers want in this type of vehicle.

The new all-wheel drive system moves power front to rear with as much as 100% of the torque going through the front wheels for cruising, or a 50/50 split for under certain low traction circumstances.

Dropping SH-AWD has helped reduce the car's AWD weight by 100 lbs. That diet also helps in the fuel economy department, with the new RDX climbing in fuel economy by 5-mpg highway and 3-mpg combined for a total 19/27 or a combined 22 mpg rating. Front-drive models are also up to 20/28 and 23 mpg combined.


GOOD BYE TURBO, HELLO FUEL ECONOMY

Of course the biggest factor in improving fuel economy is the engine. While most automakers are trading 6-cylinders for turbocharged 4-bangers, Acura is, oddly, doing the opposite. Apart from what are likely some financial constraints behind building an all-new engine for just one model, there's the fact that Acura's turbo 4 is the opposite of efficient - though it is incredibly fun

In its place now is a new 3.5-liter V6 making 273 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Acura boasts a 23 hp improvement, though doesn't like to mention it's also down 29 lb-ft of torque. Lacking in that turbo thrust, it's still more than enough power for a vehicle like this. No acceleration times have been announced but an engineer present at the launch did tell us it will do the sprint to 60 quicker than the old motor.

Helping make the engine so efficient is Honda's cylinder deactivation system that allows the V6 to run on 4 or even 3 cylinders when possible. The use of a 6-speed automatic over a 5-speed doesn't hurt either.


VASTLY IMPROVED AND WELL-EQUIPPED INTERIOR

Another of Acura's buzz phrases is a "man-machine synergy", which conjures up ideas of a well-balanced and intuitive sports sedan - something you won't feel when driving the RDX. Sitting behind the wheel, however, it's hard to deny the brand's "smart luxury" mantra with a handsome and modern interior, that's ergonomically sound and quieter than the X3. With standard leather, as well as heated front seats with a memory function the interior hits all the premium benchmarks. A sign of the car's change in identity, however, there's little in the way of side bolstering on the seats.

Other standard goodies include a moonroof, a multiview backup camera, Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity, a 360 watt audio system and perhaps best of all, the Keyless Access system with a push button ignition - a shiny red button too.

Keeping it simple, Acura offers front or all-wheel drive and the choice of a Tech Package on either, which adds a 410-watt 10 speaker audio system, HID headlights, a power tailgate, Acuralink traffic and weather updates plus a navigation system on a big and bright 8-inch monitor - not the old pixilated system used before.

As for functionality, the added space between the wheels translates into the best front and rear legroom and shoulder room in the segment. A wide rear opening allows access to the plentiful 26.1 cu-ft of rear cargo space, which expands to 61.3 cu-ft with the rear seats down.

A package to rival the best in the business, Acura sticks it to the Germans in the pricing department. Roughly $1,500 more than last year's model, the 2013 RDX starts at $34,320 or $35,720 for the all-wheel drive version. Models equipped with the tech-package are $38,020 (FWD) and $39,420 (AWD).


THE VERDICT

Acura discovered with the 1st-generation RDX that young males aren't buying these cars. Instead, couples are, both pre and post family. As a result, gone is the turbo and high-tech all-wheel drive. In essence, gone is the fun. In its place, however, the car has gained, well, more of everything else. It's lighter and more fuel-efficient. It's also significantly more refined. There's less of what people didn't really use and more of what they want.

With segment growth pegged at 12.6% through 2017, the RDX is poised to capture much more of that pie. A more mainstream option than in the past, about the only thing holding the RDX back is a more compelling design.

The folks at Acura can call it "high contrast" if they like; the RDX proves that as far a compact premium crossovers go, when it comes to the balance between performance and luxury, compromise isn't always a bad thing.


LOVE IT
Quit, calm, smooth ride
V6 delivers plenty of thrust
Premium interior
Attractive pricing


LEAVE IT
Mediocre styling
Much less fun

Last edited by TSX69; 03-29-2012 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:44 AM
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If you've driven the previous Acura RDX, you know the definition of compromise. While it was, in many ways, ahead of its time, the RDX was rough, balky, and awkward as much as it was peppy, fun, and high-tech. Times have changed.

The 2013 Acura RDX doesn't look all that much different from the last on 1st glance. Nonetheless, it's all new, with different exterior and interior styling, a new powertrain, and a vastly different character--and it's aiming at a new target market.

As a member of the previous RDX's target market, I understand why it didn't succeed. Late 20s and early 30s professional men with a taste for both luxury and sport sound like good buyers. We're not. We buy modern classics gently used, we buy sport and forsake luxury, or we buy above our means and cut corners elsewhere. We don't make the compromise the last RDX required.

Disclaimer: Acura flew me out to a pretty sweet resort in Scottsdale for this drive, put me up for a couple of nights, and fed me surprisingly well. Despite all of that, I managed to keep my wits about me.

The new RDX may succeed where the last did not, as it requires far fewer compromises. In maturing into a more complete vehicle, it has also set its sights on younger pre-children couples, older empty-nesters, and those between that don't need as much kid-and-gear-wrangling capacity.


But how does it drive?


Not having a chance to really live with the RDX in our short stint with it in Phoenix on Acura's dime, we can't speak well to its longer-term qualities. On the road, both canyon and highway, however, it's surprisingly good.

I should note that I dont like crossovers much, as they seem like needlessly tall and tippy hatchbacks. I'm not a normal person in that regard. But the Acura RDX rises above that simple epithet to deliver something more akin to a cross between a luxury sedan and an SUV, much like the BMW X6, though not quite so large or nice. The exterior design even mimics the X6, in a way, with a more coupe-like top and a more SUV-like bottom.

Powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated at 273 horsepower, the 2013 RDX is anything but slow. It's not exactly quick either, and the 240-horsepower 2.3-liter turbo it replaces actually has considerably more torque--more area under the curve--until about 4,500 rpm. The new engine is more efficient, rating 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in FWD trim, and 19/27 mpg in AWD. Acceleration, however, is quick and relatively effortless. Part of this comes from the RDX's less-than-portly 3,700-3,900-pound weight, depending on equipment and choice of front- or all-wheel drive, and part comes from lower gear ratios through fifth, with a taller sixth for gas mileage. Thanks to this combo, it'll reel off 0-60 mph times conservatively claimed in the 7-second range, per Acura.

At each corner, a trick new damper helps even out ride quality while providing more firmness in sportier moments. It does it through a curious spring-and-piston arrangement, and it mostly succeeds.

2 pistons ride in the damper, 1 for normal duty, handling smaller displacement bumps and dips. A 2nd, tethered to it by a light spring, comes into action when the shaft moves farther. This 2nd piston greatly increases damping forces, essentially doubling them, to provide the firm, settled handling most of us associate with sportiness. A secondary spring, more powerful, resides within the damper as well, aiding rebound forces.


The problem with the system, however, is that it relies not on the speed of the damper's movement--the frequency, as it were--but on the amplitude. This means a certain amount of body roll is required before the secondary piston engages, taming the soft and comfortable ride into sporty submission. The result is a crossover that will, ultimately, handle very well approaching the limit, but provides little in the way of confidence-inspiring feedback at initial turn-in.

Fortunately for most, it's the comfortable mode that functions 99 percent of the time, ironing out even rather impressive bumps with ease. The well-weighted electric power steering's lack of sensory feedback will further discourage any sport sedan-imitating histrionics.

The 6-speed automatic transmission functions as another minor deterrent to truly sporty behavior, despite its paddle shifters. When giving it a solid boot, whether merging onto the freeway or attempting to slingshot out of a tight corner, in sport mode or regular, there's a momentary hesitation--not major, but enough to feel the deceleration briefly--before it kicks down a gear or three and takes off with proper gusto and a fair howl from the V-6 under the hood.

All of the drawbacks aside, driven back-to-back with the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, we might find most of these faults to be compact crossover traits, rather than flaws specific to the RDX. In fact, after nearly wearing out the event's support staff, the RDX proved to be tied with the X3 for most fun-to-drive.


So it's fun, but is it any good?

Inside, the RDX, like many other of the sub-TL portions of the Acura range, comes off as a very, very well-done mainstream car, and less so as an entry-level luxury car. Contrasted with the Audi Q5's interior, the difference is stark.

While the Q5 offers few materials improvements, the design, fit, and finish of the same raw matter is miles better, at least to my eye. It's like the difference between a higher-end off-the-rack suit (the RDX), and an entry-level custom tailored alternative (the Q5). Both are nice, but you'll pick the tailored suit from your closet first every time.

That said, the Q5, and the BMW X3 for that matter, are quite a bit more expensive than the RDX, which roams around in the $35,000-$40,000 range--about 10 to 20 percent more expensive, depending on the equipment chosen. And at similar price points, the RDX offers some things standard, or as part of the Technology Package, that the X3 and Q5 lack, like sunroofs, higher-end audio systems, or GPS-linked climate control.

On the other hand, the X3 and Q5 have truly high-end technology that's simply not available on the RDX: things like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parking assitance.

At the end of our day with the RDX, I'd come to the conclusion that while it wasn't fully into the luxury realm, it was competitive with the entry-level players, not just on the spec sheets, but in the real world.

Driving down the road, listening to a truly excellent Acura/ELS sound system in utter quiet, occasionaly dicing a curve a bit faster than the posted limit, then backing off and cruising in comfort, I was happy. Happy as I was in the X3 or the Q5. Perhaps not as full of myself when I had the German badges at my compass points, or when I glanced down to the controls, but eyes up, out the windshield, soaking in the saguaro and the sunshine, happy.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:02 AM
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All-new for 2013, the Acura RDX takes what was good about the previous model--its just-right size, nimble handling, and attractive design--and makes them better, while working on the rough spots. Those rough spots included a slightly too-rough ride, laggy power delivery paired with a balky transmission, and somewhat lackluster gas mileage. They're mostly smoothed over in the 2013 RDX.

It's not often that a car manufacturer gets so far out ahead of the curve that it's forced to retrace its steps, but in some ways, that's exactly what happened to the Acura RDX. Offered in turbo 4-cylinder form well before that was the happening thing in luxury vehicles, let alone crossovers, many eschewed the smaller Acura for the MDX or went to rival brands offering 6-cylinder models.


Fast forward a few years, and those rival brands are now bringing out their own turbocharged 4-cylinders and Acura has moved to a 273-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine. While that might seem like a step backward, it's actually more fuel efficient, slightly more powerful (at peak) and noticeably smoother in its power delivery. All of those things make the move away from turbocharged small-displacement engines back to V-6 territory a sensible one, despite the shifting sands of the rest of the market. Fuel economy of the new V-6 picks up as much as 5 mpg highway over the previous 2012 RDX.

Behind the wheel, the new RDX feels nearly as peppy as the previous model off the line, though the surge of the 2012 model's turbo added some excitement that's not present in the linear power delivery of the new V-6--though that's not really a criticism. Under full throttle, the RDX willingly merges with speedy freeway traffic, readily passes 50-mph 2-lane slow pokes, and generally zips around like you'd expect a luxury crossover to do. It also handles the road well, absorbing big bumps with ease while remaining composed in windy sections. It owes this behavior to its new 2-stage dampers, which include a secondary floating piston that activates in certain driving conditions to control body motion and improve handling without sacrificing ride comfort.


The transmission, on the other hand, lags slightly behind driver inputs, particularly when a 2- or 3-gear downshift is required (hard acceleration from moderate speeds, as in passing), balking for just a moment before grabbing the gear and accelerating as desired. The issue was noticed in both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive models, indicating it's not a problem of the on-demand distribution of torque to the rear wheels.

Exterior design of the 2013 RDX is slightly changed from the 2012 model, though not markedly so; the prominent grille is made slightly less noticeable, the fender arches are slightly more pronounced, and the overall design is smoother and more mature. Inside, the interior is all-new, with characteristic Acura high-tech style, but thankfully less reliance on bright, hard plastic elements and more soft-touch, matte-finish items. A preponderance of bright-finish chrome in the center stack is eye-catching, but clashes slightly with the look and makes sunny days a chore of avoiding reflected glare, seemingly catching the sun from every angle.


The cabin itself is quiet--very, quiet, in fact, and comfortable. Front-seat space is ample for even those over 6 feet tall, yet an 8-way power adjustable seat and tilt/telescoping steering column offer adjustability for most heights and body types.

Technology abounds, as you expect with Acura, undercutting the competition on the equipment available for the price--though you won't find some of the higher-end features BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer on the list of available upgrades, such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parking assistance. What you will find, however, is standard dual-zone climate control, cruise control, keyless entry with push-button start, ambient lighting, a 7-speaker sound system with USB/MP3/Auxiliary support, Bluetooth handsfree calling, and more--all standard. An available Technology Package adds navigation with voice controls, real-time traffic and weather, a 10-speaker Acura/ELS audio system, GPS-linked climate control, SMS texting support, and Pandora app functionality.


Most of this technology comes off well, notably the excellent Acura/ELS audio system, which produces clear, enveloping sound even at very low volumes. The navigation system is relatively easy to use, and functions well, but the display--though high-resolution--looks a bit dated in comparison to the large, wide-aspect screens in BMWs and the sharp, color-coordinated displays from Audi.

As a crossover, it's not all about passenger comfort and tech goodies, however. There's also the matter of cargo space and utility--that's what sets it apart from an equivalently-priced sedan, after all. Here, the RDX is right in the zone for its compact crossover class, with 26.1 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, 61.3 cubic feet with the seats folded flat, and 76.9 cubic feet including under-floor storage. Even so, it's aimed at younger pre-children couples and slightly older couples with children off to college, not so much at families, kids, and the attendant gear.

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Old 03-29-2012, 09:17 AM
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The current, now outgoing, Acura RDX was a pretty rad small crossover for car enthusiasts that mostly care about a vehicle being fun to drive. With a punchy, roaring, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, stickum and grace thanks to Super Handling-All Wheel Drive, and the sort of puggish good looks than only a fanboy could really love, it was a crossover that largely defied the standard formula.

That all sounds like high praise to us, whose Involvement Index-flavored outlook on life generally finds us lukewarm about “standard” crossovers. But the truth is that Acura had aimed the 1st RDX at a young, hip, male demographic, but found that most actual buyers were older, empty-nest Boomers. With that information clear, and a next-generation RDX due up, the automaker set its sights on a vehicle that was a bit larger, more comfortable, and far more traditional than the punk-rock first-gen car.

With that as background, it would be difficult to rate this 2013 RDX as anything but a direct bullseye for Acura’s development team. This new crossover sort of “joins the herd” in terms of overall character and performance, and then immediately attempts to gain separation in the more traditional arenas of ride quality, content, fuel economy, and price.

Apart from the alteration of the exterior appearance—we’re guessing that the new RDX will probably be more loved for its looks than the last 1, but you can judge that for yourselves—the most obvious revision to the RDX formula lies with its 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The larger V-6 puts out 273 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque, which is a gain of 33 horses relative to the old 2.3-liter turbo, and a loss of some 9 pound-feet of torque.

Perhaps the biggest difference between old and new, though, is character. The turbo motor felt punchier and harder-worked than the new 6, and seemed, especially in the middle of the rev range, to be more responsive. Much of that feeling is undoubtedly due to the old car’s louder, more visceral power delivery, because the truth of the matter is that the 2013 RDX is a match for the old in terms of Acura-measured 0-60 time (just under seven seconds).

In our drive from suburban Scottsdale, through some meandering (if not exactly winding) roads, and with lots of time on the freeway, we generally enjoyed the smooth and laidback V-6 powertrain. The RDX feels rather fleet for this class of SUV, the 6-speed auto transmission unobtrusive, and our monitoring of the fuel economy gauge over around 40 highway miles led us to believe that the speculated 28 miles per gallon (highway) for the front-drive version will be easy to achieve in real life. For those keeping score on the econ front, RDX’s 20/28 city/highway mpg numbers are about as good as it gets in this segment, as long as you leave the hybrids out of the equation (which we’re happy to do).

It seems a good time to mention that, while we did get some miles in in the AWD version of the RDX, the bulk of our test drive was spent in the front-drive car. Now that Acura has moved away from the performance-oriented, torque-vectoring SH-AWD system in favor of a less complex AWD setup, our general impression is that the all-wheels-driven car simply feels more “front-drivery” than did the last car. Acura has tuned this system to be just as competent in low-traction situations, but without as much dynamic grip in the dry. We’ll be sure to test out that last part when we get the AWD version in our office and on a good road, and that 1st part if we’re able to drive the new RDX come next winter. Stay tuned.

With the power and speed quotient about the same in this new Acura, it’s fair to say that the suspension tuning and attendant ride quality is the biggest single dynamic change to the RDX. The engineers have gone all-in on the feeling of luxury here, and the result is a glass-smooth ride that aids overall comfort in a massive way. Surface imperfections from the road, even big cracks and bumps, were dialed out almost completely. Even still, the softer RDX didn’t seem to “float” overly much when cresting larger bumps and small hills at speed. When cornering effort is ramped up, there’s plenty of softness in the suspension, as well as a CUV-standard amount of roll. You won’t be confused into thinking you’ve slipped behind the wheel of an NSX, that’s for sure. The RDX is well-suited to smoothing out the rough places of the world—if not driving through them aggressively.

Steering feel is lacking overall, which matches the rest of the ride/handling balance from a character standpoint. The tiller has a good amount of heft to it, even if the dead-ahead and on-lock feedback is very minimal. The oft-used but accurate phrase “video game-like” is very apt here. Despite this dynamic deficit, and noting that turn-in and response are both pretty lethargic, we’re forced to admit that the tuning strategy here fits well with the car as a whole.

Seriously complementing this ultra-smooth ride and relaxed steering is an ultra-quiet cabin for the RDX. Road, wind, and engine noise have all been banished from the cabin in large measure, creating a vehicle that should compete with the best of the segment here.

The feeling from the driver’s seat is a kind of “smart-luxury” vibe that is typical of Acura. The company has streamlined its HVAC/entertainment interface relative to other new products in the lineup, and materials quality generally feels up to snuff in the segment. As always, those looking for outright plushness will prefer the confines of a BMW X3 or Mercedes-Benz GLK, but will pay more, feature to feature, than will the Acura buyer. Moreover, we’d put the optional ELS sound system up against the up-sale offering from any other high-end crossover peddler—the stereo sounds great, and we can’t wait to get 1 into the shop for a full audio test.

In short: while we’re a little sad to lose the quirky RDX of the last few years, there’s no question that this new, plushy version is set to do serious damage in the premium crossover world. We think that Acura is poised to do very well with this 2013 RDX, even if the enthusiast buyer is left to ponder other options.

VS: Lexus RX350

Somehow, despite the RDX having smaller dimensions overall (it’s more than 4 inches shorter in total length), Acura claims to have almost exactly as much room for passengers, and even more useable cargo space than does the RX350. A neat trick, to be certain.

Answering the space issue is a great start for the Acura, which absolutely faces the stiffest in-segment competition from its Lexus rival.

A base RX350 FWD carries an MSRP of $39,075, while an RDX with all-wheel drive and Acura’s technology package is expected to start at $39,420 (the base Acura has an MSRP of $34,320). That means an awful lot of content for the RDX versus its primary competitor, even though the Acura’s price has jumped up by a few grand versus the outgoing version.

We also think that the RX comparison is especially apt, because it’s very clear that the new thinking and engineering of the Acura has been geared toward a Lexus audience (i.e., a comfort-seeking rather than excitement-seeking driver).

Cost of ownership, residual value, and overall satisfaction may still trend in favor of the dominant RX, but the RDX at last poses a realistic cross-shop for this buyer.

VS: BMW X3 xDrive28i

The X3 with the 35i engine is more of a straightforward comparison, in terms of power, for the newly V-6-equipped RDX, but the slightly slower BMW still offers a more engaging driving dynamic.

For a bit less than the asking price of the new RDX, the X3 offers a willing engine, nice handling, and faster, more responsive steering. Of course the BMW is smaller, less frugal, less capacious, and a bit heavier, too.

A straight comparison test would be needed to iron out exactly which 1 is more compelling overall, but on paper the RDX presents 1 hell of an argument here.
2013 Acura RDX FWD
Engine: V-6, 3.5 liters, 24v
Output: 273 hp/251 lb-ft
Fuel Economy, City/Hwy: 20/28 mpg
Cargo Capacity: 61.3 cu ft
Base Price: $34,320
On Sale: April 2, 2012
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:50 PM
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I'd say pretty positive reviews overall. They seem to be hitting most of the check boxes for me. I'm coming from a first gen RX300 and this is the same size as what I have now. The RX350, MDX, and X5 are all bigger now and I would lose space in my garage if I went with one of those. I was set to go with the X3 w/ the T4 but now that this has come out, I'll have to give it some serious consideration. I buy and tend to keep my vehicles for a long time and I feel Acura has a better reliability record than BMW. If the interior is as good as these reviews say, and it drives sportier than an RX350 (which would be surprising if it didn't), it will keep pushing me closer and closer to going with an RDX. Too bad the colors are so limited/boring!
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Most of the mileage gain is from the six speed and dropping SH-AWD, not the engine swap (which is a downgrade). The 0-60 will be a tick faster for the same reasons as the mileage increase--less drag from the SH-AWD and less better gearing. The old RDX was quicker than the 3.5L Accord with the same transmission despite weighing several hundred pounds more. The Honda/Acura slide into mediocrity continues...
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:55 PM
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Price, drive is great, but some premium features are missing

After spending a couple days in the Sonoran Desert with the 2013 Acura RDX I had reached 2 key conclusions.

1st, the new RDX is a big turnaround for Acura, taking a relatively boring under-performer and transforming it into a vehicle that is both fun to drive and refined in a new-money sort of way. 2nd, I could not help but feel that despite how impressive the vehicle's performance is -- compared to some of its competitors comparables -- Honda Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7267) is going about things in the hardest way possible, in some cases, tech-wise. This is interesting to note, but generally does not detract from the vehicle given its strong performance.


I. Looks and Features

The 2013 Acura RDX is the 2nd generation of Acura's entry-level luxury crossover SUV (2 rows of seats, seats 5). The vehicle is being produced domestically in East Liberty, Ohio and goes on sale on April 2, 2012.

Price-wise Acura has taken an approach similar to Ford Motor Comp. (F) offering standard features that its competitors typically offer as options, such as standard USB iPod comptability, SMS text messaging, premium audio, power moonroof, power seats, and hands-free voice commands, among others.

Acura also offers one of the best backup cameras in the industry, standard. I'm a staunch critic of most backup cameras in their current state, as I feel they create more accidents, than they prevent. As most cameras cover a narrow strip of view, they do prevent running over things directly behind/beneath your vehicle (such as a family pet), however, staring forward when you're backing up is an instant ticket to hitting objects to the rear-back sides of your vehicle. So with traditional backup cams Fido will be safe, but your neighbor, not so much.

By contrast Acura's backup cam is "multi-view", meaning it covers a much broader stretch of view. It's a bit wild at 1st -- the human eyes are not used to having that much perspective -- we're not a deer. But ultimately, multi-view generally offers what traditional backup cams do not -- a safe way to backup up while looking at your display.

In terms of looks, the exterior is slightly more aggressively styled than its predecessor, though nothing earth-shattering. Where as the previous generation screamed mundane luxury, the new version features a bolder front (think Cadillac), sharper lines, and larger wheels (which also add to the performance -- more on that later). Acura describes its design approach as "sleek upper, strong lower" (translated).

Curiously some features -- rain-sensing wipers, Active Park Assist (APS), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), dimming mirrors, adaptive cruise control -- were notably absent. There's a small possibility that these features could be unmentioned options, but they were not in the vehicles we tested.

II. Price

Jeff Conrad, Acura VP pitches the vehicle stating that the RDX gives you, "The good feeeling of buying something better, not because you have to, but because you want to and because you can."

But if that sounds a bit aloof, be aware that Acura's RDX is an entry level luxury vehicle, hence it is being marketed heavily at increasingly affluent Generation Y byers. If I had a dollar for every time Acura mentioned "Gen. Y" or DINK (dual-income no kids) in the presentation I'd be a rich man. But looking at the styling it's clear this is a vehicle that is design specifically to appeal to this segment (though Acura says it's also targeting empty-nester couples).

Acura's vehicle is aggressively priced at about $8k beneath Audi's Q5 crossover and BMW's X3 xDrive28i crossover. While these were Acura's selected comparison points, some other points of reference (based on current pricing) are seen below:


As most manufacturers' typically clumped options in a way that made it impossible to get a direct comparable, I picked an optionless version (comparable-) with only matching options, and a more-optioned version with packages that included overlapping options and options not found in the Acura RDX (comparable+). While they're not luxury vehicles I threw in the 7-seat Dodge Durango CUV and the 2013 Ford Explorer as examples of a mid- and high-range consumer CUVs.

Of course, the number from Acura was direct from their presentation, so that figure may or may not see a small change when the pricing goes live online.

Ultimately the pricing reveals that Acura's new RDX may be marketed as a luxury vehicle, but it's priced like a high-end mainstream vehicle. It fact, it appears to narrowly beat some high-end consumer vehicles (such as Ford's 2013 Explorer) in price, though not in features for well-equipped models.


III. Driving Impressions


a. NVH

Compared to the 1st generation RDX, the Audi Q5 (V6), and BMW X3 xDrive28i, which Acura provided for comparisons, the NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) was quite good. The front row was noticeably quieter than its predecessor, and matched the Q5. The BMW had a great deal of unpleasant engine noise (among other issues) -- basically a high pitch whir that sounded like an overactive gerbil on a wheel (the vehicle was brand new, so I'm not sure where the X3's problems came from).

Acura's front-of-the-pack performance NVH-wise comes thanks to a major revamp of the suspension system. Overall the vehicle frame was made 25% more vertically rigid and 142% (Acura's number) more laterally rigid. A new input-separating mounting design dampener, which spreads upwards force in 2 directions was also added. The spring rigidity was cut down 15% and compensated by a larger 60R18 tire, up from the 1st generations 55R18 tire.

I drove over some slightly rugged terrain, but nothing too extreme. Overall the vehicle's ride was relatively silent, with tire noise dominating more than motor noise. Granted this wasn't exactly a streets of Detroit (aka pothole city USA) torture test, but it did give a rough idea that NVH was a strength


b. Handling

Handling was another strength of the vehicle. Here comes the part where Acura made life a bit difficult for itself.

It scrapped the thrust-vectoring, which allowed the computer to drive each wheel at different speeds. In its place motion adaptive electronic power steering (EPS), which compensates for oversteering and understeering. It also lowered the center of gravity, widened the wheelbase, lengthened the wheelbase, bumped the wheel size, and lowered the vehicle.

Together this grab bag of tweaks made the 2013 RDX feel much more responsive than the 1st generation base models for both the front wheel drive and all wheel drive models. We were taking steep, curvy hill descents at 65-75 mph, and the handling performed beautifully.

Granted on the most extreme curves we did have to reduce speed slightly. Thus if there's a weakness based on the lack of super handling/vector thrust, you'll probably see it only on the sharpest corners -- the kind rarely encountered during standard driving.


c. Acceleration

Again, here seemingly Acura made life difficult for itself by going the unusual route of variable cylinder management (VCM) rather than the prevailing industry approach of direct injection+turbocharging, with many also opting for hybrid variants [1][2].

It scrapped the turboed I4 of the 1st generation model and adopting Honda's 6-speed 3.5L i-VTEC engine, with variable cylinders management. The engine puts out 273 hp at 6,2000 RPMs, bumping horsepower approximately 33 hp.

While the engine is rather old hat, Acura invested substantial time into perfecting the shifting mechanism for hill ascent, descent, and flat travel under all kinds of acceleration/deceleration scenarios.


The result is a 19/27/22 mpg AWD (city/hwy/combined) and a 20/28/23 mpg FWD vehicle. But while that lean performance comes from liberal deactivation of cylinders down to 3 or 4 cylinder mode, Honda's new code ensures that when you demand performance all 6 cylinders come blazing into full effect.

Acceleration was on par with the also-quite-good V6 Audi Q5. Passing cars was a joy and remarkably easy.

When driving the 1st generation model, the difference in acceleration was substantial.

By contrast the BMW X3 xDrive28i felt heavy and underpowered. The accelerator pedal fought you (versus the Q5 and RDX which could be smoothly floored) every step of the way and the engine took painfully long to respond to flooring the pedal. Also when backing off after flooring the pedal, the new RDX and Audi Q5 both responded appropriately downshifting and decreasing the RPM, noticeable by the quickly quieted engine noise. By contrast the BMW X3 28i continued to rev well after it should have toned down, a painful noise to listen to.

Fortunately, BMW is replacing this engine, but it definitely was a head-scratcher.

By contrast the second-gen RDX performed wonderfully, much better than its predecessor, placing itself in the league of the Audi Q5. Again, I can't help but feel that Honda/Acura is taking the most difficult road (pun) possible here. Looking ahead Acura looks to switch its lineup largely to direct injected and turbocharged engines, by all indications.

That said, in the long run Honda/Acura's experience VCM-wise could allow it to merge VCM with GDI, turbocharging, and possibly even a hybrid system. While incredibly complicated, such a system arguably may be the goal of every automaker, and Honda/Acura -- along with Chrysler and Volkswagen, have the VCM part of the experience equation, at least.


iv. In-Car Electronics

The iPod connecting system worked without fuss. The sound system's quality was okay, but did not really wow. The voice commands were actually quite good -- Acura has a great help system for its "SYNC-like" system -- better than Ford, arguably, although the functionality in interface trail well behind Ford.

Acura made the wise choice of not-overhyping its infotainment system, a mistake made by Toyota Motor Comp. (TYO:7203). My expectations were low, but I came away pleasantly surprised.

2 gripes about the system, though. 1st there's this horrible navigation scroll wheel that prominently juts out of the center vertical stack. It's by far the most prominent feature in the middle of the car. And you should never touch it while you're driving. That's right, the most prominent feature is unusuable to the driver.

To me this is a very poor design choice. If only that were the volume knob, my hands were happy (that's what I thought it would be, and found myself unconciously trying to use it like a volume knob several times). Instead, I was greeted with an unusable (while driving) massive navigation knob.

Secondly, the optional navigation system does not allow you to enter addresses by voice while driving -- and it doesn't even allow your passenger to enter them via the interface (for safety reasons -- the assumption is presumably the driver might try to do this solo). In short, this dramatically reduces the usefulness of the nav system, and make it so you're better off skipping it and tossing in a portable GPS or smartphone with turn-by-turn.


IV. Conclusions

The RDX is an interesting vehicle, not quite the traditional premium luxury, yet not quite a mass-market SUV. It's good at what it does and stacks up favorably against some vehicles.

That said, there's substantial threats from the mass market (the Ford Explorer) and from the luxury market (e.g. the Range Rover Evoque). Acura is clearly targeting younger luxury buyers, which may help it somewhat given that many of its competitors (e.g. BMW, Volvo) skew towards an older demographic.

The RDX did things the tough way, dropping super handling and turbocharging in favor of a major body/suspension rework and VCM with new engine controller code. The result is impressive -- Acura more than broke even. But the question remains whether Acura could have gone even farther had it chosen to simply improve SH, improve its turbo I-4.

The RDX is well priced for a buyer that wants a brand traditionally viewed as entry-level luxury, but doesn't have the means to reach into the higher end (e.g. Land Rover Evoque).

The RDX is a fun ride. The vehicle has no glaring flaws.

On the other hand, while it's a big step forward for Acura (who admits they were behind their luxury competitors), it's only a small step forward over the competitors' previous generation models. In that regard it's not a vehicle for all luxury buyers -- though it might be the right one for some.


(We'll bring you our impression on the 2013 Acura ILX standard and hybrid sedans [more coverage: 1, 2] next month, we currently can't disclose them and are awaiting final details.)

(All Images property of Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC)

(Special thanks to my SLR photography "guru" John Cottone, for helping improve my amateur photography skills.)


Last edited by TSX69; 03-29-2012 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:34 PM
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Thank you for these reviews! Very informative indeed.

The last one is fantastic! Now, one thing is scaring me though - did I read it correctly that Acura is now doing the Lexus thing by not allowing addresses to be entered into the navigation system while the vehicle is moving!? I surely hope NOT! That was one of my biggest complaints about the Lexus cars, and I surely hope that Acura is not following suit!
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ostrich View Post
Thank you for these reviews! Very informative indeed.

The last one is fantastic! Now, one thing is scaring me though - did I read it correctly that Acura is now doing the Lexus thing by not allowing addresses to be entered into the navigation system while the vehicle is moving!? I surely hope NOT! That was one of my biggest complaints about the Lexus cars, and I surely hope that Acura is not following suit!
I thought the same thing! I had an 06 TL and a 09 MDX before getting a Lexus IS. The Lexus navi drives me nuts since the passenger cannot enter stuff. I was looking forward to another Acura navi. Did they really mean you cannot enter a address via voice? That must be a typo.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:53 AM
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When I had a Lexus RX, I had to spend a few hundred dollars on a kit that allowed me to hack past the navigation restrictions. I also had to wait a year before the kit was even available. This would be a massive downer.
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ostrich View Post
Thank you for these reviews! Very informative indeed.

The last one is fantastic! Now, one thing is scaring me though - did I read it correctly that Acura is now doing the Lexus thing by not allowing addresses to be entered into the navigation system while the vehicle is moving!? I surely hope NOT! That was one of my biggest complaints about the Lexus cars, and I surely hope that Acura is not following suit!
I just asked the very same thing in the RDX thread in the Automotive News forum. That's about the only downside I've read so far.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by markrogo View Post
When I had a Lexus RX, I had to spend a few hundred dollars on a kit that allowed me to hack past the navigation restrictions. I also had to wait a year before the kit was even available. This would be a massive downer.
I've spent some time on a BMW board and the X3 is the same way. There is also a 3rd party hack to allow the input.

This is a recommendation from the NHTSA that the auto companies are following. It sounds like manually entering addresses while the car is moving will be phased out, but entering by voice seems to be a flaw. If this isn't possible, then the nav really becomes less useful, especially for POI while you're on a road trip. Finding food and gas when you need it are two pretty big reasons to have a nav while you're driving in an area you're unfamiliar with.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:27 PM
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As regards the car Connections comment about its delayed down shifting - this is an irritant in all VCM cars I have driven - least with the RDX it has paddle shifters, so one can choose the appropriate gear in advance of when it's needed. if indeed it's an issue.

as regards the "dangerous" seat folding - a concerned parent could keep the armrest down - this disables the seat folding on the left side.
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Old 03-30-2012, 05:15 PM
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Today, I visited my local dealer who had one RDX in stock. It was a FWD Tech model. I think it looked very good, both inside and out. The wheels looked quite good for base stock. The interior was much nicer than the prior model, but not quite up to the level of a high end Q5, or X3.

The premium stereo system sounded very good. I currently drive a Corvette, so the performance was quite different, but I thought it had better than expected acceleration, very comfortable handling and ride and smooth shifting. The doors sounded good when closed and the interior noise was just where I would want it to be for this type of car.

I'm leaning towards an AWD, but they don't have any of them yet. Overall, I was very impressed with it and think that I will probably chose it over the Audi and BMW, because of expected reliability and a better price.

I mentioned that I was going to purchase it through the Costco plan, which is usually $500 over invoice. He looked very uncomfortable with that, suggesting that this may not be part of the plan for a while. We'll see how that goes.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by NAMA View Post
I've spent some time on a BMW board and the X3 is the same way. There is also a 3rd party hack to allow the input.

This is a recommendation from the NHTSA that the auto companies are following. It sounds like manually entering addresses while the car is moving will be phased out, but entering by voice seems to be a flaw. If this isn't possible, then the nav really becomes less useful, especially for POI while you're on a road trip. Finding food and gas when you need it are two pretty big reasons to have a nav while you're driving in an area you're unfamiliar with.
If NHTSA thought that this recommendation would make it safer, then they are WRONG. People will just find other ways to get around it. For instance, rather than spending money on a built-in navi that would not allow you to enter the address while the vehicle is in motion, people would just buy a cheaper and much smaller portable unit. Now, surely using those tiny little units while driving would NOT be as safe, right?
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:06 PM
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Stewie - loved the way you wrote your review, detail, relative comparisons and pov comments. My wife and I are Gen X empty nesters who have been Honda family owners for since the 90s. I moved over from Accord to a '91 Maxima (had to do it ) and then bought an '08 TL that I love -and my wife liked riding in and being seen in (never knew her to have vanity before). My only knock on it is requiring premium gas when the prices are getting crazy again. And I don't skimp when it is required.

We decided to start looking toward replacing her '05 CR-V this spring/summer and visited the car show last month to sniff out the new generation and for validation look at the usual suspect competition and let me also touch some of the performance toys. Toward the end of our adventure wifey says she wants to touch an Acura SUV, not in her normal interest scope, esp. because she wants a small SUV and didn't want premium fuel. And she isn't as much into sporty performance - but does like just quiet, reasonable agility, functionality for hauling groceries and grand kids, and appreciated the blend of those attributes in my TL. She sat in the 2012 RDX and was not particularly moved by the interior and turned off by the turbo 4 and premium. Sales guy engages (from dealership I bought TL from) and shows us the 2013 pre-production on display. Mentions the 3.5 engine w/better mileage - getting both of our attention, and that premium is recommended, not required. She looks, she touches. She falls in love - said she heard it "singing to her."

Dealer stays in touch and calls today to test drive their first retail unit. After about 40 minute test drive we noted many of the driving attributes you describe: It's quiet, it's comfortable, great interior, very good routine handling, authoritative low end acceleration and decent highway passing (and I could downshift with paddles if needed) without a lot of fuss. Terrific backup camera. And she liked getting out of it. (Also like the feel of driving/handling - feeling solid and safe.) So we bought today - well we order for late April delivery. We decided on the base unit w/AWD - though less performance than the SH AWD, it is exactly on par for the target market segment and us. My biggest complaint is that Acura took the HID headlights, and the premium ELS audio that is de rigueur on other Acuras - and my TL - and make them available only with the $3,700 tech package that is built around the Nav and related whistles; these are not worth the $$ relative to a good Garmin, or even my Moto Droid Razr. They also missed on a couple of other features that I would have expected, like rain sensing wipers & electronic blind spot detection. Oh, and now rear compartment privacy cover like is standard on CR-V (available option) and no rear heat/ac vent on the back of center console for back seat passengers - that seems kind of cheap.

And what's up with all the hyped connectivity being only exclusive only via iphones? News flash - the Android market is also huge and closing in.
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:08 PM
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Correction - I am a baby boomer, not Gen X. Senility already setting in..
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:17 AM
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I, too, am surprised at all of the common luxury features that are missing from the new RDX, like an 8 way power front passenger seat, or backup sensors. Can anyone tell us what the provided "4 ways" are? Is the "Expanded view driver's mirror" supposed to be a substitute for blind spot detection?
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rcf8000 View Post
I, too, am surprised at all of the common luxury features that are missing from the new RDX, like an 8 way power front passenger seat, or backup sensors. Can anyone tell us what the provided "4 ways" are? Is the "Expanded view driver's mirror" supposed to be a substitute for blind spot detection?
That expanded mirror was kind of strange looking when I tested the car, but my guess is that you will get used to it. I think it is a poor-man's blind spot detector. I also was surprised that there was no rear AC vent, when there is clearly a spot set out for it. At this price, I think the cargo cover should be included too and not be an extra cost option. Overall though, it looked nice and drove well.

It will be interesting to see where their actual purchase price comes in. Right now my dealer thinks that these will be in such high demand, that they won't discount them.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:33 AM
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How would you rate the seat comfort of the new RDX? I can't recall any reviewers commenting on this.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:09 AM
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The seats felt quite comfortable, for the short time we were in them. The leather was OK, a bit firm, but not too bad. Not as natural feeling as the leather in my wife's Infiniti EX35, or what I felt in the Lexus RX.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug W. View Post
So we bought today - well we order for late April delivery.
Thanks for the write up. It sure does seem like they cut corners on what should be standard items.

So did you finalize your price? Did your dealer give you a good deal or were they trying to minimize discounts?
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:42 PM
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I test drove a black/black RDX/Tech package earlier today and came away with a "pretty good" vibe. The looks were pretty good in person. The exterior was better looking in person than it was on many of those preview/review shots I've seen. On the other hand, the interior wasn't quite as good looking, but still pretty good. I felt like it was a TSX sort of interior. Some areas looked luxurious whereas other areas looked "Fisher-Pricey", but all-in-all, it was a decent interior.

The test drive was relatively quick, but I managed to mash the gas pedal down a bit. Acceleration wasn't anything to blow your socks off. It seemed noticeably slower than my current car, a 2004 TL (auto).

The one thing that stuck out most to me in the test drive was the electric steering. That thing was downright silly. Turning the wheel felt like I was playing with a toy in the sense that there didn't appear to be any resistance. I felt like I could damn-near spin the steering wheel a la "Wheel of Fortune". If anything, I'd have to say this was the biggest negative of the whole thing, but maybe something I could get used to (?). I don't know.

I'd have to get used to the accelerator pedal as well, but that was probably because I was in a new/different car than I was used to. If I pushed it down like on my 3G TL, I felt like I was lurching forward, so when I'd ease up, I felt like I was driving a bucking horse sometimes. But by the time the test drive was over, I had gotten somewhat used to the pedal. Not so for the steering wheel, however.

We had issues opening the power door on the back. Using the FOB or button on the dash wouldn't open the gate, but after fiddling around with a "lock" button on the back door, one of us managed to get the door open. We're still not sure why it opened or what finally allowed it to open, since we had fiddled with the lock button before and the sales guy wasn't sure what allowed it to open, either.

I didn't mess with the navigation on the test drive, but wanted to. The drive was too short and I was too busy trying to get used to the steering to feel comfortable messing with a nav I wasn't used to using. It was also a fairly busy location with regard to traffic, so I wasn't going to risk it.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again : the lack of adjustable vents for rear passengers is just pathetic.

I wish I could compare it to the previous gen RDX in terms of driving, but I've never driven on until today. I did get to sit in a 2012 RDX today after the test drive, though. The seating in the 2013 felt more comfortable to me, and I'm kind of stocky. The 2013 also felt less cramped. I liked the interior of the new RDX more in some ways. Originally I thought I liked the older RDX interior more, but not so sure now.

All-in-all, the vehicle felt pretty good. It's not a sports car, a boy racer, or a tank. To me it felt like a slightly more upscale, taller, Honda Accord or maybe a TSX-infused crossover. Part of me said, it's "entry luxury", whatever the hell that is, but then another part of me had to ask whether what this vehicle gave me was worth it when compared to vehicles costing thousands less. For example, consider the fact that with a Ford Edge, rain-sensing wipers, blind-spot monitoring (?), etc. are all optional equipment. On an RDX, they don't exist. And the Ford, of course, costs thousands less. That's downright silly. But, of course, "it's a Ford" will be some of the responses. To each their own, but I think Acura missed the boat a bit on the options.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:50 PM
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Here are some unprofessional pics of the black-on-black RDX I took at the dealership :







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Old 03-31-2012, 11:41 PM
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no HIDs without the Tech Package? that kinda blows... I wonder if there'll be a aftermarket version soon
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by rcf8000 View Post
I, too, am surprised at all of the common luxury features that are missing from the new RDX, like an 8 way power front passenger seat, or backup sensors. Can anyone tell us what the provided "4 ways" are? Is the "Expanded view driver's mirror" supposed to be a substitute for blind spot detection?
I believe the "4way" passenger seat just goes forward and back on the track plus the same for the seat back. No up and down, or lumbar adjustment.
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by NAMA View Post
Thanks for the write up. It sure does seem like they cut corners on what should be standard items.

So did you finalize your price? Did your dealer give you a good deal or were they trying to minimize discounts?
Interesting that the early road test reports I saw on the web today were pretty much the same with almost no variance in subjective comments. Looking forward to some more in-depth reviews, even though they will be after the fact that we already made the buy. Although should not see reviews talking about this being a hot rod or having performance car handling characteristics, I'd like to see the braking distance, handling through a slalom (accident avoidance) relative to other CUV/SUVs of this size & weight, highway passing, reach/cut-off of the halogen low and high beams (as I won't be getting the HIDs), and actual crash test/roll-over results.

A quick opinion to add on to another's comment about rear seat comfort and the leather. We (wife, myself, mother-in-law) thought rear seating was very good to excellent for the short time we rode there. Some folks commented the leather seemed not as nice in comparison to similar entry level luxury cars; I can't compare in that regard, but it is comparable to my TL that I am happy with, and definitely more supple and enveloping than the leather on my wife's '05 CR-V, and a bit nicer than the 2012 CR-V I test drove last weekend.

About Sale Price: I don't believe an early adopter should expect anything substantive in pricing concession off sticker, esp. for the base model that will intrinsically have less profit margin to play with for the dealer than a fully loaded model. How that will pan out in the months to come depends on supply and demand. It seems a safe bet the 2013+ will sell better than the previous gen because the redesign/structuring squarely fits and competes well for the targeted buying demographic that is different audience than the previous version. The 1st gen target audience was a smaller segment attracted to sporty performance and edgier appearance. Sales were less than stellar to that group.

FWIW, IMO the best general buying strategy in the short-mid term (through early Fall) might be when the dealer offers you their pricing for the car without the cost of any dealer add-ons (what comes standard from the factory), consider asking for some added options for free. But first you have to know what you're looking at with regard to pricing. Before talking price, do your pre-visit research of the factory/sticker price for the trim line you are interested in. Then research actual dealer cost before transportation cost is added - see Edmunds or Consumer Reports. If you find the dealer won't reduce to a reasonable target price you have in mind, that's when you can bring up your interest in dealer add-ons/options at a 50% or more discount. But be sure to verify/ask the dealer if they've already added such things to the car price you're looking at - this is very common, and a tip-off is if the price they offer is more than the factory/sticker price. Negotiate the new car price based on factory/sticker price less/without any dealer options/add-ons, and without including a trade-in. Dealer add-ons are easier for the dealer to provide at 50% or more off because they often have a healthy profit margin. Again, know beforehand what the base/sticker price is and the transportation cost is - they are easy to find at Edmunds, Consumer Reports and a bunch of web sources. As I touched on above, I also recommend negotiating your final itemized out-the-door price before discussing trade-in. This is how you'll clearly know what your new car sales price really is. FWIW, if you do some simple homework via the NADA Guide & Kelly Blue Book you will find your car's wholesale price, for sale by owner price, and retail sale price (what a dealer would sell your car for). If you consider selling your less than 10-year-old car yourself, and if you are willing to clean it up inside and out, or have it detailed, before sticking pics on Craig's List, etc., you will often get 15-30% more for it than what a dealer will offer (again, for most cars the dealer offer for trade-in will be closer to the wholesale value - and you'll know this from doing the simple research on your car's value in advance and by negotiating your new car price before talking trade-in value). Lastly, don't forget to look at sales tax, licensing fees (and personal property tax if you have it) and increased insurance - sometimes there can be a significant difference for insurance rates even between similarly priced cars/categories.

Cheers
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:38 PM
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any sightings of the new RDX wihtout the tech package? I want to see how the inside front looks without the Nav. also the halogens in the front.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug W. View Post
About Sale Price: I don't believe an early adopter should expect anything substantive in pricing concession off sticker, esp. for the base model that will intrinsically have less profit margin to play with for the dealer than a fully loaded model. How that will pan out in the months to come depends on supply and demand. It seems a safe bet the 2013+ will sell better than the previous gen because the redesign/structuring squarely fits and competes well for the targeted buying demographic that is different audience than the previous version. The 1st gen target audience was a smaller segment attracted to sporty performance and edgier appearance. Sales were less than stellar to that group.

FWIW, IMO the best general buying strategy in the short-mid term (through early Fall) might be when the dealer offers you their pricing for the car without the cost of any dealer add-ons (what comes standard from the factory), consider asking for some added options for free. But first you have to know what you're looking at with regard to pricing. Before talking price, do your pre-visit research of the factory/sticker price for the trim line you are interested in.
I tend to agree with you that the dealers will try to hold pricing for early adopters, but if Acura is looking for people to buy off the lot, there's going to be inventory sitting at the dealerships before too long. I've been researching cars on and off for the past couple of years now. When I started I didn't realize BMW was coming out with a new version of their X3. Once I found that out, I did my research on it. I was thinking the same thing, that BMW wouldn't be dealing much since it was new and would hold to something close to MSRP. But it turned out people were reporting that they were getting similar deals to the previous generation model, as far as invoice + pricing or - MSRP. And for the most part, there's pretty much no inventory sitting at the dealership since it is built to order. So I'd have to say it depends on the company and the location as some parts of the country are more competitive then others. And I would definitely agree that doing your research is a must. Hopefully you were able to get a good deal, but in any case, you'll have a new vehicle that you're happy with and before long it won't matter what you paid for it.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:48 AM
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Post MotorTrend


It's a fact of life: At some point, everyone has to grow up. For some people, this happens sooner than for others. For the Acura RDX, it took about 5 years.

The 1st-generation Acura RDX, launched in 2007, was a fun-loving CUV. It wasn't the most luxurious vehicle in its segment or the cheapest, but with its 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and Super Handling AWD system, it stood out as one of the more enthusiastic entries in market segment that -- let's face it -- can be downright boring. Despite turbo lag and a ride many thought too firm, we enjoyed the previous RDX for being both practical and a hoot to drive quickly.


Alas, as Acura found out, being fun to drive doesn't always count for much these days, especially when it's middle-aged empty-nesters and young, high-income couples doing the buying. Turns out owners of previous RDXs didn't care much for its sporty dynamics -- they just wanted a good-looking, comfortable, fuel-efficient, and practical CUV for their daily commute. And that's pretty much what Acura has built for 2013. Gone is the turbo-4, replaced with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 273 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. The 5-speed automatic is out too, exchanged for a more fuel-efficient 6-speed unit (the paddle shifters remain), and the advanced SH-AWD torque-shifting system is replaced with a standard AWD unit from the RDX's platform-mate, the Honda CR-V. Maximum rear torque bias decreases from 70% to 50%. Those changes, along with improved aerodynamics and new Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires, have improved fuel economy to 20/28 mpg 19/27 mpg city/highway for the FWD and AWD versions, respectively.

Other changes have made the RDX a little easier to live with. The suspension has been retuned with new amplitude reactive dampers that contain a two-valve design, allowing for softer spring rates and a more relaxed ride. The RDX is the first to receive the new dampers, which will ultimately see duty across much of the Acura lineup, including the new compact ILX sedan. Structural rigidity is also improved with the increased use of high-strength steel, while the overall vehicle size has grown slightly to accommodate the 1.4-inch-longer wheelbase and wider track. This increase has also borne slight improvements in front and rear passenger shoulder and legroom, and Acura says rear cargo space is still among the largest in the CUV class, at 26.1 cu ft with the rear seats up and 61.3 cu ft with them folded down.


From an aesthetic perspective, the RDX has been smoothed some here and there -- the front end in particular appears much cleaner -- but its overall appearance is similar to the previous generation's. We've never found the RDX's styling to be particularly exciting, and that hasn't changed with the 2013 version. Inside, the RDX has gotten more mature-looking; gone is the sporty 3 -dial instrument cluster, replaced with a single housing for all gauges. The center stack is rounder and a little more cluttered, and the display has been moved higher for improved visibility. Standard equipment includes heated leather seats, a moonroof, iPod compatibility, Bluetooth, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

On the road, although the new RDX is up 33 horsepower on the 2012 version, it's down 9 lb-ft of torque, which leaves the new car feeling about the same in terms of grunt, but lacking pesky turbo lag and gaining smoother, more linear acceleration. The engine is quieter than the old turbo unit (especially with the taller sixth gear), and road and wind noise have also been improved, making for a quiet, relaxed freeway cruiser. New electric power steering is efficient but light and dead-feeling, and the ride is much improved, as the new dampers keep good body control while smoothing out most of the road imperfections you would have felt in your kidneys with the previous RDX.


Much of what made the original RDX feel special -- the firm ride, turbo antics, and crisp handling -- are gone from this 2013 version, but don't despair. The new RDX is more mature for a more mature buyer, and ultimately that will pay dividends in both customer satisfaction and Acura's profit margins.


2013 Acura RDX AWD
POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN SOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 211.8 cu in/3471 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1
POWER (SAE NET) 273 hp @ 6200 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 251 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
REDLINE 6800 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 14.1 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.25:1/2.36:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 15.0:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.8
BRAKES, F;R 12.3-in vented disc; 12.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum
TIRES P235/60R18 102V Michelin Primacy MXM4 M+S
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 105.7 in
TRACK, F/R 63.1/63.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 183.5 x 73.7 x 66.1 in
GROUND CLEARANCE 8.1 in
APPRCH/DEPEART ANGLE 17.2/22.0 deg
TURNING CIRCLE 39.0 ft
CURB WEIGHT 3839 lb
WEIGHT DIST., F/R 59/41 %
TOWING CAPACITY 1500 lb
SEATING CAPACITY 5
HEADROOM, F/R 38.7/38.1 in
LEGROOM, F/R 42.0/38.3 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 58.6/57.2 in
CARGO VOLUME 00.0 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 2.4 sec
0-40 3.5
0-50 4.8
0-60 6.2
0-70 8.2
0-80 10.3
0-90 13.1
0-100 16.5
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.1
QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec @ 95.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 117 ft
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1700 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $36,605
PRICE AS TESTED $40,305
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes
AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 6 yrs/70,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/50,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 16.0 gal
EPA CITY/HWY ECON 19/27 mpg
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 177/125 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS 0.88 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

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