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At the end of January I had the opportunity to take the 2017 Acura’s luxury-compact-crossover, the RDX, on a 600 mile road trip. This meant spending plenty of time behind the wheel getting to know the car. The car has a subtle, inoffensive, and distinctly Honda feel to it.

The inside of the RDX is smartly trimmed in leather. The heated front seats are power adjustment. There are loads of controls on the steering wheel for everything from the cruise control to the stereo and what information is displayed around the gauges. Thankfully, Acura did not go the way of Honda and eliminate the volume knob on the dash in favor of a touch screen slider. The trusty knob remains in its location, at the top left of the stereo display as the good lord intended.

This car’s suspension is dialed in for comfort and on the interstate it shines. The ride is quiet and the radar cruise makes long drives a pleasure. The 3.5 liter V6 hauls the car up to 60 in 6.2 seconds which is not too shabby for its class. The car features blind spot monitoring, which is a good thing because there’s a terrible blind spot over the driver’s left shoulder. There is a sport mode, and there are paddle shifters, but let’s be honest, they’re of little use.

Yes, the paddle shifters operate the six-speed transmission, but the response time is not exactly snappy. This car doesn’t invite drivers to push the limits. And that begs the question, why install them at all? Our all-wheel drive model had an EPA estimate of 27 mpg on the highway. The best the trip computer showed during the trip was 22.

The steering isn’t what I would call lively, but it’s certainly not bad. This isn’t a car for carving up winding roads. In fact, on the curvy mountain roads in Arkansas, there was more body roll than is desirable. But hey, it’s comfortable luxury cruiser, not a sports car. It’s a grocery getter for those who appreciate being surrounded by quality materials and insulated from the nastier elements of driving. It’s classy, understated and inoffensive.

Aesthetically, this car is unlikely to set anyone on fire. It’s not shouty, and if you’re looking for something nice but a little stealthy, this may be a good option. Up front, nestled on either side of the shallow v-shaped grille, are Acura’s signature Jewel Eye headlights. They’re an array of LED lights focused through specially designed lenses that spread the light wide and even. In profile, the side glass creates a nice arc beginning at the windshield, curving up and back to the rear pillar. The rear lift is tidy and reflects the geometric theme featured on the front of the car.

For its class this car is priced competitively. The interior is nice and quiet for long trips, and the car has plenty of room to haul some luggage. There’s nothing ground breaking about the latest RDX. It’s not a game changer, but it doesn’t feel tired either. It’s just a nice car. It’s the kind of car you’d buy for you mom if you had 45 grand lying around and it happened to be her birthday.

Aaron V Starnes
Aaron V Starnes

Car guy, small business owner, award-winning writer and proud papa.