The 2021 Acura RDX is worth the jump into the lap of luxury

The 2021 Acura RDX
Credit: Acura

I am on a quest…again. Every two years or so, and especially around December, I really get the itch to get a new vehicle. A couple of years ago I scratched that itch and jumped into a very economical SUV that checked most boxes and just happened to be available at a price that I could not refuse. But this new quest has a loftier set of goals. I still need to satisfy a few needs (all-wheel drive, ability to tow my bass boat, acceptable gas mileage, etc.), but I would like to do so while adding some comfort, performance, and style. But is it all worth the significant monetary jump into this class of vehicle?

The 2021 Acura RDX A-Spec is fast, nimble, sporty, and comfortable. Its 2.0L VTEC Turbo engine propels this wonderful midsize SUV swiftly by generating 272 HP. With all-wheel drive, it even handles like a sporty sedan, and (perhaps because the one I drove was red) it made me feel like I was piloting a rocket. I expected it to perform well, but it obliterated my expectations. What really impressed my wife (who was reluctantly along for the test drive) was the cabin’s attention to detail.

The comfortable yet sporty leather seats matched perfectly with a one-of-a-kind center console that is ergonomically perfect for the driver’s right arm and hand. It has a unique wrist/palm rest right below the Dynamic Touchpad, with which you can control every feature on the perfectly sized display. The touchpad took some getting used to, but once I understood it, I found it to be quite intuitive. This model had the available “ELS-Studio 3D” sound system, and it is the best stock sound system I have ever experienced. Acura found places to position 16 speakers, so I guess they earned it.  

The RDX features four driving modes: Snow, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. I did not have any snow during my test drive, so I have no evaluation of that mode. The Comfort mode was…comfortable. I skipped the Sport mode because the RDX offered me a Sport+ mode. And we all know that “+” is more, and more is better!  The shifting became more aggressive, the steering tightened, and my pupils dilated. In this mode, my red rocket enabled a Turbo display to appear right between the speedometer and tachometer. Though the turbo works in all driving modes, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it work, even if it is just a tachometer enhancement. I loved the visual reminder of that Turbo 2.0 at work!

Acura’s RDX is worth the extra expense into the luxury class of SUVs. It fires on every level. Unfortunately, it is only rated to tow 1500 pounds, which is about 500 pounds light of my bass boat. Now I have a real dilemma on my hands. Should I keep shopping, or see if I can live without having a motor on my boat?