2016 Acura RDX: The Eyes Have It


When Acura replaced its enthusiast-extremist, first-generation RDX with the far more mainstream second-generation RDX, it swapped the gas-sucking, laggy turbo four-cylinder for a torquey V-6; torque-vectoring all-wheel drive (SH-AWD) for a conventional AWD system; and a stiff, harsh-riding chassis for a far mellower suspension tune. Sales, predictably, shot up. The RDX is currently the brand’s second-bestselling model after the MDX. So the midcycle update visited upon the 2016 model, unveiled at the Chicago auto show, is mostly a spit-and-polish job on a vehicle that doesn’t really need much help.

2016 Acura RDX: The Eyes Have ItThe most notable visual differentiator of the 2016 model is the arrival of Acura’s multi-LED headlight cluster, or shall we say, the “Jewel Eye” headlights (a tiresome cliché, now trademarked). The rear lights also are LEDs, and the front and rear styling is mildly tweaked. The wheel designs are new, too.

While turbocharged four-cylinders are increasingly the engine of choice in this category, the RDX is staying with its naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, from which Acura extracts a bit more power and torque (279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft). At the same time, fuel economy inches up by 1 mpg highway, to 20/29 city/highway (FWD) and 19/28 (AWD). And while Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive is not making a comeback, the company does claim that the existing all-wheel-drive system has been tweaked to send more torque to the rear wheels. New active engine mounts are said to aid refinement.

A batch of new collision-avoidance technologies is grouped into a package called AcuraWatch. That includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Commendably, the AcuraWatch features can be had on any trim level, although they’re standard with the new, top-spec Advance package. Should all the electronic nannies somehow fail to keep you out of trouble, Acura claims that the 2016 RDX also has improved crash-test performance.