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The all-new Acura NSX concept, which debuted at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Honda/Wieck)
The all-new Acura NSX concept, which debuted at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Honda/Wieck)

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Acura goes on the attack Add to ...

Prediction: The ILX is not overly ambitious, but it is well executed and comes loaded. It will be successful because it’s not reaching too far.

2013 Acura RDX

2013 Acura RDX

The redesigned RDX crossover has a longer wheelbase and wider track than the outgoing 2012 model, but what matters most of all is under the hood. A 273-horsepower V-6 replaces the jittery, thirsty turbo-four engine that had few fans and many detractors.

Pricing: the basic model at $40,990 comes well equipped with standard all-wheel drive, heated leather seats, a long list of high-tech features and even a 360-watt audio system. The RDX Tech Package at $43,990 adds voice-activated navigation, an eight-inch LED display, 410-watt surround sound with 15 Gb music storage and a power tailgate. Both models get a six-speed automatic transmission geared for quick acceleration in the first five gears, and freeway cruising in sixth.

In the cabin, a telling step for Acura is how the designers have cleaned up and simplified the controls. The former excess of redundant controls has been simplified without any loss of functionality. The instrument panel, too, is smartly laid out.

Throughout the cabin. Acura’s designers have focused on installing richer-looking and -feeling materials. Hard plastics are not the way of this RDX. There is plenty of room for adults in back and the rear seatbacks split and fold easily. In fact, handle releases in the cargo area send the seatback down to a flat position. Very simple.

While it’s true the RDX has some commonality with Honda’s CR-V, the engine, front sub-frame, rear sub-frame and suspension are all different – as are many other aspects of the RDX. Side by side, in fact, the two look quite different and the RDX appears notably larger.

Prediction: Acura now has a legitimate alternative to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, to name two.

jcato@globeandmail.com

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