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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2018 Mazda6 Signature

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The Mazda6 is a prime example of how making various improvements throughout the lifecycle can make a vehicle. Since the first model I drove back in 2014, Mazda has been messing around with various aspects such as the interior and NVH levels. Last year saw Mazda make some key changes to 6 with the big news being the introduction of a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder from the CX-9 crossover. This was to address one of the major shortcomings of the sedan, lackluster performance when it comes to making a pass or merging onto a freeway. There are some other minor changes to go with the updated engine that help make the Mazda6 feel a bit more rounded.

  • The turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder produces 227 horsepower (250 on premium fuel) and 310 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic to the front wheels. 
  • I praised this engine in the CX-9 I drove back in the summer with a linear flow of power and no hint of turbo lag. Those carry over to the 6, along with the feeling of confidence that you’ll be able to pass or merge onto a freeway without any issue. It was quite startling how quick the 6 accelerated from 45 to 70 on a freeway on-ramp, only taking a few seconds. The six-speed automatic works seamlessly with the turbo engine, providing snappy up and downshifts.
  • One other trait of the turbo engine I was impressed with was NVH levels. There was barely any engine noise or the whoosh of the turbo when accelerating.
  • Mazda hasn’t messed with the 6’s chassis with the addition of the turbo engine. It still has the planted feeling and minimal body roll that imparts a lot of confidence to a driver. Steering is quick and provides the right balance of weight and feel.
  • One surprise is how the 2018 model rides slightly better than the 2017 model as bumps are better isolated. This might be 
  • Exterior enhancements are small with a new grille design, LED headlights, and the 19-inch wheels. But they do a surprising job of keeping of the 6’s exterior looking fresh.
  • The enhancements for the interior really help Mazda’s ambition to become more premium. The dash has been slightly restyled and now comes with stitched upholstery and natural wood trim. The climate control system has been redesigned that makes it slightly easier to use.
  • Mazda has started rolling out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the 6 for 2018 via an update. My test car had had the update, but I was unable to try it out as I could not pick the option in the system. I’m not sure of the issue, but I hope to try it once again in a future Mazda product.
  • The turbo engine is only available on the Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve, and Signature. My test 6 was the top-line Signature that carries a base price of $34,750. With destination and some options, the as-tested price came to $36,140. If I was to buy one, I would drop down to the Grand Touring Reserve which begins at $31,750. I would lose out on the 360-degree camera system, Nappa leather upholstery, and digital gauge cluster. But I would keep a number of desirable features such as the ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heads-up display, and power front seats.
  • Every Mazda6 review has seen me come to the same conclusion; the sedan is so close to being considered one of the best, but it is missing a certain thing. But this conclusion is different. Mazda has been able to fix the various issues I have complained about over the past few years and now have a very compelling midsize sedan. It's a shame that the 6 along with other midsize sedans are being overshadowed by the likes of crossovers. But for those who still have their heart set on a sedan, then I have no issue in recommending the 6 as an option worthy of consideration.

Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the 6, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

2018 Mazda6 Signature Gallery

Year: 2018
Make: Mazda
Model: 6
Trim: Signature
Engine: Turbocharged 2.5L Skyactiv-G Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 227 @ 5,000 (Regular), 250 @ 5,000 (Premium)
Torque @ RPM: 310 @ 2,000 rpm
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/31/26
Curb Weight: 3,560 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Hofu, Japan
Base Price: $34,750
As Tested Price: $36,140 (Includes $890.00 Destination Charge)

Options:
Machine Gray Paint - $300.00
Scuff Plates - $125.00
Cargo Mat - $75.00


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@William Maley How is the interior space for big people? I grew up with my parents having a 626, my moms car and later my oldest sister got a Mazda 6 in 2007 which if I was in the front no one could sit behind me. 

So how is the interior space and rear headroom with that coupe sedan design?

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2 minutes ago, dfelt said:

@William Maley How is the interior space for big people? I grew up with my parents having a 626, my moms car and later my oldest sister got a Mazda 6 in 2007 which if I was in the front no one could sit behind me. 

So how is the interior space and rear headroom with that coupe sedan design?

@dfelt I happen to be 5'8" or 5'9" and I fit ok behind the front seat with a decent amount of head and legroom. Legroom will become tight if a tall person is up front.

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16 minutes ago, William Maley said:

@dfelt I happen to be 5'8" or 5'9" and I fit ok behind the front seat with a decent amount of head and legroom. Legroom will become tight if a tall person is up front.

Awesome, much appreciated, thank you.

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If Chevrolet put the 2.0 into a lower level of Malibu it would be an obvious choice over this...but given the extra power...I think I would take the Mazda over the Malibu.

Nice looking car and I wish them well with it.

Chris

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DFelt how is this a relevant question for gods sakes you can’t fit yourself either headroom or legroom wise behind the driver seat adjusted for yourself in any midsize sedan currently available for sale.

 

😛

 

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2 minutes ago, Suaviloquent said:

DFelt how is this a relevant question for gods sakes you can’t fit yourself either headroom or legroom wise behind the driver seat adjusted for yourself in any midsize sedan currently available for sale.

 

😛

 

ALWAYS RELEVANT!!!

The biggest missed place in ALL AUTO REVIEWS is to clearly talk about how people sitting in the front will affect those sitting in the back. There is NEVER a perfect front seat sitting and back seat sitting that fits a perfect 4 or 5 adult placement. This is the LIE that the auto industry has not owned up to. You and your coworkers decide to go out to lunch and your the one who offered to drive. You and one coworker are US average size of 5'8" another is 5'6" tall but very large size and the other is 6'2" tall and you drive a Camry. Who sits where and why. 

IMHO, ALL Auto Reviews should cover sizing and how it fits for the AVERAGE American but also if you have Large size people or tall people or even very short. 

Just like many other areas in life that people either try to fit everyone into or ignor it totally, the interior space of sizing for a single person is a lie when you will always have a variety of sized people. They should clearly state a 4 adult person space seating in every car or SUV on how people will fit. Fine if 5'8" tall is the standard they want, but then clearly state how much head room, hip room, leg room, etc. is left or if there is not enough.

We have discussed many times on how tight the compact to mid size 4 door sedan market is and how even when multiple OEMs state the same or near same seat size, one fits more comfy than another.

The reviews are heavily biased on just the driver and not taking into account passengers.

I could go on but I hope you get my point.

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Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

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9 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

Exactly.  These cars are family cars and usually back seat reserved for kids or pets.  Especially, in mid size sedan category.   You want to fit 5 full size adults in a car, you need to buy a full size sedan or CUV.

My dad has 2016 Mazda 6 and one time I was driving  it with three 8 to 11 year old kids in the back, and they fit perfectly fine there,  

Edited by ykX
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2 hours ago, ykX said:

Exactly.  These cars are family cars and usually back seat reserved for kids or pets.  Especially, in mid size sedan category.   You want to fit 5 full size adults in a car, you need to buy a full size sedan or CUV.

My dad has 2016 Mazda 6 and one time I was driving  it with three 8 to 11 year old kids in the back, and they fit perfectly fine there,  

That was the beauty of the Chrysler cab forward cars like the Intrepid and Concorde. They had loads of interior space in the back. We loved the one that we owned. 

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5 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Back seats are usually for children or pets.     How many car buyers actually care if large adults fit in the back seat of a car?  It seems like an edge case, not a common use case. The driver space is the most important measurement.    However, I could see back seat space for adult passengers being a concern if you are a taxi, Uber or Lyft driver. 

Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

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2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

That was the beauty of the Chrysler cab forward cars like the Intrepid and Concorde. They had loads of interior space in the back. We loved the one that we owned. 

Those weren't mid-size thought the Intrepid could sell as low as a mid-size in poverty spec.  When those were out, the mid-size at Chrysler/Dodge would have been the Cirrus/Sebring and Stratus/Avenger respectively.   That would have been the equivalent of the Malibu or Contour.

The LH cars overlapped with a bit of Taurus/Sable and Crown Vic, and Lumina/Impala/Grand Prix/Bonneville/Regal/LeSabre/Park Ave/Cutlass Supreme/Intrigue/88/98 

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8 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

I'm not an Uber driver and would never carpool, so I really don't care.  I've driven before w/ coworkers going to lunch, etc.  Never had anyone complain about backseat space in my Jeeps.    I do recall cramming a couple tall coworkers in the back of my Mustang years ago, was a bit of chore for them getting in and out of the back.  Likewise when I rode in the back of a '15 Mustang and a '76 Porsche 911--tight.  But for a 10 minute ride to lunch, no big deal.

For people w/ children, that's what minivans and SUVs are for...

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15 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Those weren't mid-size thought the Intrepid could sell as low as a mid-size in poverty spec.  When those were out, the mid-size at Chrysler/Dodge would have been the Cirrus/Sebring and Stratus/Avenger respectively.   That would have been the equivalent of the Malibu or Contour.

The LH cars overlapped with a bit of Taurus/Sable and Crown Vic, and Lumina/Impala/Grand Prix/Bonneville/Regal/LeSabre/Park Ave/Cutlass Supreme/Intrigue/88/98 

You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

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2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

They were as big as the FWD LeSabres, etc of the time IIRC..pretty big.  I liked them, had several '99-04 Intrepid rentals, a couple 300Ms, a Concorde and an LHS as rentals back in the day..really liked the design inside and out, and they drove quite nicely.. 

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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1 minute ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

They were as big as the FWD LeSabres, etc of the time IIRC..

Really...hmmmm.....Never really thought of the Intrepid/Concorde as that much larger than a Mazda 6.

Passat also has decent interior room for a lot terribly large car.

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2 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Really...hmmmm.....Never really thought of the Intrepid/Concorde as that much larger than a Mazda 6. 

Actually longer than the Impala or LeSabre....the LHS was DTS sized.  The 300M was a bit shorter w/ it's cropped rear. 

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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6 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

You are very correct in that...but they were not really full sized either.

Well I disagree on that... particularly the last LHS/Concord.... that thing was a titanic and that's coming from a guy who loves big cars. 

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2 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Well I disagree on that... particularly the last LHS/Concord.... that thing was a titanic and that's coming from a guy who loves big cars. 

Hmmm....Okay. The last of the Interbreeds and Concordes fell to rust and transmission failure seemingly years ago here in Central Ohio.  My memory (like much of the rest of my so called thinking...) is probably flawed.

Thankfully, youngest kid goes away to college next year...so Beetle can be trade in fodder for a BRZ or Miata.

Back into a fun car....could not convince the wife we needed a V8 Camaro.

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1 minute ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Hmmm....Okay. The last of the Interbreeds and Concordes fell to rust and transmission failure seemingly years ago here in Central Ohio.  My memory (like much of the rest of my so called thinking...) is probably flawed.

Thankfully, youngest kid goes away to college next year...so Beetle can be trade in fodder for a BRZ or Miata.

Back into a fun car....could not convince the wife we needed a V8 Camaro.

I just had a V6 Camaro Convertible and that thing was way more fun than it should have been in that config.  Felt light-weight, fun to toss around, and the V6 had plenty of scoot without being excessive. 

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Just now, Drew Dowdell said:

I just had a V6 Camaro Convertible and that thing was way more fun than it should have been in that config.  Felt light-weight, fun to toss around, and the V6 had plenty of scoot without being excessive. 

I am working on that with the wife. I actually really like the 6th gen Camaro, Also  GM has a fantastic Blue BTW. Interior is an upgrade over 5th gen also.

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38 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Sorry Cubical, I have to down vote this. Even when I was 12 I was already 6' tall and my sisters were almost as tall as I even being older. Many people do not want a minivan  or full size van to carry adults. 

Adult carrying is VERY IMPORTANT and I think many are to focused just on themselves the driver when you also need to think about others you carry. This is not a corner case but a much more common use case. I see it daily coworkers cramming into tiny cars, corpool in cars or SUVs and everyone is cramped it looks like. More common than many realize.

Sorry, you are not a typical case. According to the latest statistical data average US male is 5 feet 9 inches tall and female is 5 feet 4 inches.  This car can perfectly accommodate two average males according to dimensions and @William Maley .

Edit: two average adults in the back with four average adults total.

Edited by ykX
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1 minute ago, ykX said:

Sorry, you are not a typical case. According to the latest statistical data average US male is 5 feet 9 inches tall and female is 5 feet 4 inches.  This car can perfectly accommodate two average males according to dimensions and @William Maley .

As a sumo wrestler (or at least Sumo/Shrek sized) you would think he would support Japanese products...

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Probably two guys 6'3 if no one adult is in the back seat behind them.

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      Horsepower @ RPM: 175 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/29/27
      Curb Weight: 3,276 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, South Korea
      Base Price: $29,150
      As Tested Price: $ 30,380 (Includes $1,095.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
    • By William Maley
      2021 is going to be a very interesting year for the Mazda3 as two more engines become available.
      According to separate reports from Jalopnik and Hagerty, Mazda will be dropping in the turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder found in the 6, CX-5, and CX-9. The engine produces 227 horsepower on regular or 250 on premium. Like other Mazda models with this engine, the 3 will have it paired only with a six-speed automatic. Both reports say the engine will have AWD as standard. According to Hagerty's source, the engine will be available on a new trim called Premium Plus - likely taking the top spot in the 3's trim lineup. The source also confirmed this engine will not mean the return of the Mazdaspeed name for a hot variant. 
      The other engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder that Jalopnik reports is only for the sedan. Hagerty believes this engine is the SkyActiv-G used in the previous-generation 3, not the SkyActiv-X with its compression-ignition system.
      Not surprisingly, Mazda said they "“have not announced any details for the 2021 Mazda3," when asked about this.
      Source: Hagerty, Jalopnik

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      2021 is going to be a very interesting year for the Mazda3 as two more engines become available.
      According to separate reports from Jalopnik and Hagerty, Mazda will be dropping in the turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder found in the 6, CX-5, and CX-9. The engine produces 227 horsepower on regular or 250 on premium. Like other Mazda models with this engine, the 3 will have it paired only with a six-speed automatic. Both reports say the engine will have AWD as standard. According to Hagerty's source, the engine will be available on a new trim called Premium Plus - likely taking the top spot in the 3's trim lineup. The source also confirmed this engine will not mean the return of the Mazdaspeed name for a hot variant. 
      The other engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder that Jalopnik reports is only for the sedan. Hagerty believes this engine is the SkyActiv-G used in the previous-generation 3, not the SkyActiv-X with its compression-ignition system.
      Not surprisingly, Mazda said they "“have not announced any details for the 2021 Mazda3," when asked about this.
      Source: Hagerty, Jalopnik
    • By William Maley
      For the past decade, Acura has felt lost at sea. Not sure of what it wanted to be as a brand. This was shown by mixed messaging in their lineup as they weren’t sure to focus on luxury, technology, or sport. This muddled mess of identities would cause a fair amount of issues. But in the past couple of years, Acura started to get its act together thanks in part to new leadership. The first fruits of their efforts came last year in the form of the third-generation RDX. 
      It has been over two years since I last drove an Acura, so when the opportunity for an RDX A-Spec landed on my desk, I took it with both hands. It was time to see what Acura has been up to and if they’re taking a step in the right direction. 
      You Want Presence? You Got It!
      The RDX is the first production model to feature Acura’s newest design language and its no shrinking violet. The front end draws your attention with a large trapezoidal grille paired with a massive Acura emblem. Sitting on either side is Acura’s Jewel-Eye LED headlights that add a distinctive touch. My A-Spec tester takes it further with distinctive front and rear bumpers, 20-inch alloy wheels finished in black, and a special Apex Blue Pearl color that is only available on this trim. This crossover garnered a lot of looks during the week I had, something I hadn’t experience in quite some time.
      Cozy, Polarizing Interior
      The RDX’s interior captures the feeling of being in a sports car with a symmetrical dashboard design that cocoons the front passengers. A rotary drive-mode selector found in the center stack echos the design found in the NSX supercar. While it does emphasize the sporty nature of the vehicle, the position of the knob does make the climate controls a bit hard to reach. A-Spec models have some special touches such as red contrast stitching, a suede panel on the passenger side of the dashboard, and new trim for the instrument cluster that help it stand out. Material and build quality are quite close to some competitors from Germany.
      A set of sport seats with increased bolstering and power adjustments come standard on the A-Spec. I found them to be quite comfortable for any trip length and were able to hold me if I decided to be a bit enthusiastic. Back seat passengers will be plenty comfortable with an abundance of head and legroom. I would have like to see the back seat be able to slide forward and back to offer more comfort. Cargo space is towards the top of the class with 29.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 58.9 when folded. There’s also a little storage nook under the cargo floor to stash valuables.
      Intuitive Infotainment?
      Acura’s previous infotainment system drew a lot of ire from people. The dual-screen layout was confusing as some functions were split between the two screens such as changing the audio input. Not helping was the two different control methods for this setup; touchscreen for the bottom portion and a controller for the top screen. Thankfully, Acura has introduced a new infotainment system for the RDX. A large 10.2-inch screen sits on top of the dash and is controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Seeing the touchpad for the first time sent chills down my spine as I thought back to my frustrating experiences with Lexus’ Touchpad Controller. But Acura says this controller is much easier and logical to use than competitors. Okay, challenge accepted.
      Acura’s touchpad controller is slightly different from Lexus’ setup as it is mapped to the screen. So if you want to access the navigation, you tap that part of the pad that corresponds to the screen. This removes the dragging of the finger across the touchpad to get it to the selection you want. This seems quite logical on paper, but I found to be somewhat frustrating. It took me a few days to mind-meld with the system as I was still used to dragging my finger across the touchpad to select various functions. This made simple tasks such as changing presets or moving around in Apple CarPlay very tough.
      There is also a smaller touchpad that controls a small section of the screen. This allows you to scroll through three menus - audio, navigation, and clock. This would prove to be the most frustrating aspect of this system as it didn’t always recognize whenever I scroll down on the touchpad to move to another screen.
      Thankfully, Acura has left a number of physical controls for the audio and climate systems. I’m glad that some luxury automakers aren’t falling into the trap.
      Powertrain Goes Back To Its Roots
      The RDX has always found itself with a different powertrain throughout its various generations. The first version used a turbo-four engine, while the second-generation moved to a V6. For the third-generation, Acura went back to the RDX’s roots and settled on another turbo-four engine. The 2.0L engine punches out 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic and either front or my tester’s Super-Handling all-wheel drive system.
      The turbo-four is quite a potent engine with little turbo lag when leaving a stop and a seemingly endless amount of power for any situation. The ten-speed automatic is very smooth and quick when upshifting. But it does stumble somewhat when you need a quick shot of speed. 
      I did notice that the 2.0L turbo isn’t a quiet engine when traveling on the expressway, going above 2,000 rpm when traveling at 70 mph. This may explain the slightly disappointing 21.7 mpg average I got during the week. EPA fuel economy figures for the A-Spec SH-AWD are 21 City/26 Highway/23 Combined. The standard RDX models see a small bump in their EPA fuel economy figures.
      Capable Driver
      Acura is no stranger to building a crossover that is good to drive, the larger MDX crossover is a prime example. But the RDX A-Spec takes that a step further. This version gets a slightly stiffer suspension setup which negates a fair amount of body roll on a winding road. The steering firms up nicely when pushed through corners. When going through the daily grind, the RDX A-Spec will let in a few more bumps and road imperfections due to its suspension tuning. Road and wind noise are kept to very minimal levels.
      Welcome Back Acura
      The 2020 RDX shows that Acura is starting to figure out what it wants to be; a brand that offers something playful in the class. The RDX certainly has the qualities with a bold exterior, punchy turbo-four, and a surprising chassis that offers sporty handling and a mostly-comfortable ride. The slightly-confounding infotainment system and poor fuel economy figures do sour it a bit. But the RDX is a very compelling alternative to many compact luxury crossovers.
      It does give me hope that Acura is figuring out who it wants to be and excited to see what comes down the road such as the new TLX.
      How I Would Configure An RDX: For me, I would basically take the exact RDX tester seen here. That will set me back $47,195 after adding destination and $400.00 paint option. Everyone else should look at the Technology package that will get you most of the safety equipment that is part of Acurawatch, along with a 12-speaker ELS audio system, navigation, and parking sensors. It will not break the bank at $41,000 for FWD or $43,000 for AWD.
      Disclaimer: Acura Provided the RDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Acura
      Model: RDX
      Trim: A-Spec
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve VTEC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: 10-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 6,500
      Torque @ RPM: 280 @ 1,600 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,015 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: East Liberty, Ohio
      Base Price: $45,800
      As Tested Price: $47,195 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Exterior Color - $400.00

      View full article
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