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The luxury crossover class, which combines the enviable qualities of both a smooth-running sedan and the versatility of a compact sport utility vehicle, is more popular than ever. The ultimate purchase decision might come down to which manufacturer one trusts the most.

It’s a veritable all-star lineup that features some industry favorites like the BMW X3, Infiniti EX35, Mercedes-Benz GLK350, Audi Q5, and the Volvo XC60. They all feature a blend of style, sportiness, versatility, power and grace.

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Now entering its sixth year of production, the 2012 Acura RDX slips comfortably among these segment heavyweights as well.

The five-seat RDX has remained the same vehicle with no changes since 2010. Two years ago it was the last Acura to receive the brand’s large front grille, giving this crossover a bolder appearance that is also enhanced by new taillights and headlights.

Smaller than the popular Acura MDX, the RDX raises a few eyebrows with its 2.3-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower that some deem underwhelming. But that’s not necessarily accurate, because once the initial lag subsides and the turbo kicks in the RDX will go from 0-60 mph in a brisk 6.8 seconds, which is among the fastest in its class.

A responsive 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is the only choice with the RDX. It does offer the SH-AWD system as an option where power is distributed between the front and wheel axels, and also between the right and left wheels. The SH-AWD system is an appealing feature, one that guarantees more traction.

What some car shoppers may not like is the gas mileage, which only ranges between 19-24 mpg. The starting sticker price is $32,895 and includes a large list of standard features. Maximum towing capacity is about what one might expect – 1,500 pounds.

The sporty handling is a definite plus with the RDX. The ride is firm and maneuvering sharp curves is certainly easier with the strong traction and cornering capability.

It’s mostly good news to report regarding the interior. Both front and backseat occupants will be pleased with the RDX’s roomy and comfortable seating. There is solid storage space in back and the cockpit layout makes sense and is easy to grasp.

The RDX is one of the best buys from a sticker standpoint among its luxury competitors. However, the modest gas mileage figures will add cost to this stylish compact crossover.

2012 Acura RDX

Power: 2.3-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder, 240 horsepower
Mileage estimate: 19-24 mpg
Price: $32,895

Standard features include: brake assist; traction and stability control; xenon headlights; sunroof; heated front seats; power driver seat with memory, a power passenger seat; a back-up camera; leather upholstery; dual-zone automatic climate control; seven-speaker audio system with a six-disc CD/MP3 changer satellite radio, Bluetooth

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