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When traveling the challenging landscape in the Lake Tahoe region, it’s always nice to have vehicle with both strong performance and handling. And if it’s an attractive ride as well, that’s an added bonus.

The 2014 Acura RDX delivered all three qualities on a recent trip into beautiful Lake Tahoe. There were no mountainous roads or freeway that overwhelmed the powerful RDX, and none that made this driver feel he wasn’t in total control.


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And the RDX is a very stream-lined, attractive, luxury crossover sport utility vehicle that delivers plenty of comfort and convenience.

The RDX had a serious redesign for 2013 and the 2014 model arrived unchanged. Perplexed by the meager volume of sales in the past, the folks at Acura did their homework for the redesign and discovered that many potential buyers weren’t enamored with the quirky turbocharged engine and the mediocre gas mileage (19-24 mpg).

2013 Acura RDX

  • Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 273 horsepower
  • Price: $34,520
  • Mileage estimate: 20-28 mpg
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain 6 years/70,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/unlimited; roadside assistance 4 years/50,000

Gone now is the 2.3-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine and it its place is a more robust V6. The performance has improved and so has the gas mileage, which now measures 20-28 mpg.

Although never an issue here, new styling also was incorporated. Luxury features that were standard among many of its rivals have been added to the RDX, including power liftgate, keyless ignition/entry and several other subtle niceties.

Another facet that was also abandoned was the SH-AWD system. This optional feature might be missed, since it distributed power between the front and wheel axels, and the right and left wheels, making for superior handling and traction.

The new AWD system is lighter and costs less than the SH-AWD system. But the old system wasn’t missed while doing extensive driving in the Lake Tahoe region.

The handling was good, braking was strong and maintaining control never felt like a chore in the RDX, which also provides a fairly quiet ride.

There’s no mistaking that there is more performance with the revised RDX. The new engine is a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 273 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. This small SUV goes 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds, and can go head-to-head with any of its competition in this category.

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. This SUV provides excellent head and leg room, plus front-seat occupants have standard seat warmers. There is solid storage space in back and the cockpit layout makes sense and is easy to master.

The RDX is definitely improved, but there’s no guarantee that sales will improve. It resides amid some tough competition that includes the Volvo X60, Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Cadillac SRX. At least the RDX has a chance, going from second-tier SUV to one that can now definitely compete.

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