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Acura's RDX a lovely thing to drive

The 2022 Acura RDX is a mostly terrific mid-sized luxury SUV that goes head-to-head with some pretty high-powered competitors from around the world.

The vehicle, now in its third generation, balances luxury and style with performance, while adding Honda/Acura's usual annoyances that try very hard to suck out any of the joy the driving experience might otherwise bring you.

And that's too bad. I've always liked the RDX – it's more my size of vehicle than its big brother the MDX, for example, more like a Porsche Macan compared to a Cayenne. Not that I want you to think the RDX can go head-to-head with that lovely SUV (well, to be fair, I haven't driven a Macan since the model first came out, so Porsche may have ruined it as well, though I doubt it), I'm just putting it into market perspective.

Actually, a better comparison might be to Lexus' brand new, second generation NX, which I reviewed here. It's ironic, in a "there's just no pleasing some people" kind of way because I liked driving the RDX better than the Lexus, but I'd rather live with the Lexus.

A big part of the reason is the damn trackpad Acura has decided to inflict upon its owners – just as Lexus starts getting rid of its version of the abomination. Trackpads are finicky and require you to take your eyes off the road far too much. more...

Mostly terrific new TLX points the way toward an even nicer future for Acura

It's handsome, it's fast (enough), it's luxurious and it's comfortable. Is there anything the 2021 Acura TLX isn't?

Well, it isn't a panacea for all the Honda-isms I've complained about for several years, but it is a big step forward in many ways.

The TLX, which started life as a kind of blending of the old TL and TSX, is a mid-sized luxury sport sedan, the type of car the company has made for decades – right back, really, to the original Legend. It goes head-to-head against such tough competitors as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS and Genesis G70. The Acura and the Audi are based on front drive platforms, though both offer all-wheel-drive options – as do the rear drive BMW and Genesis.

Tough competition, indeed, and that's only a few of the models the TLX has to beat out in this busy segment. Does it?

Well, if it doesn't beat them out, it's certainly very competitive. And later this year, Acura says, it'll become even more competitive as the company adds a turbo V6 to the mix, supposedly its most powerful V6 ever - which says something, since the mighty NSX has always been V6-powered and no one ever accused it of being slow. more...

Acura MDX gets a major upgrade for 2022

Acura's new flagship SUV, the MDX, is back with an all-new set of clothes in what the company says is "a quantum leap forward with a bold exterior design coupled with a sophisticated and elegant new interior featuring the most high-tech and advanced cockpit in the brand's history."

And it's all true, though I'm not as ready to heap praise on the "most high-tech and advanced cockpit" part.

Still, as someone who hasn't had a lot of nice things to say about Honda and its higher end division for several years now, I will tell you that this new MDX (and the new TLX that'll be the subject of my next car column) is a great vehicle to drive, has lovely styling outside and, mostly, inside, and (since it's Japanese) will probably last long enough to hand down to your grandkids when the time comes. more...

Acura RLX soldiers on bravely and quite nicely

Acura's biggest and most powerful sedan is a very nice ride.  I'm not sure that's enough to make the car stand out in a niche full of really nice luxury sedans, though.

Still, you get a lot of niceness for your after-tax disposable income.

The RLX succeeded the RL a few years back, a luxury sedan I liked a lot, and this replacement has much to recommend. Oomph is plentiful, comfort and luxury abound, and the car will probably outlive its owners. So why do I come away from a week with it feeling kind of "meh?"

Simply, because – as nice as it is, the RLX Sport Hybrid also really annoys me, and it's mostly due to interface design and usability choices Honda/Acura has made in recent years.

That doesn't mean the RLX is a worthless pretender. Far from it. And Acura has given the sedan some tweaks this year that are meant to keep it interesting. These changes include new front and rear styling the company says reflect its new design direction and its "signature" diamond pentagon grille. The hood has a couple of creases on it that give it a kind of weird, "pre-crumpled" look, but it's hardly offensive. There are also new seats, and they're available in Saddle Brown leather now. You can also choose from two new premium exterior paint options. Pretty exciting stuff! more...

Acura's 2019 RDX an interesting and fun compact luxury SUV

It's being touted as Acura's new direction and, as such, it's an interesting case study in how a company responds to the ever-evolving competition.

I was on Acura's junket to San Francisco when the original RDX came out. It was Acura's first turbo four, and it was a wonderful SUV that featured what at the time was probably the best audio system I'd experienced in a vehicle.

That ELS audio system is still around, kind of, but it has also marched along with the marketplace – which to me is a double-edged sword.

But overall, this 2019 Acura RDX is a terrific premium SUV, though as with many Honda/Acuras of the past few years I came away with less hair than when I went into the review because some fuzzy design or execution had me tearing at it.

Your mileage may vary, of course, which is why it's so wonderful having so many great choices in the automotive marketplace.

Acura Canada says this third-generation RDX represents "the most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade" and is "the first in a new generation of Acura products inspired by 'Precision Crafted Performance' (signalling) the beginning of a new era for the luxury automaker. more...

Acura adds A-Spec goodies to 2018 TLX

Honda's luxury division may have sparked the Japanese invasion of the luxury and high end sports car markets - and led the way for several years after that - but you might wonder what the company has done lately.

Well, besides the new NSX supercar, the company has continued to release well built, luxurious vehicles that are stuffed with technology. The problem is, everyone else is doing the same thing, only some have now passed Acura's lead enough that the folks at Honda's top niche may find themselves a tad lost in the customer shuffle. And that's a shame.

It's easy to see why, though. Honda/Acura still make great cars, but they seem to have forgotten about the people who actually use them, via unfathomable ergonomics and electronics controls and safety nannies that are so obtrusive at times that I wanted to smash my fist into the poor, innocent steering wheel.  

The TLX is a prime example of what Acura and Honda are doing now, both good and bad: it goes like heck, has everything you could want (and then some), and is a compelling vehicle to drive. Yet in its niche, competing against such worthies as the Audi A4, BMW 3 series, Jaguar XE, and Lexus IS, it seems to practically disappear. more...

Acura's biggest SUV gets rhinoplasty for 2017

The Acura MDX has traditionally been a very nice luxury SUV and this might explain why the 2017 version hasn't changed a lot from the previous year.

Probably the biggest change is to its front end, which now sports a new grille the company calls "diamond pentagon." I had no issues with the last schnozzola on the MDX - my issues with the vehicle stem more from an interior treatment that hasn't been changed significantly, and that's a shame.

Besides the new grille, the MDX gets a more sharply sculpted hood, front fascia and front fenders, new LED fog lights and the cool Jewel Eye headlights that are appearing on the company's inventory. There's also a new chrome rocker panel design, the rear bumper has been redesigned, and you now get twin tailpipes. It's a handsome exterior, indeed. more...

Entry level Acura a nice ride once nannies shut off

It used to be the EL, then the CSX and now it's the ILX. Whatever you want to call it, it's Acura's lowest priced sedan and it's a darn nice one all things considered.

Sure, it's basically a gussied up Honda Civic, but if you have to start with something as the basis for a car, you could do a lot worse! After all, it isn't as if the Civic is a slug itself! And this year, Acura has upped the oomph ante, kind of, by dropping the base engine from previous years, now offering only the one engine that was previously the ILX's top line choice, a 2.4 litre inline four cylinder unit rated at 201 horsepower and 180 lb.-ft. of torque.

The horsepower is adequate, though a higher torque figure would be nice. That said, the car reminds me of the original generation Acura TSX, which also didn't offer excessive power but which was about as much fun as you could get from a normally-aspirated four banger back then. The ILX doesn't feel as sporty and spry as the TSX, sadly, but it's pretty good nonetheless, especially if you press it. more...

Acura TLX: blending two cars into a different type of hybrid

Take two long in the tooth Japanese luxury sports sedans and toss them into a blender and what do you get? A single replacement that takes bits of both parents and puts them into an attractive new package. So is the whole of the Acura TLX more than the sum of its parts?

I think so, at least as far as Acura Canada's review sample is concerned. The TLX is the replacement for both the TL and the TSX, the former of which was originally a very nice mid-sized luxury sedan while the latter was originally a very nice but more "entry level" luxury sedan. And the resulting "hybrid" version of the two cars into one turns out to be a pretty nice car. It isn't a traditional hybrid, in that it isn't a gas/electric vehicle, but it's a hybrid in that it blends two quite different cars into a single entity. more...

Acura flagship sedan causes rethink for hybrid denier

Gobsmacked, I tell you. That was my reaction after a week driving Acura's RLX Sport Hybrid, the top version of the company's luxury sedan line. That's because I came away from the experience actually preferring the hybrid to the gas-only version of the car.

Better not stand too close lest you become collateral damage from the pending lightning strike!

Honda's flagship division's biggest sedan is a really nice car in whichever livery you dress it, with good performance, lots of technology and the type of creature comforts you'd expect from a nearly $70,000 vehicle. And it doesn't seem overpriced considering its competition. more...

New Acura flagship can give drivers "P-AWS"

Acura is definitely not pussyfooting around! Honda's flagship division has released a pair of new top line models, both of which are very nice vehicles that offer consumers plenty of performance, high technology and abundant features for a not unreasonable dollar.

Don't confuse them with Acura's real flagship NSX, however. That new supercar is oozing its way toward the marketplace at glacial speed, whereas the new generations of the MDX SUV/crossover and RLX sedan are starting to appear on North American roads already. And so they should. They're far more mainstream than the someday-to-be-available hybrid supercar and so should appeal to a wide range of luxury vehicle shoppers. more...

Acura ILX – a TSX in cheaper clothing

Acura's new entry level sedan is a nice blend of luxury and performance – and if you get the upmarket engine it's also more darn fun than you might think it should be.  

The new  car,  dubbed the ILX (maybe it's the only one of its, er, ilks?), is based on the Honda Civic, which isn't a bad place to start, but you'd never know that to look at the car. It's luxurious enough to deserve the Acura badge, but not so high end that it's priced in the stratosphere. In fact, with a starting price of just under 30 grand, it offers excellent value considering what you get.

On the other hand, for that price you'll be getting the smaller, two liter engine with its 150 horsepower and 140 torquey thingies, which is more Civic-like than the up-and-comers Acura is aiming at may want. And it comes with a five speed automatic transmission – in an era of six speed competitors.

For a couple of extra grand, however, you can opt for the 2.4 liter power plant of the "ILX Dynamic" test car I drove for a week. more...

Acura, Toyota Showcase the Evolution of Quality Auto Audio

Car audio has come a long way since the 8-Track tape cartridge moved it beyond merely being a platform for AM and, if you were lucky, FM radio.

I've been a fan of Acura's optional ELS premium system. It does nearly everything that it should, with the exception of playing SACD discs (which are rare anyway), and the systems are matched well with the vehicles in which you can get them – which pretty well runs the gamut of the Acura line. more...

Acura RL Offers Comfort, Technology

Acura's freshened flagship may not be all new, but it's still a great tool for the right audience.  

The RL has been around for years, and I expect this current generation to be replaced before much longer. It's a car I've driven a couple of times and I like it very much. I've also spoken to people who own the car and they've told me they love its combination of sophistication and comfort. These folk don't seem to notice that the RL may not measure as high on the "pulse-quickening meter" as some other sedans in this class – and even if they did I doubt they'd care: the RL delivers for them in different ways. more...

Acura ZDX – a Stealth Bomber for the Road

Acura's new "crossover utility vehicle with the design of a personal sports coupe" turns out to be a heckuva vehicle. Once you get used to it, anyway.

Going into my review, I just knew I was going to hate the ZDX. I'd seen it around and thought it was the ugliest thing to come out of the Honda/Acura company yet. And given the look of the current Accord, Accord Crosstour and, especially, the Acura TL, that was saying quite a bit. But given my overall respect for Honda, I buried my feelings and tried to give the ZDX a fair assessment.

Good thing, too. After my week with this "SUV-compatible", it had not only grown on me, but I came away liking the ZDX – a lot. This is a vehicle I would own, especially if I did a lot of highway driving. more...

Acura and Honda "Cute Utes" Provide Good Rides

Whether you go up market or mainstream, the Honda Motor Company has an "entry level" sport utility vehicle they think you'll like. And they may be right. I certainly like both of them.

Not that Honda is alone in this, of course, but its CR-V and Acura RDX are both fine and compelling vehicles with a lot to offer. Choosing between them amounts basically to how much you want to be coddled, how much you want to spend and how sporty you want your vehicle to be. more...

Acura MDX Tweaked Nicely for '10

Acura's big SUV didn't need a lot of fixing for 2010, and the company has wisely kept its hands off it for the most part. That doesn't mean a little freshening might be unwelcome, though, and that's basically what the folk at Acura have done: take a very nice vehicle and make it even more compelling.

On the outside, the 2010 MDX has been given a new grille that matches other models' – such as the TSX and TL – better, and it works better here than it does there. There's also a new front fascia, side sills, a tweaked hood and the rear fascia is now matched with "rolled edge polished stainless-steel exhaust finishers".  The taillights now have brighter LED's as well. more...

New and Improved TL, TSX Highlight Acura for 2010

It's a darn shame that Acura/Honda seems to have fired its exterior designers because they make some really nice cars.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I realize, and even though the TL was never the most attractive vehicle in the stable it was never worse than bland before this new version came along. It's darn ugly now, in my never humble opinion, and that's too bad, because it remains a wonderful car.

Maybe it'll grow on me like the TSX has. I was disappointed in the smaller sedan's styling when the second generation came out, but now think that it's just fine. more...

Acura RDX Vs. Mazda CX-7 – a Head to head Matchup

Which is better, luxury performance, or classic "Zoom-Zoom"? Or perhaps more accurately, which of these popular SUV's turned my crank the most after spending back-to-back weeks with them: the Acura RDX or Mazda CX-7?

I drove the Acura RDX first, a vehicle I like very much and which would be on my short list if I were looking for a machine in this class. It's a little higher end than the Mazda CX-7, with more technology and stuff. Naturally, it's also a few grand dearer. Not that the CX-7 is some kind of dinosaur. more...

TSX – Acura's Bad Boy Goes Good

It sports a new set of clothes and a grown up demeanor, but is the TSX still Acura's bad boy, the little sedan with attitude?

I'm not sure. After driving it for a week, my impression of Acura's 2009 TSX is that the TSX I loved so much may have lost some of  its soul in the process of maturing. more....

Acura RL – Top Drawer Amenities, Quiet Grace

Who'd have thought a state-of-the-art luxury sedan could be schizophrenic?

Acura's 2008 RL is a lovely car, comfortable and powerful and with just about any gadget you could imagine in a motor vehicle short of an automatic pilot. But the only time it really comes to life is when you shift it into manual mode and grab hold of the paddle shifters – at which time it becomes much more compelling. more....

Acura TL Type S – Luxury Sport That Can Deafen

You could call the 2008 Acura TL Type-S "a TL with more a-PL".

Or you could just say this "near luxury" sports sedan ups the ante over the garden variety TL by adding more power and some chassis upgrades to an already compelling package. more....

2008 ACURA CSX Type S

What's even better than a garden variety Honda Civic? How about a souped up, luxurious version?

It's the Canadian-spec Acura CSX Type S, a little rocket that's mostly analogous to the Civic Si sedan, but with different logos, grille, tail light treatment and other goodies thrown in to send the up market Civic a little bit more up market. more....


Acura's new MDX is bigger, more plush and more technologically advanced than its predecessor. It's also a comfortable and rewarding vehicle to drive.

The company says the 2007 MDX competes in the "Mid Premium" Sport Utility Vehicle segment, a niche they expect will grow by some 16 per cent over the next half decade. There are reasons for SUVs' popularity, including hauling space, a higher view of the traffic around you and, perhaps, a more robust package in case you get slammed into by someone in a Yugo. Such vehicles are getting increasingly efficient, too, which will hopefully help lead those busybodies who think they know what you should be driving to find something else to protest.

I understand Wal-Mart's a pretty popular target these days…. more....

Totally Seductive Xperience

Acura's TSX is a classic example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Like a football team that doesn't have the best quarterback or the strongest defense but which manages to fight its way to the championship anyway, the TSX won't win any "Automotive Superbowls" for its horsepower, torque, and the like, yet it's a delight to drive and would undoubtedly be an easy car to live with.

The TSX comes across as a lively little thoroughbred that's athletic and quick, and as happy to please as a puppy. more...

"Entry Premium" SUV

San Francisco, CA – Acura's new "entry premium" SUV, the RDX, not only introduces the company's first turbocharger and intercooler to the western hemisphere, it also ups the occupant enjoyment ante via a comfortable cabin featuring a newly designed surround sound audio system that's a joy for the ears.

Acura introduced the RDX to North American media-types in a manner befitting a luxury vehicle, with a deluxe tour of the San Francisco area that let the writers put the vehicle through its paces on a selection of bloody marvelous California roads that gave us the perfect opportunity to check out the RDX's driving feel and comfort quotient.

And check them out we did. This is a very nice vehicle, indeed, and Acura will undoubedly sell truckloads of them. more...

Canadian-Spec Sedan

It isn't as racy as the TSX or RSX, but Acura's new CSX is a fitting successor to the now-defunct EL as its Canadian market entry level sedan.

The EL began life as basically an up market Honda Civic, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that. Through two generations, the EL carried Acura's compact luxury sedan banner very well, but now the company has decided to break with that tradition and give the new version a new name.

And that's okay. The CSX is a fine little car and I suspect Acura Canada will sell truckloads of them. more...

Really Xhilarating Stuff

Talk about Shock and Awe.

When the Acura RSX debuted as a replacement for the popular Integra, there was a certain amount of shock generated as people wondered why the company had chosen to introduce an all new model rather than just upgrade the Integra to a new generation.

That shock has now passed as the RSX has proved itself over the past few years, replaced by a sense of awe. As in awe over Acura's skill in taking what had been a nice "entry level" sporty car and turning it into a really nice “entry level” sporting car.

And of course for 2005, Acura has upped the ante even more. more...

Four Door Flagship

Acura’s top-of-the-line sedan is all new, offering a handsome new suit of clothes inside and out, more power, and enough technological goodies to please the gadget geek in all of us.

It also comes with a nifty new all wheel drive system that strikes a balance between Acura’s penchant for front wheel drive with the market segment’s penchant for rear wheel drive vehicles. more...

TL has real Appeal

Once again Acura has left me in awe – and I wasn’t even able to drive the car properly!

The Acura TL Type S may be gone, but performance aficionados need not mourn. Its replacement gives you everything that was great about that car, and a lot more. more...

Honda Hits a Homer

A home run?

Acura's new TSX sports sedan is more like a grand slam.

And oh, she's a seductive beast. Spend more than a couple of minutes behind the wheel and you're lost – obsessed with this wonderful car and willing to do whatever it takes to keep it. more...

Honda's Beaut Ute

If there are “cute” utes, and “brute” utes, Acura may have created a new category called “beaut” utes.

The Acura MDX may not be the most off-road-ready of sport utility vehicles, but it could be the most perfect compromise between the various facets sport, utility, and luxury.

MDX is mid-sized, though it seems BIG when you first get in. It still fits nicely into a parking spot, however, and the more you drive it the more it seems to fit like the proverbial glove. In the end, it feels just right. more...

Only in Canada? Pity!

Acura’s 2001 1.7 EL is a marvelous bargain that makes luxury and performance almost as affordable as a garden variety Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, unless you’re a Canadian, you can’t get this snazzy set of wheels. more...

Stealth Rocket

If you're looking for a comfortable four door sedan with guts, check out Acura's 3.2 TL Type S.

This is the "souped up" TL, featuring more horsepower (260 @ 6100 rpm for the Type S as opposed to the basic TL's 225 @ 5600 rpm) and torque (232 lb.-ft. @ 3500 rpm versus 216 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm) as well as a few other goodies that separate it from its more "sedate" sibling.

Things like a thicker and more robust dual muffler exhaust system, 17 inch wheels with V-rated performance tires, and a few other touches here and there. more...

ACURA 3.2 CL Type S
Road Rocket

Acura's 2001 3.2 CL Type S is such a missile you may want to purchase a radar detector to go with it.

Its 260 horsepower and 232 pound feet of torque launch it almost as if it had solid rocket boosters, which makes it an easy target for officers looking to shoot a few motoring fish in a barrel. The bright, fire engine red color of the 2002 model I drove for about a week didn't help: I might as well have had a "ticket me!" sign.

Needless to say, driving the CL Type S is an "accelerating" experience. more...

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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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