2010 Acura Lineup
SEE ALSO: ACURA BUYERS GUIDE
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel
Acura’s 2010 lineup is significantly enhanced by four vehicles – the all-new TSX, the significantly enhanced RDX and MDX, and the all-new ZDX four-door sports coupe, due later this year. We had an opportunity to drive the first three recently at Acura’s National Full-Line e vent held in New York City and north. All three existing cars feature new technology packages along with the adoption of the corporate Acura grille.
The 3.6-liter V6 in the TSX lineup joins the 2.4-liter inline four in the present lineup. It offers a significant increase in power that is palpable. For example, while the four offers 201 horsepower and 172 lb.-ft. of torque, the V6 pumps out a healthy 280 hp and 254 lb.-ft. of torque.
We could feel the additional horsepower immediately. Acceleration was brisk, if somewhat noisy from a tuned exhaust. Under normal driving conditions, however, there’s little noise coming from the engine compartment. The new engine, that is also available in some other Acura vehicles, has an 11.2:1 compression ratio, integrated exhaust manifold and high-flow exhaust with dual tips, among other features.
Coupled to the engine is a 5-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the steering wheel if you choose to do the shifting yourself. There is a sensor-controlled return to full automatic if you’ve been cruising for a while, but we found that it will also return to full automatic after maybe 10 seconds in any gear.
Chassis enhancements include an independent double-wishbone front suspension that has been beefed up to accommodate the heavier engine and to give the TSX a sportier feel. There’s a revised electric power steering as well that gives more precise feedback.
Brakes have also been beefed up. The TSX V6 wears 18-inch tires, while the four-banger has 17-inch rubber.
It will be hard to tell the V6 from the 4, except for a “V6” badge on the trunk. There’s also a slight change to the front fascia, but without the two cars side-by-side, it’s hard to find.
Standard technology packages on the TSX include an AUX jack outlet, USB port connectivity, and a Bluetooth HandsFreeLink. Acura’s Technology Package also includes real-time weather, real-time traffic and a note function for the XM radio that tells you what’s playing and the source of the tune.
Pricing for the TSX ranges from $29,310 to $32,410, while the TSX V6 ranges from $34,850 to $37,950.
The RDX CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle) was introduced in 2007 as an all-new model. It was Acura’s first turbocharged vehicle and remains Acura’s only turbo. The RDX was an early entrant into a market that’s becoming crowded with entries from BMW, Land Rover and Infiniti, with new competitors coming from Audi and Mercedes-Benz this year. The RDX still commands 34 percent of the market.
Acura expects enhancements to their market share with the addition of a 2-wheel drive model. The 2WD model offers an improvement of approximately 2 mpg in both city and highway driving, as well as a lower price point. Acura’s reasoning behind this model is that there are many potential buyers, especially in the Sun Belt, who don’t want AWD. It will be priced $2,000 less than the AWD version ($32,520-$35,620 vs. $34,520-$37,620) when it goes on sale August 7.
Styling changes on the RDX include the addition of the Acura grille, fog lights and a new headlamp surround up front. In the rear, there are new exhaust finishers, black garnish around the bumper area, new taillights and a satin garnish around the license plate.
Technology packages are similar to those on the TSX, with the audio and navigation system upgrades. The technology package also includes, as does the TSX, the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, Zagat restaurant information and rearview camera; AcuraLink Satellite Communication System with Real-Time Traffic, Real-Time Weather and Traffic Rerouting; a 10-speakere Acura/ELS premium sound system; and a GPS-linked, solar sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system that will adjust the cooling to the side of the car facing the sun.
Since the MDX is the best-selling 7-passenger luxury SUV, you might ask, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke?” Well, Acura decided the MDX needed super freshening as well as the addition of some neat technology features, so it was time for the first redo since 2007.
Exterior changes include the addition of- you guessed it – the Acura grille. Other changes up front include a new bumper air intake, new finish around the headlights, and a new skid garnish that will make annoying noises when you scrape it on concrete parking lot stops, but will protect the car. The rear features an additional chrome molding, new exhaust finishers and a rear skid garnish.
Styling changes inside include new wood trim, new stitching, a black matte center stack, metal plated door handles, a new tachometer design, a thicker steering wheel and paddle shifters for those who like to shift it themselves. There’s also a new console storage tray, LED map lighting and a rearview mirror with a rearview camera display (if you don’t sign up for the navi system).
A veritable plethora of customer enhancing technologies add to the MDX. These include a multi-view backup camera, blind spot information system, collision mitigating braking system, adaptive cruise control and vented seats that are both heated and cooled. The last one is self-explanatory, but we’ll go over the others.
Multi-view backup camera – When you shift into reverse you get the standard view of what’s behind the MDX. But, you can also flip a selector switch and get a fish-eye view that’s a bit wider than the standard view. You can also switch to a top-down view that gives you an idea of what’s directly behind the MDX. This view is also excellent if you’re hitching up a trailer and what to aim the hitch right under the tongue. As one engineer put it, “You can be the hero of the boat launch.”
Blind spot information system – Two radar detectors note if there are vehicles in the right or left blind spots and flash the information to a readout at the base of the A-pillar. These are able to detect cars or trucks when you’re passing another vehicle, when you’re being passed, or when you’re merging or changing lanes. In my mind this is one of the most significant safety features since the seat belt.
Automatic Cruise Control/Collision Mitigation Braking System – Adaptive cruise control will slow you down if your speed is faster than that of the vehicle in front of you. If the object in front of you is drastically slower, or stopped, CMBS will prepare the MDX for the eventual collision. It will slow the MDX, but it will not stop it. Acura’s reasoning is that by this time the driver will have noticed that there is an imminent collision and take evasive action on his or her own.
On the performance side, the MDX has a new 6-speed automatic transmission, retuned active damper system, new 19-inch tires and wheels and hill start assist. The 3.7-liter V6 engine offers 300 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque and delivers 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 18 mpg overall.
Pricing on the MDX will be determined when it goes on sale in the late fall or early winter.
(c) 2009 The Auto Page Syndicate