This blog entry is the second in a three-part series covering significant crossover vehicles shown at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Part one highlights the new 2016 Honda Pilot, part two features the refreshed 2016 Acura RDX, and part three covers the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox.


Photo: 2016 Acura RDX

About 30 minutes after their 2015 Chicago Auto Show press conference covering the 2016 Honda Pilot ended, American Honda Motor Co. switched focus over to its sister brand, Acura. Not to be outdone by its Honda sibling, the luxury marque dropped the curtain on its 2016 RDX crossover utility.

Acura has seen great success with the small crossover over the past 13 months. Deliveries approached nearly 45,000 units last year (a record for the model), and the model broke a monthly sales record in January this year. It’s quite obvious Acura’s utility is a favorite of entry luxury SUV segment consumers.

For 2016, the refreshed RDX received more technology, an improved powertrain and enhanced interior treatments.  By adding optional fog lights as well as new LED headlights, the updated lighting design keeps with the illumination scheme seen on the rest of the brand’s lineup. Powertrain improvements include a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Engineers were able to raise the fuel economy of the RDX by utilizing cylinder deactivation technology. The 2016 front-wheel drive model is capable of achieving 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. All-wheel drive versions see one mpg less in both city and highway driving.

Inside, the interior’s trim work received a black and silver treatment, while seats were given a more luxurious look and feel. With the goal of improving climate in the back seat, rear passengers are treated to new, second-row climate vents. Luxury-focused options, such as rain-sensing wipers, remote keyless start and ventilated front seats are now available.

The list of safety options is deep, with Acura naming their driver assistance suite AcuraWatch. A collision mitigation braking system, front and rear parking sensors, dimming driver’s side mirror, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control are all part of the safety ensemble.

With more luxury content, an improved powertrain and better packaging, Acura’s smallest utility will continue to add solid rivalry within the highly competitive CUV segment when it goes on sale this spring.