Is the Acura RDX the Family Man’s VW GTI?

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Pricing: (Starting at $32,520)

Engine: (2.3 liter turbocharged 4 cylinder) : (240 horsepower/260 lb. feet of torque)

Fuel Economy: (19 city/24 highway)

Life is full of little compromises. And never does a person's life become filled with more little compromises than when they start to raise a family. Out goes the youthful roadster and in comes the lumbering, gas guzzling SUV. But does it have to be that way? Can you have driving enjoyment, tons of room and that SUV-style high driving perch all in one vehicle? Well, now you can in the Acura RDX.

For the 2010 model year, Acura has decided to create a lower priced front drive version of the RDX as not everyone needs their clever full time AWD system. (This means you Southern California!) Top level models with all the toys and Acuras Super-Handling All Wheel Drive top out at a little over $37,000.

While you may think a 2.3 liter 4 cylinder would wheeze and whine trying to motivate a heavy SUV you would be wrong. The RDX moves off the line with such alacrity as to shove you back into your seatsomething that couldnt be said of more powerful MDX models of just a few years ago. Although Honda rarely does turbo motors, this one really is a gem. So why hasn't Honda dropped this into the Civic yet? I smell a new Honda Civic Si.

The interior is nicely appointed and when you order the Technology Package you get pretty much every electronic toy imaginable including voice activation, GPS with traffic and weather, DVD audio and more. It may cost a few thousand dollars to buy but the cost is definitely worth it as Acura has one of the best audio and navigation systems in the industry.

Cargo room is bigger on the inside than you would imagine when you look at the RDX from the outside. This luxury crossover also has one of the biggest locking cubbies I have ever seen in the center console of an automobile. Located right under a comfily padded center armrest, just open the lid and you can witness an expansive space of such hugeness and blackness that I fear nothing that enters it will ever be found again. Apparently it was designed to be big enough to hold a laptop. More like five laptops.

Spacious, elegant and decidedly sporty, the Acura RDX really stands in a class by itself. Too often overlooked by buyers of the Lexus RX and Mercedes GLK, the Acura RDX is also a very solid value proposition undercutting those foes by thousands of dollars when comparably equipped. It may not be the sexiest choice but it is definitely one of the smartest. And most importantly it is also an absolute hoot to drive.

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