For those who need the confidence of all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction on winter roads, Acura offers its 2012 RDX SH-AWD compact crossover. This luxury-oriented, 5-seat family mini-ute sports the 60.3 cubic feet of cargo area featured in its front-wheel-drive RDX siblings, as well as the same turbocharged power and posh standard goodies.
Outside, look for amenities like 18-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and heated power-adjustable mirrors to complement the power sunroof, while interior bling includes leather upholstery bolsters, heated power-adjustable front seats with memory for driver's settings and leather, wood and simulated alloy cabin accents. Full power accessories, of course, come standard, as do cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a universal remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera. Meantime, the leather and simulated alloy steering wheel mounts redundant audio controls and paddle shifters, and again, all of this is chilled by auto climate control.
Tech-wise, the 2012 RDX SH-AWD mirrors its less traction-heavy stablemate with standard Bluetooth hands-free calling and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, as well as a 360-watt audio ensemble boasting an MP3-capable 6-CD player, 7 speakers, satellite radio, an auxiliary iPod input and a USB port.
By far the most popular option for this high-end hauler is the Technology Package, featuring a navigation suite with 8-inch display and real-time traffic, as well as upgraded climate control and the Acura/ELS premium audio system sporting 10 Surround Sound speakers. If a few more accessories are needed, check out the available remote engine start, splash guards and various interior and exterior trim upgrades that can be added by the dealer.
Standard power for the 2012 RDX SH-AWD is a variable-valve-timed (VVT) 2.3-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that’ll put out some 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque under the management of a standard 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Look for mileage numbers that droop to a dismal 17 mpg city/22 highway in this AWD-toting crossover, but maybe its 1,500 pounds of towing capacity (with the proper equipment) might offset those wallet-spanking economy figures.
In any case, the full-time AWD system allows the traditional 50/50 torque split in normal driving conditions, with power added to the outside wheels in tight turns for some smile-inducing handling attributes. When roads get slippery, meantime, the system automatically transfers torque from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip to keep this luxury-laden ute on the straight and narrow.
Notable standard safety features, finally, include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Secondary safety stuff, meanwhile, includes daytime running lights, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, front fog/driving lights, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and a remote antitheft alarm.