By Nitish S. Rele

After a major overhaul three years ago, the 2016 Acura RDX gets a mid-cycle refresh, which we believe adds more value. As a result, the small luxury crossover maintains its status quo with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranking out 279 horsepower (up 6 from predecessor) @ 6,200 rpm and 252 lbs.-ft. (up 1) of torque @ 4,900 rpm under the hood. A fresh variable cylinder management system deactivates up to half of the cylinders at lower speeds to enhance gas efficiency. The 6-speed auto gearbox is unchanged though we won’t be surprised if it jumps to 8-speed next time.

Keeping the SUV steady at all times once again is a MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension to result in a well-damped ride. Thanks to Electric Power Steering, which means no hoses or pumps, there are fewer trips to the gas station. The front-wheel-drive model EPA estimates are 20/29 mpg whereas the all-wheel drive 19/28 mpg (both highway estimates see 1 mpg hike).

Acura jewel-eye LED headlights and tail lamps flank a fresh three-dimensional grille with more forceful lower front and rear bumpers to result in an intimidating appearance, sort of. Noticeable immediately is the high-contrast silver and black trim as well as the spacious rear-seat legroom and cargo space. Standard amenities include 10-way driver and eight-way front-passenger power, heated seats, 60/40 rear seat with air vents, tilt/telescopic steering column, Acura premium sound system, and power moon roof and tail gate that can be activated remotely. Total passenger volume is a laudable 103.5 cubic feet while cubicles and bins are well placed.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, front and rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts, active front head restraints, side impact door beams, immobilizer theft-deterrent system, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

Its all-wheel-drive (also offered in front wheel) capabilities ensure safety for occupants of the SUV under inclement weather and road conditions. Plus, the RDX boasts excellent liveliness and grip, muscular styling and a purposeful cabin.

Ferman Acura is located at 11025 N Florida Ave. in Tampa. For more information, call 931-6000.

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