A Regular Girl’s Guide to Cars~

I am not a self proclaimed car enthusiast, for the longest time I have only considered them the means to get from point A to point B. However, with the influence of my partner, this has changed. He is the motor-head in the family: he eats, breathes, and dreams about cars in their most exotic of forms. And as a result, I have learned a thing or two living and traveling with him across these past 9 years. I have attended my fair share of races and rallies, enough to earn an interest in the vehicles that drive in them, but not necessary what is under the hood or behind the badge.

So with this in mind, for 2020 I have decided to write this, “A regular girl’s guide to cars.” I will be reviewing every day vehicles and some luxury wheels with the goal of accessing their everyday utility. I don’t care if it “comes standard”, if it interests me I will mention it here, much like how I review restaurants and experiences on this blog: details are what you are going to get. Welcome to “regular girl reviews”.

This week I would be commuting around in the Acura RDX, made even more memorable thanks to its red leather interior. A chic feel for those who are fashion forward and enjoy a pop of colour for something more unique. I did. And it certainly elevated my experience, and my feeling of grandeur each time I took a seat on it.

As the luxury label for Honda, I was expecting to catch many nuances in the 2020 Acura RDX; little perks and nods for the driver willing to pay more for more. And it did not disappoint. This began with keyless entry. No need to push a button or twist a key, keyless entry means a one of a kind greeting as the car unlocks the driver side door all on its own. This is especially handy if you are like me, you toss your keys into your bag, and can’t be bother to fish them out before getting in. And with push button ignition, you only need to have the keys within the car to start driving it. Guarantee, you will never lock your keys in, if it never leaves your purse or pocket. And if you do leave the fob behind, the car sounds, so you won’t be able to get very far without retrieving it. It then locks itself when when you walk away, tucking in the mirrors to avoid scratches.

Climbing in, the driver seat moves back for easier entry. It then moves into place with you on it, as per driver “1’s” memory settings. Great if you are the only one who drives the mid size SUV, not so great for anyone else. I was driver “2” and I basically found myself “setting up” the RDX every time I got in and out. (This included quick runs into the grocery store.) Yes, it is only a button, and yes it doesn’t take too long for the seat to adjust into place, but I like the idea of being able to get in and go. And this is coming from a girl who buys two of everything in her make up bag, so that she can have one in her kit at home, and another in her handbag for emergency touch ups. I want my life and commute as easy and pain-free and possible.

One of the first things I do when I test drive a new vehicle is fiddle around with all the buttons and dials. The reality is I want them all assessable to me when I am driving, and all of a sudden need to de-fog the windows, turn down the heat, or skip a song I dislike. But with shorter arms, this was harder to do in the RDX. Button mashing required more effort and stretch.

And instead of a traditional joystick-like gear selector, you have a series of ascending buttons. Buttons to push to switch from park, reverse, neutral, and drive. Easy enough to figure out, but a nuisance for those with a longer manicure. I found myself using my knuckle to push these buttons down. It also simplifies the action of moving the car a little too much for me. It feels like you are flipping a switch and turning on a toy, as oppose to a vehicle with 272 horse power and 280 foot pounds of torque.

Using the dial to change the modes was easier, but for city driving I didn’t use all it much. I did like the touch pad navigation under it, but also didn’t use it all that much. This is considering it was just easier to tap the touch screen with the ball of your finger. Although when I did, the clicking sensation on the touch pad had a nice sensory feel. It felt solid, hard to describe, you just have to try it for yourself. But I didn’t understand the position of its wrist rest, it didn’t make the touch pad any easier to use, nor was it even all that comfortable. Ans I couldn’t see myself resting my hand there for more than the second I was scrolling. Instead, I would have liked a more prominent arm rest. Something more than the short padded cushion covering the back-half of the centre console. A place to put my right hand elbow, and thus forearm in rest.

As for the way it drives, the RDX is incredibly nimble, the steering wheel just glides, the car swivels with the slightest motion you make. Overall, I found it very agile for its size. I definitely caught myself driving around town, transversing tighter and narrower streets, and parking in smaller stalls, that I normally avoid with larger vehicles. Although reverse stall parking was more challenging, given the blind spots. There aren’t any back up sensors, but the high definition camera does help here.

I liked how the 2020 RDX handled its speed bumps, doing so without the need to slow down to a halt. You don’t get much body motion from climbing over them, nor when you take a sharp corner or change lanes abruptly. Instead, you always feel steady and in control, be it hurling down a bumpy highway, or gliding over fresh pavement. And despite its size, it was nice to see that it didn’t roll back on steep hills either. That is one of those things that I get anxious over, having to balance on the pedal. But no fear here.

And as one who does tend to drive on the faster side, the brake light feature is a nice additive. Perfect for distracted driving or driving in gridlock, a warning splashes across your dash to let you know if you’re getting too close to the vehicle in front of you. It gives this notice with plenty of time, so that you need not go heavy footed to slow down. However, you do still need to be on the cautious side, as you can easily end up going faster than the speed limit. It is too easy to accelerate in the RDX. And because it is so stable, you don’t feel like you are going all that much faster, until you look down at the speedometer.

And if you are sitting in traffic for longer than you would like, at least the seats are comfortable. They cup your body in a hug. Although I do have broader shoulders, and did find it was a little limiting when trying to lean back. But with heated seats that kept the full length of your body warm quick, I didn’t mind.

In short, the 2020 Acura RDX is great ride, and a good compromise for those who like a SUV, but want the accessibility of a sedan. Thanks for the opportunity Acura Canada.