Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Acura

2020 Acura RDX review

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.


2018 Okanagan Trip with the 2019 Acura RDX Elite

For our annual trip to the Okanagan we were able to take the “Acura RDX Elite” along for the ride. And needless to say we found ourselves falling for the charms of this luxury SUV. Truth be told we knew we would, so actually planned our road trip around having it for the week.

It is an eye catching vehicle. Sleek white, with a grill not unlike that of Mercedes, a similar design that translated well to the Acura here. My partner just wished that it the body work was designed to stand out a little more. It could afford to be a little different, a little more special, given Acura’s pedigree and the “Elite” connotation. Though the RDX Elite is freshly remodelled and looking better and sportier than ever with the Acura signature, Jewel Eye LED headlights.

And was just as beautiful on the inside. The totally redesigned interior is stunning, everything came together so well. The door panels flowed into the dash, and the suspended centre console served as the gear selector and touch pad. It had all the modern functionalities you’d except from a 2018 vehicle, all wrapped up in cushy leather seats.

Leather seats that when you adjusted them, the changes you apply are broadcasted onto the infotainment system. There, you see how far each supportive cushion extends, and what your button pushing, pressing, and tapping is doing as you go along. You can even ease your seat all the way back, and doze off while taking in the panoramic sun roof. I never go a road trip without napping in the front passenger.

The 2019 RDX is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-four, making 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque that peaks at just 1,600 rpm. And the previous six-speed automatic transmission was replaced with a new ten-speed automatic. The SH-AWD (for Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive) was also upgraded with torque vectoring. The powertrain is very impressive and with all the torque available at any rpm, so much so that my partner found himself having to work harder to keep within the speed limit.

It also comes with several modes you can toggle between: Snow, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. The first is self-explanatory, the second allowed us to maximize how smooth our ride travelled. The third added some spice to our dive (and was our favoured setting), making the car’s response heightened, while soliciting a growl from the engine that any carboy could appreciate. As for Sport+, it allowed for quicker shifting: it stiffened the steering and switches the gear shifter to manual mode so you can take advantage all of the available horses under the hood.


But the highlight and what set this vehicle apart was definitely the touch pad right under the gear shift. The more he played with it, the more my partner liked the sensation of sliding his finger up or left along the pad, thus navigating the infotainment screen a few instruments above. Although it came to a point where we found that he enjoyed the joy stick sensation too much. So much so that he began switching between satellite channels just for fun, like switching channels while watching tv. We soon after pulled over so that we could figure out how to create favourites for our preferred channels, in order to decrease the frequency of the toggling mentioned above. The goal, less removing of our hands of the wheel to click.

But first figuring out how to do create a music station favourite. It was quite the tedious undertaking. This included many back and forth toggles, and complaining of how long it took to complete the process: saving each of the seven stations you like. And then there was the question of how do you arrange them in the order you wanted? We spent over 40 minutes in the car, on the side of the road, and still couldn’t figure it out. (I was on my phone, not helping). This was then followed up with the question, “how do you remove the old favourites or the ones you typed in by accident? Another 10 minutes passed before we decided to continue on our drive…. the lesson here is to save time and read your car manual.

All this fuss because, music is very important when it comes to a road trip, it sets the tone and the mood. Luckily the Acura is equipped with a great sound system. The ELS Studio 3D audio system is a unit designed with the help of a Grammy winning record producer. The 710-watt system utilizes 16 speakers. Great for musical quality, but a hinderance when it came to shoulder checking. The driver’s shoulder checks were hindered by the extra speaker on the left of the driver’s side back seat. It was a nice feature for acoustics, but was easy to mistaken for another vehicle in your peripheral. The

Other long distance driving vehicle features include the ability to adjust the centre console and a cushioned brace for your wrist. The former was a great add-on for those with shorter arms. It offered plenty of cushion for the driver and passenger to be able to share the prop. Similarly, with more comfort in mind, there was a cushioned brace for your wrist, something to rest on while you toggle through the dash buttons and knobs, mentioned above.

Driving to, the cooling seats were a nice little treat for our bottoms. And as soon as we got to the valley and the smoke of the Okanagan forests on fire, got so thick that we couldn’t see or feel the sun past it, heated seat warmers became my favourite feature.

Sadly there was just too much smoke, so much so that on one day you couldn’t see more than a kilometre in front of you. And it got so bad that it rained ash, chucks of grey and black flakes that were especially noticeable against the white of the RDX Elite’s paint job.

So after the worst day of “black rain”, we went to the local self service car wash to give the Acura a little bath. This would be a rinse that soon became difficult. The car would sense something and react when my partner was washing it. When water hit the mirrors they flexed. And we caught both the head and fog lights blinking during this rinse; like trying to get the soap out of its “eyes”. It was especially troublesome to scrub the windshield, having to battle the rain sensor. It detected water and automatically had the wipers swiping back and forth. I am sure there was a way to disable all of this…but once again, we failed to read the manual, so were left struggling.

In short, the Acura RDX Elite was as quirky as it was practical. It had so much personality. It is definitely a SUV that we could see ourselves in, and one would buy, and could actually afford to buy. With plenty of trunk space thanks to its more compact five seats, rather than seven, the Acura RDX Elite makes for a great road trip vehicle, and/or the vehicle you would drive to the market to pick up groceries in. Thank you for the amazing memories Acura Canada.



Acura RLX 2018 sport hybrid review

In 2014 Acura introduced the RLX as their new redesigned flagship luxury sedan, it was longer and wider than the RL that it replaced. And today, four years later we would be given a week with the newest incarnation, which included another makeover.

Most noticeable is the new redesign of the front end, with restyled LED headlights and taillights. Less visual is the handful of updated tech, exclusive to this RLX sport hybrid edition.

Keeping in mind that I don’t know as much as my partner does when it comes to cars and what I am looking for, or need; I found this one particularly beautiful. A vehicle a non car enthusiast like myself can enjoy aesthetically. And you would think it feels the same when it greets you with blue LED lit door handles on all four for its doors. A nice feature and way to say “hi” in the dark.

Inside the car was considerate with luxury perks. The mirror at the back of the sun visor has lights on either sides of it. It was better lit than the one I use at home, giving you the perfect reflection, for that last minute make up application on your way to work. All while you recline in comfortable leather seats, with detailed stitching that hug you with cushiony lumbar support. And with a flick of a button give you a warming or cooling sensation to help regulate your core temperature from your butt to your back.

The sun roof window slides with ease, but sadly I would not be using it. I did this test in the underground parkade of my apartment building, because Vancouver gave us rain for the week. A shame, considering how stunning the car looks and how shiny it is, even on an overcast day. This is the type of vehicle you drive around in just to be seen in. Especially with roof and windows rolled down and your new 14 speakers Krell audio system pumped up.

And if and when you hit traffic, the new traffic jam assist comes to the rescue. It basically combines the active lane keep assist technology with the adaptive cruise control and low speed follow. All together these three help to take most of the work out of driving in stop and go traffic.

Under the hood the RLX Sport Hybrid is powered by a 3.5 litre, V-6 gas engine. Combined with 3 electric motors, it has an all wheel drive system. These electric motors are borrowed from the $200,000 NSX and everything together gives you a whooping 377hp and 341lb-ft. This is mated to a seven speed dual clutch automatic transmission, which is nothing to laugh at. Giving the RLX more power than his German rivals. While the hybrid system helps to save a good amount of fuel, even as you are taking advantage of this power. Ideal if you are doing all that driving around town that I mentioned above. And for those who don’t understand exactly how the hybrid system works, the RLX’s dash display illustrates this for you. Showing how the hybrid energy gets collected with every break and gets distributed to all for wheels of the car with every acceleration.

The RLX is a quiet and comfortable car. It is perfectly suited for both road trips and daily commutes. With a light and neutral steering wheel, that offers a touch more feel than its rival. In short, it is a seriously stunning car. And luxury label aside, a beautiful vehicle I want to own and would love to be able to get in and out of day to day. I will have to remember to loan this one again during summer for all of the above. Thanks Acura for the spectacular vehicle and the wonderful week we had in it.


Acura MDX Review

Earlier this month we had the privilege of driving around town in the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid. This is Acura’s first three row seater in an SUV hybrid. We found that the extra room helped to make this a great daily driver. Great for larger grocery runs or for those trips to storage. But I can absolutely imagine this being the perfect family vehicle for the mommies and daddies out there who want a safe and reliable vehicle with plenty of storage and cargo room. A car that is function, but still looks “cool”, with that high end vibe. The MDX doesn’t look like that soccer mom van, or that family bus. But instead, a handsome vehicle that can play both parts and look good doing it.

Once again we drove it around town, then utilized it for our weekend getaway to Whistler. My partner was especially excited for this test drive. Having really enjoyed the Honda Pilot Touring just this summer, he figured the MDX would most likely be better in every aspect. This is considering that Acura is the luxury brand of Honda.

And he couldn’t have been more right. The MDX Hybrid did not disappoint. It was an amazing looking vehicle with its low roof line, newly design “diamond pentagon” front grill, and the Acura exclusive ” Jewel Eye ” LED headlights that sandwich them. On the inside it was just as elegantly designed and refined as its exterior. You found all the latest mechanical conveniences and applicable gadgets. The same its competitors are offering in their models, but at a more conscious price point. Here there was value in your purchases of a Acura MDX.

My partner liked their use of a dual display screen. It does taking some getting use to, but once you do, it is very easy to navigate with, making the interior look even more luxurious, with technology.

Under the hood sits a 3.0 litre V6 gas engine. The hybrid system boosts its power to 321hp and 289lb-ft, that’s 31 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque more than the regular MDX. The regular MDX model comes with a 9 speed automatic transmission, whereas the hybrid model uses a more sophisticated 7 speed dual clutch transmission; resulting in smoother and more precise shift. The hybrid system is also very quiet. It barely noticeable, accept for the fact that it sings. A low hum sounds when it slowly rolls. It reminds me of the back-track that night play, when walking into a sun drenched meadow of wild flowers. This unique hybrid technology is borrowed from their supercar NSX.

Notably, the MDX hybrid is more powerful than its non hybrid version, and with the same fuel economy of a small hatchback. It was easy to navigate around town with. The power tailgate came in handy for everyday errands, and the heated seat aided us in those chilly early morning drives to work. As for our drive up to Whistler, it made the travel distance more enjoyable. The MDX never felt out of “breath” going up hill, it handled extremely well. The body rolls were very minimal for a 7 passenger SUV. The ride was so smooth and so quiet that I couldn’t help but be soothed by its motion. I found myself falling asleep several times, leaving my partner to navigate himself, behind the wheel. In conclusion the MDX exceeded all our expectations and we already miss having it in our driveway. Maybe next year again, Acura Canada?


Acura TLX Review

Acura TLX A-Spec 2018

Recently we had the privilege of test driving the 2018 Acura TLX, A-Spec and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

First of all, the 2018 edition comes with a new look. It is a lot bolder than it predecessor, outfitted with a new front grill. With it and the foglight, rear spoiler, and 19 inch and wide wheels, the TLX is a mean and sporty mid sized sedan.

Its interior is beautifully done with a black and red finish, it reminded my partner of the new NSX, and should be taken as a compliment. We especially liked the red leather seats, for its extra pop of colour and feel of luxury. And the LED accent lights that shone neon blue during our night drives. Buckled within, the seats hold you tight, a feature we found comforting on longer drives.

Like other Acuras we have driven, the TLX come with a dual screen display. And it might just be that we have grown accustomed to it, but all the buttons and controls were effortless to reach, on its well flowing dashboard. And with the chill of winter fast approaching, the heated seats and heated steering wheel will be one of those little extras you’ll be happy to have. Powertrain wise the A-Spec comes with a 3.5L V6, giving it 290hp and an automatic 9 speed transmission. The latter with four different modes: Econ, Normal, Sport, and Sport +.

With the weight of the car, my partner wasn’t expecting much performance wise, but he would be mistaken. The Acura pulled nicely and reach 0-100km in less than 6 seconds. He also liked its all wheel drive system, declaring it top notch. The (SH-AWD) relies on an electronic brain that evaluates a number of parameters. Measurements like the engine’s torque, the transmission’s gear, wheel speed, steering angle, and lateral acceleration. Taking all these into consider helps to determine the optimal torque distribution of the Acura, this improving its handling. Handling that was even more noticeable in our A-Spec, sport version for the week. It had firmer springs, a thicker anti-roll bar, and some tweaks to the power steering; making it all the more stable and precise.

In conclusion there wasn’t anything not to love about the Acura TLX. This dual-role car replaced both the TSX and TL and it did so, gracefully. A great ride for wanting a good looking, modern, and sporty mid size sedan; that fulfills all the expectations of an Acura.


Acura RDX test drive

I am shopping for a new vehicle. It has been five years with my current and after three rear ends, one side swipe, and numerous parking violations, it is time for an upgrade. A new vehicle with less mileage and less issues.

So when shopping for car with a great resell value, along with nice handling and look, my partner decided it should be an Acura. So when given the chance, we jumped at being able to try out the Acura RDX for a week. My partner wants a larger vehicle to be able to transport materials with, and I wanted a more compact and easy to park car, so this smaller SUV was a good compromise.

My partner was most giddy about picking her up for the week, taking multiple photos at the Honda Canada regional offices as soon as he was handed the keys. As a result, he has offered a lot of insight on this post.

The RDX drove more like a car than an SUV. Its power and handling gave you an amazing drive. It didn’t felt blocky or choppy like you would expect with an suv. This included transmission shifts that were both smooth and crisp.

As for its appearance, the headlights looked really menacing (I am told this is a good thing), with all the projectors lining up next to the other. inside. It is one of those vehicle you were proud to be seen in. And with the modern conveniences of satellite radio and cooling seats, it was a vehicle you wanted to get in to.

Not many people get such an opportunity to try before they buy, as thoroughly as we were given. So we took the RDX through the ringer. And what we found was a sense of confidence in the Acura badge. We might not get this exact model, but she was most helpful in helping us narrow down our search. Thank you Acura Canada.



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