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TOV Forums > RDX > > Re: Some creative writing about my RDX drive

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NSXman
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Some creative writing about my RDX drive    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 19:52
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I've been writing a bit lately for fun and to relax.

Just thought I'd share...

When I made the appointment to drop off my 2014 MDX for service, the advisor informed me that he had reserved a loaner car. This was a CPO warranty claim and it ended up being a painless process from my end. A several hundred-dollar repair with no money spent and very little inconvenience? I'll take it.

A few weeks later as I pulled into the dealership, I started to wonder what loaner car would be waiting for me. Would it have been a TLX or an MDX? Would I get to try out the oft-maligned 9-speed automatic? Perhaps an unappreciated RLX, though I imagine you needed to be rolling up in an NSX or your own RLX to get that kind of perk. Maybe theyíd go cheap on me and have an ILX warming up with a hot cup of instant Sanka coffee to complete the insult.

Nope to all of that. The loaner car was a nearly new 2019 RDX covered in Majestic Black Pearl. It really was a pretty thing (from most angles), but the greatest surprise for me was waiting inside. To my surprise, they hadnít gone cheap on me at all. For while the RDX was missing out on Acuraís SH-AWD system, the SUV was sporting the Advance Package that also comes with the niceties of the Technology Package. According to Acuraís website, this build was nearly $46,000.
I felt very nice and very well taken care of as I was pulling away. I knew I was going to get to sample Hondaís 2.0 turbo 4 that had already found a home in the Accord and the award-winning Civic Type R. I also was thinking about the 10 forward gears sandwiched between the engine and the front wheels that were waiting for my commands. This transmission is the sort of step forward a Honda fan has been waiting for, wanting to wash the last remnants of bad taste from the pallet of some miserable Honda automatics of yore. I hadnít even made it a half mile down the road and I was thinking I was in an engineering candy store. I pulled out onto the first main road leaving the dealership and eased into the throttle. Even though the car wasnít fully warm and I hadnít given it the full goose, I knew weíd enjoy our time together. There was some nice power to be made. I made a special effort to head towards the interstate as I made my way to work in order to sample some entrance ramp power.

I hadnít been driving for too long before I made my first hard, nearly panic stop at a traffic light. I wasn't quite sure how the situation in the intersection was going to pan out, so I decided stopping was best. I probably could have made it through, but the thought of having to call up my insurance and deal with filing a claim on a loaner car didnít sound like much fun. When I came to a stop I could tell the car was a lot lighter than my MDX. A similar panic stop in the MDX would have upset the balance, even if only slightly more so. I have read publications that did not give high marks to the RDX brakes, but in this experience they stopped as well or better than any other Honda Iíve driven (save an NSX). My poor backpack in the back seat sure came to appreciate the squeezing strength of the calipers. Maybe over time Iíd grow to complain about them, but not yet.

As I got nearer and nearer to the highway, Iíd started to explore features the best I could as a responsible driver. I had opened the large panoramic sunroof, I had turned on the seat heaters and the steering wheel heater, and I had turned on some tunes to pipe through the 16 speaker stereo. To be honest Iíd probably give equal marks to my MDX stereo. However, I was also thinking about how in nearly every car I borrow that someone had mindlessly fiddled with the treble and bass settings to distort the experience. I later had a chance to confirm that suspicion and provide a quick fix. Still, I think it speaks to the quality of my MDX setup more than speaks down on the RDX.

Finally, I was sitting in the left turn lane to really sample some power. As I made the turn I let the car in front of me drive on a ahead just a bit. I knew this was a borrowed car and I wasnít going to mistreat it. One day it would end its life as a service loaner and would be someoneís personal car. I respect that. When I had a bit of open room, I opened the taps at about 60 mph. Just like that, I mean it felt instant, I was going 80 mph. That is some serious power. I was thinking in the back of my head about publications that have given low marks to the RDX performance. I wasnít feeling it. Perhaps it was the FWD or perhaps it was because I donít drive sports cars every single day. I donít know what the reason, but I am a fan of the power.

Many times I stay at work and eat lunch at my desk. I decided today that Iíd go down the street and experience the RDX some more. Locking the door upon exit, there were no buttons on the handles like in my MDX. Instead in the RDX there was just a small place, a few intended lines, where you placed your finger. I was thinking of my poor son who loves buttons and frustrates his dad pressing every button in sight. Sorry bucko, you wonít even know itís there.

I figured by the end of the day Iíd hear back from the dealership regarding the status of my MDX service. About 50 minutes before they closed, I attempted to contact them to see if my car way ready. I never heard back and so I assumed it would be the next day. I figured Iíd just stop in on the way to work and check the status. Skipping ahead, it turns out it had been ready. So I was slightly disappointed I didnít get notified to come in and make the trade. Small gripe as it really didnít put be out too much.

On the way home it was now dark. I could see Head-up warning a lot better now and I had noticed ďACCĒ and ďLKASĒ as well. I drove out on the highway and after a second or two of mental math, I figured ACC as ďAdaptive Cruise ControlĒ and LKAS was Lane Keeping Assist System. A few short moments after setting the cruise control, a car merged in between me and the car in front of me that the cruise control had set it sights on. The RDX lurched, and I mean like a teenager who hits the brake when they meant to hit the clutch kind of lurch, as it tried to set the same distance. On the heads up display I could see the cruise was still set and I could see a lower speed the RDXís computer was setting as the limited speed. As a space cleared up, the RDX attempted to regain the shed speed like The Little Old Lady From Pasadena terrorizing Colorado Boulevard. Nothing about the ACC was smooth or linear. The distances between the cars were 4-5 car lengths or more and it was totally over reacting. If I owned the car, I would probably only activate this feature on long, open interstate travel. The lane keep assist was useful as it would give a gentle vibrate through the steering wheel and into your hands. The feature in the 14 MDX is not quite as useful as it will give a small warning on the dash and a barely noticeable sound through a speaker that might as well be a mile away. I will say that in the dark, the Heads-Up display had a slightly cheapened look to it. I mean I liked that in the dark the image on the windshield was crisp, but you could make out the faint blueish rectangle of the screen presenting up to to be reflected to the driver's eyes. Ultimately, once I saw that I couldn't make myself un-see it.

I bypassed setting my phone up, mainly because I didnít want to download an app for a car Iíd have only a few more hours. However the Navigation System (comes with Technology package) was a step up from my MDX experience. It felt much closer to me as a driver. It was much easier to glance at and make quick decisions based up on the information. There was a split setup on the screen, perhaps a 70/30 or something close that you could trade between the nav and the radio. Speaking of the radio, the controls were a series of pads on the center console. It took some getting used to as I was expecting mouse like behavior, where if I could let go of the pad I expected the focus to remain where I left off. This was not the case, so if you reached the end of the pad and didnít have enough room to scroll farther to the right or left, you had to let go and start over. That was annoying as you are trying to drive. That is more time your attention is drawn away from the road. Otherwise, it was a crisp screen and a nice set up for this class of car.

The start/stop system was turned on. I could see a setting to disable it, but it would put an annoying green light on the dash so I just left it activated. When it would stop, it would shut down the engine with smoothness that made it nearly imperceptible. However, upon restarting it would kick back into life like an older car where you accidentally let go of the key one microsecond too early and the car had to struggle a second to catch up. The restart was not smooth at all. When you were in a stop and go scenario, the car seemed to only stop one time per stopped session. If it kicked back to life and you only went up a few inches, it did not stop again before you returned to speed. Rather, it would give you a warning on the dash that start/stop was not available.

When I was about 5-6 miles from home, I started to realize I did not like the transmission when I was trying to drive in a relaxed fashion. When you stomp on the gas it seems OK and well put together. Doing what I imagine Iíd be doing most often, and that is just driving, I noticed some very odd behavior. Something like shift (buttercups, daisies), shift (butterflies, warm spring day), SHIFT!!!!!! (Axl Rose, Metallica, hammer hitting thumb), shift (iced tea, favorite food), and so on. Just odd, inconsistent feeling throughout the 10 gears. Really it was more like 7 or 8 gears as you had to get some higher speed to get to 9 and 10. Iím sure I hit 10 on the highway, but I wasnít checking then.

As my journey home was ending, I noticed a control for a seat cooler. Though I had all the windows open and the sun roof open on a January day and the seat heaters on full blast, I thought Iíd give it a whirl. When I pressed the button, the seats where cold in a matter of 3-4 seconds. I was impressed how quickly it worked. When I returned the control to heat, the temperature adjustment was nearly as fast. These are good setups on very nice seats in the Advance. The perforated leather looked and felt high class, better than that on my MDX (which isnít that bad to be honest).

I stopped to pick up dinner for the family. As I was leaving, I pressed the push button Reverse selector and started to back out. The Advanceís Surround-View Camera took over the navigation screen as well as the more common rear view camera. The Surround-View tries to mimic a birdís eye view of what you look like from the top down. It does so with a fake picture of an RDX and a lot of wide angle mimicry. To me, it looked like it would be nice for making sure you are in the lines of a parking space or making sure a small animal wasnít next to you. Otherwise I found it distracting my attention from the more useful rear view camera. Did I mention the fake RDX in the picture looked gimmicky? Time to tuck the car in and hope that jerk terrorizing the community and vandalizing cars doesnít hit this loaner.

Morning comes. I drove my daughter to school in the Odyssey, not wanting to take a borrowed car into the teeth of 150 parents who all think their time is more precious than the other. When I got home to trade cars out and head to work, I noticed that there is something about the rear of the RDX I didnít like. I couldnít quite explain it, but something was off. I do appreciate the dual exhaust that is sorely missing on my MDX, where it seems ashamed of its near 300 hp. However, Iíd say that some outside angles of the RDX Iíd give 8/10, others a 6/10. Inside Iíd give a total score of 8.5/10. The inside is pretty solid.

On the way to put the RDX back in queue (perhaps for a driver who wasn't as careful as I was being), I changed the setting from Sport to Sport+. The steering settings were all the way on firm and it felt as good as I would have expected. The biggest difference I noticed in the commute was that the transmission was more reluctant to upshift and the sudden presence of turbo and acceleration gauges appeared on the dash. The upshifts were just delayed however, as they would eventually shift. Sort of like the car was saying, "Are you sure you don't need power? Are you sure? OK, I'll shift." I didnít really have time, and again it wasnít my car, to really explore the S setting on the transmission over the D.

So, what would I say? First of all, I suppose some additional wheel time would be nice. It was a delightful drive for the most part. The car was as point and shoot as any Integra Iíve ever driven, and most everything seemed drama free. Iíve mentioned it is very fast, more so than reading a 0-60 time on the internet would indicate. The mpg setting was on 23 mpg when I got it and was on 22.9 mpg when I dropped it off. But the RDX is too small for my family. I barely get by the wifeís wrath with the MDX and the lack of AC on the 3rd row. Still, for a family of 4, or for a 2nd car to complement an Odyssey or Pilot, I could see it working quite well. Maybe the best compromise between a car you really want and the one you know you should get.

99SI
Profile for 99SI
Re: Some creative writing about my RDX drive    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 21:35
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Nice write up. I will say that while I donít have a RDX I do have a very similar experience with ACC on my TLX. It seems rather abrupt and could be further refined. I have had instances with the acc on that the car flashes ďbrakeĒ. Also I have noticed sometimes the system wants to accelerate too fast. This can be slightly corrected by putting the system in Eco mode. I have found the traffic jam assist a nice feature albeit I think it is a detriment to gas mileage.
99SI
Profile for 99SI
Re: Some creative writing about my RDX drive    (Score: 1, Normal) 01-11-2019 21:37
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Nice write up. I will say that while I donít have a RDX I do have a very similar experience with ACC on my TLX. It seems rather abrupt and could be further refined. I have had instances with the acc on that the car flashes brake. Also I have noticed sometimes the system wants to accelerate too fast. This can be slightly corrected by putting the system in Eco mode. I have found the traffic jam assist a nice feature albeit I think it is a detriment to gas mileage.


 
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