The Urban DINK: Acura RDX
There probably isn’t a better first vehicle to take through the DINK treatment than the new 2007 Acura RDX. The compact SUV isn’t overly manly, but it’s not at all feminine, either. That’s a tough line to walk in the cute-ute segment. I found myself admiring it quite a bit when it was stationed out on the parkway in front of our place. If you’re interested, here’s what it looks like covered in snow.
Now, let’s get the important stuff out of the way first, before we get to the even more important details. The RDX actually fulfills the promise of an SUV that handles like a car, and a sporty car at that. The suspension is tuned for tight turning and sportiness, but the ride suffers a bit over rough surfaces. None of that really holds a candle to the turbocharged engine, which gives bursts of thrills on demand.
If I weren’t enthralled enough by driving the RDX, the fact that my wife was also impressed really says something. Courtney especially liked the riding position, which has turned her off to other cute-utes we’ve driven; this was the first smaller SUV she’s even remotely enjoyed compared to her larger Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Besides the driving experience, the RDX has some of the essentials every Urban DINK couple needs. The auxiliary input for MP3 players is at the bottom of the center stack of controls amid other stereo buttons. It’s perfectly placed, but the small cubby next to it for the player itself will only fit something the size of an iPod Nano or smaller. My Zune — or a video iPod — will definitely not fit. Sound quality is amazing as well with the surround setup.
My solution was to either rest it on the closed cupholder next to the shifter or drop it into the center console. There’s a gap where the lid closes that allows the cord to fit underneath without crunching it. The center console is simply gigantic, with a divider that opens deep enough to fit a laptop computer and bag. A large purse would also fit, but if it’s anything like my wife’s it’s the wrong proportions.
Cupholders are another big deal to DINKs. The RDX only has two up front, but at least they fit skinny water bottles and a grande carmel macchiato perfectly. We'd both like an extra place in the door for a spare water bottle, a feature many other cars have these days.
The test RDX came with the optional Technology Package, which has an upgraded stereo and navigation system that uses a complex interface; I think we’d pass on it if ever purchasing an RDX. In bright sunlight the menu screen was almost entirely unreadable.
A small display at the top of the dashboard shows stereo and environmental settings, and that was clear in the morning sunshine.
With the rear seats in place, the cargo area was huge and quite deep, accommodating a healthy trip to the grocery store. The seats fold flat in a two-step process — the seat bottoms have to fold out and forward for the backs to fold flat. It’s the same setup as the Jeep, but here it works in two fluid motions you can do with one hand, compared to the Jeep’s much tougher two-hand-needed process. This is a huge bonus, and at a quick glance it doesn't look like we'd lose a lot of usable cargo space.
Base price for the RDX is $32,995, but like most Acuras that means you get leather, moonroof, plentiful safety features and, with the RDX, all-wheel drive. The Technology Package costs $3,500 and is the only available option. Again, I’d forego that.
A side story to the DINK series will be our hunt for a new car come June. Not every car that shows up in the series will be considered because we’re looking for an all-wheel-drive wagon or SUV. Here’s the list so far with the vehicles we’ve crossed off and the ones still in the running. Any other suggestions are welcome.
- 2007 Acura RDX: Top of the list.
- 2007 Mazda CX-7: Need a refresher and have to check blind spots, more affordable.
- 2007 Ford Edge: Haven’t fully tested.
2007 Toyota RAV4:Courtney was uncomfortable driving it. 2007 Honda CR-V:Rear seats fold forward, not dog-friendly. 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander:Same seat problem.
- 2007 BMW 328xi wagon: A bit pricey when optioned right, but still in the running.
- 2007 Audi A4 Avant: Same problem as the BMW.
- 2007 Subaru Outback: Courtney hasn’t driven.
The Urban DINK: 2007 Audi S6