The color orange represents energy, spontaneity, warmth, and enthusiasm, each of which the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition embodies in one way or another. We took a test drive in the limited series RDX (no. 21 of 360) to figure out exactly what this glowing SUV brings to the table.
Our test vehicle in the screaming Thermal Orange Pearl paint had a sticker price of $52,995. The bright-as-crunchy-Cheetos RDX gets exclusive gloss-black exterior styling cues, and it rides on 20-inch wheels wrapped in 255/45R20 Goodyears. Covering all the bases and affording you the best features, the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition combines Acura’s A-Spec, Technology, and Advance packages.
As spectacular as the RDX PMC packaging looks, it does not change anything mechanically; the same 272-horsepower, 280-lb-ft 2.0-liter turbo I-4 from the rest of the RDX lineup sends power to all four wheels by way of a 10-speed automatic. We spent some quality time with the RDX in the concrete metropolis of Los Angeles and on a detour to San Diego, where the limited edition model rewarded us with a fantastic driving experience.
Driving the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition
Although the driver-focused compact luxury SUV is better suited to transport families, the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition manages to zip through the thick of traffic effortlessly, and it sweeps eagerly through corners. While turning and entering freeway on-ramps, we throttled the RDX aggressively in Sport+ mode to assess body control. Resolute, it maintained decent stability and showed minimal lean. The Super-Handling AWD system that comes standard proved to be useful in such situations: Despite the RDX not having sticky tires, road-surface contact only came into question at higher speeds during sharp turns. Drive like that and you’ll hear some tire noise, but wind noise on the highway is non-intrusive.
Not to be dismissed as another mall-crawling SUV, the RDX’s off-the-line acceleration in Sport+ stirs things up some excitement. Not everyone needs a 500-plus-hp machine, and the 272 horses the Acura has on tap are plenty satisfying, especially for the practical use of a family luxury SUV. On desolate roads, it was quite a joy to lower the windows and listen to the engine revs during blastoff. Meanwhile, the steering commands medium effort, the suspension feels stiff no matter the drive mode, and hard braking does not result in wild jolting.
In our testing, the orange-colored RDX accelerated from 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds, and it braked from 60-0 mph in 115 feet. Associate road test editor Erick Ayapana noted, “Consistent distances and good body control. Relatively snappy shifts.”
2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition Negatives
The idea that a vehicle will feel perfectly smooth on faulty roads is usually fool’s gold. Even though the RDX delivered its best ride quality in Comfort mode (as expected of most cars), a rather annoying dash rattle persisted. Sport mode intensified the severity of vibrations and mild jolts, but the bumps and bounces were not objectionable.
The 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition gets a B- for rearward visibility; a challenging scenario could push it to a C-. Reversing out of a driveway onto a busy road at night with cars parked on the curb create a blind spot, for example. Thankfully, the RDX’s backup camera and blind-spot monitoring system help make the best of such situations. The infotainment system’s touchpad control, like the much-loathed one in Lexus models, scrambles all over the place, and less savvy users will not be happy. But with practice and consistency, you learn to live with it.
A nitpick here, but the center-console cupholders do not hold beverages in place well. Making them deeper and adding an adjustable apparatus could solve the issue; we didn’t appreciate reaching for a dancing cappuccino at night.
A Quick Refresher on Some RDX Basics
Available cargo volume behind the second-row seat measures 29.5 cubic feet, and with the 60/40 seatbacks folded down, the volume increases to 58.9 cubic feet. The easy-to-pull seat levers in the rear storage area are convenient and work quickly. The 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition has an estimated fuel economy rating of 21/26/23 mpg (city/highway/combined) and a 70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Rear passengers get 38.0 inches of legroom, along with climate vents, USB ports, and heated seats. In our luxury compact SUV rankings, the RDX snagged third place, and in a three-way comparison test a few years ago, it took home the gold medal.
Things We Like Inside
Stepping into an RDX is like going to the arcade and finding one of those racing games with physical seats. A curved dashboard envelops you and draws your attention toward the middle, where all the tech is embedded. The cabin’s symmetrical design makes the driver and passenger feel as if they each have their own compartment. The high-quality interior has a multidimensional feel, and the attention to detail is phenomenal.
Among our favorite features are the multi-functional steering wheel, center stack, sporty seats, 16-speaker ELS Studio audio system, and versatile console. The interior combines contrasting stitching, perforation, Alcantara, soft-touch leather surfaces, and brushed aluminum trim to create a logical layout and pleasing aesthetic. Oh, and we liked the paddle shifters almost as much as the hidden storage compartments in the cargo space. The cool sound effects when you change drive modes and browse the infotainment system menus are also a bonus.
Equipment highlights include heated and ventilated seats, an adaptive damper system, a panoramic moonroof, acoustic side glass in front, and a surround-view camera system. In addition to the driver-assist features in the Advance and Technology packages, the AcuraWatch tech adds road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision warning, to name a few.
A Low-Volume Special Edition with a Loud Personality
The 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition is limited to 360 copies, and the Thermal Orange Pearl coating that adorns it could be an acquired taste for some folks. Then again, the blinding color accented by gloss-black trim is what puts this compact luxury SUV in a league of its own within the realm of mainstream SUVs.
Priced at $52,995, the PMC Edition bundles the Super-Handling AWD system, three packages, AcuraWatch, and visual flash. This deal is a steal, and our educated guess is that orders for the exuberant RDX will sell out rapidly.
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