Acura RDX:

2015 Lincoln MKC – 2nd Volume Entry for Lincoln

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The 2015 Lincoln MKC hit Lincoln dealerships in June 2014 and promises to be the 2nd volume entry for Ford’s premium brand after the award-winning Lincoln MKZ.  Lincoln is the top brand in AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research and the MKZ and MKZ Hybrid are the winners of their product categories.  The MKC (getting confused with the alphanumeric nomenclature yet?) is joining a booming market for smaller crossover SUVs and, based on our brief drive of the vehicle, the MKC should do very well in AutoPacific’s 2015 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.2015 Lincoln MKC F342015 Lincoln MKC R34

Excellent Package  The MKC is a “small” crossover SUV, but it does not feel small from the driver’s seat.  The front seating package is spacious.  Visibility forward is excellent.  Ergonomics are good.  Transmission shifting is through push buttons on the left hand side of the center stack.  The MyLincoln Touch system is more intuitive (but reading the channel numbers for SiriusXM is almost impossible because of tiny font sizes) and stable.  Losing the shifter in the center console is an excellent idea for many reasons.  It allows for more storage in the console and also allows the console to be narrower giving the front seat passengers more seat width.  The MKC is a persuasive package that will appeal to buyers across all age ranges.2015 Lincoln MKC Cockpit

Neat Features Abound on MKC  For those buyers who want the latest technology, MKC offers a lot.  Of course, there is MyLincoln Touch that sets the stage in the center stack.  There is Approach Detection where the vehicle reacts to the key fob approaching the vehicle at night and the headlamp accents, taillamp accents, door handle pockets and interior all light up.  There is even a Lincoln logo projected onto the pavement from the outside rear view mirror puddle lights.  Then there is Drive Control that includes continuously adjusting shock absorbers to provide a comfortable ride under all conditions.  Electric Power Steering and Active Noise Control are standard features that complement the Drive Control System.  Active Park Assist not only can park the MKC, but includes Park Out Assist to help the driver maneuver the vehicle out of a tight parking space.  As with many newly introduced vehicles there is a suite of electronic driver assist technologies:  lane-keeping system, driver alert system (checks driver alertness), adaptive cruise control, collision warning system with brake support, blind spot information system, and cross traffic alert.  These features may sound like overkill, but once you have used them, they become a necessity rather than a luxury.

Highly Differentiated from Escape – All EcoBoost Engines   The MKC is derived from the Ford Escape but shares no body panels or interior trim bits.  Without looking under the skin, the relationship is invisible.  The 2015 Lincoln MKC comes standard with a 240HP 2.0L EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine.  Optional is a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder with 285-horsepower (with 93 octane gasoline – in California the top spec gas octane is 91 octane so the output for the 2.3L would be about 280HP).  The base vehicle is front wheel drive with all wheel drive available as an option.

Outstanding Dynamics  Starting in Santa Barbara and driving across the Los Padres National Forest to the Tejon Ranch , the MKC proves to be nimble and athletic on the twisty roads more suited to a sports car than a X-SUV.  With the 2.3L EcoBoost and AWD, the MKC is quick and solid over all road surfaces.

Price and Competition  The base price of the MKC is $33,995, but the versions Lincoln provided for the drive evaluation were all in the $50,000 range equipped with the full suite of electronic features and the big engine.  The size and price of the MKC puts it in the competitive set with the Cadillac SRX, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X1, Infiniti QX50 (i.e. EX), Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC60.  As if that isn’t enough competition, there is more to come:  Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Audi Q3, Porsche Macan.  Clearly, buyers will have a tremendous challenge sorting out which of these smaller XSUVs to select.

Now for the Nit-Picks  Ford (Lincoln) can be depended on to make mistakes in feature availability.  For a company that touts “democratization of technology” (meaning the neat electronic features found on the top of the line will be available in a Focus, for instance) the base MKC cannot be had with an in-vehicle navigation system.  Since MyLincoln Touch is standard and each vehicle has a center stack screen, and the navigation system is via an SD card, navigation should be available on all models.

Brand Challenge  The only thing standing in the way of the MKC being a whopping success may the Lincoln brand.  While AutoPacific’s research shows Lincoln is doing a great job satisfying its customers, the brand has languished and is only now starting to re-assert itself.  The MKC is an outstanding addition to the Lincoln portfolio.  Now the challenge is to get buyers into the dealerships to drive and buy the MKC.  It will be interesting to watch how Lincoln markets the vehicle in the coming months and to monitor its sales performance.


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2013 Acura RDX – Familiar Territory

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The previous generation Acura RDX was a moderately successful contender in the small crossover SUV (XSUV) wars.  The RDX was a bit pricey – almost $33,000 – coming from a premium Japanese brand.  It was heavy.  It was powered by a very thirsty turbocharged 2.3L 4-cylinder engine.  Competition had left the RDX behind and with its source vehicle – the Honda CR-V – being updated for 2012, 2013 is the obvious time to re-do the RDX.

2013 Acura RDX

Honda is expecting sales on the order of 30,000 units per year for the new RDX.  This is not an unreasonable number for a product selling in one of the growth segments in the American car and light truck market.  In fact, this sales volume seems a bit timid for a brand forecasting a 45% increase in sales for the 2012 calendar year.


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2010 Acura RDX: Family Nose and Front Drive

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While you might not know it from some of the creepy ad shots initially floating around on the ‘net, in the tin, the updated RDX is an improvement. The 2010 RDX takes its midpoint change with nips and tucks inside and out.Acu_11_RDX_6_bl.jpg
Looking like it stopped off at the tailor’s on the way to our drive event, the exterior changes involve typical revisions to headlights, taillights, fascias, and grilles, and the unloved Acura beak is now firmly in place. Despite the family grille, this is a nice example of minor changes, a tuck and crease here and there, that refine the overall look. With that nose, we may not call the new RDX beautiful, but it does look more refined and expensive than the outgoing car.


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SUVs Most Satisfying Vehicle Type

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AutoPacific’s 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards results are in. AutoPacific’s awards collect the opinions of OWNERS. There is no subjectivity added by AutoPacific at all.
As usual, there are expected winners and unexpected losers, but let’s take a look at some overall results that will surprise many of you.

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Truck-Based Traditional SUVs Most Satisfying
The vehicle type with the highest Vehicle Satisfaction Score is the Traditional Sport Utility Vehicle category. These are truck-based SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Toyota Sequoia, Ford Explorer, Toyota 4Runner, Kia Sorento, HUMMER H3 and Toyota FJ Cruiser. In fact, the Toyota Sequoia was the top scoring vehicle – car or truck – in AutoPacific’s 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction results.
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Car-Based Crossover SUVs More Satisfying than Cars, Minivans, Pickups
The second highest scoring category was the Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle category. These are car-based SUVs like the Audi Q7, BMW X3, Acura RDX, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Hyundai Veracruz, Suzuki XL-7, Ford Edge, Saturn Vue, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue. Crossovers are the response by the automakers to make more user-friendly SUVs and in 2006 Crossover SUVs began outselling Traditional SUVs… a trend that will not be reversed.
Rated substantially behind SUVs are Cars, Minivans and Pickups.
Clearly, even in times of high and increasing fuel prices, SUVs are here to stay. Their Swiss Army Knife utility guarantees they will be a central part of a high many family fleets in the future. The continuing jihad against SUVs has failed again!


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IIHS Top Safety Picks for 2007 Model Year

IIHS released the results of its 2007 Safety Pick Awards on November 20. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific feel that these results are important to communicate to our readers. Along with other awards for quality, satisfaction and performance, safety awards can and should be among the information sources a buyer uses when deciding which new vehicle to buy. After all, the Internet gives us almost perfect information.
While we do appreciate the safety value of electronic stability control, it will take years for the entire fleet to be equipped with ESC. For IIHS to eliminate all vehicles lacking ESC eliminates many otherwise safe vehicles from their analysis. This is too simplistic an approach.
2007 TOP SAFETY PICK award winners: award criteria are tougher; SUVs eligible for first time
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announces 13 vehicles that earn TOP SAFETY PICK awards for 2007. Winners include 4 cars, 7 SUVs, and 2 minivans. This award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute tests. Winners also have to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC).
WINNERS
Large car
Audi A6 manufactured in Dec. 2006 and later
Midsize cars
Audi A4
Saab 9-3
Subaru Legacy equipped with optional electronic stability control
Minivans
Hyundai Entourage
Kia Sedona
Luxury SUVs
Mercedes M class
Volvo XC90
Midsize SUVs
Acura RDX
Honda Pilot
Subaru B9 Tribeca
Small SUVs
Honda CR-V
Subaru Forester equipped with optional electronic stability control


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Acura Gives Peek at 2007 MDX SUV

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MD-X Concept and 2007 RDX Share Center Stage.
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to tease the journalists in the audience with a concept of its upcoming MD-X SUV and to formally introduce its 2007 RDX The RDX goes on sale in summer 2006 and the 2007 MDX goes on sale in fall 2006. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup was first displayed. The RDX has been seen at several auto shows prior to New York, but this was the first glimpse we have had of the MDX.

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MD-X Concept
The new MDX goes on sale this fall with a more athletic and aggressive look, though there were several comments made that the rear three-quarter, with its sharply raked D-pillar, has more than a passing resemblance to the new Audi Q7. We’ll leave that to you to decide. The MDX was also developed on the theme of taking a sports sedan image and merging it with SUV interior volume and utility.
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We do know the MDX will continue to be offered only with a V6, and though its technical details were not revealed, it is reasonable to expect output to at least match the RL’s 290HP. The longer wheelbase and wider track of the concept will likely translate into production as well, though no official specifications were given. It will also get Acura’s Super Handling AWD system and at least as much standard equipment as the RDX. Track-tuned at the Nurburgring, Acura promises outstanding performance and handling characteristics.
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Acura Shows Off 2007 RDX SUV

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2007 RDX Share Center Stage with MD-X Concept at New York
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to formally introduce its 2007 RDX, which goes on sale in summer 2006 and tease us with a near-production-but-still-concept version of the 2007 MDX (on sale in fall). VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup went on display.

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RDX Brings Acura a Small SUV
This vehicle comes to market wearing the name RDX, similar to the RD-X concept cars of 2005 and of 2002. At the 2006 Detroit auto show a near-production model was shown, followed by the production car at the 2006 New York auto show in April. Sales begin in summer 2006. The first two RD-X concepts explored the needs of what Acura calls active urban professionals, with the 2005 concept more realistic than the first. The 2006 Detroit concept was clearly the closest of all. The philosophy is to combine sports sedan performance with the utility of an SUV, in theory more akin to a smaller Infiniti FX than to a Toyota RAV4, and has the BMW X3 in its sights.


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