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Motoring

2014 acura rdx DELIVERS POWER, LUXURY

Test-drive stories by NITISH S. RELE, motoringtampabay@gmail.com

Redesigned inside out just last year with a new power train, transmission and steering, the 2014 Acura RDX continues pretty much unchanged. The 3.5-liter V-6 engine blasts off 273 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and churns out 251 pounds-feet of torque @ 5000 rpm. A variable cylinder management system deactivates up to half of the cylinders at lower speeds to enhance fuel efficiency. The creamy 6-speed auto gearbox shifts gently and effortlessly.

A MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension result in a comfortable and well-damped ride, keeping the SUV steadfast at all times. The Electric Power Steering, which means no hoses or pumps, assures you of saving plenty at the gas station. The front-wheel-drive model EPA estimates are 20/28 mpg whereas the all-wheel drive 19/27 mpg (we eked almost 22.5 mpg in city).

Offered in Base and Base with Tech package, the RDX starts from $34,520 to $39,620.

Noticeable prominently is the rear-seat legroom and cargo space, thanks to the increase in wheelbase and track width last year. Standard amenities include 8-way driver and four-way front-passenger power and heated seats, dual-zone auto climate control, 60/40 rear seat, tilt/telescopic steering column, 360-watt Acura premium sound system, and power moon roof.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, rearview camera, front and rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts, active front head restraints, side impact door beams, immobilizer theft-deterrent system, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are part of the package.

The easy-on-the-pocket 2014 RDX offers ample performance, room, gas mileage and luxury. It’s a smart choice for any prospective premium crossover buyer.

RDX (AWD) TECH PACKAGE


LET THE PILOT STEER YOU TO YOUR DESTINATION IN COMFORT AND STYLE!

Sure it’s boxy and lame in looks but the Pilot gets the job done. The 2014 Honda SUV continues pretty much as is with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine packing 250 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 253 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. It is mated to a 5-speed auto transmission, which when combined with the Variable Cylinder Management, operates in three or four cylinder modes for substantial fuel savings. Suspension handled via a competent MacPherson strut front and a multilink rear system drowns out road noise for occupants. The power-assist rack-and-pinion displays crisp steering, adequate grip and a willingness to change directions.

A three-bar horizontal grille with chrome surround and flanked by multi-reflector headlights greets the onlooker. Walk over to the rear and vertical taillights are visible along with chrome bar housing the Honda emblem and chrome exhaust tips. As expected, it’s in the cabin that he Pilot shines with numerous bins and cubbies, some particularly cavernous, are scattered throughout. There also is a massive underfloor cargo area. Passenger volume is 153.7 cubic feet of space. Thirsty occupants have 12 beverage holders to stay hydrated. The 8-inch Intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) displays information for audio, navigation, Bluetooth, rearview camera, fuel economy, texting, compass, clock, etc. Other amenities include tri-zone auto climate control, tilt/telescopic four-spoke leather steering wheel, second-row 60/40 flat and reclining seat and a third-row 60/40 flat seat, 10-way power driver and four-way front-passenger seats and power tailgate.

Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, ACE body structure, four-wheel antilock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist with traction control, active front-head restraints, side-impact door beams, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

Offered as a front-wheel (tow capacity 2,000 pounds) or all-wheel drive (tow capacity 3,500), the unit-body Pilot comes in LX, EX, EX-L and Touring trims. Pricing starts at $29,670 and can reach up to $41,420 for a fully loaded model with rear entertainment system and navigation. EPA fuel estimates are 18 mpg city/25 highway for FWD and 17/24 for AWD. We handily beat city estimates by earning 21 mpg.

For an SUV that weighs more than 4,600 pounds, the Pilot delivers a smooth and amenable outing in comfort and style. Thanks to a fine mix of cargo-, people-hauling practicality and fuel economy, it is the ideal vehicle to park in a family garage.

PILOT (AWD)


REVAMPED MAZDA6 A MUST BUY FOR MIDSIZE SEDAN FANS!

We must admit it’s an all-new Mazda6. For 2014, the Japanese carmaker has tossed out the bigger V-6 engine while retaining the 2.5-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder power train, which now packs slightly more power and torque. The third-generation midsize sedan develops 184 horsepower @ 5700 rpm and 185 pounds-feet of torque @ 3250 rpm. Transmission choices are a 6-speed auto or 6-speed manual. In keeping with Mazda’s technology-driven products, the direct-injection Skyactiv uses a torque boost with a high compression ratio to result in impressive fuel savings. No wonder the Mazda6, available in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring, now boasts 25 city/37 highway (manual) and 26/38 (auto) on a 16.4-gallon tank.

An independent MacPherson strut front and a multilink rear suspension, along with an electric power rack-and-pinion steering, ensure safety for occupants in adverse road/weather conditions. And so do such features such as dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, dynamic stability and traction controls, four-wheel antilock brakes, hill launch assist, three-point safety belts, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.

Ensconced on the monocoque body is a five-point chrome signature wing grille with Mazda badge inside black horizontal lines and piano black-topline trim. It is flanked by eagle-eye shaped xenon headlights and fog lamps. Mazda has kept the interior quite simple, especially rounded analog gauges for speedometer, tachometer and driver information center. A 5.8-inch touchscreen for navigation, phone and audio functions along with climate controls underneath is easy to operate. The grip on the racing-inspired tilt/telescopic, three-spoke steering column is solid. Trunk capacity? A massive 14.8 cubic feet of space. Other standard amenities include power moon roof, eight-way power driver and four-way front passenger seats, push-button start, paddle shifters and dual auto climate control.

Most auto journalists won’t hesitate in telling you that among their favorite midsize sedans is the Mazda6. We will affirm to that. This sporty, agile and peppy ride makes for a fun trip to the neighborhood store or just to cruise down the highway. Its pleasing appearance and rewarding roadworthiness make the 6 a must buy!

MAZDA6 (i GRAND TOURING)

 
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