On the last three Friday’s of every month, Graeme Fletcher combines manufacturers’ incentives from Unhaggle.com with resale value, dependability and overall ratings to find you the best deal for your money in new cars. This week, we look at entry-level luxury crossovers with all-wheel drive. The hot deals are on the 2018 Acura RDX Elite, BMW X4 xDrive28i and Range Rover Evoque SE.
2018 Acura RDX Elite
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $47,390
Acura Canada Incentive*: $4,425
Unhaggle Savings: $1,000
Total Savings: $5,425
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $2,185
Total Before Tax: $44,150 – click here for exclusive local pricing
The Acura RDX continues into 2018 unchanged, and that has pretty much been the case since the rework in 2012. In many instances this could be considered a negative, but in this case that is not — it continues to offer a well-crafted cabin with all the right equipment, especially in the range-topping Elite. Just about everything Acura offers is standard — all the desirable power equipment along with eight-way power and heated/cooled leather-wrapped front seats, heated outboard rear seats, a 410-watt sound system with 10 speakers, navigation and AcuraLink connectivity. With the rear seats upright, the RDX accommodates two adults comfortably with 739 litres of cargo space left behind. Fold the 60/40-split seat down and the capacity grows to 2,178L.
The RDX Elite arrives with a full suite of safety equipment as standard fare. It includes forward collision warning with auto braking, lane departure warning/keep assist along with blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
Powered by a 3.5L V6, the RDX puts 279 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque at the driver’s disposal. In operation the engine remains muted (thanks to the noise cancelling system) and it does not protest when pushed towards redline. As a result it brings a run to 100 kilometres an hour in 6.9 seconds and an average fuel economy of 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres. The drawback is that Acura recommends premium fuel.
The engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission and Acura’s all-wheel-drive system with Intelligent Control. In simple terms, it can send up to 40 per cent of the drive rearward when the front wheels break traction. It is a quick system that remains unobtrusive in operation. It should be noted the system is aimed at improving on-road stability rather than giving the RDX any real off-road ability. The combination brings a tow capacity of 680 kilograms, making it the lightweight here.
The RDX is slanted towards the sportier side of the ride/handling equation. The amplitude reactive dampers bring a smooth ride until body motion is detected. At this point, the mechanical dampers firm to limit body roll. This action and the sorted (if a little light) steering bring solid dynamics, meaning the RDX feels more like a wagon than a crossover.
The Acura RDX Elite arrives with a combined Unhaggle discount of $5,425 and a pre-tax sticker of $44,150.
2018 BMW X4 xDrive28i
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $49,600
BMW Canada Incentive*: $1,000
Unhaggle Savings: $750
Total Savings: $1,750
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $2,285
Total Before Tax: $50,135 – click here for exclusive local pricing
The BMW X4 xDrive28i remains unchanged heading into 2018. Again, this is not such a bad thing, as it is a sharp looker with a cabin that is lined with quality materials and an upmarket feel. It has rain-sensing wipers, a power moonroof, a power liftgate, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and very comfortable eight-way power front seats with driver memory function. BMW’s iDrive infotainment system looks after the rearview camera, phone and audio functions. Once a finicky system it has evolved to the point it is now intuitive and easily operated.
The BMW X4 xDrive28i arrives with a distinct plunging roofline, which gives it a coupe-like profile. The styling does speak to its sporting quotient, but does it put a crimp in the cargo capacity? Not so here — there’s 501L and 1,399L with the seats folded. It also benefits from a centre ski pass-through.
Unfortunately, the X4 requires the all encompassing Premium Package Enhanced to get the Driver Assistance package — forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and auto braking lane departure warning — along with blind spot monitoring and auto high beams. Yes, it brings a ton of stuff, including leather, navigation and a head-up display among other things, but it is a costly way ($7,900) of accessing what should be standard equipment.
The X4 xDrive28i arrives with a 2.9L turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 241 hp and, more importantly, 258 lb.-ft. of torque at a low 1,450 rpm. The latter, which works with a smooth eight-speed automatic with Sport and manual modes, gives the X4 an enthusiastic work ethic that sees it run to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds while delivering an average fuel economy of 10.2 L/100 km. As with the RDX it needs premium fuel. The X4 xDrive28i is rated to tow a maximum 1,588 kg.
BMW’s xDrive remains one of the best all-wheel-drive systems at getting the power to the right wheel, and it does so in an invisible manner. On-road it imparts better stability and it brings some off-road ability with decent ground clearance and hill descent control.
Again, the X4’s forte is found in its on-road comportment. The steering is fast without feeling twitchy and the suspension hunkers down nicely to limit body roll. The plus is the feedback afforded means the crossover and driver remain in complete harmony. Few rides can match the X4 in this aspect.
The BMW X4 xDrive28i has a sticker of $50,135 after a combined Unhaggle discount of $1,750.
2018 Range Rover Evoque SE
Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price: $49,900
Land Rover Canada Incentive*: $1,500
Unhaggle Savings: $1,000
Total Savings: $2,500
Mandatory Fees (Freight, Govt. Fees): $1,740
Total Before Tax: $49,140 – click here for exclusive local pricing
The Range Rover Evoque soldiers on with one notable addition — an optional 2.0L turbocharged four that makes 286 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. As it stands, the base engine is perky so the upgrade is really only mandated if the 237 hp and 251 lb.-ft. of torque is deemed lacking. The base unit has enough performance to satisfy most with a run to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds, an average fuel economy of 9.6 L/100 km and a maximum tow capacity of 1,585 kg.
It works with a nine-speed automatic transmission and a good all-wheel-drive system that offers superior off-road ability. The transmission delivers smooth shifts, but occasionally hesitates when a downshift is called upon, which can be a bit unnerving. In fairness, all manufacturers using this transmission have a similar issue.
The all-wheel-drive system and its Terrain Response system gives the driver access to a number of modes including grass/gravel/snow and mud/ruts. This means it rumbles over the range better than any of its peers — it can ford a stream up to 500-millimetres deep without getting waterlogged! The plus is the added traction and stability it brings on a slippery road.
In terms of handling, the Evoque is decidedly sporty. The suspension does a good job of limiting unwanted body roll and the steering has a crisp response. The only issue is those who prefer a cushier ride may find the setup a tad stiff. For the intended buyer it’s just fine.
Evoque’s cabin is a bit of a mixed bag. It has quality materials and all the desirable power items, front and rear parking aids with a back-up camera and the company’s InControl Touch infotainment system with navigation. However, it gets a small five-inch screen. The rear environment has lots of cargo space — 575L with the seats upright and 1,445L with them folded flat. The nit is the back seat is tight, with limited leg- and headroom for a rider over 5-foot-10.
Where the Evoque is showing its age is the manner in which the safety equipment is packaged. Nothing is offered on the base SE featured here. The Lanark Edition does offer blind spot monitoring for $720, but it requires moving up to the HSE ($57,500) and adding the Advanced Driver Assistance pack to get lane keep assist, a 360-degree camera, traffic sign recognition and self-parking ability along with blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. That adds another $2,350.
The featured Range Rover Evoque SE arrives with combined Unhaggle discount of $2,500 and a sticker of $49,140.
Transport Canada does not list any recalls for the three 2018 crossovers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the Acura RDX as a Top Safety Pick+ with Good ratings for all crash tests, a Superior rating for forward collision prevention and it has Acceptable headlight performance. As of this writing, neither the BMW X4 nor the Range Rover Evoque is rated by the IIHS or the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA).
The projected resale value of these entry-level luxury crossovers in 2022, after being driven an average of 20,000 km/year, is $18,830 for the Acura RDX Elite, $17,080 for the BMW X4 xDrive28i and $18,630 for the Range Rover Evoque SE.
While the Acura RXD Elite does not enjoy the same sort of cache as the BMW X4 iDrive28i or Range Rover Evoque SE, it is a complete package that does all that’s asked of it well, and it does so at a sharper price point and generous discount. As such, it is this week’s hot Unhaggle deal.