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We Drive the 2019 Acura RDX A Spec

by Ali Arsham
Monday, June 3, 2019

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2019 Acura RDX
2019 Acura RDX

The list of available SUVs is growing rapidly but the choices are becoming a bit easier as manufacturers try to separate themselves from each other. SUVs come in different sizes and different price points and the Acura RDX is right in the meaty section of the curve. 

The 2019 Acura RDX is the first in a new generation of Acura models designed and engineered around Acura's Precision Crafted Performance brand values. It's the third generation of RDX, a perennial top seller in the premium compact SUV segment with cumulative U.S. sales exceeding 370,000 units since its debut in 2006.

The premium compact segment is packed with some heavy hitters so the competition is tough and the final choice will depend on your personal preference in most cases. In setting their targets for the design and performance, the U.S. team drew inspiration from both the Acura Precision Concept and Acura Precision Cockpit as well as the NSX supercar.

The RDX is the first all-new design drawing from the Concept styling and the advanced Cockpit technology. New Acura features and technologies being introduced for the first time on the RDX include next-generation Acura sport seats with up to 16-way power adjustability, Acura/ELS Studio 3D premium audio system, natural language voice recognition, and the first ever deployment of Acura's True Touchpad Interface, a new user interface designed from a clean slate around the driver.

This segment comprises of vehicles such as BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes Benz GLC and others.  Every one of them use a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder which is exactly what you will find under the hood of the RDX. The 2.0-liter engine's low-inertia turbo, electronic wastegate and VTEC valvetrain work in concert with the new 10-speed transmission to provide a smooth experience.

The engine produces 272 hp and still gets good (more on this later) fuel economy thanks to the wide ratio transmission.  The new engine also contributes to the RDX's more compact front packaging, shortened front overhang and improved front/rear weight distribution (57.4/42.6 vs. 60/40 for previous RDX with all-wheel-drive).

The RDX could use a bit more power
The RDX could use a bit more power

With peak output of 272 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm – versus 252 lb.-ft. at 4500 rpm for the previous V6 – the DOHC 2.0-liter engine produces greater torque (+28 lb.-ft.) at a much lower engine speed and across a broader range engine speed than before. Combined with the new 10AT, with its 53-percent wider overall ratio range, the new turbocharged engine promises better efficiency.

 

Replacing the AWD system on the second-generation RDX, the new SH-AWD system is one of the most advanced torque-vectoring AWD technologies in its class. Under most circumstances, SH-AWD can send up 70 percent of available engine torque to the rear wheels and 100 percent of that torque to either the left or right rear wheel helping RDX put the newfound torque to the pavement with both outstanding stability and agility.

The SH-AWD system is truly amazing and works as advertised. The only issue with the engine is the sound which is not very pleasing to the ear. Push the RDX and it sounds like a lazy employee being pushed to clean the store.  It will do it, but you don’t get the feeling that it is very happy about it. We also were a bit disappointed with the fuel economy of our SH-AWD model. Our RDX was rated at 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. We could only manage about 24 mpg on the highway which is hard to believe considering the amount of technology in the RDX.

Some of the competitors get as much as 30 mpg. In fairness, it is possible that we were just having too much fun with the RDX to worry about fuel economy because the SH-AWD makes the RDX a very eager driver on twisty roads.

The RDX's body structure is an all-new design that is lighter, more rigid and more tightly sealed than before, and features multiple new material and design attributes, including a world's first two-piece (inner and outer) ultra-high-strength-steel front door ring design, a new double-ring rear frame structure, and Acura's first use of high-performance structural adhesives.

The new unit body, utilizing high-strength steel for over 50 percent of its construction, is roughly 20 pounds lighter than before, substantially more rigid throughout, and should assist the RDX to receive its targeted top-class collision safety ratings.

Interior Dash with large touchscreen
Interior Dash with large touchscreen

New measures taken to improve cabin quietness include an Acura SUV-first application of sound-absorbing acoustic spray foam in 12 body cavities, a 15 percent increase in sound-deadening material, the use of triple door seals and thicker acoustic laminated glass all around.

The changes makes huge difference as the RDX is noticeably tighter than before and there is absolutely no chassis flex felt at any time. The car feels solid at all times which also gives the impression of quality and luxury.

The improvements have made their mark to the electronics side with the True Touchpad Interface, featuring an all-new Android-based operating system, a high-mounted 10.2-inch full-HD display and an innovative touchpad with the first-ever application of absolute-positioning in a driving environment. The new interface is standard and all grades of RDX will also include Apple CarPlay compatibility, plus Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates. Android Auto compatibility will be introduced later, pending release and certification of touchpad specification by Google.

The system works well although it takes time to get used to the system.  There are some nice features like if you are looking for Market street in navigation, you can spell MARKET with your finger tip and it will recognize it.

The RDX starts out at $38,395 for the base model but our top of the line A Spec AWD model will set you back $48,495.  In many cases, it is usually best to get the basic model and opt out of unneeded options but in this case the SH-AWD is a must have system and the lowest priced AWD model will cost you $40,395 which is not a bad deal for so much luxury and technology.

The competition in this segment is cut throat and there are a lot of great vehicles to choose from. The RDX has been improved significantly and is now a major player worth checking out. You can find more information about car parts for the Acura RDX here.

Specs

PRICES

  • MSRP
    $37,400
  • Invoice
    $35,511

FUEL

  • Fuel Type
    Gasoline
  • MPG
    24 MPG

BASICS

  • Engine
    4 Cylinder Engine, Turbocharged
  • Drivetrain
    Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission
    10-Speed A/T, Transmission w/Dual Shift Mode, A/T

BODY

  • Body style
    Crossovers, SUVs
  • Seating
    5
  • Roof
    Generic Sun/Moonroof, Dual Moonroof, Sun/Moonroof, Panoramic Roof

BRAKING & HANDLING

  • Brakes
    ABS, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Steering
    Power Steering
  • Tires
    Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Wheels
    Aluminum Wheels

TECHNOLOGY FEATURES

  • Audio
    WiFi Hotspot, Satellite Radio, HD Radio, Auxiliary Audio Input, AM/FM Stereo, MP3 Player, Smart Device Integration
  • Locks
    Keyless Entry, Power Door Locks
  • Mirrors
    Heated Mirrors, Power Mirror(s), Driver Illuminated Vanity Mirror, Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror, Passenger Illuminated Visor Mirror, Driver Vanity Mirror, Passenger Vanity Mirror, Mirror Memory
  • Tech
    Variable Speed Intermittent Wipers, Intermittent Wipers, Power Liftgate, Automatic Headlights, Bluetooth Connection, Universal Garage Door Opener, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Adjustable Steering Wheel, Leather Steering Wheel, Remote Trunk Release, Adaptive Cruise Control, Cruise Control, Keyless Start, Trip Computer, Engine Immobilizer, Security System, Requires Subscription, Telematics, Back-Up Camera

SAFETY

  • Safety Features
    Brake Assist, Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors, Daytime Running Lights, Traction Control, Stability Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Child Safety Locks
  • Air Bags
    Front Side Air Bag, Driver Air Bag, Rear Head Air Bag, Front Head Air Bag, Passenger Air Bag, Passenger Air Bag Sensor, Knee Air Bag

CABIN

  • Air Conditioning
    Multi-Zone A/C, A/C, Climate Control
  • Seat Trim
    Premium Synthetic Seats
  • Windows
    Rear Defrost, Privacy Glass, Power Windows
  • Seats
    Passenger Adjustable Lumbar, Power Driver Seat, Heated Front Seat(s), Driver Adjustable Lumbar, Bucket Seats, Power Passenger Seat, Pass-Through Rear Seat, Rear Bench Seat, Seat Memory

DIMENSIONS

  • Wheelbase (in)
    108.3 in
  • Length,Overall (in)
    186.8 in
  • Height,Overall (in)
    65.7 in
  • Base Curb Weight (lbs)
    3783 lbs

OTHER DETAILS

  • Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx (gal)
    17.1
  • EPA Classification
    Small Sport Utility Vehicles 2WD
 

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