2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Review

Amy Plemons | July 18, 2019
2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Review

With summer temps soaring, I can’t tell you how delighted I was to see the Platinum White 2020 Acura RDX sitting in my driveway this past week, with its welcoming ventilated seats.

Developed and built in the U.S., the third-generation model debuted as an all-new 2019 model last summer. So what’s happened since its redesign? Acura says the nameplate set an all-time annual sales record of 63,580 units in 2018, a 24 percent increase over the prior year. Sales are also up currently about 10 percent year to date over last. As for who is buying the RDX, Acura also says new-gen RDX buyers are younger, more diverse, more highly educated and more affluent than those who purchased the previous generation model. The A-Spec specifically has double the number of under-45-year-olds than the rest of the RDX line. My A-Spec test vehicle features optional Super-Handling AWD, available on every trim level.


All RDX models share one powertrain and it’s one I like. The turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is good for 272-horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic that shifts very smoothly and you get paddle shifters. The RDX rides and drives great. It really changes its driving feel with its various modes. Since it’s not exactly winter right now, I opted against using Snow mode and stuck to Comfort, Sport and mostly, Sport Plus. The latter of which really changes the suspension making it feel more aggressive and responsive. The ride is quite enjoyable with smooth and responsive steering, and I like the ride height and overall suspension.


The 2020 RDX has a commanding presence on the road. Jewel-shaped headlights in front flank Acura’s diamond pentagon grille. The entire lineup comes standard with LED headlights and taillights, heated tilt-down side mirrors, an acoustic glass windshield and a gloss black spoiler. The A-Spec features unique front and rear bumpers, special badging, 20-inch Shark Gray Alloy Wheels and black window molding instead of the standard chrome. The A-Spec also features larger dual exhaust openings in the back.


The well-designed and executed interior grabs your attention when you open the door. You’re greeted by A-Spec leather-trimmed sports seats in red with black ultrasuede inserts and there are soft-touch materials throughout the cabin accented by dark brushed aluminum trim and red-ambient lighting. You also cannot miss the ginormous panoramic moonroof.

The 12-way power heated and ventilated seats feel great. They’re sporty with some side bolstering yet not too firm. An A-Spec badged steering wheel with mounted controls is leather-wrapped as well as heated. Press the push button start and it lights up a bright, A-Spec exclusive red-accented digital and analog tachometer with a 7-inch driver display.

A quality 10.2-inch color infotainment screen sits atop the center stack and houses a multi-view rear camera with dynamic gridlines, standard across the lineup. Underneath it you find dual zone climate controls as well as buttons for heated and ventilated seats. Below that you come to the dynamic mode knob as well as a button to turn off the stop/start system --- which, by the way, is more noticeable in this vehicle than in others I’ve driven. While it doesn’t bother me too much, it may some. The center stack also houses an electronic gear shifter, which opts for buttons instead of a traditional lever gear shift. I find it very easy to use. The center console cover hides 2 cup holders, a fair amount of storage space, and one of four USBs in the cabin.

Another highlight is the RDX’s great 16- speaker 710-watt ELS Studio 3D audio system with four ceiling-mounted speakers.

The new RDX is very roomy. It rides on a longer wheelbase, which means room legroom for all passengers. Move to the back for more comfy seats and you find a separate air vent, as well as a console that drops down with cup holders. You get a power liftgate, but a motion-activated liftgate only comes on the Advance trim. There is a roomy 29.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk that offers nice storage bins and scuff plates.


You operate Acura’s infotainment system using its True Touchpad Interface system. It’s exactly as described, a touchpad that mimics the screen - so the area you touch correlates to the area on the screen. There is a bit of a learning curve but it is manageable. The system has nice graphics and comes with Apple Carplay but no Android Auto. My tester also has Acura Navigation with 3D view and voice recognition which works great. Three technology features that only come on the Advance trim are a head-up display, surround-view camera and hands-free power tailgate.


Acurawatch comes standard across the lineup and includes:

  • Collision mitigating braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keeping assist
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Auto beam headlights

All but the standard trim also come with:

  • Parking sensors in front and back
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic monitor

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 21 city 26 highway, for 23 combined. Premium fuel is recommended and it’s a capless fuel fill system.

What You’ll Pay

The base RDX starts from around $38,000 and the top of the line Advance SH-AWD takes you to $47,000. The A-Spec falls at $46,795. Under $50K for compact luxury SUV like this is a tremendous value in my opinion for everything you get.

2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD

  • What I liked most: Looks, Interior Layout and Overall Comfort, Sport Seats, Handling, Panoramic Moonroof.
  • What I would change: Make the Start/Stop more seamless.
  • MSRP: Base price $45,800. MSRP is $46,795.
  • Fuel Economy: 21 City/26 Highway, 23 combined.
  • Fuel Tank: 17.1 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
  • Dimensions: 186.8” long/74.8” wide/ 65.7” high.
  • Weight: 4676 pounds.
  • Trailer Towing: N/A.
  • Miles When Tested: 1,047 miles.
  • Official Color: Platinum White/Red Interior.
  • Spare tire: Tire Sealant and Repair Kit (A-Spec trim only).
  • Final Assembly Point: East Liberty, Ohio.
  • 2020 Acura RDX in a few words: A well-designed and well-executed compact luxury SUV that’s a great value.
  • Warranty: 6-year, 70,000-Mile powertrain/4-yr, 50,000 mile Limited Vehicle Warranty.
  • Manufacturers website: Acura
Tags: Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD, Acura RDX Review
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