This week I present to you the all-new, much sought-after 2019 Acura RDX. This is the 3rd-generation Acura RDX, and it is longer, wider, and rides on a longer wheelbase.
The RDX looks fantastic with its swooping roofline, new grill, jewel-eye headlights, LED taillights, 19” wheels, and a rear spoiler.
The big story is under the hood, however. That’s where you’ll find a turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder that is putting out 272-horses AND 280-pound feet of torque, 40% more than last year.
This engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic that you can shift from paddles on the steering wheel, but you probably won’t because this transmission seems to find the perfect gear every time you kick the turbo hard. I’ve had 10-speeds in other vehicles, but this one is the smoothest and most responsive yet.
If you want to drive normally, turn the big silver Dynamic Mode dial on the dash to Comfort, but if you really want to have some fun, go past Sport to Sport Plus, which changes the suspension, the transmission shifts, the throttle, even the exhaust sound. There is also a snow mode for inclement weather. With a lot of vehicles, you can’t tell much difference in the different drive modes, but this RDX really goes in Sport Plus.
2019 RDX comes in four trim levels, the base, the Tech, the A-Spec, and the top-of-the-line Advance, which is what I have here. It also comes in front wheel drive or the Super Handling All-Wheel drive.
Open the driver’s door to reveal a truly luxurious interior-rich with real wood, aluminum, and heavily stitched seats and dash. Acura raised the bar with this interior, it is fantastic.
I freely admit I was a bit intimidated when I looked at the host of controls on the steering wheel, the dash, and the center stack. I took a deep breath, focused, and realized it wasn’t as difficult as it looked, but I had technology overload for a minute.
The dash is bright and colorful with a driver info center and settings in the middle. As you look through the windshield, you see a multi-function head-up display that is clear and bright and quite informative.
The seats in front are very comfortable, they are heated and cooled, and they adjust 16-ways. The center console is well done and flows openly below where you find a 110-volt power outlet and USB plug, and additional storage. Also on the console are the shift buttons, which are terrific. There is a button to push for park, for neutral, and for reverse, then a large round button for going forward. To the left of that is the wonderful button to disable the start/stop.
Also on the console, is the Lexus-like touchpad interface, which is quite interesting. It operates everything on the colorful 10.2” HD screen above. You won’t get fingerprints on the screen, it is not to be touched, a nice feature considering most touchscreens look awful after a short time.
What’s cool about the touchpad is it mimics the screen. If you touch the pad at the top right, it activates what is at the top right of the screen, in this case your Bluetooth audio. The up and down switch to the right of the touchpad operates the functions on the right side of the screen. The learning curve is slight and once you get the hang of it, it’s wonderful.
As it turns out, after just a few minutes I felt right at home with all controls, even those on the complicated steering wheel and to the lower left of it where you change the head-up display and activate the brake hold, which I love.
The interior, overall, is well done. The back seat has a surprising amount of head and leg room, RDX has rear air vents, and if you look up you see a massive power panoramic sun roof that is standard on all RDX packages and comes with a cloth cover that is also power.
If you love music, check out the 710-watt ELS sound system featuring 16-speakers, including 4 in the roof. The sound system is incredible.
Note that every single thing you see on this RDX is standard equipment on the Advance package, the only option on this one is an extra $400 for the Majestic Black paint, which looks very thick and is very metallic.
At no charge you get voice activation, Apple CarPlay, navigation, HD radio, and pushbutton start with keyless entry. The voice activation is wonderful. Hit the button on the steering wheel and give the Acura a host of commands, including navigation addresses, a particular radio station, or whatever. It humbly obeys.
On the safety front, you get front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, surround view camera with cross-traffic alert, collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation.
One last great touch, it has a hands-free tailgate that really works like it is supposed to, and there are really handy storage bins under the rear floorboard that you’d never find without looking closely.
Fuel Economy and Value
The RDX is incredibly quiet inside, and thanks to an all-new chassis, this is the best handling RDX I have ever driven. It is also the fastest and most fun to drive.
Fuel economy is 22 in town, 28 on the highway and I’m actually doing a little better when I try. Total MSRP on this one is $46,795, which is truly low for what you get in this luxury SUV. I suspect the RDX is causing the Germans to lose some sleep.