2019 Acura RDX Review

The 2019 Acura RDX has finally arrived. Acura took a clean sheet approach and gave this top selling sport utility vehicle a new exterior, a new turbo power train, and a more modern interior.

Thanks to Acura Canada, I had the chance to test drive the new generation Acura RDX for a week. Below is my unbiased review.

The new Aura RDX is looking much sportier than its former self. Taking inspiration from the Acura Precision Concept (Think NSX), the RDX features a bold front fascia highlighted by Acura's signature diamond pentagon grille and the Jewel Eye LED headlights. The diamond pattern on the grille gives you an impression that the car is moving toward you when you look at it head on.

The side profile is defined by sharp character lines and chiseled door panels for a muscular look. A black trim breaks up the C-pillar and gives a floating roof illusion. The lower door panel is also decorated by and a black trim for a lighter, layered side profile.

The same approach to use chiseled contours to make the body panels looks lighter is also employed for the powered tailgate. The LED taillights also feature the same Jewel Eye look, and two large diameter exhaust tips gives the RDX a sporty rear end. 

Overall I think it is a gorgeous design that is sporty enough for younger buyers, and elegant enough for the more mature buyers. I am thoroughly impressed.

The interior of the all-new RDX is luxurious, and futuristic. This is a dynamic shift for Acura as the interior of the previous Acura I have test driven are on the conservative side.

The center console looks straight out of a Star Trek movie with a floating deck that houses a large drive mode selection dial, a button style gear switch panel, and a touchpad style infotainment system control. The lower deck is where you store smaller items like your smart phone, and also where you would find the USB charging ports. I find the USB ports to be hard to locate, especially at night.

High-end appointments, including authentic brushed aluminum accents and stitched leather trim are used throughout the cabin. The leather fronts seats are soft and comfortable with plenty of adjustments and supports. The first-row shoulder and headroom are superb, so are the knee, and legroom in the rear cabin. The large panoramic sunroof gives the rear passengers a gorgeous view and they also enjoy a dedicated center air vent, two USB charging ports, and a center armrest with integrated cup holders.

The interior of the 2019 Acura RDX is a big step up compare to the previous generation. It is high-tech, sophisticated, and premium. I do find the center console to be slightly clustered and would appreciate a simpler design.

The infotainment system of the 2019 enjoys a suite of new upgrades, including the Acura True Touchpad Interface, a new android based operating system, and a high mounting 10.2" display. What sets the True Touchpad Interface apart from other touchpad technologies is the absolute positioning mapping. In simple terms, if you touch the top left corner of your touchpad, you are touching to top left corner of your display screen. There is no scrolling, and you won't be seeing a touch point indicator on the display.

I will have to admit, it took some getting used to when you first used the system. You need to build the muscle memory required to pinpoint exactly where your finger is pressing on the display. But once you are used to the system, it is a quick, intuitive way to navigate the infotainment system without taking your eyes off the road. The steeper learning curve will sure to frustrate some drivers, but it is worth the effort in my opinion.

The infotainment interface is snappy, but the structure can use some simplification. Apple Carplay is standard and Android Auto is expected to be supported in future updates. RDX also debuts the ELS premium audio system that delivers 710 watts of sound with its 16 speakers. This includes four ceiling mounted speakers to create an superb listening experience.

The RDX also features the latest generation of AcuraLink cloud-base service. Users can remotely unlock, engine start, and track car location through the available smartphone app.

A large color 7-inch Multi-Information Display situates between the speedometer and tachometer in the instrument cluster. It provides a range of information and trip computer functions, including coolant temperature and fuel level gauges that flank the tach and speedometer.

Safety and Driver Assistance
The third generation RDX offers a generous set of standard safety and driver assist features. They includes:

  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Collision Mitigating Braking System with Forward Collision Warning
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Blind Spot Information 
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensor
  • Rear View Camera
  • Tire Pressure Monitor

It earns 5 star safety rating from NHTSA and is expected to receive Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS.

The new RDX is powered by a equally new 2.0L VTEC inline 4 that produces 272 hp of power at 6500 rpm and 280 lb.ft. of torque from 1600 to 4500 rpm. Compare to the previous generation, this engine produces greater torque at a much lower RPM and across a broader range of engine speed.

All that engine power is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that evolved from the two wheel drive versions of the 2018 Acura performance sedan RLX. It takes advantage of the available low end torque for fast acceleration at lower speed while maximizes smoothness and efficiency at highway speed. It is a lively power train that is responsive and engaging. There is very little turbo lag, and the
transmission switches smoothly even when it has to down shift multiple gears quickly.

The RDX comes in either the more efficient front wheel drive version or the SH-AWD version. The SH stands for super handling. The system and send up to 70% of the engine torque to the rear wheels. That torque can be directed either 100% to the left or right rear wheel. The dynamic vectoring system directs the torque to the outside rear wheel in corners to help turn the vehicle. The aggressiveness of the dynamic vectoring depends on the user selected drive mode. There are four drive modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Snow modes. I find the Sport mode to be a good balance between responsiveness and comfort, and left it there throughout most of my test drive.

The new RDX employs a combination of front MacPherson struts and a rear five-link design, both utilizing more rigid subframes and front using hydraulic suspension bushing. It handles corners with agility and composure, while maintaining a comfortable ride through road disturbances.

I really enjoyed the new found sportiness of the 2019 RDX. It is a rare trait in this segment, and the RDX does so without sacrificing the ride comfort and too much fuel efficiency. Through our vigorous test drive, we achieve a combined fuel economy rating of 12L/100km.

Cargo Space & Storage
Thanks to the longer wheel base, the 2019 RDX has 5 cu.ft. more cargo space behind rear seats at 31.1 cu.ft. With the rear 60/40 folding seats folded flat, the RDX offers 79.8 cu.ft. of maximum cargo space. There is additional storage bins under the trunk floor.

The in cabin storage options are plenty. You will find the typical cup holders in the door pockets, and a storage compartment under the front armrest. The front cup holder can be covered by a sliding blind, so small items can be kept away from prying eyes.

The 2019 Acura RDX marks some significant upgrades to this top-selling SUV. It now has a sharper exterior that should please a wide audience, a more refined and powerful drivetrain, more cargo space, and a tech savvy, premium interior. It is a complete package even at the base trim. With all these improvements, the 2019 RDX provides great value for its price. It should definitively be a top contender in the segment.

Test Vehicle
2019 Acura RDX A-SPEC
$50,290 without Destination
White Diamond Pearl


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