Model tested: 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec
Engine: 2-liter direct-injection VTEC turbo 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 272 • Torque: 280 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
EPA ratings: 21/city, 26/highway, 23/combined
Base price: $46,495 • As tested: Unavailable
The 2019 Acura RDX is all new and marks the third generation of this compact-luxury SUV. When it first debuted, it had only one noteworthy rival — the BMW X3. In the decade since, a dozen competitors have emerged. With an unchanged value proposition, coupled with outstanding amenities, practicality and legendary Honda reliability, the RDX boasts its own fresh style, athleticism, innovation and stellar safety features.
Walkaround: The RDX got an extreme makeover for 2019. Swoopy headlight housings flank the new, diamond-pentagon grille. All models feature a panoramic sunroof and power tailgate with height adjustment. Our test-driver, the RDX A-Spec, adds aggressive darkened elements and 20-inch wheels.
Interior: All RDX models feature a two-row, five-passenger configuration that provides ample room. The front seats are comfortable with great support. Rear-passenger space is generous. The cabin has a luxurious look and feel. A prominent silver dial that looks out of a sci-fi movie is mounted in the center of the dash and used to toggle drive modes. The 10.2-inch high-res screen controlled by Acura’s True Touchpad Interface is mounted top of the dash, while buttons control the transmission instead of a gearshift. Standard features include leatherette upholstery, AcuraWatch active safety suite, dual-zone climate control, nine-speaker 350-watt premium AM/FM/XM/HD audio, Apple CarPlay, heated and 12-way-adjustable power front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink universal garage remote. Cargo room is among the top in the class, boasting 29.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 58.9 with them folded.
Under the Hood: The powerplant is a sophisticated 2-liter, turbocharged 4-banger delivering 272 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque. It’s married to the same 10-speed automatic Honda uses in the Accord sedan.
Behind the Wheel: We drove the RDA A-Spec twice — once at the Northwest Automotive Press Association’s Run to the Sun event, and again in our regular rotation. The RDX isn’t shy about its athleticism. Turbo lag is a nonissue. The 10-speed automatic is surprisingly smooth, considering the number of gears. The ride is tight, yet supple, and unexpectedly quiet. It offers a four-mode drive system — snow, comfort, sport and sport-plus — that makes a true difference in driving behavior. Braking is strong, although the pedal has an initial soft spot when pressed.
Bottom Line: The 2019 Acura RDX is a unique vehicle that allows you to feel self-indulgent — yet fiscally responsible.