2019 Acura RDX Preview

2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Editor
April 2, 2018

With its good looks and a brand-new chassis, the 2019 Acura RDX aims at the big names in the luxury compact crossover class.

The 2019 Acura RDX just might have what it takes to become the best vehicle in the Acura showroom, aside from the swoopy NSX.

With chiseled lines, turbocharged power, available all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, and a high-tech yet luxurious interior, the compact crossover RDX is a better way to bring buyers from German brands to Honda's luxury brand, NSX or not.

The 2019 Acura RDX adopts a new design that sits lower and wider than the outgoing model. Up front, the five-pointed grille that first appeared on the Acura Precision Concept and has since spread throughout the lineup rests between LED headlights and stylized air intakes. Front air curtains direct air around the sides of the vehicle. The profile features chiseled character lines--including one that rises from front to rear--a floating rear pillar, and splashes of chrome that Acura replaces with black trim on the sportier A-Spec model. The A-Spec also gets larger wheels.

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Inside the look mixes traditional luxury with the latest technology. Materials take a jump up, with open pore olive ash wood, brushed aluminum, stainless steel, synthetic suede, and Milano leather. Acura offers next-generation sport seats with high-strength steel frames, 16-way power adjustments, and improved lateral stability. In the A-Spec model, buyers can choose two-tone black and red upholstery.

The traditional luxury materials stand in contrast to an Integrated Dynamics Control system lifted from the NSX, as well as the new True Touchpad Interface. This infotainment controller uses a center console-mounted touchpad to choose the functions on the high-mounted 10.2-inch screen. It employs absolute positioning, which maps positions on the touchpad to corresponding positions on the screen. Users can simply press down to choose commands.

The 2019 RDX rides on a new platform exclusive to Acura. The wheelbase stretches 2.6 inches longer, which improves rear cargo space by 3.4 cubic feet and adds an additional 1.7 cubic feet under the floor. The platform employs more than 50 percent high-strength steel and it uses ultra-high-strength steel in the door frames to improve structural rigidity. The suspension employs front MacPherson struts, a five-link independent rear design, and available adaptive dampers.

Acura calls the 2019 RDX its sportiest compact crossover yet: the available all-wheel-drive system can route 70 percent of the torque to the rear, and 100 percent of that power to the outside wheel in a turn to improve handling even more.

Under the hood, the RDX swaps its 3.5-liter V-6 for a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that produces 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A version of the engine from the Honda Civic Type R, this dual-overhead-cam engine has 40 percent more low-rpm torque, according to Acura. The lone transmission, a new 10-speed automatic, has a 62 percent wider gear-ratio spread than the outgoing 6-speed.

Standard features of the 2019 Acura RDX include the 10.2-inch center screen, Apple CarPlay, keyless ignition, the AcuraLink suite of Connected Services with in-car Wi-Fi enabled by 4G LTE connectivity, 12-way heated front sport seats, a panoramic sunroof, a power height-adjustable tailgate, LED headlights, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

The A-Spec model gets 20-inch wheels, gloss black accents, and the optional two-tone red and black interior.

Buyers can also choose a head-up display, 16-way seats, and a 16-channel 710-watt ELS 3D audio system.

On the safety front, the RDX comes standard with forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.

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