2019 Acura RDX puts the 'Sport' in Sport-Utility Vehicle
Let's be honest, most SUVs aren't very sporty. They're great for cargo and families, but they're not intended for more adventuresome experiences. A few SUVs are definitely intended for off-road adventures. The 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec is part of an even smaller group of SUVs that offers a great on-pavement performance driving experience.
The fundamental feature that delivers a great driving experience from the RDX is Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD). Acura's system has the ability to direct torque to any wheel that needs traction, and in fact delivers torque to the outside rear wheel in a curve, helping to reduce understeer and give the RDX exceptional handling. The RDX adjusts the torque allocation instantly based on factors such as wheel speed, steering angle, and lateral G-force.
The RDX is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. While the system lacks the punch of a V6 when leaving from a stop, it's more than adequate once the RDX is moving. Fuel economy is about average among comparable vehicles at 21 MPG city and 26 MPG city.
Inside, the RDX shows what the sporty A-Spec package is all about. The seat upholstery is leather, with perforated suede inserts. The front seats are both heated and ventilated. An extra-large 10.2-inch display is mounted high on the dash, but controlled with an innovative "True Touchpad" mounted on the console. Normally touchpads are difficult or even dangerous to use while driving, but Acura's development is to map the screen to the touchpad, making it easy to select options accurately.
The A-Spec package also includes a concert-quality ELS Studio audio system with 16 speakers. The sound reproduction is better than most audiophile home stereos. You'll like it.
Safety has not been neglected. In addition to all the usual refinements, Acura offers AcuraWatch, which includes forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation. Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and both front and rear parking sensors are included with the Tech Package, along with voice-activated onboard navigation.
On the road, the RDX is a pleasure to drive. The late-season winter weather has been a breeze with the SH-AWD system, and the Acura's stereo plus the comfortable heated seats have made time in the car into a respite rather than an ordeal.
The primary competitors to the Acura RDX are the Lexus RX and the Infiniti QX50. Only the Infiniti can rival the Acura in driving dynamics, though all three are comfortable. If your plans include upgrading your SUV this year, the Acura RDX is well worth your consideration.
2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec
Base price: $45,600
Price as tested: $46,995
Type: Compact crossover SUV
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (272 hp, 280 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 21/26
Overall length: 186.8 inches
Curb weight: 4,068 pounds
Final assembly: East Liberty, Ohio