2019 Acura RDX Preview
By Liz Kim, March 28, 2018
- Third-generation compact crossover from Acura
- Greater cargo capacity
- New safety and infotainment technology
- Built in East Liberty, Ohio
- In showrooms this summer
Acura introduced the RDX Prototype at the Detroit Auto Show, but the real-life version is now here to compete for your compact luxury crossover dollars. It’s chock-full of the latest in infotainment and safety technology, and boasts a hefty list of standard features and performance specs.
The new RDX features Acura’s Diamond Pentagon Grille and Jewel Eye headlights, a sleeker iteration of the look sported by its big brother, the MDX. The sculpturing and creasing along the flanks, and its floating roof design that pinches at the rear, gives the illusion of a svelte coupe. I’m not a fan of the boomerang taillights, but it seems to be a trendy design element on many current crossovers. The RDX comes standard with 19-inch wheels, but can be upgraded to 20-inch rims.
The front passengers of the RDX are pampered with what Acura calls its next-generation sport seats, and has 12-way power adjustments. Impressively, Acura says that this is standard across the line. Also standard is a panoramic moonroof that Acura claims is the largest in its class; along with a light-toned interior, gives an airy, upscale feel. .
You won’t be able to ignore the big 10.2-inch tablet-style display sitting high on the center console, or the centrally located Dynamic Mode knob above the transmission shift buttons.
Wheelbase is stretched 2.6 inches, which increases cargo capacity with the rear seats in use by 3.4 cubic-feet to 29.5 cu.-ft., along with 1.7 cu.-ft. of underfloor storage. Acura didn’t provide numbers with the rear seats folded; passenger volume is only slightly increased, from 103.5 to 104 cu.-ft.
You can deck out your cabin with stainless steel and brushed aluminum trim, Milano leather, and open pore wood trim, and upgrade the audio system to the ELS Studio 3D system, which features four ceiling-mounted speakers. The RDX also features a new 10.5-inch heads up display that you can customize with information that you deem important.
The RDX A-Spec gives you Shark Gray 20-inch wheels with low-profile tires with unique exterior accents, and an interior with either black or a striking red leather with Ultrasuede inserts with contrasting stitching, along with exclusive trim pieces. The wheels are the only aspect that affect performance of the A-spec.
Under the Hood:
The single engine for the RDX is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that can make 272 horsepower. Low end torque is easily accessed to obliterate turbo lag, and the engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with paddle shifters for automanual functionality.
Dynamic torque vectoring allows the power to shift to the right or left wheels in vehicles equipped with Acura’s Super Handling All-wheel Drive (SH-AWD), giving drivers greater agility and a tight turning circle.
The chassis is all-new and composed mainly of high-strength steel; the suspension boasts a new five-link independent rear suspension, and can be equipped with adaptive dampers.
The RDX comes standard with a full suite of AcuraWatch active safety features, with automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and low-speed follow with lane keeping assist, which is a low-grade semi-autonomous function. We assume that features like blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert will be available on higher trim levels.
You’ll be happy to note that the RDX gets Apple CarPlay smartphone projection and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The infotainment system is controlled by Acura’s new True Touch Interface, located on the center console. Its biggest pull is that the location of the cursor directly corresponds to the same location on the display. The touchscreen itself is slightly concave, and has a padded wrist rest for comfort.
We’re not huge fans of touch pads in vehicles in general, preferring buttons and knobs for primary functions, but we will reserve judgment until we can test the system ourselves.