2019 Acura RDX Prototype Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jan 15, 2018
  • Redesigned and engineered to new Acura design and performance standards
  • Significant improvements in terms of interior comfort, materials, and equipment
  • Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive is standard; optional Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
  • Standard AcuraWatch driver assistance and collision avoidance systems
  • New sophisticated True Touchpad Interface infotainment system with next-generation AcuraLink service
  • Built in East Liberty, Ohio



Technically, the 2019 Acura RDX introduced in Detroit at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is a “prototype” vehicle. But rest assured that you’re going to be able to buy one that essentially looks identical to this, inside and out.

Acura says this new 2019 RDX “signals the beginning of a new era” for the luxury automaker. Frequently accused of forgetting what made it special, Acura is returning the RDX to its roots, and in the process is putting the brand on what it hopes is a trajectory toward future success.

Exterior Features

Acura’s 5-passenger luxury performance SUV one of its most popular models, and it outsells the company’s cars all by itself. Add the larger MDX into the mix, and Acura is, for all intents and purposes, an SUV company.

Conceived from the ground up to Acura Precision Concept design standards, the RDX portends good things for future vehicles from the company. It wears its signature diamond pentagon grille with ease, and introduces next-generation Acura Jewel Eye LED headlights.

The appealing design is wrapped around a lighter and more rigid vehicle architecture with a wider track, a longer wheelbase, a shorter front overhang, and the wheels pushed to the vehicle’s corners. The end result it a taut, athletic, balanced appearance that promises engaging performance.

Interior Features

Acura’s Precision Cockpit study guided the new RDX’s interior design, which the company says is rendered in “authentic” and “premium” materials. The stretched wheelbase contributes to a roomier cabin, and Acura claims the 2019 RDX will supply class-leading interior space, rear seat room, and cargo volume.

Acura has not established what is standard and what is optional. Highlights of the cabin include a floating center console, a sports steering wheel, an dramatically improved infotainment system, and 16-way power adjustable sport seats with heating and ventilation. Premium Nappa leather, brushed aluminum accents, and open-pore Olive Ash wood trim gleam beneath an “ultra-wide” panoramic glass sunroof.

Under the Hood

Acura says the 2019 RDX will be the quickest and best-handling one ever.

To that end, a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard, the same engine that is powering the Honda Accord 2.0T and the Honda Civic Type-R. Final power ratings are not available, but Acura confirms that it will supply 40 percent more low-end torque than the outgoing version’s standard 3.5-liter V6 engine.

A 10-speed automatic transmission powers the RDX’s front wheels, and a next-generation torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is optional. It features a new rear differential that provides a 150-percent increase in maximum torque capacity.

An Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) offers Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Snow driving modes. Choose the optional adaptive damping suspension, and its settings correspond to the IDS.

Acura will also make a new A-Spec trim available, which aims to deliver an extra thrill when the going gets curvy.


Acura hasn’t divulged whether the RDX’s new structure is designed to improve crashworthiness, but that’s a fair assumption. If this is important, however, you should wait for official crash-test results just to be sure.

AcuraWatch is standard equipment. It includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation systems. The 2019 RDX can be upgraded with a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree surround view camera system.


Acura’s existing off-the-shelf infotainment systems would not be appropriate for a vehicle designed to turn a new page for the brand. Therefore, the company undertook a clean-sheet approach to the 2019 RDX’s new True Touchpad Interface infotainment system, which employs an Android-based operating system, a 10.2-inch high-definition display, and a remote interface touchpad control surface.

Acura says the touchpad control system is better than others of its kind because the surface of the pad is precisely mapped to corresponding action on the display. The company calls it the world’s first application of “absolute positioning in a driving environment.” The company also notes that the display features simple, clean graphics and menu structures, and that a new natural voice language system is onboard, dramatically improving voice input.

Additional technologies include a new interactive head-up display, next-generation AcuraLink subscription services with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, and a new Acura ELS Studio 3D premium sound system that includes four ultra-thin ceiling-mounted speakers along with a standard array.


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