Acura’s RDX doesn’t have the public cachet of some of its competitors like the more heavily advertised Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW brands. Yet as of April 2019, the all-new third generation Acura RDX compact luxury SUV was increasing sales at a faster rate than its pricier competitors.
2019 Acura RDX Review
Our impressively redone Acura RDX SH-AWD test-drive had the A-SPEC package, just below the top tier Advance package, and was loaded with millennial-pleasing technology.
Other RDX trims are Base, Technology and Advance. SH-AWD means power shared as needed among all four wheels, with 90% front and 10% rear the default split. A-SPEC includes all the RDX performance/safety bells and whistles except some comfort additions offered in Advance. We had a $400 add-on for paint.
The 2019 RDX sheds 41 pounds, increases rigidity 38.3 percent, upgrades technology and grows the wheelbase, length, and passenger volume.
It’s now quicker with more torque, gets two miles better mileage, is cathedral quiet except for pleasant grumbling when accelerating, and earns top overall crash safety ratings.
It’s sleeker and more attractive with a swept back look using a rising beltline, aggressive front fascia, new character lines, grey cladding, black window surrounds and 20-inch black wheels wearing all-season tires.
The high torque results in perky acceleration using manual shifting paddles in SPORTx drive mode, tops above SNOW, COMFORT and SPORT. A 10-speed automatic shifts smoothly but has an annoying, clunky start-stop. Push buttons operate park, rear and drive gear settings.
Handling was solid with a variable steering ratio and the ride well cushioned with Macpherson front strut and multi-link rear suspension. Driver aids are cutting edge using standard AcuraWatch features.
The RDX earned a 2019 top ten technology award from WardsAuto. Studio-like audio comes from an ELS 16-speaker surround-sound system. The cabin is appealing with a newly designed touchpad to activate and control an array of sophisticated technology features that require a learning curve even for the millennials.
The spacious cabin feels mid-size with a visual highlight the elevated 10.2-inch screen manipulated by the touchpad. Fit and finish is top notch; a panoramic sunroof covers all seats. Front seats are ventilated.
Storage space is ample underneath the cargo floor and beneath the center spine. Visors extend and a spare tire hangs beneath the vehicle.
2019 Acura RDX at a Glance
LIKES: Handling, power, looks, cargo/cabin space, quiet, luxurious, price
DISLIKES: Clunky start/stop, online owner’s manual
BOTTOM LINE: Top performance, plentiful tech features, wallet-friendly price
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested world-wide market.