The 2019 Acura RDX, which recently debuted at the New York International Auto Show, sees the most extensive overhaul to its platform in a decade. For 2019, the Acura RDX comes with a VTEC Turbo engine, 10-speed transmission, and an available torque vectoring all-wheel drive system. The available A-Spec variant goes further, adding sport appearance detailing both inside and out.
The 2019 RDX has a new look that Acura calls “sharp, low, and wide.” The RDX aims for that wide stance and sleek presence by focusing on its “wheels-out” proportions. It has that Acura signature Diamond Pentagon Grille, now flanked by Jewel Eye headlights with seven LED light elements. The wide air intakes include an NSX-inspired air curtain to feed air around the front wheels and down the body. Prominent hood bulges are visible from inside the cabin so you can always remember what a powerful SUV you have and that you’re not compensating.
The front and rear fenders have sharp character lines themselves and another aggressive character line runs the length of the RDX. The whole thing is capped off with distinctive “dragon tail” LED taillights. No, really.
Chassis & Suspension
What lies beneath the sculpted new body is also of interest. The architecture delivers a “sophisticated driving experience” thanks to a 2.6 inch longer wheelbase; cargo behind the rear seats has expanded by 3.4 cubic feet, and there’s an additional 1.7 cubic feet of under floor storage. The 2019 RDX also has a fully-flat rear floor for easy loading and unloading. That body structure is mated to an all-new chassis with variable ratio, dual-pinion electric power steering. There is a “sport-tuned” Macpherson strut suspension at the front, an all-new five-link independent rear suspension, and adaptive dampers.
Power & Performance
The new RDX is motivated by a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter, 16-valve powerplant with a DOHC VTEC valvetrain and Dual Variable Timing Cam. Power comes out at a healthy 272 ponies and 280 lb-ft. of torque; that’s up by around 10 percent versus the outgoing model. And since the torque band has been moved lower, there’s quicker acceleration and sharper throttle response.
Also in the mix is a 10-speed automatic transmission, the first and only 10 speed found in the RDX’s class – but I wouldn’t expect that to last since these ten-cog boxes are all over the truck world. Give them time to percolate down into the almost-truck-world. Acura says gear changes are quick and seamless, in both automatic mode and when using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Curiously enough for an SUV, the RDX comes with torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Torque vectoring is currently found on high performance exotics (Ferrari invented it) but it is a clever engineering solution that should make a welcome appearance on almost any road vehicle. Acura’s torque vectoring is a little different since it is applied to the front end to sharpen handling response, rather than applied to the rear. Although Acura points out that up to 70 percent of the torque can be sent to the rear wheels, and up to 100 percent can be distributed to either the right-rear or left-rear wheel; so that’s pretty close to what “normal” torque vectoring is.
Of course the inside is all spacious and luxurious. This is an SUV from Acura, after all. The seating comfort and lateral support improves thanks to more intricate sculpting, lightweight steel frames, and 16-way power adjustability. The standard panoramic moonroof has power slide and tilt functions and a power sliding sunshade. Brushed aluminum, stainless steel, open pore Olive Ash wood, Ultrasuede, and rich Milano leather can be slathered about the cabin as the buyer sees fit.
Acura’s True Touchpad Interface is also along for the ride and provides a system-level approach to the in-car user experience. The interface features a 10.2-inch full-HD center display and an all-new, Android-based operating system. Acura even included a padded wrist rest for a comfortable and stable platform while operating the touchpad. The new RDX also comes with a premium audio system developed by Acura and Panasonic.
Pricing & Manufacturing
The 2019 Acura RDX is available now with a starting MSRP of $38,295. The new RDX was designed at the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles, California, developed in Raymond, Ohio, and is manufactured in East Liberty, Ohio.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.