It’s been just over a decade since the Acura RDX first made its way onto our streets and highways, and the vehicle has proved to be a perennial favorite among buyers who recognized its obvious strengths. A timely entry into the ever-growing world of crossovers, the early RDX was both stylish and accessibly-priced. Flash-forward through two generations and the continued success of this bread & butter product has allowed Acura to establish a unique RDX platform, evolving both in terms of design and (as one might expect) price-tag to create a more value-added product. And with that in mind, the 3rd-gen 2019 Acura RDX is well-deserving of your attention (and that’s coming from someone who, admittedly, hates crossovers).
In fact, let me speak to that, for a moment, since my dislike of crossovers is based on three primary points. First, the lack of inspired designed found in most offerings is an immediate turn-off. Slaves to functionality, crossovers seem to suffer from an identity crisis, while trying to offer something for everyone. I simply prefer to drive a vehicle that knows what it is. That desire to appease everyone is my second complaint, since the result is a kitchen-sink mentality of amenities, technology and utility. With every automaker looking to out-do one another, most crossovers end up a mishmash of features that seem to drive up the price unnecessarily. Finally, is the absence of passion resulting from each of the points above. One could argue that not every driver possesses a ‘love of driving’, but those of us who do are looking for something more enticing than what most crossovers have to offer.
That said, the newest RDX honors Acura’s philosophy of offering ‘Precision Crafted Performance’. While it aims to meet the expectations of utility that one would have for any crossover, it does so with a clear sense of intent. Rather than allowing itself to be plagued by the vicious circle of form versus function, the RDX creates something visually stunning, functionally accommodating and (dare we say it) exciting at the prospect of driving. As such, it is an ideal step-up from a sports sedan to a sport utility.
As it claims the title of ‘luxury crossover’, one shouldn’t be surprised by the $37,300 starting MSRP of the 2019 RDX. From roof to rockers this is a brand-new offering, and it carries such a strong combination of design and engineering language that it’s easy to keep an open mind re: that price tag.
Consider for a moment that it offers more power than the likes of the Mercedes-Benx GLC300, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60. That’s nothing to shake a stick at.
The Basics of Design
Flowing back from its iconic grille and badging the RDX is immediately impactful on one’s senses courtesy of its streamlined design. Subtly contoured in a way that compliments its sloped roofline and aggressive front and rear fascia, it’s difficult not to appreciate the sporty iconography of the RDX. Simply put, it’s a good-looking crossover, exempt from the uninspired wedge-like silhouette that so many competitors seem content with. This is only accentuated by the selection of eight familiar, yet potent, pearlized and metallic color choices.
Ease inside, and the spacious two-tone cabin is accentuated by a curvaceous styling and an intuitively-designed control panel. With its raised touchscreen interface that sits higher than the dash, the core areas of the panel feel simplified, accessible and well-defined. Overall visibility is strong, thanks to near-panoramic window styling, and seating is comfortable for both front and rear passengers. In fact, the overall cabin experience is upgraded further by the panoramic sunroof, making everything feel more open and connected to the outside environment. A choice of three standard color schemes, allow for either subtle Gray or bold Parchment surfaces to be accented by contrasting Ebony Black trim. The options of upgrading to an intoxicating Red or rich Espresso brown only enhance it further.
Simply put, it’s difficult not to appreciate the overall design of the RDX in terms of its aesthetics and welcoming design. With a strong design at its core, the color choices and selection of wheels and add-on accessories, it’s likely to appeal to most sensibilities.
The Basics of Performance
272 horsepower. 280 lb-ft of torque. 24 mpg combined.
Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the RDX carries subtle-yet-impactful differences from its V6 predecessor. Making gentle sacrifices in terms of horsepower, 2019 brings an increased torque rating, tangible in its well-timed swells of power. Mated to a 10-speed automatic, it shifts effortlessly and is incredibly responsive, performing as needed. It even offers a selection of drive modes (including Comfort and Sport) that can modify the RDX’s performance based on the driver’s preference.
With the option of a Super Handling AWD system (front-wheel drive comes standard), the RDX boasts options that serve to enhance the manner in which it performs with modest ease. While aggressive driving enables the torque-vectoring to thrust the RDX confidently forward around all kinds of curves, everyday driving enjoys the same kind of handling albeit in a way that’s easy to overlook. And in that subtlety is where its performance appeal lies.
But Don’t Take Our Word For It
Take a look at yourself, courtesy of Edmunds…and let us know what you think of the 2019 Acura RDX.