They say, third time is the charm, which seems very appropriate for the 3rd generation Acura RDX sport utility vehicle, boy have we got a winner on our hands with the latest from Acura.
The Acura RDX has been around since the 2007 model year, I never reviewed the first generation RDX, I reviewed the second generation 2015 RDX a few years ago, I thought it was a pretty good vehicle. The RDX is a very popular vehicle for Acura, so they needed to give it a lot of features, luxury, and great styling.
The 3rd generation 2019 Acura RDX is offered 5 trims, with the base trim starting at $43,990, “Tech” trim starts at $46,490, “A-Spec” starts at $50,290, the “Elite” starts at $49,990, and the top of the line “Platinum Elite” starts at $54,990. These prices do not include Freight & PDI. Our review vehicle for the week was the top of the line Platinum Elite trim, which consisted of all the bells and whistles you can wish for.
The “A-Spec” trim is the sporty trim in the RDX lineup, it comes with an appearance packages which includes blacked-out chrome, slight difference in the air intakes in the front bumper, and 20” wheels.
For the 3rd generation RDX, the only available engine is the turbocharged 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine with direct injection, unfortunately the V6 is not offered anymore. The turbocharged engine produces 272 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 – 4,500 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is gone but Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is back.
Even though the new RDX loses two cylinders, the horsepower is almost the same as the 2015 RDX we reviewed, which had 273 HP, however, the new RDX has an additional 29 pound-feet of torque and it comes on much earlier in the rpm range.
The 2.0 liter 4-cylinder is quite a peppy engine and makes driving the RDX fun, the low-end torque makes the drive quite lively and it has a good amount of power for highway driving. The 10-speed automatic transmission is also smooth; however, I did have one issue with it. Every time I was about to come to a stop (at a red light) and right before coming to a full stop the light turns green and I decide to go, I felt there was a hesitation and the car didn’t accelerate for that second or two (at least it seemed that long). For a while I thought this might be a dual-clutch transmission, which has a similar hesitation in this type of situation, I even had to look it up to make sure it wasn’t a DCT.
Other than that, I enjoyed driving the RDX. There are four driving modes in the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS): “Snow”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, and “Sport+”. These modes are pretty self-explanatory, I drove the car in “Comfort” mode most of the time, as my drives are short and in all city driving. The Sport and Sport+ mode do give the RDX a very sporty feel, with more responsive throttle and transmission setting, the adaptive damper system (available only on the top of the line trim), and the SH-AWD system really made the RDX a very fun to drive vehicle.
I think the RDX is one of the sportiest SUV/CUV I’ve ever driven, it drives more like a car than your average SUV. The SH-AWD works great at swinging the car around in corners, I’m sure it works great in bad weather conditions, which we had none of in our weeklong review.
According to Natural Resources Canada/Acura, the 2019 Acura RDX should consume 11.0/8.6/9.9 L/100 km in city/highway/combined driving on premium fuel. In our weeklong review, according to the onboard computer, we used 12.1 L/100 km in about 85% city driving with the AC on most of the time. Comparing the fuel consumption number to our 2015 review of the V6 RDX, we managed to get 0.9 L/100 km better fuel consumption number.
Styling is a subjective matter, so you may like some designs I don’t like and vice versa. The styling on the 2019 Acura RDX, in my opinion, is beautiful. Acura is using their new design language, Precision Crafter Performance, on the RDX and hopefully this theme will be applied to all the vehicles in their lineup. This new styling really sets the RDX apart and gives it a proper luxury look.
The front of the RDX features Acura’s diamond pentagon grill, with a giant Acura badge. The badge is surrounded by smaller pieces of metal (I don’t really know what to call them) that get bigger as you move away from the center, giving the Acura badge the look of a shooting star. The lower part of the bumper features wing-shaped air curtain that move air around the front tires. The headlights use next-generation Jewel Eye design and look great.
The sides have a very muscular look with wide fenders and lots of body lines, giving the RDX a look of motion. The rear-end is nice looking but I wasn’t a fan of the smallish taillights, I think a little bigger taillights would give the RDX more presence, which it has from every other angle.
I thought I liked the exterior of the 2019 Acura RDX a lot, but the interior is an even bigger step forward. The RDX truly is a luxury vehicle, specially our top of the line review model with saddle brown leather seats and interior trim.
The interior has a very open and luxurious feel to it, the center console has a floating design, with extra storage space below it, it flows into the center stack with the transmission selector buttons and a very large dial in the middle. Most people thought it was the volume knob but it’s actually for changing the driving modes, reminiscent of the Acura NSX.
Above this area is the HVAC controls and at the top is the infotainment screen, which seems a bit far from the driver, but that’s because it’s not a touchscreen. The infotainment system is controlled with the little touchpad below the gear selector section, this is like a mousepad but different in a way. On a mousepad-style controller in other car, you slide your finger around to control the pointer on the infotainment system, Acura’s system takes it a step further. Wherever you put your finger on the mousepad, say top right corner, the pointer on the screen will appear in the corresponding position on the screen, the top right corner. The system does take a bit of getting used to because of its complexity, but once mastered (which doesn’t take too long), it’s very easy to use and makes a lot of sense.
The touchpad can also be used to write alphabets/numbers for inputting an address, I believe Mercedes has something similar to this and I’m sure some other high end brands also have it. This also takes quite a bit of practice to master, unfortunately I wasn’t able to master it in the short time I had. I’m not too sure if I liked/disliked this system.
The infotainment screen has crisp graphics and is good response time. The icons on this screen can be customized to the way you want, which is a good feature for owners, personally I didn’t get enough time with the vehicle to set it up the way I would like it. The same screen is used for the rear backup camera, for some reason the resolution suffers when the rear camera is on, I would have liked much higher resolution, sometimes it was hard to see the parking spot lines on a sunny day.
The 2019 RDX comes with ventilated front seats (which most luxury vehicles come with), this is a great feature to have for hot summer days, unfortunately, it never cooled the seats enough for me. Most other cars I reviewed with this feature, I felt a considerable amount on cooling on my back and rear end, on the RDX my back was sweaty on longer drives with the ventilated seats on. Another gripe of mine was the AC, it cools but it never cooled enough for me to feel cold. Maybe it was just our review vehicle with a weak AC?
The interior is very roomy and quiet, the front occupants have a lot of leg room and the RDX can easily fit people over 6 feet tall in the front seats. The rear seats are also very roomy, there’s more space than the previous generation RDX. All RDX trims come standard with a giant panoramic moonroof, letting lots of light into the cabin which makes the cabin feel even more roomy.
The trunk is also very spacious, I had room to spare with the stroller and groceries in the back. The truck also features two hidden compartments that can hold a fair number of smaller items.
Overall, I really liked the interior on the RDX, my only gripe was the AC and ventilated seats.
Like any modern luxury vehicle, there’s no shortage of tech/safety/convenience features on the new 2019 Acura RDX. Below is a long list of everything available on the 2019 RDX, since our test vehicle was the top of the line trim, it had all the bells and whistles.
- Adaptive headlight with auto high beam
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system
- Hill Start Assist
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system
- LED daytime running lights
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) system
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- Speed Limit Information
- Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow
- Blind Spot Information (BSI)
- Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
- Color head-up display (HUD)
- Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines
- Surround view camera system
- Rear Cross Traffic Monitor system
- Remote engine starter with vehicle feedback
- Second-row temperature control
- Walk-away door lock
- 16-way power adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seats
- Olive Ash genuine wood trim
- Heated front and rear seats
- Ventilated front seats
I think Acura has done a great job with the all-new third generation RDX. It looks sporty and luxurious on the outside and inside, it comes with a lot of tech/convenience/safety features and of course the return of the SH-AWD system, which makes driving the RDX feel more like a sporty car than a tall CUV.
The interior is very quiet and luxurious and is now a direct competitor to its European counterparts.
2019 Acura RDX Platinum Elite Review Photo Gallery
For more information on the all-new RDX and other Acura vehicles, please visit acura.ca.