What it is: The RDX has now been around for more than a decade, and in previous iterations was built off of the Honda CR-V platform, but for the 2019 model year was moved to its own larger base. Three inches longer, 1 inch taller and 1 inch wider gives the RDX a little more interior room for passenger space and cargo capacity.
One of the best things about the new RDX is the standard features. A nearly full suite of safety technology comes with every RDX, including forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a few others. Available optionally are a surround-view camera and blind-spot information system. A standard 10.2-inch infotainment system is big and beautiful, although only Apple CarPlay is standard with no support for Android Auto, yet. Also standard are power-adjustable front seats with heat and a sunroof.
My test model came with the A-Spec package ($3,000), which is a sports-appearance package with a bevy of additional touches. Revised front and rear bumpers, 20-inch gray wheels, dual exhaust, LED fog lights, ventilated sport-bolstered front seats, sport pedals and a premium 16-speaker stereo system round out the package. One additional choice A-Spec purchases get is to choose a black or red leather interior and I highly recommend the red. It’s an absolute stunner. When you purchase the A-Spec package, you are also required to purchase the $3,200 technology package, which gives you navigation, the additional safety features mentioned above, some rear USB ports, and not much else. I personally would have skipped the steep tech package price if Acura would let you.
All RDX models are equipped with the same engine. The outgoing 2018 RDX had a 279 horsepower/252 lb-ft of torque 3.5-liter V6, and the new 2019 RDX gets a 272 horsepower/280 lb-ft of torque 2.0-liter turbocharger inline-four. With comparable power, and the torque-y turbocharger, the new RDX certainly feels sportier. Also available is Acura’s Super Handling AWD system ($2,000) which is nice to have, but is not really necessary in the Houston market, especially considering it drops your MPG by 1 or 2.
I would also be amiss if I didn’t mention that A-Spec purchasers can choose a unique exterior color: Apex Blue Pearl ($400). With a pearl effect in the paint, it bounced between blue and purple depending on the light, and it’s a delight. Paired with the red leather interior I mentioned earlier, it’s a little gaudy, but quite handsome.
Price: $37,300 base price. $46,595 as-tested with destination.
Mileage: 23 combined/21 city/26 highway
Upsides: Unique aesthetics.
Downsides: Gas mileage.
Wrap-up: If you prefer some of the tech and an upgraded interior without the sportiness of the A-Spec, Acura will sell you an Advanced Package for $4,900 which includes a more traditional interior color scheme and a few bonus luxury features like a heated steering wheel, “Natural Olive Ash Burl Wood Trim” and other niceties, but the A-Spec is the one to purchase. You get to set yourself out among the other compact crossovers, while also getting the Honda-based reliability and resale. An MSRP of near $50,000 is certainly hard to swallow, but the traditional luxury car manufacturers are charging more than that for comparable vehicles. If you want something a little outside of the ordinary and aren’t too concerned with decent gas mileage, then definitely take a look at Acura’s new RDX.