Acura RDX Test drive

Last Updated:

 The all new 2019 RDX is a vast improvement over its predecessor.

The previous generation was a nice car dressed in a pretty invisible design. Which was too bad.
(I think the first generation was actually more interesting)

The 2019 model looks great in real life.
And I have to say, the new Acura grille design does fit the RDX quite nicely (And it is a real grille, unlike the one on the new Avalon…)
The version I had included the Advance package. With an extra $2000 accessory wheels.
(Not part of the sticker bellow)

While I am not a fan of all black cars, I must admit, this  RDX got a lot of looks.
We are far from the previous “invisible” design.

 The interior is one of the nicest around. Everything feels and looks upscale, solid and luxurious.

The sports seats are fantastic. With tons of adjustments all around. And it is all very easy to use thanks to an onscreen help that shows up every time you touch the seat controls.

The electronic gear shift is very similar to the one in the Honda Accord I drove a while ago. (Except the “D” switch is round on the RDX) It is still one of my favorite, and very intuitive.

The wide screen on top of the dash is great. But its is not a touch screen.

Instead, Acura chose to go with a TouchPad. Which at first, might not seem as easy and intuitive as the 
Touch Green they use on Honda models. While there is a bit of a learning curve,  I got very familiar with it. And using it was second nature.

 The rear seat is very roomy. With a flat floor.
There is really no need for anything larger to carry 4 or 5 people around.

The wood trim looks good. And there is not too much of it, 
It complements the interior very nicely. 
The metal trim also looks great and again, is not over done. (Unlike the sea of metal trim you see in most German cars these days…)

 The cabin is full of great small details. Like this with to turn the front or rear camera on or off. Not only it is useful, but it looks great! And, like everything, feels super solid and high end.

 The 16 speaker “ELS Audio 3D”system in the car was just amazing.

This is really the best sound I have heard inside a car in many years. It truly puts you in the center on the stage. Voices are extremely clear and the bass sound is close to perfect.
This is really a must have if you are considering the RDX.

A big thanks to Acura for providing a thumb drive with so many great “CD quality” samples. (Steely Dan has never sounded so good in a car…)

 Acura provides 3 driving modes, available through that big round switch in the middle of the upper console.

I used the “Comfort” mode most of the time. Since it is already quite sporty.
The ride is always smooth and very comfortable, yet on the slightly firm side.
The steering seems a bit light at first. But it does firm up nicely in turns, and is very steady on the highway.

“Sport” firms up the steering a bit more. Which is fun in mountain driving.

I though “Sport +” was a bit too much. Not that necessary, with a more artificial feel.

The engine is similar to the 2.0 Turbo in the Accord. And it is always smooth and quiet.
And with 272HP, it is more than enough for spirited driving.

The 10 speed auto is, again, as smooth and quick to downshift as it is in the Accord.
This is really a great, refined, powertrain.

The RDX does have a Start-Stop system (When the A/C is off).
And I found it a little more intrusive than others. But you can actually turn it off by not pressing the brake pedal all the way down (Bust still enough to stop the car)
It is a great way to let you be in control of the Start-Stop system.

 The 2.0 Turbo RDX is rated at 21 MPG City and 26 Highway.
21 is exactly what I got around town.

But I averaged between 30 and 32 on the freeway. Which is really good for such a powerful car.

 I took the RDX camping for a night. (Something I’ve been doing lately with some cars)
And with this “SUV air mattress”, it was great. There was plenty of room for two people in the back with the rear seats down.

There is also a roomy hidden storage compartment under the trunk floor.

I had a great time with the 2019 RDX.
It is truly a pleasure to drive. All wrapped up in a classy, good-looking, luxurious package. It is also the right size.
Unless you really need 7 seats, this is really as big and roomy as it needs to be.
It is always very comfortable and quiet. You do hear the engine when you really push it, but it is very refined and sounds great.
Apparently, a bit of fake “sporty” noise is produced when you with to the “Sport” or “Sport +” mode.
But I couldn’t really tell… (It is nothing like the loud sound in the sports mode of the Insight)
As you can see above, my loaded AWD version was priced at around $48 000. (You can click on the picture)
Which is cheaper than its competition.
Since a comparable BMW X3 (With less power and no premium audio) is almost $52 000. 
A comparable Audi Q5 is about $50 000. A Mercedes GLC is $48 500 and the Volvo XC60 is about $51 000.
But since most BMW and Mercedes buyers won’t even look at anything else, the RDX‘s main competition might be the new Infiniti QX50. Which, at about $50 000 for the Essential version, still has fewer features than the RDX.
The Acura RDX is actually priced right. 
I can’t really imagine any of its competition being better than this. 
It is truly one of the very best choices for the money…
One could also argue that a loaded Honda Accord would also compete with the RDX ( I know, it’s a weird though).
But it has the same 2.0 Liter and 10 speed auto combo. The driving experience is also quite similar. (Both are great to drive)
Sure, in the Accord, you don’t get the hatchback. The SUV higher driving position. 
The fantastic sports seats, the amazing 3d Audio or the glass roof.
But a loaded Accord is also quite a bit cheaper at about $37 000.
If you don’t need or want an SUV, the Accord is one of the best cars around.

Conversation 8 comments

  1. I am real surprised me that I kind of like it now in black and with A-Spec trim level. I do not like the brown walnut trim on black interior however. Has to get a grey wood or fake carbon fiber for me to be attractive inside. I will wait till Acura re-installs the touch in the infotainment screen and offering the damperring system before I go and do a test drive on the RDX. At $46K; seems to be a good price.

  2. Acura just sent me a new window sticker since the one I published (Which they had given me) is the wrong one for the car I was driving.

    I will post the correct one as soon as I get it.

  3. My deal breaker on the Honda Accord is the land yacht size turning diameter of 39'+. I believe it is the largest in it's class. Here's hoping the RDX is tighter.

  4. Not sure, since I don't spend time actually measuring that.
    But the turning radius on the Honda Accord is 19.05 to 19.7'. NOT 39' +.

    Which is pretty comparable to the Camry at 18.7 to 19.0.
    The Mazda6 at 18.35'. Nissan Altima at 18.7'. The Ford Fusion at 18.8'

    I really don't think a foot or less is such a huge difference. Or a "land yacht size deal breaker".

  5. I drove an RDX SH-AWD and really liked it. The only things I didn't care for we're: I didn't care for the center stack with the two level flying buttress design. And all the stuff was just a bit distracting. Seats were great. It could use some more chrome or something on the tailgate to make it look more expensive. I might have purchased one if the dealer had been able to get one in blue. Oh well, better luck next home Acura.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *