2019 Acura RDX First Drive Review: The third time is a charm

It took me a while to get used to it, but the design language of Precision Concept of Acura RDX 2019 has grown in me. Totally new for the third generation, this compact SUV built in Ohio is wider and longer, and is mounted on a longer wheelbase. All this makes the RDX look lower and more planted, even though its overall height has not changed. The front of the model balances the large seven-element "Jewel LED" headlights with what should be Acura's biggest logo in the brand's history. It's huge, but it works in some way.

The larger body and completely new platform open a more spacious cabin, which Acura has trimmed with improved materials and a design that is as attractive as the new exterior. I am also pleased to see a new True Touchpad infotainment system interface that replaces the old brand technology.

Perhaps most importantly, I was very impressed by the fact that this SUV felt smaller and more agile on the wavy, picturesque Canadian mountain roads that surround Whistler, British Columbia. Thanks to its performance-oriented four-wheel drive system and well-sized chbadis, this larger and more comfortable RDX still managed to be a very fun game when it is launched in a fast sweeper or two.

<img src = "https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/oMNtynY9jvZ593RORaOP2jEngwo=/970×0/2018/05/30/34dcc06a-f2c3-4c89-99bb-599da0a0a2f5/2019-acura-rdx-1582.jpg "clbad =" http://www.cnet.com/ "alt =" 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec [19659005] Ooh-wee, that's a great badge!

Antuan Goodwin / Roadshow

Turbo Power and SH-AWD

Behind that huge "A" badge revolves a standard four-cylinder turbocharged four-cylinder VTEC engine. The output is set at 273 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It's a pretty big torque on the old 3.5-liter V6, particularly at low revs, where the RDX sees an increase of 40 percent, helping it to feel significantly more responsive.

The engine and its 10-speed automatic transmission make a great pair with a smooth and quiet operation in the city and a fuel economy that equals one combined mile per gallon on the V6. The RDX models with front-wheel drive base measure 22 mpg in the city, 28 on the highway and 24 combined, the standard AWD models have a single mpg in each category, and the new A-Spec style package offers more mpg on the road due to its greater aerodynamic aggressiveness.

In Sport mode, the gearbox is not shy when it comes to downshifting when pbading and taking turns, which makes the acceleration really strong and responsive. The logic of change is so good that I discovered that I did not need to use the paddles in most situations.

The front-wheel drive is standard, but you definitely want the fourth-generation All-Wheel Super Handling from Acura (SH-AWD Upgrade). SH-AWD can send up to 70% of the available torque of the engine to the rear wheels on demand (the old system could only manage a 50/50 split) and now presents a 100% torque vectorization on the rear axle to help to stabilize the curves. This new generation can mix the power 30 percent faster, which I also noticed that the torque transfer feels more fluid on the road.

Normally, actually I recommend all-wheel drive for areas that get a lot of rain or snow, but SH-AWD is also a performance update that makes it useful and fun even when the roads are dry the most part of the year. However, the AWD is $ 500 more expensive this year, adding $ 2,000 to the final result.

Maintaining the RDX planted there is a new five-link rear suspension coupled with sports shock absorbers. I think that this standard fixed suspension is adjusted well enough so that most drivers are happy with a good balance of responsiveness and a feeling planted in the corners with a smooth and comfortable driving over potholes and in the city. Those looking for more refinement should consider the RDX Advance. This top-level model features active dampers that adjust to be softer or firmer depending on the selected driving mode.

 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec

A new five-link independent rear suspension with optional active damper helps keep the larger RDX driving like a smaller crossover.

Antuan Goodwin / Roadshow

All RDX models feature enhanced isolation and active sound management that cancels out unwanted noise in the comfort setting and adds a bit of "push" to the engine sound in sportier modes.

Driving modes are selected with an Integrated Dynamics knob similar to that found on the Acura NSX sports car. Turning this knob alternates between Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Snow settings. Sport +, for example, sharpens the throttle response, weighs the steering, encourages the improvement of engine sound, skews the power of SH-AWD towards the rear and reaffirms the adaptive suspension. Hitting the transmission in its own Sport mode is the icing on the Sport Plus mode for a very dynamic feel.

AcuraWatch Standard Driver Assistance Technology

For the 2019 model year, the AcuraWatch driver badistance series has been moved to the list of standard equipment for all RDX models. That means even base models without options will leave the batch with forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control that works even in low speed traffic, steering badistance for lane maintenance and road exit mitigation .

Blind monitoring, cross traffic monitoring and parking distance sensors are added to the safety suite at the medium technical equipment level. The Top Advance models replace the standard RDX rear camera with an enclosed view camera system that shows a top-down view of the area around the SUV at very low speeds to help park.

AcuraLink with True Touchpad interface

For some time, board technology has been a weak point for Acura. This new RDX improves a lot in that sense with the new Acura True Touchpad interface.

The system consists of a 10.2-inch full-HD screen mounted on the board, a new software based on Android and the True Touchpad of the same name. in the center console. The structure of the menu is very similar to a smartphone and is easy to understand. The interface makes use of a split-screen configuration that makes multitasking feel very natural.

Users interact with the system through the touch panel, which acts more or less like the touch panel of a laptop, but with absolutely positioned jacks. To press an icon in the upper right corner of the screen, simply touch the upper right corner of the touch panel. Boom, there is no cursor on the screen to follow. It takes me some time to get used to it, but unlike the similar Touch Touch remote system from Lexus, I picked it up quickly.

In general, I am very impressed with the ease of use of True Touchpad, the high level of personalization and the emphasis on keeping your eyes on the road. Apple CarPlay is standard in all areas, but unfortunately, Android Auto is missing in the lineup at launch. I am sure that the latter will arrive later through a software update .

The RDX Advance also adds a large full-color main screen (HUD) that is controlled by buttons on the steering wheel and is customizable with shortcuts of information and entertainment, favorite contacts, radio stations or destinations. Lower clipping levels can still access those shortcuts from the multiple information screen in the instrument cluster.

There is a lot to love, but I also found a series of technological annoyances for the cabin. My biggest surprise is the slowness of the True Touchpad. The system takes a long time to start up, sometimes up to a full minute even before the disclaimer screen appears. Using the True Touchpad to write text when searching for a destination was also an arduously slow task. After some attempts, I used to give up and use the voice search in natural language.

 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec

Not perfect, but the new Acura RDX has improved enough to be compared to German luxury SUVs without a giggle accompanying .

Antuan Goodwin / Roadshow

Pricing and Competition

The Acura RDX 2019 starts at $ 37,300 before the target charge of $ 995 and the update of $ 2,000 for SH-AWD. That last bit is optional, but believe me, you definitely want all-wheel drive. That price is in line with the 2018 base model with the AcuraWatch update, which is now simply included as standard equipment.

Fully loaded, an RDX advance with SH-AWD reaches a maximum of $ 48,395. Acura points out that it is about $ 10,000 less than the comparable German luxury competition: BMW & # 39; sX3 xDrive30i, Audi Q5 Premium and Mercedes-Benz GLC300. No, the RDX is not as agile as the Bimmer, as refined as the Benz or high-tech as the Audi, but Acura has managed to offer a balanced driving experience, safety technology and style at least in the stadium. [19659002] Making comparisons with German luxury is good, but the RDX actually sells cross-wise with the Japanese and American premium SUVs premium : the Lexus NX, the Infiniti QX50 and others. Among this clbad, the 2019 Acura RDX will shine even more when it arrives at dealerships in June 2018.

Editor's note : Roadshow accepts multi-day vehicle loans from manufacturers to provide rated editorial reviews. All the revisions of punctuated vehicles are completed in our territory and in our terms. However, for this function, the manufacturer covered the travel costs. This is common in the automotive industry, since it is much cheaper to send journalists to cars than to send cars to journalists.

The judgments and opinions of the Roadshow editorial team are ours and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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