A Season With The 2019 Acura RDXJanuary 16, 2019
A few times per year we look for new cars to add to our semi-long-term fleet. We had the 2018 Ford Mustang last year, we had the Mercedes-Benz E400, we have a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. We try to choose cars that we think we’ll like, that will be useful and that are new or noteworthy in some way. The new 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec fits that bill and then some.
So we picked one near the top of the line, as we usually do. That means we have Acura’s SH-AWD system and the A-Spec line (unique exterior and interior details, surround sound, 20-inch wheels; $3,000). The only trim above it is the RDX with Advance Package, which adds adaptive dampers, acoustic glass, a head-up display, surround-view camera and a few other things. The A-Spec Package includes the Technology Package as well (premium audio, navigation, leather seats, driver assistance; $3,200). That rings up to a grand total of $46,895 — pricey, but not out of line with the competition.
All new RDXs come with a 2.0-liter direct-injected turbocharged four making 272 hp paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Standard safety features include collision mitigation, adaptive cruise, lane keeping, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and road departure mitigation. Those fall under the Acura Watch banner, which is now standard on the RDX line.
We’ve only put a few hundred miles on the A-Spec so far, but it did leave us (me) with a few first impressions.
First, that 10-speed transmission. It works flawlessly. Shifts are Honda-smooth and always come at the right times. In some cars and pickups it seems like 10 speeds is too many, but Acura tuned this gearbox perfectly. It also matches well with the engine, which surprised me. It’s a growly, powerful little four and more power than anyone would need in a crossover like this.
And the growl is really the only noise in the cabin. Granted, this RDX only has 2,000 miles on it, so it’s factory fresh, but wind and road noise are almost completely muted.
I’m still getting used to the new “True Touchpad” infotainment system. The touchpad is supposedly matched 1 to 1 with the screen, but I still had to hunt around to get to the button I wanted while keeping my eyes on the road. Also it’s not just a tap — you have to push with a little effort. We’ll see if it gets easier to use over time.
Otherwise, the interior looks well put together with nice leather and other surfaces. I took it to the airport with the whole family for a 10-day vacation and cargo space was a little tight. Granted we had four people, including an infant and a toddler, four or five suitcases and a big double stroller. We had to pass some luggage off to the parents-in-law. If the trip was a week or shorter we probably would have made it.
I didn’t get any inclement weather with which to test out the AWD system, but our old MDX was great in the white stuff and I expect this to be the same. It’s January in Detroit, so the bottom will drop out any time now.
We’ll keep this Acura RDX for a few months, so look for semi-regular updates here online