The 2018 Detroit Auto Show is now officially hitting its stride, and amid a flurry of high-riding utility vehicle debuts, Acura is joining the fray with its brand-new third-generation RDX compact luxury SUV. The Japanese automaker is calling it the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade,” unveiling the five-passenger in “prototype” form, even though this thing looks pretty much good to go in terms of production status. Overall, the updates cater to American buyers in a big way, adding in extra inches for the size, as well as new technology like a True Touchpad Interface, and new styling to boot. Inspiration comes from Acura’s latest Precision Concepts in terms of exterior aesthetics and interior layout, which is sure to get the attention of stateside buyers, and Acura boasts the 2019 model year is the “quickest, best-handling RDX ever.” The updated RDX will hit dealers by mid-2018, but until then, read on for more info.
“The new RDX offers much more of that classic SUV character thanks to its bigger, bolder features, especially in the fascia”
With the continued growth and popularity of the SUV and crossover segment here in the States, it’s no surprise Acura has gone to such great lengths to keep the RDX feeling fresh, especially when you consider the solid sales numbers the nameplate has posted over the last five years or so.
So what makes the 2019 RDX standout in the segment? For starters, the styling just got a major improvement. This is the first model to “fully embody Acura’s new design language as envisioned in the Acura Precision Concept,” and overall, we think it offers much more of that classic SUV character thanks to its bigger, bolder features, especially in the fascia. Up front, we also find Acura’s Jewel Eye LED headlights and a diamond pentagon grille insert.
On the subject of looks, Acura is offering customers a new A-Spec trim level, and although it doesn’t actually affect, you know, performance, it does give the SUV extra regression in the styling department. Going forward, Acura says each of its core models will come with the option for A-Spec gear.
“The 2019 RDX comes packing with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which features a mono-scroll turbocharger, double overhead cams, and a VTEC variable valve system”
Behind the restyled grille, the 2019 RDX comes packing with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which features a mono-scroll turbocharger, double overhead cams, and a VTEC variable valve system. The ’four replaces the outgoing model’s SOHC 3.5-liter V-6, and despite its smaller displacement, it manages to create roughly 40 percent more low-end twist.
Once again, FWD is standard, while AWD is optional. Go for the extra grip, and you’ll also get a handling-enhancing torque vectoring system, complete with a new rear diff with a big upgrade in torque capacity. The gearbox is also new, with Acura replacing the older six-speed unit with a segment-first 10-speed automatic.
Complementing the oily bits is a lighter, stiffer body. The exterior dimensions have grown as well, measuring in with an extra 1.2 inches overall, 2.5 inches more wheelbase, and a shorter front overhang. Managing it all is a new, optional adaptive suspension system that takes cues from the Acura NSX with multiple drive modes, including several sport modes.
“The big news inside the cabin is a fresh infotainment system Acura calls the True Touchpad Interface”
The big news inside the cabin is a fresh infotainment system Acura calls the True Touchpad Interface. Basically, this system mates touchscreen and remote interface elements into a single unit via a 10.2-inch high-definition display, a new operating system, sharper graphics, and a new voice recognition system as well. Look for the system to eventually find its way into the rest of the Acura stable.
More broadly speaking, the RDX’s interior was redesigned to reflect the Acura Precision Cockpit concept seen previously, and best characterized by the large, vertically oriented center console controls.
Up top, there’s a huge panoramic sliding moonroof as standard across the line, which Acura boasts as the biggest in its class. There’s also more space inside thanks to the longer wheelbase, while front-seated passengers get to enjoy heated and ventilated front seats and 16-way power adjustment. Finally, a host of premium materials solidify the RDX’s claims to opulence, and include Napa leather, brushed aluminum, and open-pore Olive Ash wood.
With the popularity of the SUV and crossover segment continuing unabated here in the U.S., this extensive update for the 2019 RDX makes a lot of sense. Indeed, the automaker says it was “designed, developed and manufactured in America,” and it shows, touching each of the areas U.S. consumers care about the most.
All told, we’re predicting a good amount of success with this one.