• The New Acura RDX Takes the Stage as BMW and Audi Fanboys Shed Tears of Jealousy, Hate, and Resentment

Yeah, it really does look that good

If you thought the new Acura RLX looked good, you’re going to fall out of your seat when you see Acura’s Precision Crafted design language plastered all over the new RDX. It’s got that Diamond Pentagon Grille,

inspired Jewel-Eye headlights, and one of the sharpest design styles we’ve seen this decade. Acura designed it to stand out in the segment and stand out it does while keeping things more efficient than ever thanks to a new chassis architecture, and an all-new four-cylinder with damn near the same horsepower and more torque than the outgoing V-6 mill. Add to that the longer wheelbase, extra cargo room, and a completely revamps AWD system and you’ve got what could become the most desired compact SUV on the market.

2019 Acura RDX Design

The New Acura RDX Takes the Stage as BMW and Audi Fanboys Shed Tears of Jealousy, Hate, and Resentment Exterior
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The RDX sits low but comes with a wheelbase that’s just over 2.5-inches longer than the outgoing model.

If the design of the RDX you see here looks familiar, it should. It is about 99.8-percent the same as the RDX Prototype that Acura showcased at the last Detroit Auto Show. The only difference that we can spot, even when looking under a microscope, is the reduction of LED elements in the headlights. More specifically, that LED bar that ran across the top of the headlights has been removed. Otherwise, the design carried over with the same stout lines, Jewel-Eye headlights, Diamond grille, aggressive front fascia, and those beautiful LED taillights.

The RDX sits low but comes with a wheelbase that’s just over 2.5-inches longer than the outgoing model. This ultimately leads to an extra 3.5 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the rear seats as well as 1.7 cubic-feet of underfloor storage. Even more important is the flat floor in the rear which ultimately leads to more legroom, especially for passengers in the middle of the rear bench. Acura redesigned the chassis for better handling and rigidity, also contributed to by the high-strength steel used in the body.

The New Acura RDX Takes the Stage as BMW and Audi Fanboys Shed Tears of Jealousy, Hate, and Resentment Interior
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The center stack actually looks fairly clustered and confusing but, for some reason, reminds of the Acura NSX.

Even the interior carried over from the prototype, which means you get something that’s undeniably Acura thanks to the sharp points and overly supercar-like cues. The center stack actually looks fairly clustered and confusing but, for some reason, reminds of the Acura NSX. There’s an infotainment screen sitting atop the dash with a German-like presence while the center console sits high to provide a storage area below and the perfect angle for the touch-pad controller.

2019 Acura RDX Performance

The New Acura RDX Takes the Stage as BMW and Audi Fanboys Shed Tears of Jealousy, Hate, and Resentment Interior
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That old, thirsty V-6 is flung out the door with the old generation to make way for an all-new four-cylinder that displaces just 2.0-liters.

The interior and exterior design are quite interesting but what’s really provocative here is what Acura has placed under the hood. That old, thirsty V-6 is flung out the door with the old generation to make way for an all-new four-cylinder that displaces just 2.0-liters. Before you let fear kick in too strongly, this four-cylinder doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a serious drop in performance from the new-generation. This turbocharged mill delivers 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Now, before you jump to conclusions, yes – that’s one horsepower less, but it’s also 28 pound-feet of torque more, and it’s coming with two fewer cylinders to suck down that precious liquid gold. In short, you pretty much get the same power with better economy, and that’s what we like to call a winning combination.

2018 Acura RDX 2019 Acura RDX
Engine 3.5-liter NA V-6 2.0-liter Turbo-Four
Horsepower 273 @ 6,200 272@TBA
Torque 251 @ 5,000 280 @ 1,600
Transmission 6AT 10AT

Final Thoughts

The New Acura RDX Takes the Stage as BMW and Audi Fanboys Shed Tears of Jealousy, Hate, and Resentment Exterior
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The 2019 Acura RDX gives a strong sense of encouragement for the future of the compact SUV segment

The 2019 Acura RDX gives a strong sense of encouragement for the future of the compact SUV segment. It’s got the style, luxury, and technology to keep up with the competition while not being overly aggressive. With that said, having the updated AWD system (the RDX is the first to get it) will certainly provide better handling than before especially now that up to 70-percent of the engine’s torque can be sent to the rear, all of which can be vectored to either tire for the best handling. Obviously, we haven’t had a chance to see or feel this new system in action, but after testing the old SH-AWD system on several occasions, we’re strongly encouraged and hyped to experience what it has to offer.


2016 Acura RDX Exterior
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Read up on what we had to say after Acura updated the 2016 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX Exterior Spyshots
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Read what we know so far about the 2019 Acura RDX in our speculative review

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Read more Acura news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author

Press release

The 2019 Acura RDX debuted today at the New York International Auto Show. As the first in a new generation of Acura products, the re-engineered 2019 RDX delivers top-of-class performance, a more spacious and luxurious cabin, and a host of premium technology and features. Designed, developed and manufactured in America, the new turbocharged RDX will launch mid-year as the quickest, best handling and most luxurious RDX yet.

"The 2019 Acura RDX signals the start of a new era for the Acura brand by delivering design, performance and prestige that will elevate its position in the luxury market’s fastest growing segment," said Henio Arcangeli, Jr., senior vice president of the Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "This RDX is our most extensive redesign in more than a decade, a truly ground up reimagining of the RDX around our Precision Crafted Performance brand direction."

Acura also debuted the 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec sport appearance variant – distinguished by larger wheels, gloss black accents and unique interior treatment including an available two-tone red and black interior. With the addition of A-Spec to both the RDX and MDX, Acura has fulfilled its commitment to expand A-Spec to all core models.

Sharp, Low and Wide Design

The production 2019 RDX carries forward substantially all of the design cues that debuted with the Prototype RDX in January. In creating the new RDX, Acura designers worked from the foundations of the Acura Precision Concept, adapting its low and wide stance, sleek presence and wheels-out proportions to a five-passenger SUV.

The 2019 RDX showcases Acura’s signature Diamond Pentagon Grille flanked by all-new Jewel Eye™ headlights – now boasting seven LED light elements, up from the previous five. Below, wide air intakes include NSX-inspired air curtains feed air efficiently around the front wheels and down the body side. Prominent hood bulges are visible from inside the cabin, signaling the performance character of the third-generation RDX.

Sharp character lines accentuate the front and rear fenders, with an aggressive "dropping" character line running the length of the RDX. A pen stroke of chrome (gloss-black on A-Spec) highlights the upper greenhouse and lower rocker. At the rear, the design of the 2019 RDX is capped off with a distinctive "dragon tail" LED light signature of the taillights.

New Acura-Exclusive Body and Chassis Architecture

The 2019 RDX sits atop an all-new body and chassis architecture designed to deliver a sophisticated and engaging driving experience. It starts with a 2.6 inch longer wheelbase, which aids both ride comfort and cabin space. The cargo area behind the rear seats has expanded 3.4-cubic feet with an additional 1.7 cubic-feet of compartmented underfloor storage. The new platform provides for a fully-flat rear floor, enabling first-class seating comfort in all three rear seating positions.

The RDX’s body structure is composed of over 50 percent high strength steel. It utilizes a new double-ring rear frame design and new two-piece ultra-high-strength steel front door rings, which significantly increase body rigidity, handling precision and cabin quietness.

The body structure is mated to an all-new chassis design with variable ratio dual-pinion electric power steering, a sport-tuned Macpherson strut front suspension, an all-new five-link independent rear suspension and available adaptive dampers.

VTEC Turbo Engine with Higher Performance and Efficiency

The new RDX takes power from a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter, 16-valve powerplant with DOHC VTEC® valvetrain and Dual Variable Timing Cam (Dual VTC). Peak output is 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. Compared to the previous model’s V6, peak torque is up 28 lb.-ft. and available across a wider section of the power band, from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm (previously 252 lb.-ft. at 4,900 rpm) with low-RPM torque boosted by as much as 40 percent for quicker acceleration and sharper throttle response.

Segment-first 10-Speed Transmission

The RDX’s turbocharged engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission (10AT) – the first and only 10AT in the class. With more closely spaced ratios and a 62 percent wider ratio range, Acura’s 10AT takes full advantage of the turbo engine’s bountiful low-end torque. Gear changes are quick and seamless, in both automatic mode and using steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Return of Torque Vectoring SH-AWD

The third generation redesign also marks the return of torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) to RDX, in its most powerful and sophisticated form ever. In addition to improving all-wheel-drive performance, Acura’s SH-AWD utilizes dynamic torque vectoring to sharpen handling response and deliver vivid, exhilarating and confidence-inspiring driving performance in virtually all weather and road conditions.

With Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, up to 70% of torque can be distributed to the rear wheels. And up to 100% of that torque can be distributed to either the right-rear or left-rear wheel, creating incredible control and agility. The 2019 RDX is the first model to utilize this new generation of Acura SH-AWD.

Spacious, Luxurious and Tech-forward Cabin

The 2019 RDX’s sumptuously appointed, tech-forward and spacious new cabin features Acura’s latest thinking for a more premium, personal and connected driving experience.

Exceptional seating comfort is provided by next-generation Acura sport seats, designed exclusively for RDX and future Acura products. The new, more intricately sculpted sport seats feature a lightweight ultra-high-strength steel frame, with improved lateral support for spirited driving and up to 16-way power adjustability. In all grades, the RDX provides both the driver and front-seat passenger the same levels of seating adjustability and comfort.

The RDX’s new ultra-wide panoramic moonroof, standard on all grades, has power slide and tilt functions and a power sliding sunshade. It is among the largest and widest in the class providing an open and airy feeling throughout the cabin.

Available authentic high-grade materials are featured throughout the cabin, including brushed aluminum, stainless steel, open pore Olive Ash wood trim, Ultrasuede® and rich Milano leather.

Inspired by the NSX, a high-deck floating center console and prominent Integrated Dynamics System control knob allows drivers to quickly switch between four distinct drive modes (Snow, Comfort, Sport and Sport+).

Intuitive True Touchpad Interface™

Designed from a clean sheet and deployed for the first time in the automotive world in the third generation RDX, Acura’s True Touchpad Interface is a holistic, system-level approach to in-car user interface that is optimized for the driver and the driving experience.

The system is designed to combine the advantages of both conventional touchscreen and remote-based approaches. The True Touchpad Interface features a 10.2-inch full-HD center display mounted high atop the center console, close to the driver’s natural line of sight, a center console-mounted touchpad and an all-new, Android-based operating system.

Unlike conventional touchpad designs, Acura’s True Touchpad Interface does not require the user to locate a cursor on the screen while navigating the touchpad. To support intuitive and easy control, the touchpad is precisely mapped, one-to-one, with the action on the center display – the world’s first application of absolute positioning in the driving environment. Simply, a touch on any location of the touchpad corresponds directly with that same location on the display.

Further supporting ease of use, the touchpad’s surface is slightly concave, allowing the user to quickly identify the center of the touchpad without looking down. A padded wrist rest, integrated within the RDX’s high-deck floating center console, provides a comfortable and stable platform for operating the touchpad.

The operating system features simple, clean graphics and menu structures designed in concert with the touchpad. It features two zones, a larger primary zone, and smaller secondary zone, allowing for easy viewing and one-tap swapping of primary and secondary functions – navigation and music, for example.

Click here for a brief video primer on the new True Touchpad Interface.

Acura ELS Studio 3D™ Audio

The new RDX also marks the debut of Acura ELS Studio 3D premium audio, a 16-channel, 710-watt system featuring four ultra-slim Highline™ ceiling-mounted speakers – available on high grades. Developed by Acura and Panasonic and tuned by Grammy-winning music producer, Elliot Schiener, Acura ELS Studio 3D audio delivers incredible fidelity and dynamic range while adding a new dimension of sound to the listening experience.

Head-Up Display and Natural Language Voice Recognition

Another Acura first is a new natural language voice recognition system, which allows for more intuitive voice control of major features and functions, including commands for the available embedded Acura Navigation System. Also new is an available 10.5-inch full-color interactive Head-Up Display, which puts customizable information displays, including audio, phone, AcuraWatch alerts, turn-by-turn navigation and more directly in the driver’s line of sight.

A-Spec Variant Boosts Sport Appearance

The new RDX A-Spec, the first-ever Acura SUV with A-Spec treatment, adds distinctive sport appearance upgrades inside and out. Shark Gray 20-inch alloy wheels shod with low-profile 255/45R20 tires create a more athletic stance and are complemented by a unique lower front fascia and gloss-black accents for the front grille, Jewel Eye™ headlights, side sills, upper window sash and taillights. LED fog lights, large-diameter dual exhaust finishers and A-Spec badging on the front quarter panels and tailgate complete the exterior package.

Inside, the RDX A-Spec features exclusive sports seats wrapped in either black or red leather with black premium Ultrasuede® inserts and contrasting stitching. Real aluminum decorates the center-console, doors and instrument panel, with additional soft-touch Ultrasuede on the dash. The A-Spec’s stitched leather sport steering wheel features gloss black trim, metal-plated paddle shifters and A-Spec badging. A unique driver’s gauge cluster gets an A-Spec exclusive satin silver finish with red-illuminated nighttime readouts.

Unparalleled Standard Features, Value

The 2019 RDX boasts an extensive and class-leading array of premium features and technologies as standard equipment, including 19-inch alloy wheels, next-generation Acura Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, an ultra-wide panoramic moonroof, a power operated and height adjustable tailgate, Acura True Touchpad Interface™ with 10.2-inch HD Display, Apple CarPlay™ compatibility, Smart Entry and Smart Start, AcuraLink™ Connected Services with 4G LTE in-car Wi-Fi1, 12-way heated driver and passenger sport seats, four-mode Integrated Dynamics System and AcuraWatch™ safety and driver-assistive technology.

Top Active and Passive Safety Tech

The 2019 RDX is designed to provide high levels of both active and passive safety. All models and grades come standard with the full suite of AcuraWatch safety and driver assist technologies, including Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS).

Utilizing the latest generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure along with advanced supplemental restraint systems, including front and front side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags, pretensioning seatbelts and Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) child-seat anchors, the 2019 RDX targets top NCAP 5-star Overall Vehicle Score and an IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating.

Designed, Developed and Manufactured in America

The third-generation RDX is the first RDX to be designed and developed in America. Styling design of the RDX was conducted by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles, California, with development undertaken by the company’s North American R&D team, based in Raymond, Ohio. The new RDX will be manufactured in East Liberty, Ohio, with its 2.0-liter turbo engine produced in the company’s Anna, Ohio engine plant and its 10-speed automatic transmission manufactured at the company’s Tallapoosa, Georgia plant2.

RDX Motorsports Debut

In keeping with Acura’s expanding portfolio of racing programs, the brand also announced that the new RDX will make its competition debut at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, in late June, alongside three additional Acura entries – the TLX A-Spec, TLX GT and NSX. The production RDX A-Spec will also serve as the official pace car for the 102nd anniversary of the "race to the clouds."

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