2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec new car reviews

Things we learned about the RDX just from reading the press materials. Here, we’ll quote:

“Most extensive Acura product redesign in a decade heralds new era for Acura design, performance and luxury.

“Acura exclusive platform, powerful new turbo engine, available next-generation SH-AWD and top-of-class class power-to-weight ratio yields quickest, best handling RDX yet.

“RDX is the top-selling nameplate in the compact luxury SUV segment since launched in 2006.

“The all-new RDX is the first in a new generation of products developed from the ground up around Acura's Precision Crafted Performance brand direction.

“The Ohio-made RDX is built on an all-new Acura-exclusive platform featuring a new VTEC Turbo powertrain, the segment's only 10-speed transmission and the (available) next generation of Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD).”

So what we have here is an all-new, upper-class crossover that’s not also available from Honda. We tested the sportiest model, the RDX SH-AWD A-Spec. It adds the low-profile tires, dual exhaust and sportier appointments. Ours wore Apex Blue Pearl, an A-Spec exclusive. It’s close to the Electron Blue Pearl found on the 1999-2000 Civic Si. Before destination, it retails for $45,500. Looking to spend less? The RDX line starts at $37,300.

No matter the spec, the RDX gets a turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter engine backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission. It produces a max of 272 horsepower along with 280 lb.-ft. of torque.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Props to Acura for continuing to build a sporty SUV. I kinda wish they were applying that drive to something that sat a little closer to the ground. Just lower it and install some slightly smaller tires. You don’t have to call it a wagon, even….

Katie Suddard KatieSuddard
Advertising Coordinator

I favor the smaller and sportier cars, it's where I'm comfortable. If you put me behind the wheel of an SUV... not so much. That being said, the 2019 Acura A-Spec is very mellow to drive. It almost drives itself when you go down the highway. There are so many bells and whistles that it would alert you before you hit a dust speck, let alone another vehicle. In another life where I'm a soccer mom, I would love this car. That's just not where I'm at right now.

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Comments
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bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/10/18 2:49 p.m.

So.... A-spec huh? Is it more than a set of wheels, lowering springs and a badge this time around?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Digital Experience Director
10/10/18 2:52 p.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

Would you be disappointed if we said no? Pretty sure it gets a power bump, too, and nicer trim, but that's all a sport package needs to be in my opinion.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/10/18 2:57 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

In the old days the A-spec was a dealer add-on. It was just that, springs wheels and a badge. It sounded sporty. I know this because I sold hundreds of them lol. 

EDIT: I was wondering if they were going to make something cool with that A-spec badge by reviving it after a 10 year hiatus. 

Edit of the edit: Looks like they're making the A-spec an appearance package for most of the other cars too. A little disappointed but not surprised. Typical Honda, so much potential let down by overly cautious thinking. 

MGTOMMM
MGTOMMM
10/10/18 5:03 p.m.

Another origami SUV. So many lines. So many directions. So many angles. What do my eyes follow?

Is it just me or are these origami swan vehicles.........     UGLY??

OK, I love the grille. 

Petrolburner
Petrolburner Dork
10/10/18 10:41 p.m.

I like that a lot.  Sharp looking, love the electron pearl blue from the Civic Si, or of the best car colors ever.  I might go test drive this.  What's the towing capacity? How does the SH AWD work? How similar to the amazing new NSX? Does it over drive the outer front wheel in turn in? 

Storz
Storz SuperDork
10/11/18 6:00 a.m.

I'll take notice of these type of crossover CUV type vehicles when someone makes something like this again

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/11/18 8:11 a.m.

In reply to Petrolburner :

Probably more like the original SHAWD that overdrives the rear outer wheel. That system has been in place since 2004 (2005MY). 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
10/11/18 8:33 a.m.

The reality is that SUVs are what people buy, and most people don't race their DD.  We saw the Cayenne basically save Porsche, and the Macan came soon after. BMW sells way more SUVs than they do M-cars, and the same can be said for Mercedes and AMG.  Audi's most popular model is the Q5, not the RS5.  Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and God forbid even Lamborghini all have fast SUVs.  

I'm glad to see that it is trickling down, I need a family vehicle and I'd prefer some sport mixed in.  Just FOLLOW THE PORSCHE MODEL!!  Bring on the A-Spec and the STs and the R-Specs and whatever, but use their massive profits to support another Fiesta ST or Integra Type R! 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/11/18 8:55 a.m.
MGTOMMM said:

Another origami SUV. So many lines. So many directions. So many angles. What do my eyes follow?

Is it just me or are these origami swan vehicles.........     UGLY??

OK, I love the grille. 

Isn't styling preference funny?  Because I could live with the rest of the vehicle if it didn't have that stupid Spencer's Gifts optical illusion grille.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
10/11/18 9:44 a.m.

I wouldn't say it's the most handsome vehicle out there, but it's light years beyond the chrome beak they inflicted on Acura for way too long. The color's awesome, and I do like the grill. 272hp out of a 2.0 4 is great, even with a turbo. Modern engines are amazing.

Wally
Wally MegaDork
10/11/18 9:48 a.m.

I’m a bit disappointed that some combination of marketing people didn’t end up calling it Super Handling-Incredible Traction.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/11/18 10:02 a.m.
dculberson said:

I wouldn't say it's the most handsome vehicle out there, but it's light years beyond the chrome beak they inflicted on Acura for way too long. The color's awesome, and I do like the grill. 272hp out of a 2.0 4 is great, even with a turbo. Modern engines are amazing.

I think what kills me is it took Honda 7 years to catch up to the Koreans who have had a 270+hp 2.0T. Honda used to be industry leading, now they're Industry me-too's. Even Ford has had it to market for several years. Honda... getting outpaced by FORD. Sad days. 

_
_ Reader
10/11/18 10:07 a.m.

“RDX is the top-selling nameplate in the compact luxury SUV segment since launched in 2006.”

and yet I’ve seen hardly any on the roads ever. And I’ve lived in wealthysnow country, the city, and now the sticks. 

And best power to weight ratio? What class is this suv in? 

turtl631
turtl631 HalfDork
10/11/18 4:29 p.m.

I read rumors of a return of the Type S badge, with a turbo V6 for the RDX S.  That would be neat but also probably cost similar to SQ5 and X3 M40i.  I wish Mazda would do a sports package for the CX-5. The upcoming 2.5 turbo engine in the CX-5 will be a big help.  But they're pretty high in stock form.  A mild drop would help looks and handling IMO.  We'll probably trade ours in for the turbo version and toss some H&R lowering springs on it.  

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/11/18 7:17 p.m.
_ said:

“RDX is the top-selling nameplate in the compact luxury SUV segment since launched in 2006.”

and yet I’ve seen hardly any on the roads ever. And I’ve lived in wealthysnow country, the city, and now the sticks. 

And best power to weight ratio? What class is this suv in? 

Someone in my neighborhood has TWO of them, and those are literally the only two I can ever remember seeing in this area. I've always thought they look nice, just don't really "get" these crossovers that have almost no interior space. 

Every time I see the BMW X1, I think to myself "if it only had smaller wheel wells and car-sized wheels, it would be a pretty cool sportwagon :) Same goes for the RDX. An Acura sport-hatch would be pretty neat. 

Power-to-weight, I guess it's not in the class with the Macan S?

crankwalk
crankwalk SuperDork
10/14/18 12:29 p.m.

I love the interior. I wish it was in the modern Integra replacement instead of a CRV like thing. However, we were considering a Highlander awd  to replace my wives Prius next year and this would be a nice alternative to think about.

Thats kind of the problem for Acura though. They aren’t the slightly more upscale Honda that are still exciting.  It’s just one more small suv to think about.

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon PowerDork
10/14/18 12:43 p.m.

I loved my 07 RDX. It was great at everything except gas mileage. One of these days I’ll get back into a small SUV and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up with one of these. 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
10/15/18 6:24 a.m.
Storz said:

I'll take notice of these type of crossover CUV type vehicles when someone makes something like this again

 

I agree, but it's not looking good. First the Forester Turbo lost the manual and now it loses the Turbo motor all together for 2019. Always wanted the Forester STi which other markets received.........but that never happened either. 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
10/15/18 7:34 a.m.
Spoolpigeon said:

I loved my 07 RDX. It was great at everything except gas mileage. One of these days I’ll get back into a small SUV and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up with one of these. 

I remember the marketing for them in late 06. "V6 power with 4cyl economy". The window sticker showed 1mpg better highway and city economy than it's big brother MDX with the 3.7L V6. They dropped that tactic for the following year. 

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