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  • 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec

    Posted on September 28th, 2018 ninarussin

    Driver-focused compact crossover

    By Nina Russin

    2019 Acura RDX A-Spec

    For 2019, Acura introduces an all-new version of its compact crossover, the RDX. As the larger MDX has become more family-focused. The RDX, now in its third iteration, has evolved into a more personal car. The newest model is the first to be designed in North America at the automaker’s Los Angeles design studio, and is built at its East Liberty, Ohio assembly plant.

    The basis for the new design is the 2016 Acura Precision concept: a futuristic-looking sedan that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While styling for the new RDX is less severe, one can clearly see the Precision’s influence: aero profile, sharp edges and large wheels.

    As part of the new car’s design focus, Acura has included an A-Spec model among its offerings. The appearance package includes 20-inch alloy wheels, unique fascia, grille, exhaust tips and special badging on the outside, and a custom interior with special seating, black headliner and an ELS premium 3-D audio system.

    2019 Acura RDX A-Spec

    Base price is $45,500 excluding the $995 destination charge. The RDX A-Spec comes fully loaded with convenience features including keyless entry and start, 12-way power driver’s and front passenger seats with driver’s seat memory, touchpad center stack display, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat ventilation, AcuraLink communication, panoramic moonroof, power tailgate, LED headlamps and tail lamps, Bluetooth interface, satellite radio, HD radio, USB interface and Apple CarPlay. Final MSRP is $46,495.

    Efficient turbo power

    2019 Acura RDX A-Spec

    Power for the 2019 RDX comes from a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine that develops 272 horsepower. Because turbocharged engines have-the-ability-to develop peak torque (280 pound-feet) at very low engine speeds, the RDX scoots off the line with confidence and gives drivers exceptional acceleration in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range they need merging onto the highway. Zero-to-sixty acceleration is just over six-and-a-half seconds.

    A new ten-speed automatic transmission helps with acceleration off the line and provides large overdrive gears for better fuel economy at cruising speeds. The new RDX averages 26 miles-per-gallon on the highway according-to the EPA. Fuel economy around town is 21 miles-per-gallon.

    Test drive in southern Arizona

    2019 Acura RDX A-Spec

    Over the past week I drove RDX around the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area including some time in city central. Not only is the sporty A-Spec model a looker, it’s also a very competent performer.

    Drivers familiar with turbocharged engines will find that this one spools up a bit faster than some other models. The tip-off is a little harsher, but the payoff is more aggressive acceleration. A new drive-by-wire throttle system replaces mechanical linkages, so there is no lag between pushing the throttle and engine response.

    The new ten-speed automatic transmission is seamless, matching that acceleration with smooth progression through the gears and no shift shock under normal driving conditions.

    Engineers used more high-strength steel throughout the body structure to make it more rigid, translating to better response from the electric power steering system. I enjoyed the car’s solid on-center response trying to weave through some rather dense highway traffic. A blind spot monitoring system makes it easier to find a clear path during rush-hour traffic.

    The all-wheel drive system is also completely new, providing more control side-to-side as well as front-to-rear. Because the A-Spec package comes with such aggressive wheels and low-profile tires, those planning to use the car in deep snow might consider a different wheel-and-tire package for winter driving. Drivers can use a dial on the center console to adjust vehicle dynamics to a variety of road conditions including a snow mode for better control on slick surfaces.

    The new RDX has a wider track than the outgoing model, for more stable cornering at speed. A four-wheel independent suspension consists of MacPherson struts up front and five-link setup in the rear, soaking up bumps in the road while maintaining nimble handling.

    Luxury car buyers like quiet interiors and the RDX delivers on that thanks to some new acoustic glass. Visibility around the perimeter is good thanks to the multi-view rearview camera and blind spot monitoring.

    Stylish interior

    2019 Acura RDX A-Spec Interior

    It might seem odd to think of a compact crossover as a driver’s car, but the new RDX is indeed that, from its reconfigured navigation system that now includes turn-by-turn directions to new front-row sport seats with four-way lumbar adjustment. Acura has a good handle on ergonomics, with a smaller diameter steering wheel that works better for small-framed individuals, programmable-height tailgate and multi-adjustable seat support.

    The newest version of AcuraLink reduces driver distraction with features such as automatic text message response. The user interface is pretty-simple, utilizing a touchpad similar-to a personal computer, with knobs for simple audio functions.

    Second-row seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor enabling the RDX to meet our bicycle-friendly criteria. Storage areas up front including a space behind the floating center stack to keep electronic devices and valuables within easy reach.

    Standard safety

    The Acura RDX comes with eight airbags, antilock braking, traction control, stability control, daytime running lamps available all-wheel drive an electronic parking brake, rearview camera with cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and tire pressure monitoring. Active safety features on the test car are part of the AcuraWatch system: collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.

    The 2019 RDX is rolling into Acura dealerships nationwide.

    Like: A stylish compact crossover with available all-wheel drive and sporty performance.

    Dislike: Aggressive wheel and tire package on the A-Spec model is not well suited for deep snow or unimproved roads.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Acura
    Model: RDX SH-AWD A-Spec
    Year: 2019
    Base price: $45,500
    As tested: $46,495
    Horsepower: 272 HP @ 6500 rpm
    Torque: 280 lbs.-ft. @ 1600 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: 6.6 seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: Yes
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 21/26 MPG city/highway

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