Car Reviews SUV of the Year

Acura RDX: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Finalist

Acura steps up its game

Acura steps up its game

WE LIKE Winding road handling, excellent packaging

WE DON’T LIKE Vague brakes, infotainment interface

Acura has stepped up its game with the new compact RDX, but it’s trying to be all things to all buyers.

The Acura’s wide net leads to confusion about what aiming to be. “It’s torn between being luxurious and soft like a Lincoln, sporty like an Alfa, or techy like an Audi, and those things sorta cancel each other out,” Christian Seabaugh observed.

With a powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four engine derived from the Civic Type R, the RDX sends power to all four wheels via Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. We enjoyed driving the RDX on winding roads in Sport+ mode, but we didn’t feel the emotion we expected.

Overall, “the drive, the package, and the cargo space at the price Acura is asking make this a fairly compelling prospect,” Frank Markus said.

However, there was one unanimous complaint: the RDX’s vague braking feel and response. Given that Acura equipped the RDX with “limousine” brakes, slowing down precisely was frustrating for many. Said Scott Evans: “Trying to make a stop sign is much harder than it needs to be.”

The exterior design is a step forward for Acura, but its busy lines and massive grille and logo kept it from winning our hearts. Inside, there’s a steep learning curve to control the infotainment system via its touchpad, which Angus MacKenzie described as “distractingly difficult to use on the road.”

We also highlighted its active safety technologies, like the accurate lane keeping assist software and the adaptive cruise control that maintained a set speed on steep downhills.

“I was impressed by the Acura,” Gordon Dickie said. “To me, it’s a quantum leap forward to capture more market share in this segment.”



2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD
Base Price/As tested $40,295/$51,715
Power (SAE net) 272 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 7.1 sec
Quarter-mile 15.5 sec @ 90.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 133 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.81 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 21/27/23 mpg
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 /10-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,072 lb (57/43%)
WHEELBASE 108.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 186.8 x 74.8 x 65.7 in
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 160/125 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.83 lb/mile