With the 2018 New York International Auto Show in full swing, Acura decided to seize the moment by revealing the new production-ready version of the 2019 RDX crossover SUV. It was previewed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show as the RDX Prototype, the newest release of the production-ready variant.
Completely redesigned from the ground up, Acura pitches the newest 2019 RDX as the “quickest, best-handling, and most luxurious RDX ever.” Part of this promise involved the reintroduction of the company’s signature Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) in its latest form. On the previous RDX, Acura originally opted for a more simplistic, cost-cutting, all-wheel drive system that utilized brake vectoring. With the latest SH-AWD, Acura promises far improved handling and performance because it uses a more complex, but far better handling mechanical differential to vector power delivery to the rear axle.
But it doesn’t stop there. A new 10-speed automatic comes with the RDX, making it the first car in its class to offer such. And powering the new RDX is a 2.0-liter turbo four now makes 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower remains the same as the outgoing turbo-four, though torque climbs by 28 pound-feet, up from the previous 252.
The 2019 Acura RDX retains its overall styling as a shrunken-down version of the MDX crossover and retains its design from the prototype with minimal adjustments. Because every panel is either updated or redesigned, Acura says its the most extensively redesigned model in over a decade. The signature “Jewel Eye” headlights remain, now with seven LED lighting elements versus the previous five. There are also other design cues taken from other Acura models, such as the front air vents taking inspiration from the NSX.
“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.”
While the design of the 2019 RDX is all-new, the changes are also skin-deep. The RDX sits on a completely new body and chassis architecture. It also allows the RDX to grow in size by 2.6 inches at the wheelbase. The result is more cargo room behind the second row of seats and more compartmentalized storage in the car’s floor.
There’s also a new infotainment interface, called Acura True Touchpad, representing the introduction of the car’s next-generation system. Unlike other systems, which require you to utilize a multi-directional control, Acura’s newest system allows users to select options according to their relevant placement on the screen. For example, it there’s an icon on the top-left corner of the screen that you need to hit, you can tap the top-left corner of the new True Touchpad, eliminating the need to take your eyes of the road in order to see where the screen “selector” lies (think of it as similarly not needing to wiggle your computer mouse to find its location on the screen).
In addition to the revealing of the third-generation 2019 Acura RDX, Acura also introduced a new A-Spec variant. Following the recipe set in place by the TLX A-Spec, the RDX A-Spec is an even sportier and more performance-oriented version. Separating it from the standard RDX are unique exterior and interior upgrades such as bespoke 20-inch Shark Gray wheels, gloss black accents and trim for the front grille and Jewel Eye headlights, LED fog lamps, larger exhaust tips, and A-Spec badging. Unfortunately, the drive- and powertrain both seem to be untouched.
The 2019 Acura RDX will launch sometime later this year with pricing details arriving closer to that time.