NYIAS 2018 – Acura Reveals Production-Ready 2019 RDX in the Big Apple
“Start of a New Era” for Acura Thanks to Brand-Specific Platform and Luxurious Materials
Acura revealed the 2019 RDX luxury SUV today (including the A-Spec model), taking advantage of the 2018 New York International Auto Show for the debut. The production-spec RDX, which was previewed in prototype form at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, remains remarkably true to the concept, with aggressive styling and a gorgeous, high-quality interior that boasts authentic wood and metallic accents.
"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."
That effect is most obvious on the RDX’s exterior styling. The small luxury SUV is the first totally new Acura product to incorporate the company’s Alluring Modern Edge design language, which gives it a cohesive, holistic design. The brand-signature Diamond Pentagon grille is bookended by Jewel Eye headlamps, which now feature seven LED elements instead of five. Bold openings in the front bumper carry over almost unchanged from the RDX Prototype, with body art that’s rendered in bright metallic trim on most models and aggressive gloss black on the A-Spec.
A wheels-to-the-corners stance enhances the 2019 RDX’s athletic looks, and the bodysides are adorned with simple, effective knife-slash character lines that draw the eye rearward and provide an impression of speed. We must admit the side profile resembles the Mazda CX-5 a bit, but that’s not a huge problem, as the Mazda is a very attractive product as well. Around the back, a simple tailgate with V-shaped taillights and an aggressive rear bumper (particularly in A-Spec trim) leave a sporty final impression to passersby.
The RDX boasts a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 with 272 hp and 280 lb-ft, a number that beats most of the RDX’s competitors—the 240hp BMW X3 xDrive28i, the 241hp Mercedes-Benz GLC300, and the 252hp Audi Q5. Furthermore, the RDX boasts a segment-best 10-speed automatic transmission that was designed in-house. Acura blessed the 2019 RDX with the company’s magical SH-AWD system, which routes some extra engine torque to the outside rear wheel in corners to reduce oversteer and provide a fun driving experience. If the company has the RDX’s electrohydraulic steering dialed in for some road feel, we anticipate the SUV to be the most fun to drive of any entry-luxury SUV. Available adaptive dampers should only further the front MacPherson strut/rear multilink suspension’s fun factor.
Inside, the 2019 RDX takes inspiration from the Acura Precision Cockpit design. The sculpted sport seats incorporate a high-strength steel frame for improved strength without adding weight. Those seats are available with 16-way power adjustments for the driver and front passenger, split by a high-deck floating center console that’s inspired by the NSX supercar and provides plenty of storage down low. All RDXs come standard with a panoramic sunroof, giving the cabin an open and airy feel. What’s more, interior trim materials are rendered in genuine open-pore Olive Ash wood, brushed aluminum, and stainless steel. Leather is standard on most models, enhanced with Ultrasuede upholstery on the A-Spec.
Speaking of, it marks the first time an Acura SUV wears the company’s mark of sporty tuning and bold styling. The RDX A-Spec differs from its less aggro siblings by the aforementioned gloss-black exterior accents, Shark Gray 20-inch alloy wheels, a unique lower front fascia, large-diameter exhaust outlets, and black or red leather inside with contrasting stitching. An A-Spec instrument cluster is finished in satin silver and features mean-looking red illumination at night.
Every RDX comes standard with Acura’s new True Touchpad Interface, which links the high-mounted infotainment display with a trackpad near the shifter. Moving a finger across the trackpad selects different on-screen functions, and the trackpad is clickable for an intuitive infotainment experience. The screen’s operating system allows it to be split into two zones, reducing driver distraction and providing plenty of functionality right in the driver’s line of sight.
Also standard on the 2019 RDX is AcuraWatch, an active safety suite that includes pre-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, Road Departure Mitigation, lane departure monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and Lane Keeping Assist. There’s a long list of other standard safety features, including eight airbags, pretensioning seatbelts, LATCH child seat anchors, and Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering technology. Acura targets top NHTSA five-star and IIHS Top Safety Pick+ ratings for the 2019 RDX.