2019 Acura RDX Arrives To Defend Its Compact Luxury Crossover Crown (Updated)

The RDX has been a top seller for Honda and its upscale Acura brand. In fact it’s sold over 50,000 of them every year for the past three – outselling the vast majority of its rivals. But now six years old, it’s beginning to show its age and lose its leadership.

Fortunately Acura has revealed a new version at the New York Auto Show this week, ushering in the third generation of the compact luxury crossover.

There goes the beak

Previewed by the concept version shown just two months ago in Detroit, the new 2019 Acura RDX adopts a fresh design language for the brand that leaves the controversial “shield” grille in the rear-view mirror (figuratively speaking). The new theme stems from the Precision concept showcased (also in Detroit) back in 2016, and is incrementally proliferating across the lineup.

Underneath that fresh sheetmetal, the new RDX rides on a 2.6-inch longer wheelbase that affords it more cargo space. It’s also fitted with a 2.0-liter turbo four and Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system. The engine kicks out 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, up 20 horses and 28 lb-ft over the outgoing model’s larger, naturally aspirated V6. It transmits its power to all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission – a first in this segment – to make this “the quickest and best-handling RDX ever,” according to the manufacturer.

Up to 70 percent of the torque can be sent to the rear axle, and on to either (or both) of the rear wheels. Steering is handled by a variable electric system. And it’s all suspended on MacPherson struts at the front and a five-link independent setup at the back, with available active dampers.

As with the larger MDX (and other Acura models), there’s a sportier A-Spec model as well. More about show than go, the RDX A-Spec features 20-inch wheels, gloss-black trim, and an available two-tone red and black leather interior.

Higher-end materials inside

Even in standard spec, though, the compact crossover incorporates high-end materials like brushed aluminum, open-pore wood, ultrasuede, and leather. There’s a big panoramic glass moonroof overhead, and a long list of tech features inside. Those include a 10.5-inch head-up display, a 10.2-inch infotainment screen (running an Android-based system), a touchpad controller, voice recognition, a knob to switch between four drive modes, and an available 16-channel, 710-watt audio system developed with Panasonic and tuned by a Grammy award-winning music producer. And it packs all the latest safety features as well.

The vehicle’s been designed in California and engineered in Ohio, where it (and its engine) will also be manufactured. That makes this a thoroughly American product, despite the parent company’s Japanese roots. We don’t have pricing yet, but the new RDX is slated to to start arriving at showrooms in the next few months.

The competition is unforgiving

When it does, though, it’ll face a far more competitive market than it enjoyed when the first generation was introduced a dozen years ago. By now the luxury compact crossover market has ballooned with Japanese contenders like the Lexus NX and Infiniti QX50; German rivals like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC, and Porsche Macan; other Europeans like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and Volvo XC40; and domestic offerings like the Lincoln MKC, Buick Envision, and the new Cadillac XT4, also introduced today in Manhattan.

* This post has been updated with new information and visual assets

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  • Soob

    Looks good.

    • Bo Hanan

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  • Scott Blakula

    Return of the King

  • Dennis Scipio

    Their new corporate grill is better implemented on a newer vehicle such as this.

    • Six Thousand Times

      Corporate grill for some sort of company picnic?

      • Dennis Scipio

        Oh my god I meant grille, stupid Autocorrect.

        • Six Thousand Times

          Just having a little fun.

          • Bo Hanan

            I still think it would look better at the picnic.

  • Darius Fontenette

    Looks decent but shares to many design elements from Honda, like those boomerang taillights. It’s a spruced up CR-V, just not enough there in Acura products to justify buying one over their Honda counterpart.

    • willhaven

      I’d rather have this than the CRV and I really like the CRV.

      • Honda NSX-R

        Plus it doesn’t have a CVT!

    • Honda NSX-R

      Yeah Acura messed up by using the bommerang taillights

  • David Morello

    Their interiors have gone from bad to worse.

    • Grumpy

      That center stack is hideous. Makes me cross eyed just looking at it.

  • Harry_Wild

    Touch pad cannot be touched to activate any features! LOL!

  • DJ

    Most underwhelming product into ever. Started to nod of half way through.

  • TrevP

    Best looking RDX so far. But it’s going to take something big to get the Aviator out of my mind.

    • Honda NSX-R

      I’d say the Aviator competes with the MDX. This is more of an MKC competitor

      • TrevP

        Correct, I meant in the context of the Aviator is the most impressive debut so far at the NY Auto Show

        • willhaven

          You must’ve missed the Mazda reveal!

          • TrevP

            I must have!

        • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

          Guys , why no one talks about the new Rav4

          • TrevP

            haha cause its a Rav4

  • no25

    Wow, Acura, how about a few more buttons on that center console? I dont think there’s enough. Also, rear is too GMC Terrain. The only thing nice is the steering wheel.

  • botornot387

    There is no reason why the last one shouldn’t have sold as many as it did. You could lease one for less than a CRV in SoCal

    • Joe E

      Agreed. Nobody I know who leased an RDX really wanted one. They all wanted a Q5 or X3 but had to settle for the RDX. I think the same is true of most Acura models. People don’t aspire to them. They’re sensible, but most folks don’t really care about that in the luxury segment.

      • botornot387

        100% agree. In full disclosure, i have worked for a few auto brands and dealers, and when customers came in comparing an RDX to XYZ car, they were only hung up on payment and we kind of just laughed and said by all means, if you want to drive a payment go get a Acura. Reskinned Honda’s aren’t going to cut it. No one looks at a TLX and an A4/3 series and says, hmm I like the Acura better. The payment is substantially lower.

  • Joe E

    This looks quite dated to me, inside and out. This styling doesn’t look EXPENSIVE; rather, it has the same or less sophistication than Honda models. I honestly think CR-V looks more expensive, especially from the rear. Therefore it looks like a brand that is equal to Honda, not above it. Same with the Lexus UX – it looks like a brother to CH-R, not an upmarket cousin.

  • Honda NSX-R

    The taillight design could be better, but overall I like it!

  • MarkoS

    Too much old design and not enough of the new design language. Where is the real come-back vehicle Acura?

  • mick

    That center stack…Wow-E-Wow, what is going on there???

  • Kate E

    Everything in this car just speaks feminine to me.

  • SteersUright

    Very underwhelming, only somewhat desirable, very safe play, quite practical, modern, somwhat basic, no real threat to the Germans, likely better made though (reliable) and efficient. In other words, very Acura.

    Would love for Honda to truly use Acura as its tech and performance showcase, to show off its engineering chops and take some chances, given the lower volumes it does compared to Honda mainstream vehicles like Accord, Civic, & CRV. And no, the NSX is NOT what I mean, with its stratospheric price. I mean accessible performance and tech, truly exciting, modern, performance Japanese vehicles.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    what the f** is gong on with that interior? It looks like a transformer inside. What adult finds this interior appealing..? Frankly this is one of the most over-designed and ugliest interiors I’ve ever seen

  • gibgibgib

    that interior is a big no. why make such a statement out of the drive mode selector and give so much real estate to something that will probably never be touched

  • Bananarama

    Looks great. Acura is FINALLY resolving its designs tastefully. They didn’t figure out the beak (they should have put the damn NSX nose on everything but they didn’t…) and I actually love the new grille. It’s distinctive and well integrated with the front of their cars (honestly Honda and Acura have both been doing well with bumper detailing in the last couple years).

    They will sell so so many of these… It looks better than the NX and X3 for sure.

  • dumblikeyou2

    Still has that grocery getter look to it.

  • IN PROFILE IT COULD EASILY BE MISTAKEN FOR A NISSAN. THE CENTER STACK IS HORRIBLE.

  • An Existing Person

    After the NSX this might be the best Acura, but that still isn’t saying much when you look at its competitiom.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Wow, it’s another crossover!

  • JustTheFactsMaam8

    Acura got carried away with the plastidip.

  • marcin

    The logo is way too small. I can barely see it’s an Acura.

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