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2019 acura RDX

Comfortable, competent, and all-around capable, the RDX is Acura's entry in the compact luxury crossover segment. Though not quite as sporty or tech-packed as some rivals, it still deserves serious consideration due to its spacious, well-executed cabin and punchy V6 engine. It's all-new for the latest model year.

Overview

Outside, the RDX sports a clean and contemporary look,, with notable styling cues including a sculpted front bumper, a three-dimensional grille, Acura's signature Jewel Eye headlights, and LED rear lights. All told, the RDX falls in line with the company's recent design language. But while it's a family-hauler, it doesn't necessarily look the part thanks to a roof line that gently slopes towards the rear end. It's sportier, more rakish, and overall less utilitarian than some of the models it competes against.

The available A-Spec package ratchets this up a few notches with bigger wheels, a blacked-out grille and darkened accents (which also serve to give the A-Spec a floating d-pillar effect).

The cabin is characterized by a symmetrical design composed of organic shapes, and upscale-looking materials. Interior space is ample, especially for rear-seat passengers, and there's 26.1 cubic feet of cargo room available behind the second-row seats. Fold those seats down, and stowage space balloons to 61.3 cubic feet.

Acura is taking another stab at the whole alternative-input-interface thing that the luxury manufacturers love so much. Touchscreens are just not cool in this segment, apparently. Instead, Acura went for a touchpad located in the center console. This seems odd on spec, but it's actually not all that tricky to use. It's designed to be as intuitive as possible (which it should, of course) and delivers pretty well.

Think of it less like an input device and more like a remotely located overlay for a touchscreen and you're in the ballpark, functionality-wise. Press on the pad in an area corresponding to the location of items on the screen and it will activate them. Sounds simple, right? It is. If you're unsure as to the correct place to press, you can also drag your finger around to highlight items on the screen until the one you want is selected, then push (the pad depresses for selections, like clicking a mouse button).

Under the hood

Acura replaced the outgoing RDX's V6 engine with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 272 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 4,500 rpm. It's bolted to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain boasts both driev-by-wire and shift-by-wire technology.

Front-wheel drive comes standard, and all-wheel drive is offered at an extra cost. Acura notes its SH-AWD system can send up to 70 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, and 100 percent of that torque to the right or left rear wheel if needed.

Fuel economy checks in at 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg in a combined cycle with front-wheel drive. Selecting all-wheel drive reduces those figures to 21, 27, and 23, respectively.

Standard and optional features

Acura offers four variants of the RDX called base, Technology, A-Spec, and Advance, respectively. They're like trim levels but they're sold as standalone packages. All of them come standard with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is an extra-cost upgrade no matter where you shop on the trim hierarchy.

The list of standard features includes a panoramic sunroof, a power tailgate, LED lighting on both ends, 19-inch alloy wheels, a nine-speaker sound system, a 10.2-inch touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay connectivity, dual-zone A/C, heated front seats, keyless entry, a push-button ignition, automatic high beams, AcuraWatch technology, a HomeLink system, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Acura doesn't offer standalone options. Buyers who want more features (like navigation, parking sensors, heated rear seats, or a head-up display) will need to move up to a more expensive trim level.

Occupant safety

Standard safety features include dual front, front knee, front side, and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems. A child-seat mounting systems, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), allows the quick and secure installation of a child seats.

Acura's standard AcuraWatch technology bundles lane-keeping assist, collision mitigation braking with forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, road departure mitigation, and lane-departure warning.

Key competitors

The RDX faces a wealth of competition in the premium small crossover segment, including the fine-driving BMW X3 as well as luxurious rivals like the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Buyers can also look at the Audi Q5 and the Volvo XC60.