At the other end of the country, specifically on Vancouver Island, the builder Acura invited some members of the automotive press to launch its new RDX 2019, a compact SUV that is now at its third generation. With the proliferation of anything that is used today, the arrival of this SUV, more agile, but more accessible, is great news for Honda’s luxury division.
Ironically, Acura is still reluctant to multiply its offer in this area, the RDX being supported only by the MDX. However, the trend of the moment tends towards this type of bodywork. Talk to Ford, Buick or even Nissan (to name a few), all of whom rely on very well-honed alignments.
A new skeleton
Who says new model also says new platform. In this case at least, this is the case! Acura therefore uses an entirely new architecture that does not exist anywhere else within its alignment. More rigid than the old one, it is also wider to give the vehicle a better stability. This increased rigidity is also good news for those who buy this SUV, because the 2019 RDX comes with a panoramic roof, a window that can mean that there will be cracks later in life useful vehicle. Note that during this first contact, this vehicle component did not sound.
The engine of the Type R … or almost!
Regulars of the model will recall that the SUV introduced in 2007 was first equipped with a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine, the first of the brand to be force-fed by turbocharger and that, subsequently, the second generation of the SUV had rather inherited the 3.5-liter V6, a more flexible solution, or even more American!
But for 2019, Acura drops its 6-cylinder in favor of the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo already seen under the hood of the Civic Type R or even the Accord 2.0T sedan. In this specific case, the power of the machine loses some horses against the old V6 (272 hp against 279 hp), but gains the exchange with resolutely more torque (280 lb-ft against 252 lb-ft).
Despite the excellence of the Type R 6-speed manual transmission, the engineers believed – and they did well – to trust the 10-speed automatic that debuted in the Honda Odyssey. Not so long ago. This unit allows the manual change of speeds via the pallets housed behind the steering wheel of the vehicle.
Another noteworthy detail: Acura incorporates the fourth version of its SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) onboard the RDX, the latter being even assisted in its task by a vector control that transfers the torque there where does it count?
Finally new inside
The Acura division is renowned for its conservatism, especially in the interior of its vehicles. With the RDX, we can not speak of a revolution, but efforts have clearly been made to revitalize the atmosphere on board.
For example, this dashboard concept Acura Precision Cockpit, an idea presented at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2016. The regulars have already spotted the famous buttons of the gearbox, a solution that is not unanimous, is said by the way, but like the NSX, we find a little higher this famous wheel that can change the character of the vehicle.
The RDX can go from the Snow mode to Comfort, Sport and even Sport +, the latter sharpening up the reflexes of the SUV. The electric steering, engine response, traction control and stability system are all modified by this simple wheel. In Sport + mode, all settings are adjusted to put a smile on the driver’s face.
Note that the Platinum Elite Edition – the most expensive at $ 54,990 – is entitled to an adjustable suspension that is strengthened or not according to the mode chosen. It’s a shame that the sportier model, the one with the A-SPEC badge, is not available with this specific suspension.
To navigate the many applications of the entertainment system, Acura introduces the Acura True Touchpad, a touchpad that differs from the one offered by Lexus by this ability to recognize the position of the finger and transpose it to the screen (in the center of the dashboard). Moreover, it is not tactile, and even if it was, it is too far from the occupants. The accuracy of the pavement is amazing, but this solution still forces the driver to leave the road eyes, which is not ideal, you will agree!
The comfort of the upholstery is also noteworthy here, the seats in the first row having been inspired by those of the NSX, nothing less. A little more support would not be wrong, but hey, we must not forget the vast audience of this vehicle. The second row of seats is also comfortable and the space is generous, especially with the flat floor.
The design is also new bill
Not surprisingly, the RDX 2019 comes with a brand new silhouette, inspired by the latest products of the brand. The SUV also becomes the first Acura utility to receive the A-SPEC crest, a cladding strategy (many black painted elements and oversized anthracite rims) that has convinced many Acura customers to date. The MDX will also be available later this year with a similar costume.
Without being the most extrovert on the market, the RDX can at least pride itself on following the philosophy inaugurated by the Precision prototype in 2016, in Detroit.
Sports the RDX?
The least we can say is that SUVs have become more refined over the last few seasons, so much so that at the wheel they feel like driving a sports car. In the case of the RDX, it’s the arrival of the 4-cylinder turbo engine that transforms the character of this mainstream SUV. From the outset, we notice the particular sound of the mill which is far from being unpleasant to hear, especially since it comes from the speakers of the audio system. The gearbox is also a model of efficiency, gear changes being fast and smooth, even in Sport + mode.
This results in very impressive accelerations for a general motorization. It will be interesting to see if Acura will add a Type S version to its RDX lineup to better compete with the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 M40i of this world. We’ll see over time!
The RDX also performed very well on this Vancouver Island journey as spring rain made the roadway very slippery. But, with a good all-wheel drive and a SUV that is not cold, the expedition of a few hours has been enjoyable from one end to the other, first of all because of a heavy and precise direction which gives the right time, but also because of a very rigid chassis that reassures even in a curve approached at high speed.
The final word
The third album is definitely the best of the lineage, no doubt about it. More modern at all levels, it is also – and above all – the most pleasant to drive. There is certainly this touchpad that is far from intuitive while driving, but once stopped, its handling is not a problem. As for the reliability of the group, it should not fail in the long term, even if the