Acura hasn't had success with its sedans in recent years, but the SUVs have carried the brand. Judging by the looks of the 2019 Acura RDX, that trend will continue.
We saw the RDX prototype in January in Detroit, and the production model unveiled at the 2018 New York auto show on Wednesday is little changed from that appealing concept car.
Lower and wider than the model it replaces, the new RDX features the corporate five-pointed grille that we first saw on the Acura Precision Concept. Also up front are standard LED headlights and larger air intakes, as well as front air curtains that direct air around the sides of the vehicle. Along the sides, it has a chiseled look, with a notable character line that rises from front to rear, as well as splashes of chrome that are replaced by gloss black trim on the A-Spec model. The A-Spec also gets larger wheels than the standard 19s.
But it's the engineering that marks the most important changes. The RDX gets its own platform that Acura says is exclusive to the brand. It's made up of more than 50-percent high-strength steel for improved body rigidity and ultra-high-strength steel rings the doors to make the structure even stiffer.
The chassis features sport-tuned MacPherson struts up front, a five-link independent rear suspension, and available adaptive dampers. An NSX-inspired dial lets drivers choose from Snow, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes.
Under the hood, the RDX swaps its 3.5-liter V-6 for a 2.0-liter turbo-4. With 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque on tap, this dual-overhead-cam engine has 40 percent more low-rpm torque than the V-6, according to Acura. The transmission is a new 10-speed automatic with a 62 percent wider range of gear ratios than the current 6-speed automatic.
Acura brings back its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive for the RDX. It features torque vectoring and is the most advanced version yet. It can send up to 70 percent of the torque to the rear, and all of that power can go to the outside wheel in terns to help the RDX corner sharper.
Inside, the RDX is a mix of additional space and new technology. Thanks to a wheelbase that is 2.6 inches longer, it has 3.4 more cubic feet of rear cargo space, plus another 1.7 cubic feet below the floor. The added length should improve rear seat comfort, and Acura says it even helps smooths out the ride.
Occupants will find themselves surrounded by high-quality materials. Among them are open pore Olive Ash wood, stainless steel, brushed aluminum, synthetic suede, and Milano leather. The A-Spec model is notable for its two-tone black and red upholstery. Buyers can get Acura's next-generation sport seats with high-strength steel frames and 16-way power adjustments. A panoramic sunroof is standard, and a 16-channel, 710-watt ELS 3D audio system is available.
On the tech side, the infotainment system features Acura's True Touchpad Interface. A 10.2-inch screen sits up high in the driver's line of site, and it is controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Each position on the touchpad is mapped to a corresponding position on the screen. Simple clicks on the touchpad lock in commands.
Want more tech? The RDX offers a head-up display, Apple CarPlay, and a 4G LTE-enabled Wi-Fi hotspot. And there's tech in the safety, too. Every RDX model has forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with Road Departure Mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control.
The 2019 Acura RDX was designed, and developed in America, and it will be built here, too. It looks like it will have what an American audience wants when it hits the market this summer.
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