First Drive: 2019 Acura RDX

The Acura RDX was among the 24 standout vehicles competing for a coveted 2019 Automobile All-Stars award. See the rest of the field here, and go here to see the winners!

The 2019 Acura RDX represents something great for Acura: a honed vision of its “Precision Crafted Performance” mantra, executed in a compact crossover package.

A fantastic powertrain holds up the performance part. The RDX’s 2.0-liter turbo-four—effectively a “lite” version of the Civic Type R’s engine—pumps out 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that fires off quick and well-timed shifts and doesn’t trip over itself hunting for gears. Its steering is precise, and with the help of Acura’s available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, it’s easy to wheel the RDX through winding roads with gusto. Our tester’s A-Spec appearance package added additional flair to what’s an already aggressive-looking crossover.

The RDX is so good to drive that it won the heart of our resident racer and contributing writer, Andy Pilgrim. “This RDX is sneaky good,” Pilgrim said. “I’m not an SUV fan, but after a few driving miles my thoughts slid to the dark side: ‘How much are these? Asking for a friend.’”

Most editors found the cabin well built, with wood and metal accents and a stellar panoramic moonroof standard among an impressive mix of luxury-leaning features. But Acura’s new True Touchpad interface, which serves as the primary control for the infotainment console, drew some fire. “After meandering into a desolate area out of range of any cell service, I tried searching for a ramen place nearby,” daily news editor Conner Golden said. “Five minutes later, I couldn’t make sense of the trackpad-based system, which was overly sensitive and then immediately unresponsive. I gave up and drove toward town until I regained service.”

Although the staff was suitably impressed by Acura’s overall execution of the RDX, it didn’t quite stand out enough from what was an outstanding pack of contenders. Contributor Basem Wasef summed it up best. “There’s a lot to like about the RDX, though I suspect it suffered from ‘jack-of-all-trades, master of none’ syndrome,” he noted. “The RDX is altogether a nicely executed sport ute, but not quite distinctive enough to earn it All-Stars status.”

The good news for enthusiasts is the reborn RDX is proof positive Acura has found its footing once again. We look forward to seeing what’s to come.

2019 Automobile All-Stars

The Winners | The Contenders | The Venues

2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec Specifications


(base/as tested)


2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4; 272 hp 
@ 6,500 rpm, 280 lb-ft @ 1,600–4,500 rpm


 10-speed automatic


4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 


21/26 mpg (city/hwy)

L x W x H

186.8 x 74.8 x 65.7 in


108.3 in


4,019 lb

0–60 MPH

6.4 sec


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