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Acura RDX: 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Finalist

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/7/2018 Motor Trend Staff

WE LIKE Winding road handling, excellent packaging

WE DON'T LIKE Vague brakes, infotainment interface

Acura has stepped up its game with the new compact RDX, but it's trying to be all things to all buyers.

a red car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

The Acura's wide net leads to confusion about what aiming to be. "It's torn between being luxurious and soft like a Lincoln, sporty like an Alfa, or techy like an Audi, and those things sorta cancel each other out," Christian Seabaugh observed.

With a powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four engine derived from the Civic Type R, the RDX sends power to all four wheels via Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. We enjoyed driving the RDX on winding roads in Sport+ mode, but we didn't feel the emotion we expected.

Overall, "the drive, the package, and the cargo space at the price Acura is asking make this a fairly compelling prospect," Frank Markus said.

However, there was one unanimous complaint: the RDX's vague braking feel and response. Given that Acura equipped the RDX with "limousine" brakes, slowing down precisely was frustrating for many. Said Scott Evans: "Trying to make a stop sign is much harder than it needs to be."

The exterior design is a step forward for Acura, but its busy lines and massive grille and logo kept it from winning our hearts. Inside, there's a steep learning curve to control the infotainment system via its touchpad, which Angus MacKenzie described as "distractingly difficult to use on the road."

We also highlighted its active safety technologies, like the accurate lane keeping assist software and the adaptive cruise control that maintained a set speed on steep downhills.

"I was impressed by the Acura," Gordon Dickie said. "To me, it's a quantum leap forward to capture more market share in this segment."

Explore the Acura RDX inside and out below. Click, drag and scroll to discover more.


• 2019 SUV of the Year Introduction
• BMW X2
• BMW X3
• BMW X4
• Cadillac XT4
• Ford EcoSport
• Ford Edge
• Hyundai Santa Fe
• Infiniti QX50
• Jaguar E-Pace
• Jeep Cherokee
• Lexus RX L
• Mercedes-Benz G-Class
• Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
• Nissan Kicks
• Subaru Ascent
• Toyota RAV4


• Acura RDX
• Ford Expedition
• Hyundai Kona
• Jaguar I-Pace
• Jeep Wrangler
• Lincoln Navigator
• Range Rover Velar
• Subaru Forester
• Volvo XC40


• 2019 Car of the Year introduction
• Buick Regal
• Ford Mustang
• Ford Transit Connect
• Honda Clarity
• Hyundai Accent
• Hyundai Elantra
• Kia Forte
• Lexus ES
• Lexus LS
• Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class
• Nissan Altima
• Toyota Avalon
• Toyota Corolla Hatchback
• Volkswagen Jetta

a red car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff
2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD
Base Price/As tested $40,295/$51,715
Power (SAE net) 272 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 7.1 sec
Quarter-mile 15.5 sec @ 90.7 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 133 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.81 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.7 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 21/27/23 mpg
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION 2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 /10-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,072 lb (57/43%)
WHEELBASE 108.3 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 186.8 x 74.8 x 65.7 in
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 160/125 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.83 lb/mile

2019 Acura RDX SH AWD front three quarter in motion 2© Motor Trend Staff 2019 Acura RDX SH AWD front three quarter in motion 2

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