2019 Acura RDX Long Term Review

by Michael Satterfield

I recently got back from taking the Acura RDX on an over 3,000-mile road trip across the American South, which was needed because on this trip I was not just going it alone, I had my girlfriend along for the ride. This plus the route we had chosen meant we had luggage for two people, for two different climates, as we were leaving the mid-40s of Central Texas to arrive at the sunkissed 80-degree beaches of Key West, Florida.

The Acura RDX arrived, it was the top tier Advance Package AWD, with Heated and Ventilated front seats, Heated Steering Wheel and Rear Seats, real Ash Burl Wood Trim, Heads-Up-Display, Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers, and the latest in Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping. The price just north of $47,000.

Now I am not a big fan of SUVs, I see them more as a necessary evil, a compromise between wanting the utility of van, but not wanting to drive... a van. Since so much of the market has shifted to the SUV or CUV with automakers shedding sedans and hatchbacks each model year, it seems we have fully entered the SUV-Age. Now, this is not all a bad thing, yes while we are losing a lot of sedans and have already lost almost all the wagons, this shift has produced some very interesting vehicles like the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD but with prices reaching upwards of $97,000 and Alfa's reputation of eccentric reliability, SUV's like the RDX make a lot more sense for the majority of people, and after two solid weeks of driving it, I understand why it is the best selling mid-sized luxury SUV in the US.

About three days into using the RDX as my daily driver, I really started to realize how comfortable the seats are and how nice the cabin really is. The interior is laid out very well, the seats and steering wheel are comfortable, in fact, how comfortable the seats were was a topic of conversation many times along the road towards the Southernmost point you can drive to in the USA.

The materials are excellent, everything you touch feels good, the fit and finish are impressive, especially on the real wood trim on this model. Our interior was Black and Tan and the accents of brushed aluminum and ash burl wood contract nicely. The steering wheel is comfortable and the controls are easy to use and intuitive. The push button transmission takes a little getting used to, but once you do, it becomes second nature.

While I loved the interior, the infotainment system I found to be a little cumbersome and required a lot more effort than I felt it should. Acura, like many automakers, is moving away from touch screens, in an effort to keep drivers attention on the road. Mazda went with a knob you rotate and click to make a selection on the screen, Acura went with a touch-sensitive pad. Which when the roads are perfectly smooth works well, on the roads of Lousiana however, it can be a little more of a challenge as bumpy roads mean sometimes selecting things you didn't want. I am sure it is something you will get used to over time, but for me, it felt a little clunky. The one saving grace is that the infotainment system does allow you to select your favorites and puts them on the home screens almost like an app on your phone. I found myself using the voice command feature more which worked very well.

Luggage space is great in the RDX with 29.5 square feet of space with the seat folded up and nearly 59 square feet with the rear seat folded down. My two bags, Jennifer's two bags, the cooler, and the snack bag all fit nicely in the RDX. Under the cargo floor are additional storage bins that were great for storing smaller items we didn't want to roll around. Ours didn't have the dealer optional cargo cover ($152), which is something I would buy simply for the added security.

One of our favorite storage areas on the car was the large shelf built into the center console, it was not only home to extra charging ports, but was also large enough to keep my DSLR close at hand.. It was also big enough to hold Jennifer's purse which she found very handy as it was accessible without being inconvenient, something she felt would be great for daily use.

The RDX really shines when it comes to driving dynamics, selecting Sport+ mode and rowing through the paddle shifters makes the RDX surprisingly fun to drive and the 2.0-liter VTEC Turbo feels like it has a lot more than 272hp, the 10-speed transmission is smooth and with our mostly highway driving we averaged around 26-mpg.

The RDX and its suite of technology made driving those long stretches of highway between destinations almost idiotproof, the adaptive cruise, lane keeping, and heads-up-display helped make the miles fly by, and the adaptive headlamps and rain-sensing wipers worked perfectly allowing me to keep my hands on the wheel and focus on the road.

The exterior design of the RDX is handsome this trim level has the large aggressive chrome grill canards on the front air dam, and Acura has done a great job at integrating the headlamps and tail lamps into the design while still meeting the visibility standards, something other automakers have struggled with. The RDX is good looking but with its subtle exhaust note and tasteful splashes of chrome make it a more understated choice in the midsize luxury SUV market.

After two weeks, five states, and over 3,000 miles the things I loved about the RDX I still loved, the handling, technology, and comfort were all I could ask for. The things I didn't care for, the infotainment and touchpad, I had gotten used to, were they perfect? No, but would they prevent me from buying an RDX, no.

The RDX is also the clear winner when it comes to value for money with its European rivals all starting closer to $60,000 and with the Lincoln Nautilus and comparable Cadillac XT4s priced at over $40,000 when compared to a base RDX. The Acura with a base MSRP of just $37,400 makes it a clear winner in the midsize luxury SUV class.

For more visit Acura.com/rdx

Acura did provide me with the vehicle to use for this test, however, I have not been paid for this review and all opinions are my own.