One of the problems I’ve always had with Acura is that it doesn’t differentiate itself enough from its mainstream Honda brand. The exterior design is different-ish. But the interior appointments — especially on the Honda upper trims are virtually identical.
For less money.
However, the 2020 Acura RDX finally ups the ante and is worthy of the Acura name.
The RDX was all-new for the 2019 model year, and the changes made this vehicle much more upscale.
The exterior is nicely done with a mesmerizing grille as a focal point, and a few sharp angles to add interest to the design. But the overall lines are still somewhat conservative, which means this vehicle won’t look weird in 10 years.
The interior, however, is the true highlight. Modeled after the “Acura Precision Cockpit” concept, the RDX now has an interior that looks lux-level with glossy black accents on the center stack and a large info screen perched on top of the dash. The reverse stitching on the leather of the seats, center stack and steering wheel is attractive.
One interesting feature that you also see on some Hondas is the pass-through on the center stack. It’s at about knee level and is the perfect size for a small purse or bag.
The test vehicle was the sporty A-Spec trim, so it also added nice touches such as a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, suede seat inserts and a suede dash accent
Another hit: The standard inclusion list. The base RDX is equipped with high-level safety tech, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate controls, heated front seats, power lift gate, passive entry and push-button start. All for just more than $38K.
Frankly, there really aren’t too many misses on this vehicle. I liked the design. I liked the handling. And I loved the Dynamic Mode system.
But if I had to pick something, it would be the True Touchpad interface. This trackpad thingy is one of the solutions automakers are adopting to avoid distractions due to touch screens. But after a week, it’s hard for me to tell if it’s a successful solution.
The Acura system employs the use of “absolute positioning,” which means you touch the pad on the center stack in the same location as the item on the infotainment screen to make a selection. So, it’s like using a touchscreen but completely different at the same time.
I got used to it (ish) after a 200-mile road trip, but it never quite became intuitive for me — especially while I was using Apple CarPlay.
The RDX doesn't have "trims" so much as it has "packages." You start with the base model and add content packages, which means there aren't a lot of one-off options to add.
- Standard: $38,825
- Technology: $42,025
- A-Spec: $45,025
- Advanced: $46,925
Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for $2,000. So, unless you go crazy with accessories, a completely tricked our RDX will stay under $50k.
The Chicago Factor
In terms of SUV sizes, the 2020 Acura RDX is manageable in an urban location. Plus, with features such as rear cross-traffic alert, tight parking lots are much easier to manage.
The RDX is maneuverable, easy to parallel park and fits in most tight city spaces. Yet it’s also comfortable and quiet on the highway for those long road trips. This could easily be a city or suburban daily driver, but if I lived in the city, I’d make sure its primary parking space was in a garage.
|Engine: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo
Fuel economy (combined): 24 mpg (FWD), 23 mpg (AWD)
Drivetrain: FWD (std.), AWD (opt.)
Length: 186.7 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity: 29.5 cu ft
Base price: $38,825
Price as tested: $47,195