The all-new 2019 Acura RDX premium compact SUV is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. (Manufacturer photo)

The all-new 2019 Acura RDX premium compact SUV is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. (Manufacturer photo)

Quicker, quieter 2019 Acura RDX SUV powers through slush, snow

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 10-speed automatic transmission are upgrade highlights.

Last week’s review featured a trucklike SUV with few frills but a steadfast ability to handle the Puget Sound region’s record-breaking snowfall.

This week’s tester, a car-based SUV bristling with advanced technology and luxury embellishments, faced the same challenging road conditions and handled them with equal aplomb.

The Acura RDX is a five-passenger premium compact SUV, fully redesigned and reengineered for 2019, creating an all-new third-generation model with an emphasis on performance.

To that end, the previous V6 engine was replaced by a turbocharged four-cylinder producing 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Its partner is a 10-speed automatic transmission, a first for RDX’s market segment.

The 2019 Acura RDX is available with front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and both versions have four trim levels: base, Technology, A-Spec and Advance.

EPA fuel economy ratings for a front-drive RDX are 22/28/24 mpg. With all-wheel drive, the numbers are 21/27/23 mpg.

The all-wheel drive system is the newest generation of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). A testament to its outstanding capability is the fact that I drove it on unplowed rural roads during times when the only other drivers out there were immortal young guys in monster pickups. I think they were surprised to see the lovely and sporty RDX keeping up with the best of them, when they probably thought its AWD was designed for nothing more than a little extra stability during mall runs on rainy days.

The 2019 RDX’s brake-pedal feel is a little funny at first, but is quickly adapted to when the brakes immediately prove their efficiency.

All RDX models come standard with Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System, which has four drive modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Snow.

A high-deck “floating” center console is among the features contributing to the cockpit-like cabin of the all-new Acura RDX premium compact SUV. (Manufacturer photo)

A high-deck “floating” center console is among the features contributing to the cockpit-like cabin of the all-new Acura RDX premium compact SUV. (Manufacturer photo)

Even the base RDX model, with a price of $38,395 including destination charge, is generously equipped with standard features. My tester, the A-Spec model, is new for 2019. It adds sport-appearance upgrades including dark 20-inch alloy wheels, 255/45R20 Goodyear tires, sport front seats, unique front and rear fascias, gloss-black exterior accents, LED fog lights, large dual exhaust tips, and A-Spec badging.

The A-Spec model’s EPA rating for highway driving is one mile lower than the other versions.

The complete revision of the RDX includes a roomier, quieter and more comfortable cabin. Cargo space with the second row seats in upright position is 31.1 cubic feet. When seats are folded, it expands to 79.8 cubic feet, including an underfloor storage bin.

Interior styling is cockpit-like and ultra-modern, with handsome materials used freely.

The tester’s standard panoramic moonroof didn’t get much glory during the snowy week, but it’s easy to imagine how welcome it would be come spring. However, the Acura ELS Studio 3D premium audio system with 16 speakers and astounding clarity got a good workout.

Infotainment and connectivity systems are controlled by a new Acura True Touchpad Interface whose successful use might require a tutorial for the average person. But, during the learning curve you can always use Acura’s Voice Recognition. Just say what it is you want, and consider it done.

2019 ACURA RDX SH-AWD A-SPEC

Base price, including destination charge: $46,595

Price as driven: $46,995

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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