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Revved up about Acura RDX

In a world gone mad over SUVs and CUVs, which for the most part all look the same, there are few that impress me in the $40,000 price range. The 2019 Acura RDX does get my respect.

In a world gone mad over SUVs and CUVs, which for the most part all look the same, there are few that impress me in the $40,000 price range. The 2019 Acura RDX does get my respect. Acura models of old were performance-oriented and the slogan “Precision Crafted Performance” was very much all about Acura cars in the early years of the brand.

The redesigned RDX has been put together with the slogan in mind and the end result is a very capable CUV that offers performance, comfort and utility with a bit of tasteful luxury. It all starts with a 2.0 litre turbo-four that goes about its business in a respectable manner with 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Sorry, the V6 of old is gone but the little four is a great engine with power always there when you need it. Backed up by a buttery-smooth 10-speed automatic, you are never in the wrong gear and when you need an extra kick, downshifting happens right – now. Select your drive mode such as Sport+ and gears are held to redline with snappy throttle response and a growl from the engine which is slightly out of character for this rig.

I chose Comfort mode all the time I drove the RDX and it seemed to me to be the right balance of shifting and driving comfort. Fuel consumption with a mix of urban and highway travel resulted in 9.5L/100km. Good, but not outstanding, expect around 8L/100km on the highway depending on your speed, passengers and cargo. On the subject of cargo space, total cargo volume seats up is 835L, drop the second row seat and you have a very useful 1,668L of cargo capacity.

In fact, the RDX has one of the best rides I’ve encountered in this size of CUV. Smooth on good pavement and very sure-footed in the curves, the only distraction is tire noise. But even that is far less than I’ve encountered in some other new vehicles.

On the inside, driver and passengers are well cared for and designers need a thumbs up for offering up a most comfortable and classy experience. You are treated to real olive wood trim and high-grade materials. Seating comfort is excellent and that includes the second row seat where Acura did not skimp on comfort. I like the soft leathers and the tasteful use of contrasting colours and aluminum trim accents. The standard stereo system provides a sound that delights the ears. If that’s not enough, the ELS Studio 3D audio system is optional, providing 16 speakers and 710 watts of quality sound you might not imagine in a vehicle at this price point.

Other technology I have to detail is the True Touchpad Interface. There is no rotary knob but a touchpad above the push-button gear selector tied into the 10.2-inch infotainment screen. So when you touch the touchpad it highlights whatever is on the screen. This will take some learning for many people, but the system does work once you catch on. The screen can also be customized to your preference, such as putting an often used phone number into an app on the home screen for easy access.

There are five models of RDX to choose from starting at $43,990. The model range tops out at $54,990 for the Platinum Elite. If you find similar-sized models from the other manufacturers extreme in exterior styling or not as nice inside, the 2019 Acura RDX offers a nice balance of styling and comfort and technology.

Read more of Garry Melnyk’s Auto Talk at