In case you missed test driving the all-new 2019 Acura RDX at this year’s OC Auto Show, not to worry, the iDSC Team has you covered.
We dispatched the Professor, Clinton Quan, on a quest to check out the new offering from Honda’s luxury sibling and he came back with a report that would make the vehicle’s redesign team proud – to say the least!
Click play below to hear Professor Quan’s detailed review of his Acura RDX test drive and check out the pics he was able to snap from the RDX display during the packed Orange County International Auto Show.
Recording date – October 7, 2018, in Anaheim, CA
2019 Acura RDX Crossover SUV
Clinton Quan: The 2019 Acura RDX is an all-new luxury compact crossover and it’s got really sharp aggressive styling.
I think it’s one of the best-looking luxury compact crossovers out there in the luxury segment. And it also features an all-new engine. It’s a 2.0 liter inline-4 turbo charge that produces 272 horsepower.
Very well pointed, very luxurious. I think one of the best-looking Acura interiors.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here with the good Professor, Mr. Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton.
“…the 2019 Acura RDX is an all-new luxury compact crossover and it’s got really sharp aggressive styling.”
Clinton Quan: Hi, Tom.
Tom Smith: Hello, hello. All that background noise is the Orange County International Auto Show 2018 style. It is Sunday the last day of the show, so I believe this is a pretty busy day, and it’s right around 11 o’clock in the morning. All that relevant, I don’t know, not really. But the fact of the matter is this is a podcast so who knows when you’re gonna be listening or where you’re gonna be listening?
Tom Smith: Maybe you are on a plane to Italy. Maybe you are on the treadmill. Maybe you are sitting in Southern California traffic. Nevertheless, thanks for being with us and this podcast that the good Professor and I are doing is a vehicle review. Here at the OC Auto Show, they are very big on test drives, ride, and drives. Not only can you test drive, meaning drive yourself, you can be a rider on an indoor off-road track or you can go test tow. They even have test tows.
Tom Smith: But in this case, the good Professor is doing a review of his test drive of the 2019 Acura RDX.
Acura RDX Trim Options
Clinton Quan: Yes, I drove the 2019 Acura RDX advanced trim which is the top of the line trim.
Tom Smith: What are the trim levels?
Clinton Quan: There’s the base which starts at about $37,000. Then there’s Technology. I think that one’s about $40,000. Then there’s an A-Spec $43,000 and then you move up to the Advance, about $45,000, and then with the all-wheel drive, I think it’s about another $2,000 on top of that.
Tom Smith: Okay, so all-wheel drive available on all trims?
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: Front wheel drive otherwise, correct?
Clinton Quan: Correct.
Tom Smith: So, tell us about the 2019 Acura RDX.
“…plenty of space for five people and a good amount of cargo space as well. It feels very roomy inside.”
Clinton Quan: Well, the 2019 Acura RDX is an all-new luxury compact crossover and it’s got really sharp aggressive styling.
Tom Smith: Wait a minute, the RDX has been around.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, but this is an all-new…
Tom Smith: All new.
Clinton Quan: This is a new generation.
Tom Smith: Got it.
Clinton Quan: Whereas the previous one, it was attractive as well but more conservatively styled. This one takes, I guess you could say, even some of the styling cues from the NSX supercar.
Tom Smith: Wow, so it’s got some sporty lines, sporty looks?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, very sporty lines, sporty looks.
Tom Smith: That’s cool.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, great looking car. I think it’s one of the best-looking luxury compact crossovers out there in the luxury segment. And it also features an all-new engine. It’s a 2.0 liter inline-4 turbo charge that produces 272 horsepower. So it’s a little bit down on horsepower from the previous V6 which had 279, but there’s more torque, 280 lb-ft of torque.
Tom Smith: So, two less cylinders, a little less horsepower, more torque, and probably much better fuel economy.
Clinton Quan: Yes, better fuel efficiency.
Tom Smith: Okay.
Clinton Quan: Winning combination, right?
Tom Smith: Right, absolutely. And the RDX, what generation are they on, do you know?
Clinton Quan: That’s a good question. I believe this is the third generation.
Tom Smith: I think that would make sense, and I think the second generation I liked a little bit more aesthetically than the first and I think I did get a glance at this third generation, and I thought I was impressed as well.
Clinton Quan: Oh, it looks fantastic.
Tom Smith: And they’re getting bigger, right, like everything else? They’ve gotten a little bit bigger, a little bit wider at least for sure, I don’t know about longer.
Clinton Quan: I believe it’s both longer and wider.
“…very impressive acceleration. You can really feel it.”
Tom Smith: Is this a five-passenger or do they have a seven-passenger option?
Clinton Quan: No, this is a five-passenger crossover and plenty of space for five people and a good amount of cargo space as well. It feels very roomy inside.
Tom Smith: And you drove the all-wheel drive?
Clinton Quan: Yes, the Advanced all-wheel drive.
Tom Smith: And you drove it here at the auto show. They limit the drives a little bit.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, it is a short drive.
Tom Smith: Because all the manufacturers have a specific course that you’re supposed to be dedicated to, right?
OC Auto Show Test Drives
Clinton Quan: Yes, each manufacturer has their own route, so with some manufacturers, you can drive it a little bit more. I did get to drive it more with some of the other manufacturers. But I did get to experience the acceleration.
Tom Smith: Handling.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, handling a little bit as well and I put in Sport mode and Sport+ (Plus) and you can really feel the power of this engine.
Tom Smith: They have a Sport and a Sport+ (Plus).
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: Do they have eco as well, then?
Clinton Quan: I believe its comfort and normal if I remember correctly.
“…they’re putting that big navigation screen on the very top of the center stack and this one has a huge screen.”
Tom Smith: Okay, we’re sitting next to the Nissan display and I believe Jacqueline is the announcer on this one. She’s just talking up the GTR right now, so that might be a little bit challenging to hear us over Jacqueline, not sure. But you were saying again?
Clinton Quan: The different modes, sport and normal and comfort. I believe those are all the different modes.
Tom Smith: Okay. So good handling, impressive acceleration.
Clinton Quan: Yes, very impressive acceleration. You can really feel it.
Tom Smith: And in the different modes, when you go from one mode to another, are you adjusting the transmission powertrain as well as the suspension?
Clinton Quan: I believe it’s the throttle response, probably suspension as well, yes. Especially for sport mode.
Tom Smith: Okay, so inside, technology. Take us in.
Clinton Quan: The new Acura vehicles and even some of the Honda vehicles, instead of having a traditional gear shifter, now it’s push buttons. So that’s one thing you’ll definitely notice with the new RDX. Push buttons for the gears, park, drive, neutral.
Tom Smith: I’ve seen that with the Honda vehicles that are hybrids, right?
Push Button Transmission
Clinton Quan: Well, they have that in the Accord with the bigger engine, the 2.0-liter turbo. If you drive the 1.5-liter turbo, it still has the traditional shifter.
Tom Smith: By the way for those of you that don’t know, Acura is the luxury brand of Honda, just to put it out there. It’s pretty common knowledge but just in case.
Clinton Quan: Yes, I think this is the direction they are definitely moving towards.
Tom Smith: Push-button gear shifting.
Clinton Quan: Yes. Especially if it’s the higher trim, if not on all the trims. You’ll see the same thing on the TLX. If you get the V6, it’ll be push button but if you get the 4-cylinder, it’ll have the traditional shifter.
“…there are wood accents both on the door and along the dash as well, it’s got the nice large circular gauges…”
Tom Smith: Interesting.
Clinton Quan: Then the other thing you’re really gonna notice is along with a number of the other Japanese and Korean automakers, they’re putting that big navigation screen on the very top of the center stack and this one has a huge screen.
I don’t remember exactly how big it is but I’m guessing it’s between 10 to 12 inches. It’s really big. So it’s not a touchscreen. It’s similar to what the Europeans are doing. They have this pad in the center console and you use the pad to remotely adjust.
Tom Smith: Yeah, I think that’s safer personally.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, to get to the navigation, the audio, and the climate controls.
Tom Smith: Okay, so what else about the technology? What else about the interior of the 2019 RDX? The all-new 2019 RDX?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, I was talking to the rep from Acura and I asked him about the big thing for safety and he said it was the forward mitigation crash avoidance system, so that’s the big thing. Very well designed interior. I thought it was very aesthetically pleasing.
Tom Smith: Leather obviously, right?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, leather.
Tom Smith: Probably either wood accents or some kind of carbon fiber looking accents depending on your trim.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, interesting that you mention that because there are wood accents both on the door and along the dash as well, and it’s got the nice large circular gauges which I like, really sporty, three-spoke steering wheel, very well pointed, very luxurious. I think one of the best looking Acura interiors. It sort of makes the other ones, especially the sedans, look outdated, this new one.
“…really sporty, three-spoke steering wheel, very well pointed, very luxurious.”
Tom Smith: Oh, really?
Clinton Quan: Yeah. Very modern.
Tom Smith: I think when the Acura first brought RDX out, that led the way in some of its styling inside and out for the rest of the lineup if I’m remembering right. I don’t know, I could be completely wrong.
Clinton Quan: Could be.
Tom Smith: It could be completely wrong.
Clinton Quan: No, Tom, I mean that it could be that it led the way to the other interior designs for the upcoming Acura vehicles.
Tom Smith: Are we ready for the Top Three?
Clinton Quan: Oh, yes top three.
Tom Smith: Top three favorite things of the Professor’s.
Top-3 Favorites – #1
Clinton Quan: The first thing I noticed obviously the exterior styling. I really loved that sharp, aggressive, sporty exterior design. I think they did a great job, it definitely grabs your attention and I think it looks good from every angle, side, front, rear, three-quarter front, three-quarter rear.
Tom Smith: I got to hit pause real quick. The RDX is the Acura. Acura is the luxury brand of Honda. This is the Honda CRV, is it not? Are they in the same class?
Clinton Quan: Well, they would both be compact crossovers.
“I really loved that sharp, aggressive, sporty exterior design.”
Tom Smith: One being the luxury.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, but other than that, I don’t think there’s anything else similar to it. Totally different engines.
Tom Smith: Oh, really, okay. Then never mind.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. Well, this is a 2.0-liter turbo engine.
Tom Smith: All right, so carry on. So back to the beginning of your top three.
Clinton Quan: And the exterior styling is completely different.
Tom Smith: Exterior style is your first.
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Top-3 Favorites – #2
Tom Smith: What’s number two?
Clinton Quan: Number two, I would have to go with that engine. I think that’s a great engine. I love the way it sounds, the two-liter turbo with 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.
Tom Smith: That’s a lot for a 4-cylinder.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. That thing really moves. There’s plenty of power. There’s definitely no shortage of power on that.
“…that’s a great engine. I love the way it sounds, the two-liter turbo with 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.”
Tom Smith: And you were on a test drive with a rep with you but you could still put two, three other adults and some stuff in it and still have enough.
Clinton Quan: It would definitely seat four people very comfortably, four people for sure very comfortably.
Tom Smith: And it’s still gonna deliver in the power mode and the power category so to speak.
Clinton Quan: Yeah.
Top-3 Favorites #3
Tom Smith: Okay, so number three.
Clinton Quan: Number three, I’m gonna go with the new interior design. I think they did a great job with the interior, I really like the dashboard, the steering wheel. And, I love that new big navigation screen they have on the top. Great looking design.
“…they did a great job with the interior, I really like the dashboard, the steering wheel.”
Tom Smith: Excellent. That was Professor Clinton Quan‘s test drive review of the 2019 Acura RDX here at the Orange County International Auto Show.
Professor, thank you as always. I know you have a lot more test driving to do so I’m gonna let you get to it, and until next time, I’m Tom Smith. Thank you as always for tuning in.