2020 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec: Precision Crafted Performance

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

I must say, this funky 3rd generation RDX crossover is one exceptional vehicle. Not only does the luxury CUV look good, especially in bright hues like Apex Blue Pearl, but it also moves like kick returners on college championship teams, cutting through traffic swiftly and meandering through bends and curves with precision. While in my possession for a weekly review, the 2020 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec was the life of the party as my kids ascertained that I was the parent handling school drop-offs and sports pickups for some of their teammates and classmates.

When shoppers decide to purchase a smaller utility vehicle in the premium category, more often than not, they are thinking about ultimate convenience, efficiency, pizzazz, and performance all-in-one. And thus far, the RDX has been the number 1 selling nameplate in the business. My $47,195 RDX loaner was a little pocket rocket decked out with the Tech Package, A-Spec Package, and AcuraWatch Features. Everything about the Japanese CUV spoke volumes in the sports performance department including dual exhaust tips, a fiery 2-liter VTEC turbo 4-cylinder engine with 272-horsepower, Torque Vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), sporty red and black leather/Ultrasuede seats, accent stitching, and specific A-Spec 20” alloy rims wrapped in 255/45R20 Goodyear RS-A all-season tires designed for traction in dry, snowy, and wet weather conditions.

During my time in the RDX, I made multiple runs to two different schools, Home Depot, and Roots Market for groceries and fall yard supplies since I’m a stay-at-home dad. The girls and their friends were always comfortable in the second row, and the rear stowage area was fitting for the number of items I packed back there. There is a handy lever to release the fold-flat second-row seats for larger items such as my mountain bike when it was time to hit the trails.  There are also two USB ports in the rear in addition to the two upfront. Kids are always low on charge, so we had no electronic qualms. As well, the panoramic sunroof is a nice touch to keep your passengers from feeling claustrophobic.

The interior feels luxurious and authentic since it commingles some leather, some brushed aluminum, and some black piano glass with a sporty, paddle shifting steering wheel, metal pedals, impressive 16-speaker Acura ELS Studio 3D audio that loved my reggae music, 12-way powered and heated front seats, and the stagnant center display that sits atop the dash. The screen houses the infotainment features, mapping, and multi-view rear camera, which is operated by way of the quirky True Touchpad Interface. Since it takes time becoming acquainted with,  I prefer a central controller and physical buttons for simple vehicle operations. I also prefer a standard gearshift lever opposed to drive, reverse, park, and neutral push buttons to engage the 10-speed automatic transmission. Albeit, I was a fan of the Dynamic Mode controller, which allows the driver to set the RDX SH-AWD A-Spec in SPORT, SPORT+, SNOW, and COMFORT modes. Of course, SPORT+ was my favorite as it optimized the racing mannerisms of the RDX, including aggressive maneuvering and faster acceleration points from each gear. Additionally, the already taut steering became even more dynamic!

Rolling around town in the little guy never made me feel like a little guy. With beefy, smoked grey 20s that suck up asphalt with aplomb, tinted glass, a tailgate spoiler, jazzy, Jewel Eye LED headlights, front and rear bumper garnishes, Gloss Black trim, and a rhythmic grille, the RDX instills confidence and self-assurance into both the drive and ownership experience.

In addition, the RDX is enhanced with safety measures like Collision Mitigation Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Vehicle Stability Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, and Agile Handling Assist which must have played a vital role in the vehicle’s high-speed cornering capabilities along with the rear-biased SH-AWD. Up to 70% of the vehicle’s torque can be sent to the rear wheels, of which, up to 100% of that torque can be directed to either of the rear wheels independently, depending on which has grip or not.

Surpassing 50,000 sales annually since 2015, the RDX is a refreshing take on the small, crossover-utility segment with defining attributes sure to please. Compare to the BMW X3, INFINITI QX50, Audi Q5, and Volvo XC60 while achieving 21 city and 26 highway mpg in a package that offers attraction, technology, and performance.

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