In the spirit of performance, Acura announced their continued partnership with Rally Cycling and decided to use the Amgen Tour of California, May 19, as the stage to debut the re-engineered 2019 RDX. Acura also took the opportunity to flaunt the NSX and its ability to serve as a “support vehicle” during the rally.
Aside from seeing the NSX topped with bicycles, what caught my attention was the RDX. Normally I would not associate an SUV with images of spirited driving, capable handling, or really anything to do with power and performance unless it had an SRT badge on it, but Acura says the chassis of the RDX was explicitly designed to deliver an engaging driving experience.
The 2019 RDX received a 2.6-inch length increase to the wheelbase over its predecessor and has a double-ring rear frame design which, Acura says, significantly increases body rigidity and handling precision. Additionally, over 50-percent of the body is composed of steel.
The RDX also has variable ratio dual-pinion electric power steering, a sport-tuned Macpherson strut front suspension, an all-new five-link independent rear suspension and available adaptive dampers.
Additionally, the RDX marks the return of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system which utilizes dynamic torque vectoring to sharpen handling response and deliver “vivid, exhilarating and confidence-inspiring driving performance.” The system can distribute up to 70-percent torque to the rear wheels which can then be distributed to either the right-rear or left-rear wheel, creating control and agility.
Power comes from a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter, 16-valve powerplant with DOHC VTEC valvetrain and Dual Variable Timing Cam. According to Acura, the SUV has 272 hp with 280 lb.-ft of torque. While these figures aren’t exactly impressive, they are available across a broader section of the powerband which Acura says achieved a low-RPM torque boost by as much as 40-percent for quicker acceleration and sharper throttle response over its predecessor.
The turbocharged engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Acura says the transmission takes full advantage of the turbo engines low-end torque with gear changes being quick and seamless in both automatic mode and when using paddle shifters.
Inside the RDX, Acura says the ergonomics have been designed to provide a personal and connected driving experience.
While this all sounds fantastic, I haven’t gotten behind the wheel of the RDX to provide my own driving impressions, but Acura certainly has my interest peaked. With Ford eliminating its passenger cars, SUV’s increasingly becoming more popular than sedans, and autonomous vehicles on the rise, is the RDX a glimpse of where performance is headed?
Only time will tell, though the RDX is set to hit dealerships mid-year and along with the NSX, will be used as a support vehicle for the remainder of the 2018 Rally Cycling season.