2024 ACURA RDX Platinum Elite A-Spec

Acura’s RDX is an entertaining and assertive compact SUV (sport-utility vehicle) with sharp responses and plenty of features. However, this very sporty wagon lacks an electrified powertrain option and a lightning-fast and thoroughly first-rate infotainment system.  And then there is the touchpad controller. We’ll get to that and more…

Acura RDX

What you might rightfully conclude is that the RDX is a small mystery of a lively, roomy rig that handles and steers like a tall sports car and boasts the materials and finishings of an expensive, premium SUV. There is much here to make an enthusiast smile. The parsimonious will like the pricing; it starts at $56,851 (plus $2,721 for freight, PDI and fees).

The climb up from base model to the top-of-the-line Platinum Elite A-Spec is just five Gs or so – to $61,651. It’s money well spent.

The most basic RDX is loaded. And then my Elite A-Spec tester added various badging and such, plus the very welcome adaptive damper system, a super-comfy 16-way adjustable driver’s seat, Shark Grey 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a colour heads-up display, heated rear seats, second-row temperature control and the surround-view camera system. You can also pay for a variety of racks, a towing package, mats, extended warranties other bits and pieces.

My point: the priciest all-wheel-drive RDX is relatively unaffordable. This is in contrast to rivals like Audi’s Q5, Jaguar’s F-Pace and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. With the latter three, it does not take much effort to inflate the final price tag. Hugely. That is worth keeping in mind, given the very long list of standard fare in the RDX Elite A-Spec.

The engine here is a turbocharged four (272 hp/280 lb-ft) mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox that you can manage through the plated paddle shifters. Like just about all juicy turbos, the responses are a bit jumpy, though you’ll learn to manage the throttle inputs with some practice. The paddles show off the snappy shifts possible with this powertrain combination.

Steering, braking and the overall chassis package perform well as a whole. Look for 0-100 km/hour times less than 7.0 seconds. I also applaud the meaty P255/45R20 rubber here. This RDX feels light and manoeuvrable, well-controlled in corners.

The RDX is suited for the driver who can wring out the best from a set of wheels aimed at not the expert, but the engaged. Everyday ride comfort is well above average, right down to the well-muffled wind and road noises. One downside for drivers: A-pillars that are thickish, potentially obstructing your view to the left and right.

The cabin is big for this class of SUV, and cargo space is quite generous. The front seats are heated and cooled, which is nice; nicer still, seats that deliver a high level of comfort and support. Acura has done nice work here. The little details, like wireless smartphone connectivity, are noteworthy.

Acura RDX

Ergonomics? The touchpad infotainment controller is imprecise for any driver actually engaged in driving, and the climate controls are undersized. These are small details that Acura should have gotten right, especially given the basic mechanicals here date back to 2019.

And I do like the looks, very much. How would I describe the design? Subtly aggressive? Borderline snarly? Unapologetic? I mean, there are a lot of angles and creases here. But the total package works well.

In a nutshell, the RDX is well-priced and properly executed. Definitely worth test drive.

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