Skip to main content

2019 Acura RDX Prototype debuts in Detroit before a subdued press corp

Early Monday morning, Acura blew the doors off of the premium compact SUV segment with an N.A.I.A.S. stage reveal of 2019 RDX Prototype. The re-engineered 2-row SUV effectively sets a new production benchmark in what is arguably the fastest growing car segment in North America. You wouldn't know it by the reaction of the attending press. Quiet!


Acura's epic segment topping introduction of 2019 Acura RDX SUV in Detroit was memorable as the most visually dynamic SUV in Acura’s 30-year history drove onto the Acura stage. Curiously, other than the click and flash of digital cameras and buzzing video equipment, one could hear a pin drop. Where was the congratulatory jubilation coming from the press?

On center stage, Acura’s general manager Jon Ikada faced a tired, travel-weary audience with the exuberance of a proud father following the successful birth of his latest prodigy. The candy red and conservatively chromed 2019 RDX Prototype sitting on his stage right, in all its short overhang, wide-tracked, glass roof glory, successfully presents the future of Acura Division. Born of Precision Crafted Performance, 2019 Acura RDX according to its maker represents the most extensive remake of an existing Acura SUV in a decade.

In my view, what sits before us today in Detroit promises a heightened driving experience melded with ease of “driver-centric” control and personal electronic connectivity. The icing on the cake that is 2019 RDX is thick with new technology, premium material integration, and advancements in comfort and safety. With over 50,000 units sold, three years running, Acura looks to this ground-up reinvention of RDX to grow Honda’s premium Division. Here’s how they’ll do it.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype promises to be the driving enthusiasts SUV

Scheduled to arrive at market sometime in mid-2018, what you see on the Detroit Auto Show (N.A.I.A.S.) stage is what will most likely come to market later this year. Solidly presenting a bold new design directive for Acura, this slightly wider, and longer RDX takes full advantage of NSX inspired design details.

From the Diamond Pentagon Grill to the black mesh faux air intakes, cascading roof to hatchback integration, and second generation digital head and tail lighting, 2019 Acura RDX looks like no other 2-row on the road today.
Inside RDX we discover a larger, premium material finished 5-passenger cabin, featuring expanded rear cargo deck and hidden bin storage. For 2019, RDX follows MDX styling with real wood and metal trim integration.RDX seating goes premium, with 16-way adjustability, not only for the driver but the front passenger too. And then there’s the most advanced driver to car interface in Automotive history.

2019 RDX is the first SUV integration of Acura’s Advanced Precision Cockpit design

I experienced Acura’s Advanced Precision Cockpit Concept 2 years prior in Los Angeles. Featuring Acura’s touch-pad activated exacting point to monitor App control, a centered floating dashtop high-resolution 10.1inch rectangular control module and expanded i-Mid electronic dash instrument cluster -- with 3-D street view -- pedestrian and bicycle recognition, pre-collision warning, surround view Cam and more. 2019 Acura RDX buyers will experience the aforementioned, as well as the award-winning AcuraWatch ™, a comprehensive near autonomous active safety suite as a standard feature in all trim levels.

New engine, transmission, suspension, and SH-AWD

2019 Acura RDX comes to market with a proprietary manufacturing platform. A redesigned suspension, with available active dampening, and, much improved dynamic steering. Acura claims higher rigidity, trending toward improved drive dynamics and road handling. Under the hood, we discover a high output 2.0 L VTEC turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission -- a first in this segment. Also, RDX evolves away from Honda Realtime AWD, with a 2019 optional integration of 2nd generation SH-AWD (smart handling all-wheel-drive,0 as found on TLX and MDX. We further discover a dialed in 4-mode drive selection, as experienced in Acura NSX.

According to Jon Ikada, the Acura 2.0L 4 cylinder engine produces 40% greater lower-end torque than the outgoing V6. When combined with Acura’s proprietary 10-speed transmission, greater frame rigidity, a much-improved suspension, and a road to wheel steering wheel feedback, the 3rd generation 2019 Acura RDX will surely please the most discriminating sport-crossover/SUV driver. In short, 2019 Acura RDX will give Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes Benz a run for the money.

Following Today's reveal: It was difficult to read the initial response generated by RDX from a debut-weary press corp. Was the automotive press in attendance impressed by Acura’s latest and greatest? Or had the RDX pre-reveal media buzz deadened their collective enthusiasm?

Share with Torque News your opinion of the redesigned, turbocharged 2019 Acura RDX. YOur thought-provoking comment is welcome here.