Crème of the Crop: 2019 Acura RDX Advance
As we start to see Acura get its mojo back, there still has to be a little bit of that Acura-ness that some of its consumers are used to. Our recent seat time in the RDX A SPEC left us thriving for more and wondering how other trim levels hold up to that Acura crème relaxing comfort that its current consumers are used to.
Acura is doing something different than its usual process. In lieu of trim levels, the RDX comes in one physical form – it’s then the option packages and wheel options that can dress up the RDX to your exact specifications. The RDX’s starting price of $37,300 already packs a punch with its 272-horsepower, turbocharged V-TECH 2.0-liter engine, comfortable leather interior and a viewing party of the sky through its panoramic roof. Opting between the $3200 Technology, $3,000 A-Spec, or the $4900 Advance Package takes the RDX to a new level of luxury comfort and amenities.
Visually, there is not much difference between the A Spec and the Advance. Both carry striking lines and charisma to stand out at any upscale shopping mall. The Advance seen here in Diamond White Pearl, plays a unique role with its bold 19-inch black wheels. With different accents and smaller less outlandish exhaust tips, the RDX Advance carries a hint of superiority over the A-Spec.
Inside is where the Advance really shows its plush lifestyle. The interior supports an exquisite line of plush leather, attractive wood elements on the doors and dash and some of the most comfortable seats we’ve seen in a long time. With 16-ways to change the front seats, finding the perfect spot puts us in tranquility. The Advance Package upgrades the RDX to include a stunning 10.5-inch high definition screen, ultra-clear heads-up display, surround-view 360-degree camera, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel and an incredible audio system by ELS Studio with 16 speakers.
While the RDX carries a small quirk – the touch pad interface is bit cumbersome to the initial interaction – it’s definitely a learning curve to the older generation – it overall features a hearty balance of all the latest technology. Coming standard with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a large Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, and all the autonomous safety features – it brings the RDX out of the Stonehenge and up-to-date with modern times.
Performance continues across all package levels with its go-happy turbocharged four-cylinder. Sounding like a V-6 through the speakers, this little four-banger behaves as if it’s carrying two extra cylinders. Thanks to its super-handling all-wheel drive platform, the RDX is able to lay down 0-60 in about six and half seconds. Much like the A-Spec, the Advance Package doesn’t change its performance attributes, so the RDX’s crisp 10-speed automatic carries over with sharp, agile responses and energetic behavior.
With the choices between, Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport + drive modes, the RDX’s mannerisms and fuel economy changes in the blink of an eye. Comfort mode works well for the day-to-day rut – shuffling through traffic or on the open highway, the outside world just seems to pass us by without an interruptions. The upgraded dual pain glass and added sound deadening keeps the chaos out and the serenity in.
Switching to Sport + and this is were we find the Adaptive Dampering suspension system coping with the aggressive driving styling. Not only does it enhance the transmission for more of an aggressive demeanor but changes the performance of the chassis to carry a more balance sport behavior. The road becomes more readable and the steering feedback is more on point.
However, considering that the RDX Advance won’t see the light of day in Sport + mode, consumers will happily enjoy the limited road feedback and plush ride quality from the RDX while supporting proper road gestures and steering is linear and controllable without feeling too disconnected.
Whether going with the A-Spec or the Advance Packages, there is no wrong way to have an RDX. Its boosted persona and likable demeanor has a certain flavor for all different kinds of consumers. The Advance Package is just for those who may think the A-Spec’s red interior may be just a little too brash for them.