WHAT DOES THE 1996 ACURA SLX AND 2020 ACURA RDX A-SPEC HAVE IN COMMON? SOMETHING RAD!
It’s a strange thing to watch a generation of cars turn into classics. Especially when that generation was the cars you grew up with. Putting time in perspective, the same amount of time has passed from 1990 to 2020 is as equivalent as 1960 to 1990. That’s 30 years! As cars from the 90’s start to become classic, it changes the course on how we perceive classic cars. But lets the face reality, the 90’s aren’t classic… they’re rad!
In fact, they’re so rad that an entire community has been developed celebrating these cars, known as RADwood. Who knew something not so cool then would be so rad now. The 90’s were a hopping period for odd and unusual cars. I should know I owned a 1999 Isuzu VehiCROSS – but that was near the end of the era. It was an era about exploring edgy design and alternative technology. But the 90’s were also about alternative lifestyles – it was a time when Sport Utility Vehicles were just starting to become a popular hot ticket item for the everyday household. With utilitarian capabilities, comfort for 5 and enough room in the back for the weekend run to the neighborhood Price Club – they flew off dealer showroom floors. Naturally, Acura, new to the whole premium car game at that time needed one of these mall hoppers in their lineup. However, considering the enduring cost to design and engineer a car from scratch, they played the ole car swap game by partnering with Isuzu and their Trooper at that time for a more luxury oriented jungle cruiser. Ahh, to humble beginnings.
Fast forward 24 years and Acura now has their own set of crossovers from the compact RDX to the three-row MDX. But to celebrate the clash of the 90’s era, Acura did something rather kind of unique. They took a 1997 SLX and re-engineered it with modern day technology. The original SLX had a 3.2-liter V-6, 4-speed automatic and traditional 4X4 drivetrain. Acura took that power plant and tossed it into the trash, swapping it for a race-tuned, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine developing 350-horsepower from their racing modified RDX. They then dumped the old 4X4 system for a 4th generation, torque-vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel System pared to a 10-speed automatic. All of this work to celebrate the 90’s and 15-years of SH-AWD, which was first introduced in the 2005 Acura RL sedan. Needless to say, it was the highlight at the 2019 RADwood Car Show in Torrance, California.
All this talk about the 90’s had us questioning, will the same form of enthusiasm be sought after in 30 years for cars of this generation? Take the 2020 Acura RDX A-SPEC, as premium crossovers go, the RDX is a handsome brute with striking lines and artistic curvature. Acura took a standard crossover and made it something that can appeal to all demographics. The A-SPEC trim adds a certain level of eagerness as the interior is lined with red leather and black suede inserts, a thick perforated leather steering wheel and red sport gauges. The exterior is enhanced with 20-inch wheels, fat-tipped dual exhaust, and an sporty curb appeal. The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder under the hood isn’t just some putt putt from the 90’s as its turbocharged trick is enticing with venerable presentation supplying 272-horsepower to all wheels through its optional Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system and 10-speed automatic.
Despite its flirtatious driving demeanor and smooth opposition, 30 years is a long time to hold onto a car considering the national average of a new car is under 5-years. Unfortunately, time will only tell what forthcoming trends hold for the Acura RDX A-SPEC. But as we look at it now, it’s one of the few crossovers that separate’s itself from the crowd. The RDX features strong interior design cues, pleasantly tasteful materials throughout and an amazingly clear high-definition infotainment display. With upgraded 3D Premium ELS Audio sound system, rockin out the Benny and the Jets will make you the coolest car karaoke singer on the freeway.
30 years is a long way’s away and by then, who knows, maybe we’ll have finally caught up to the Jetsons flying around in little space mobiles. And who knows how we’ll perceive cars of the millennium then. But as it goes now, the RDX is a hot commodity that can tackle a snow storm in pleasant comfort one day and leaves us smitten on the curvy road the next day.
Model: 2020 ACURA RDX
Trim: A-SPEC & TECHNOLOGY
Starting Price: $37,800
As Tested: $45,025
Color: PLATINUM WHITE PEARL
Engine: 2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 272-HORSEPOWER / 280 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 10-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: SUPER HANDLING ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 21-CITY / 26-HWY / 23-COMBINED
AS TESTED: 21.9 MPG COMBINED
Fuel Range: 310 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±6.5 SECONDS