If you’re in the market for a high-riding crossover or SUV, there seems to be no shortage of models anywhere. The luxury crossover market specifically is packed with choices, and I recently spent a week with one of the best-selling models in the segment — the all-new Acura RDX.
It always surprises me that Acura as a brand is actually younger than I am. Founded in 1986, Acura was the first luxury brand from JDM automakers. It wasn’t until 1989 that Nissan’s INFINITI brand and Toyota’s Lexus came to market.
Anyway, before we get into taking a closer look at the 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD, I’d like you to forget everything you think know about the RDX, because this baby is totally different from its Honda cousin, the CR-V. The new 2020 Acura RDX is out for blood, and it’s already beating its opponents. Just last month, Acura reported that it has already sold over 63,000 units of the new RDX, making it the best-selling model in luxury’s largest segment. Let’s take a closer look and see what makes the new 2020 Acura RDX so special.
2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Exterior
Acura has done such an amazing job when it comes to the exterior design of the new Acura RDX. It does a great job of balancing an energetic sporty and luxury design language — so much so that I can really see younger car buyers being proud to buy one.
My favorite design details include the beautiful signature Diamond Pentagon grille, the Jewel Eye headlamps, the striking hood bulges that you can see from inside, and the sharp character lines that run through the side profile. I’m also a huge fan of the taillights which Acura calls the ‘dragon tail.’
My test model, the 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD, came with a few package exclusive design elements including larger exhausts, exclusive front and rear bumpers, gloss black accents, an NSX-inspired rear diffuser, A-Spec badging, and 20-inch Shark Gray wheels. The outstanding color seen here is called Performance Red Pearl and will run you an additional $400. That said, I’m a huge fan of the Apex Blue Pearl.
2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Interior
Before we get into standard options and packages let’s talk quality. I’ve seen many people giving the new Acura RDX a lot of flack about the interior not feeling high-quality or special enough. I disagree. During my week with the Acura RDX, I didn’t feel as if the interior lacked quality or felt cheap. Yes, there are elements that have been repurposed from Honda, but to me, that looks positive on Honda for using quality materials. Overall, I didn’t feel much difference in the materials used in the Acura RDX compared to the ones used on rivals in this segment and Acura’s graphics game is way ahead of its competitors.
Let’s talk about comfort. The interior of the new 2020 RDX is considerably comfortable. My model, the Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD, came with heated and cooled Sport A-Spec front seats so they are more on the sporty side. The A-Spec package also adds an A-Spec steering, suede-trim, contrast stitching, red instrument panel, sport pedals and more.
What’s really impressive about the new Acura RDX is the long list of standard tech. All 2020 Acura RDX trims come with heated seats, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and a range of other driver-assist tech. All RDX trims also come with a 10.2-inch display, a touchpad interface (takes a while to get used to and can be a little annoying at first), Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, 4 USB ports, and more. The A-Spec and Advance Packages add an amazing ELS Studio sound system and it is unquestionably one of the best in the segment.
2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Performance
Driving the Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD for seven days, I noticed that it soaks up potholes and road imperfections with ease. The RDX is one of the quickest to 60 in this segment, right up there with the Stelvio and the XT5. The 272-horsepower engine provides more than enough power to take off from a red light and gives you the courage to take over the slow car in front of you. Put your foot in it, and 60 mph arrives in just 5.6 seconds. Keep it buried, and you’ll hit a top speed of 125 mph. Fuel economy wise, the 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD gets an EPA-rated 21/27 mpg* (city/highway).
Now, let’s get a little technical for those that want to learn about the drive modes and the Super Handling AWD system. There are a total of four-modes including Snow, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. I liked to circle between Comfort and Sport+ (if I’m going Sport I’m going all the way). While the new SH-AWD system addresses all your AWD needs, it also significantly improves handling. Using dynamic torque vectoring, it remarkably sharpens the handling response and leaves you feeling very confident when taking turns and bends at high speeds.
Pop the Acura RDX SH-AWD into Sport+ and you’ll clearly feel the difference in the steering weight and how the torque is distributed to provide you with unbelievable control. To be honest, the Acura RDX is easily one of the best handling luxury crossovers in the segment — and that’s saying a lot!
2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Overall
The 2020 Acura RDX is simply one of the best offerings in its segment. In my opinion, this is the only Japanese luxury crossover that can go battle with the German rivals and not come out bruised. I honestly think that in some areas the new Acura RDX may even be ahead of its German competitors like the Audi Q5, BMW X3, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.
That’s certainly true when you look at how well the new Acura RDX is selling. Since the new-generation Acura RDX went on sale, Acura has sold over 63,000 units The new RDX is also the retail number two luxury SUV, and is attracting a large number of younger buyers than the previous-generation. Prices for the 2020 Acura RDX start at $39,600** for the AWD model and $37,600** for the FWD model. If you’re in the market for a new luxury crossover, I highly recommend giving the 2020 Acura RDX a test drive at your local AutoNation Acura dealership.
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.