Debut Marks Brand’s First-Ever Use of A-Spec Badge on a Utility Vehicle
As competent as the current Acura RDX is, when the company pulled the sheets off the stunning 2019 RDX Prototype (pictured below) in Detroit a few months ago, we were smitten. Crisp sheetmetal, dynamically inclined SH-AWD, and a lightweight turbo four shared with the Civic Type R meant the new compact sport-ute would likely be a blast to drive in traffic or on a twisty road.
Well, it looks like Acura is amping up its entry-level crossover a bit more when it unveils the production version of the 2019 RDX at the 2018 New York International Auto Show later this month. For the first time in the brand’s history, Acura will apply the A-Spec treatment to an SUV—although we can’t tell much from the single teaser image released, it’ll presumably bring more aggressive body styling, blacked-out trim, and a slightly sportier interior to go along with a retuned suspension.
The A-Spec’s debut will coincide with the official unveiling of the rest of the RDX lineup, taking place March 28 at 12:15 p.m. Eastern and livestreamed on a special Acura website. As we reported in our first look at the RDX Prototype, the 2019 RDX marks a return to the small SUV’s sporty roots: The first RDX came standard with a 2.3L turbocharged I-4 and was available with SH-AWD, giving the SUV the kind of nimbleness associated with smaller sports cars and hot hatches.
The new SUV’s drivetrain means we can say adieu to the second-gen RDX’s 3.5L V-6 and ho-hum conventional all-wheel drive. While we might miss the sweet-revving nature of the big six, the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 that replaces it could produce anywhere between 252 and 306 hp, with between 273 and 296 lb-ft of twist (those numbers represent the engine’s tamest and hottest tuning maps, found in the 2018 Accord and Civic Type R, respectively). And with a segment-best 10-speed automatic transmission and some likely platform lightweighting, the new RDX will probably blow the doors off the old one.
We’ll know more after the 2019 RDX’s March 28 debut, with a showroom launch coming closer to the middle of the year.