WHISTLER, B.C. — Things have come full circle for the Acura RDX. The compact crossover launched in 2007 with an all-new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an all-wheel-drive system that was sophisticated enough for the brand to affix the Super Handling designation to it. It was a fun, sporty vehicle in a sea of boring competitors, and we liked it enough to write a eulogy of sorts when the second-generation RDX ditched the fun turbo engine in favor of a V6, and dumbed down its optional all-wheel system so much that they dropped the Super Handling name. Acura's mainstreaming of the RDX for its second generation turned out to be a smart play. Sales jumped 94 percent in 2012, the first year that the redesigned RDX went on sale, leapt another 50 percent the following year, and have stayed over the 50,000 mark for the past three years. It may sound surprising, then, that Acura is flipping the playbook back a few pages by swapping its V6 engine back to a turbo four and reinstalling Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. We think it's a smart move. The 2019 RDX is both sportier and more upscale than the model it replaces. It does more than just check boxes. It's interesting, boasts some cool technology, and offers a strong value proposition. The 2019 RDX's all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That's down a negligible seven ponies from the old 3.5-liter V6, but up 28 lb-ft, and it's tuned to provide the bulk of that torque in the heart of its powerband — peak torque plateaus between 1,600 and 4,500 rpm. An equally all-new 10-speed automatic transmission sends that power to either the front wheels, or, as was the case with the vehicles we tested, all four wheels. Jumping into a 2019 RDX for the first time, our main powertrain concern was that the 10-speed automatic would generate a ton of unnecessary, and distracting, shifts. This proved to be an unfounded fear. The gearbox does shift quite often under hard acceleration, but does so quickly and without any undue jerkiness. The sheer number of gearing options — the old six-speed auto had a 68 percent narrower spread of ratios — and the torque-rich engine combined to provide excellent straight-line acceleration in any real-world driving scenario we could conjure. The rest of the time we didn't really think about the transmission at all. We did, however, lament the push-button transmission interface. It's not as intuitive as a traditional shifter, and doesn't really save that much space. While it's true that a large percentage of the American population simply doesn't need all-wheel drive, those who do choose Acura's latest SH-AWD system will see real benefits regardless of the weather or surface of the road. Up to 70 percent of the engine's torque can be delivered to the rear axle of the 2019 RDX, and can then be spread in any percentage from side-to-side. In practical terms, the RDX has excellent …
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|MPG||21 City / 27 Hwy|
|Transmission||10-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||272 @ 6500 rpm|
|Drivetrain||SH-AWD all wheel|
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