With the launch of the 2019 RDX, Acura brings back the A-Spec performance design package.

Acura was the first of the Japanese luxury brands but, in recent years, it has lagged behind rivals Lexus and Infiniti. Could the stars finally be coming together for Honda’s high-line marque, however?

While Acura’s passenger car models continue to struggle, the automaker has done far better with its SUV line-up, and it expects to gain even more ground with a complete makeover of the compact RDX. The timing likely couldn’t be better considering the U.S. luxury market’s accelerating shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. Add the fact that Acura is bringing back the A-Spec version of the RDX for 2019.

The first new model to really deliver on the promises of Acura new Precision Concept design language, the 2019 model offers an array of new and updated features, from its new turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplant to a completely redesigned infotainment system dubbed AcuraLink with True Touch. But what may garner even more interest is the fact that the 2019 Acura RDX starts at the same price as the outgoing, 2018 model: $38,295, which includes $995 in delivery charges.

A base 2019 Acura RDX starts at $38,295, including delivery charges. It tops out around $48,395.

Of course, when you add content, including Acura’s well-reviewed, torque Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or SH-AWD, you can drive the price up rather rapidly. Opt for the mid-level Tech package and you’re up $41,495.

(Three Acura products named “Best Bets” by new Car Book. Click Here to see which models.)

The base-level A-Spec model, meanwhile, comes in at $44,495 – in front-wheel-drive configuration, and $46,495 with SH-AWD.

Pretty much loaded with everything you can imagine – which includes Head-Up Display and the stunning new 16-channel ELS sound system – and you’re writing a check for $48,395.

The A-Spec, incidentally, is an appearance package, similar to what most versions of the Lexus F-Sport offer, as well as the sporty design options that have become increasingly popular with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz buyers.

(Click Here for more on the 2019 Acura RDX.)

Acura has decided to drop the old V-6, all versions of the 2019 RDX powered by a new and unique-to-Acura, 2.0-liter turbo-four making 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. All versions also share a 10-speed automatic, with that torque-vectoring SH-AWD system added back into the RDX line-up.

We’ll have our first drive impressions up later this week, but there’s no question that Acura has done a great job adopting the design language of its well-received Performance Concept of a few years back – along with some sporty details from the reborn Acura NSX. The cabin is also a good adaption of the Performance Concept interior prototype.

All versions of the 2019 Acura RDX will be powered by a new turbocharged, two-liter inline-four.

The centerpiece is a new infotainment system that relies on a “True Touch” pad atop the center console, and a large LED display topping the center stack. The slightly concave touchpad is meant to ease the challenge of using a complex infotainment system without having to take your eyes off the road.

The AcuraLink system integrates a variety of different functions and features, including Apple CarPlay. Android owners may be disappointed to learn it doesn’t work with Android Auto, at least not yet. Google, which manages the Android system, is just developing the necessary touch-based software and there’s no clear timing for its launch, according to RDX Engineering Development Leader Stephen Frey.

The 2019 Acura RDX also adds the most sophisticated version yet of the ELS audio system, the 16-speaker ELS 3D audio upgrade offering such precise “staging” – the ability to make specific instruments sound like they’re emerging from a specific point in space – that you might think you’re sitting right on the stage.

The RDX also expands upon the AcuraWatch safety package, with a number of features, such as forward collision warning with emergency braking, coming as standard fare.

Just starting to roll into U.S. dealer showrooms, the 2019 version of the Acura SV is the first RDX to be designed and engineered primarily in the U.S. It’s being built at the automaker’s assembly plant in East Liberty, Ohio.

(Honda’s U.S. plants launching production of two critical new models. Click Here for more.)


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