The 2020 Acura RDX stands out in a crowded field of small utility vehicles.

Even in the upscale slices of the segment, the rapid proliferation of compact utility vehicles has made it difficult for the various brands to separate their identity from competitors.

However, Acura has succeeded in putting some distance between the 2020 Acura RDX and its rivals with a combination of strong design, well-integrated technology and an emphasis on vehicle basics that make the vehicle a pleasure to drive under a variety of different conditions.

We don’t have mountains, but we do have weather of all kinds, and lots of it around Detroit. What I found was that the RDX with all-wheel-drive delivers excellent handling on slick, rain-soaked surfaces. In fact, in a world where vehicles are getting better and better and, as one executive I knew once noted that everyone starts with the same bag of nuts and bolts and stuff, the Acuras built by Honda really do have a unique character of high quality.

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The steering was crisp and accurate, and the brakes had plenty of stopping power even on wet surfaces or uneven surfaces.

Honda has long been noted for squeezing power from small packages and the 2020 Acura RDS SH-AWD Advance that I got drive was equipped with powertrain that started with a 2.0-liter, turbocharge 4-cylinder VTEC engine that produces 272 horsepower without any difficulty. The engine is matched to 10-speed transmission and Acura’s SH all-wheel-drive system.

The new RDX offers plenty of performance and decent gas mileage.

The SH stands for super-handling and you can feel it come into play come into play rounding tight corners or the circular freeway ramps that are popular around the Motor City.

The fuel economy is 21 mile per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg overall.

The shifts from the 10-speed transmission were virtually invisible and out on the road 2020 RDX had a lot of punch, which was delivered smoothly, quickly and efficiently without any kind of fuss. The RDX’s quick response to the throttle was one of the vehicle’s best features and enhanced the driving experience out on the open road under all kinds of conditions.

The 2020 RDX also looks smart sitting at the curb.

On the outside, the 2020 RDX is little changed from the 2019 model, which carried forward the new Acura design language and incorporates Acura “Jewel Eye” LED headlights and taillights and stylized 19-inch wheels.  The exterior design gives the RDX a distinctive and sporty character that catches the moment you first see the vehicle up close.

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On the inside, the RDX is equipped a panoramic moonroof, next-generation and sport seats. The layout of the interior is very comfortable and the cabin is also very quiet with excellent visibility that underscores Acura attention to the basics.

The 2020 RDX also includes the True Touchpad Interface, which combines a 10.2-inch full-HD display mounted high atop the dash, close to the driver’s natural line of sight and match it with a center console-mounted touchpad tailored to the driver. The system helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road and is easy to use and is undoubtedly one of the most ergonomically screen and controls set ups automotive designers have incorporated into a vehicle.

Also available on the 2020 RDX is the ELS Studio premium audio, a 16-channel, 710-watt system, featuring four ultra-slim Highline ceiling-mounted speakers to create a truly immersive listening experience.

Acura’s new RDX offers a slew of technology with a driver-friendly interior.

The 2020 RDX also comes with a long list of comfort and convenience features such heated outside mirrors, heated seats and a heated steering wheel that are geared towards colder climates. There is also Bluetooth, Apple and Android Car Play and driver assistance features such as forward collision warning, collision mitigation, lane keeping assist, blind-spot alerts and adaptive cruise control.

The tech package offered on the 2020 Acura RDX includes a head up display and a surround view camera system that is most helpful while getting and out parking places in heavily trafficked urban neighborhoods.

The third-generation RDX has received the highest possible safety ratings and is equipped with multiple air bags for protecting occupants in front and side impact collisions. There also air bags aimed at the lower extremities of front-seat passengers to help protect feet and legs in frontal collisions.

There is a long price walk on the RDX with base model starting at $37,600 before the addition of the $995 destination charge. But the cost expands as more features are added to the vehicle and the all-wheel-drive version with the tech and advance options brought the price up to $48,695.

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Nonetheless, even though I thought the rain sensing windshield wipers should be part of the standard equipment on this vehicle, car, truck and utility vehicles generally are becoming awfully expensive. But with the Acura RDX SH-AWD Advance you are getting something quite nice for the money.

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