The bad news for anyone considering the 2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition luxury SUV is that only 360 examples will be built. After they’re gone, that’s it, there won’t be any more.
The good news for Acura itself is that only 360 examples of the RDX PMC Edition will be built. That’s because it’s going to take a certain type of SUV buyer who not only wants an RDX loaded to the gills with every available option, but someone who thinks the color of a traffic cone is too demure.
Built in the same factory as Acura’s NSX supercar, the RDX PMC Edition gets the same hand-built treatment and one of the NSX’s most head-turning (or stomach-churning) colors, Thermal Orange Pearl.
The “PMC” in the RDX PMC Edition name stands for Acura’s Performance Manufacturing Center, located in Marysville, Ohio. This happens to be where the luxury brand’s 573-horsepower mid-engine NSX supercar is assembled.
It’s also home to two previous PMC Edition Acura vehicles, one based on the 2020 TLX sedan, the other on the 2020 MDX SUV. Like the RDX, these were limited edition models capped at 360 examples apiece. Both the TLX and MDX PMC models shared an incredibly deep shade of red, called Valencia Red Pearl.
So, now it’s the RDX’s turn for the PMC treatment. Like its forebearers, this PMC Edition doesn’t get any additional boost in torque or horsepower. That’s fine, considering the RDX in front- or all-wheel drive format is an agile and peppy five-passenger compact SUV.
The big change is that the red paintjob has been replaced by Thermal Orange Pearl. That, and every available feature and option bundle has been included from the RDX’s three primary option packages: Technology, A-Spec, and Advance.
The standard RDX is a handsome compact SUV that doesn’t use wild details or an enormous grille – we’re looking at you Lexus – to make a styling statement. In normal circumstances, the RDX would be an attractive and fairly subtle luxury SUV.
However, throw a hand-painted shade of bright orange paint onto the RDX and stand back!
The RDX PMC Edition is likely the easiest vehicle to find in a crowded parking lot. Gloss black exterior highlights are added in the front grille, brake ducts, and along the side window frames. The PMC Edition is also fitted with black-painted 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped around 255/40 R20 high-performance all-season tires.
One day a year, this color scheme will be perfect. Spoiler alert: it’s the last day in October. For the other 364 days of the year, the RDX PMC Edition is on its own.
Compared to the outside, the cabin of the RDX PMC Edition is shockingly tame. There is orange stitching on the black leather seats, steering wheel, and door panels. You’ll also spot a small plaque on the center console, informing you which in the sequence of 360 RDX PMC Edition models you happen to be driving.
Because it has every available RDX goodie added onto it, the PMC Edition comes with leather seating surfaces, heated and cooled front seats, 10.5-inch head-up display, and heated steering wheel. The front seats are nicely bolstered without going too boy-racer with body-gripping addendum.
Space in the second row is ample for two adults, or three if everyone agrees to get cozy. The push-pull-press (or whatever it should be officially titled) transmission buttons on the center console take getting used to. To its credit, the process is becoming less bizarre as more automakers adopt a similar push-button gearbox approach.
One interior drawback is the Acura Touch Controller, a touchpad on the center console that controls the infotainment system. It’s better than the maddening touchpads slowly being phased out of the Lexus range of cars and SUVs. But there’s no doubt a touchscreen control layout would be simpler. It’s not a deal breaker, though you’ll want to take this tech for a test drive at the dealership to understand its sensitivity and menu layout.
When it comes to cargo hauling capability, the PMC Edition has about 29 cubic feet of space with the rear seats upright. That’s good for a SUV this size, and underfloor storage makes the trunk even more useful. We found it perfect for transporting aromatic takeaway food – you’re welcome, Acura.
Despite its flashy style, the PMC Edition shares the same 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with the rest of the RDX family tree. That’s okay, because this is a punchy powertrain and acceleration is brisk when you jab the gas pedal. The 10-speed automatic is smooth and works nicely in the background. There are steering wheel-mounted shift paddles but, other than for a couple blasts onto onramps, we left them alone.
The PMC Edition also comes with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and adaptive dampers. Grip is ample, though we’d call term the overall ride and handling balance as being ‘very good,’ versus ‘super.’
Safety and Technology
The RDX PMC Edition is fitted with many active safety features, including forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, head-up display, rain-sensing wipers, rear cross-traffic alert, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, to name a few. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2021 RDX earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating, the highest possible score.
As we mentioned earlier, a touchpad on the center console controls the 10.2-inch infotainment screen. Standard tech touches include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, 16-speaker ELS audio system, two USB points up front, plus two additional USB ports for rear seat passengers.
From the inside looking out, there isn’t much that’s controversial about the RDX PMC Edition. That’s because, despite the look-at-me paintjob, this is a normal RDX beneath the sheet metal.
Granted, it’s a fully loaded RDX, which partly explains the price (including destination fee) of $52,995. During a mix of dicing with city traffic and long stints on the highway, there’s little to not like about the RDX. The suspension is firm but doesn’t fall to pieces over rough pavement and potholes.
Cranking the drive mode selector to the Sport or Sport+ settings added some heft to the steering and urgency to shifts. On the other hand, the PMC Edition is perfectly acceptable cruising in the Comfort setting, too.
A nice surprise was the fluid power delivery of the 272-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 10-speed automatic transmission. This is hardly the fastest luxury SUV on the block, but the acceleration proves not everyone needs a 500+monster machine for their commute, or to get the kids to school.
Will a 0-60 mph time of approximately 6.5 seconds scare the BMW M Sport or Mercedes AMG crowd? Nope, not one bit. But a tradeoff is the RDX’s reasonable EPA-estimated of 21 mpg in city driving, 26 mpg on the highway, and 23 combined. That, and it doesn’t cost a gazillion dollars like some mega-performance SUVs.
|Dimension||L: 186.8 inches/W: 74.8 inches/H: 65.7 inches/Wheelbase: 108.3 inches|
|Powertrain||2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 10-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||21 mpg city/26 mpg highway/23 combined|
|Performance Specs||272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||$51,000; As tested: $51,995 including $1,995 destination and delivery charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
If you love the Acura RDX and want every single available option, plus the rarity of owning one of only 360 examples, the PMC Edition makes sense.
Color notwithstanding, the RDX is roomy, reasonably good on gas, and balances sportiness with everyday driving manners. But can you live with the Thermal Orange Pearl paintjob every single day? Well…
The RDX PMC Edition is a sensible five-passenger SUV that’s wrapped in a polarizing ‘gotta have it!’ or ‘absolutely not!’ hue.
2021 Acura RDX PMC Edition — Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Acura RDX PMC Edition?
An RDX with every available option, finished in an eye-watering shaded called Thermal Orange Pearl with gloss black exterior highlights. Mechanically speaking, the PMC Edition is identical to the regular RDX.
How many Acura RDX PMC Editions will be built?
Acura has committed itself to building only 360 examples of the RDX PMC Edition for the 2021 model year.
How fast is the Acura RDX PMC Edition?
The RDX PMC Edition accelerates from 0-60 mph in approximately 6.5 seconds.