Test Drive Reviews / Acura / TLX PMC Edition


2020 Acura RDX

2020 Acura RDX Test Drive Review

By Jeffrey N. Ross | April 15, 2020

The market for luxury compact crossovers has exploded in the last decade including the likes of the BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Infiniti QX50 and Volvo XC60, and right in the thick of things is the 2020 Acura RDX.

Even though this segment has more competition than ever, the third-generation RDX came out of the gate hard, breaking sales records in 11 of the first 12 months this crossover was on sale. For its second model year, the 2020 Acura RDX carries over unchanged for the 2020 model year, but to get a closer look at Acura's compact CUV, we spent a week with the 2020 Acura RDX decked out with the stylish and sporty A-Spec package.

Shop Acura RDX Inventory

2020 Acura RDX Exterior

Acura's current design language has definitely brought some new enthusiasm to the brand.

Acura's current design language has definitely brought some new enthusiasm to this brand, and the 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec is an excellent example. As you walk around the RDX, the multitude of body lines flow from edge to edge creating a sense of motion even when the vehicle is standing still, and this tester's stunning Performance Red Pearl paint job (a $400 option) was perfectly complemented with the A-Spec's add ons.

Up front, the RDX A-Spec gets a distinctive fascia with a "black diamond" grille, smoked LED headlights and standard LED fog lights, and these sporty bits continue with gunmetal gray 20-inch wheels and massive dual exhaust outlets. Bottom line, the 2020 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec looks every bit like the high-end sport compact that it is!

View Acura RDX Inventory

2020 Acura RDX Interior

The edgy design that makes the 2020 Acura RDX so sporty and aggressive from the outside carries over to the inside.

The edgy design that makes the 2020 Acura RDX so sporty and aggressive from the outside carries over to the inside with a mix of styling and high-quality materials that gives the RDX one of the best interiors in its segment. All trim levels of this new RDX feature a cabin layout that is attractive and intuitive, but if you're looking for a sportier cabin, the A-Spec trim level is the way to go. This all-black interior is covered in stitched leather, suede accents and brushed aluminum trim, while the driver's cockpit adds exclusive features such as the red instrument gauge cluster, sport pedals and the A-Spec steering wheel with perforated leather and metal paddle shifters. Heated and cooled front seats and a 16-speaker premium audio system round out the upgrades for the exciting RDX A-Spec. Opting for the $3,000 A-Spec trim level also requires buyers to select the $3,200 Technology Package, which adds 3D navigation, HD Radio and a pair of USB charging ports for the rear seats.

One of the biggest improvements made to the redesigned RDX was switching to a single screen infotainment system instead of the dual-screen layout of the previous RDX, but this cabin isn't without its quirks. The biggest of which is the True Touchpad Interface; this mouse-like is extremely easy to use, but unfortunately the touchpad and wrist rest are just a little too small for comfort. The coolest tech feature on the RDX is the new Key By Amazon in-car delivery allowing owners to remotely lock and unlock the vehicle to receive Amazon deliveries – no more porch pirates! As a whole, the 2020 Acura RSX has an interior that is clean, comfortable and fun to spend time in.

The redesigned RDX is larger than its predecessor in almost every dimension including a wheelbase that has been stretched by almost three inches and an overall width that is 1.1 inches wider. This gives more space to passengers with enough room to realistically accommodate five adults, and the cargo capacity (29.5 cubic feet with the seats up and 58.9 cubic feet with the seats folded) also includes some nifty storage compartments hidden under the load floor.

View Acura RDX Inventory

2020 Acura RDX Drivetrain

 The Acura RDX  features a 2.0-liter engine rated at 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Under the hood, the third-gen RDX returns to its roots by bringing back a turbocharged four-cylinder and Acura's legendary SH-AWD – key features absent from the second-gen (2013-2018) RDX. Acura replaced the previous RDX's V-6 with a smaller, lighter and more efficient turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter engine rated at 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, which compared to the previous V-6 is slightly less horsepower but considerably more torque. This engine pairs to a 10-speed automatic that helps return quicker shifts and impressive EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway* on this SH-AWD model.

While the idea of a "driver's CUV/SUV" is a bit suspect to true enthusiasts, the third-gen Acura RDX actually has a sporty chassis that is impressively nimble without being too fussy in normal commutes. Comparably equipped, this new model is only about 100 pounds more than the V-6 model it replaces, but it is far more entertaining and engaging to drive. The return of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) – available as a $2,000 option – helps improve the RDX's handling and driving performance. This new can send up to 70 percent of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, and 100 percent of that can be sent to a single wheel resulting in excellent traction whether you're navigating slick road conditions, carving tight corners or just testing out the RDX's zero-to-60 mph capabilities.

Of all the improvements made to the third-gen Acura RDX, the powertrain and chassis enhancements were, by far, the best. Despite being an agile CUV, the new RDX is still a smooth cruiser when you need it to be. The suspension has no problem absorbing bumps and expansion joints, and the acoustic windshield and available acoustic front door glass (standard on RDX Advance) provide a surprisingly quiet cabin at highway speeds.

View Acura RDX Inventory

2020 Acura RDX Safety

The 2020 Acura RDX received a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2020 Acura RDX received a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it's obvious to see why when looking at this crossover's list of safety features. All RDX trim levels come standard with AcuraWatch bringing a long list of advanced safety and driver assistance technologies such as collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and a multi-view rear camera. The aforementioned Technology Package (required for the A-Spec trim) also adds Blind Spot Information System, Rear Cross Traffic Monitor and parking sensors front and rear.

View Acura RDX Inventory

2020 Acura RDX Overall

The performance of the Acura RDX is engaging, yet it's also roomy and fuel efficient enough to be a great daily driver.

Despite an abundance of rivals, the 2020 Acura RDX has shaken up the compact crossover segment with performance, luxury and style. It would be hard to find a small crossover – luxury or otherwise – that is this much fun to drive, yet it's also roomy and fuel efficient enough to be a competent daily driver. One area where the new RDX really outperforms its key rivals is in price where the starting price of $37,800** is about $4,000 less than the BMW X3, and all in, this fully loaded 2020 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec carried an as-tested price of $45,425.

Drop by your local AutoNation-affiliated Acura dealer today to check one out!


Related Articles

Looking for more research articles from our panel of automotive experts? Try out these guides or head to the research section for more.

Image of a woman smiling in the driver's seat of a red car

Automotive Glossary

Have you uncovered strange terminology in your car buying experience that is just like Greek to you? Here, enjoy our glossary of automotive terminology to help decode your dealership experience.


Image of a Honda sedan against a city backdrop

CPO Programs Guide

Did you know that certified pre-owned vehicles are often better than the average bear when it comes to used cars? Check out our editor's guide to the top automotive CPO programs before you hit the used car lot.



*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

View Acura RDX Inventory

2020 Acura RDX Specs

Layout

4-door, 5-passenger, AWD SUV

Drivetrain

2.0L turbocharged I-4

272 hp/280 lb-ft of torque

10-speed automatic

Mileage

21/27 mpg (city/hwy)

NHTSA Safety Rating

★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Related Articles

Looking for more research articles from our panel of automotive experts? Try out these guides or head to the research section for more.

Image of a woman smiling in the driver's seat of a red 
car

Automotive Glossary

Have you uncovered strange terminology in your car buying experience that is just like Greek to you? Here, enjoy our glossary of automotive terminology to help decode your dealership experience.


Image of a Honda sedan 
against a city backdrop

CPO Programs Guide

Did you know that certified pre-owned vehicles are often better than the average bear when it comes to used cars? Check out our editor's guide to the top automotive CPO programs before you hit the used car lot.



*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.