2022 Acura RDX: Still on the Podium

Strong points
  • Racy looks
  • Strong turbo-four engine
  • Adequate space for four adults
  • Fantastic seats (Platinum Elite A-Spec)
Weak points
  • Awful touchpad-based HMI
  • Limited visibility in the rear
  • Stiffer ride (A-Spec)
  • When is the Type S coming?
Full report

Now in its fourth year, the current-generation 2022 Acura RDX received a mid-cycle update at the same time its big brother, the MDX, underwent a complete overhaul. It remains the brand’s most popular model in Canada and the second best-selling compact luxury SUV behind the Audi Q5.

The RDX is a solid answer to German competitors despite its one-engine lineup (and no hybrid options, unlike the new Lexus NX which has two). It’s full of desirable attributes and, clearly, its biggest flaw is not a problem for the 7,000-8,000 Canadians that buy one year in and year out.

Racy Looks, Exclusive Model

Have you managed to grab a copy of the PMC Edition available for 2022? Consider yourself extremely lucky if you have, because only 15 of them were allocated to the Canadian market. Each one is carefully assembled and painted by hand in striking Long Beach Blue Pearl with an interior finished in Orchid Milano leather—two colours shared with the new 600-horsepower NSX Type S supercar.

Drawing inspiration from the new MDX, the 2022 RDX features a redesigned front fascia, larger air intake and Diamond Pentagon grille with a thinner chrome surround. The LED fog lights are highlighted by a new chrome trim. In the rear, there’s a reshaped bumper with cutouts for the new rectangular dual exhaust tips.

Photo: Guillaume Rivard

Our tester, a top-line Platinum Elite A-Spec model, beautifully stood out with larger round exhaust tips, a new 15-spoke, 20-inch wheel design in Shark Grey, and sleek Apex Blue paint. Combined with the vehicle’s sharp lines, it made for a distinctive and racy-looking package.

Congrats for the Seats

Stepping inside the 2022 Acura RDX, the interior is quieter than ever thanks to improved noise insulation in many areas and enhanced Adaptive Sound Control technology. There’s ample space for four adults (though rear-seat headroom is a bit tight) or a family with three kids.

We love the huge panoramic sunroof included as standard, but above all the available 16-way power adjustable seats (including thigh support and side bolsters) that contribute to an ideal driving position. They’re remarkably supportive yet comfortable at the same time, plus the mix of leather and Ultrasuede on them adds to the sporty cabin.

Photo: Guillaume Rivard

Shame on the Touchpad

When it comes to technology, the surround view camera and head-up display come in handy. The 16-speaker ELS Studio 3D Premium sound system is really something, too. Many will like the fact that wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now come standard along with Amazon Alexa.

The biggest problem with the RDX is still the human-machine interface. The multimedia system is sometimes slow to respond, while the 10.2-inch centre display is too far away from the driver’s seat to be a touchscreen, so you have no choice but to use the damned touchpad on the console. The latter is neither ergonomic (despite the small, padded surface where you can rest your wrist) nor intuitive, leading to a whole lot of frustration and distractions while driving.

Acura must absolutely follow the lead of Lexus, which finally got rid of its own touchpad in the NX. In the process, designers could rethink the layout of the console and centre stack, including the shift buttons that replace the conventional shift lever, and create more accessible storage while retaining physical HVAC controls and the nice sliding armrest.

Photo: Guillaume Rivard

Pleasant to Drive

As mentioned earlier, the seats are fantastic and the flat-bottom sport steering wheel in A-Spec models offers a good grip. Visibility is decent, though not so much in the rear.

The only engine available is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that delivers a strong 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a reasonably smooth 10-speed automatic transmission and Acura’s excellent Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system as standard. Throttle response is good, especially past the 3,000-rpm mark.

By the way, Acura engineers have updated the Integrated Dynamics System to deliver a more distinct feel between the four driving modes (Normal, Confort, Sport, Snow). Also, the revised Adaptive Damper System offers better response in Sport mode and more flexibility in Comfort mode.

Photo: Guillaume Rivard

What else is there to say? Brake pedal feel is improved, and fuel consumption is a respectable 9.9-10.3 L/100 km depending on the model (10.8 L/100 km on our watch). Acura recommends premium gasoline but regular gas could suffice, although for performance’s sake and the engine’s long-term health you should definitely go with the first option.

Enhanced Safety

Another thing we want to talk about is expanded AcuraWatch, which now includes standard next-generation safety technology like enhanced Blind Spot Information with Acura-first Lane Change Assist, Rear Seatbelt Reminder plus Front and Rear Low-Speed Braking Control.

A new Traffic Sign Recognition system uses a camera rather than GPS location to display more accurate speed limit information on the seven-inch digital instrument panel or the head-up display. What’s more, the Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning has been updated with Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking, which operates at speeds above 10 km/h.

Photo: Guillaume Rivard

Verdict

Overall, the Acura RDX is a great buy. The 2022 refresh will keep it attractive and relevant in the segment until the next generation arrives, hopefully with a performance-focused Type S model just so we can have more fun.

If you can tolerate the badly designed and frustrating HMI, this is an SUV you will enjoy spending time in and get good bang for your buck with. Speaking of which, pricing ranges from $46,900-$59,100 and you don’t have to bother with a long list of (expensive) options and packages like the German rivals offer.

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