2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD Test Drive

“2020 Acura RDX A-Spec SH-AWD”
A Sporty Luxurious Crossover


Acura’s RDX was introduced in 2006 and has become one of the most popular entries in the compact premium CUV market segment. Continuing its evolutionary progression, the 2019 model year served up an all-new RDX that represented the most extensive Acura product redesign in a decade, heralding a new era for Acura design, performance and luxury. It has been the top-selling nameplate in the compact luxury SUV segment since its launch. There are no significant changes for this third generation 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec crossover.


This latest iteration Acura RDX continues to draw its motive force from a transversely mounted front engine – a 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve VTEC, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with Direct Injection and Drive-by-Wire Throttle System. Energy is transferred to the SH-AWD’s (Super Handling- All Wheel Drive) four wheels via an electronically controlled 10-speed automatic transmission with sequential SportShift paddle shifters. Horsepower is 272 at 6,500 rpm, while the torque registers 280 pound feet at 1.600-4,500 rpm. The Acura RDX features improved rear-wheel torque capacity, up 40 percent over the previous-generation’s system.

All RDX models are equipped with Acura’s Integrated Dynamics System – featuring Snow, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes – providing an expanded range of dynamic experiences to suit the driving environment. The system interacts with the Drive-by-Wire™ throttle, 10-speed transmission, electric power steering, SH-AWD (if so equipped) with torque vectoring, traction control, Active Damper System (on Advance grades) and Active Sound Control.


The Acura RDX lineup features four trim levels – the Basic or standard RDX FWD; a well equipped RDX with SH-AWD and Technology Package; a loaded RDX with SH-AWD; the RDX with SH-AWD and the Advance Packge; and the top of the line RDX SH-AWD A-Spec.

The Acura RDX comes standard with an array of premium features and technologies and reflects a price increase of roughly $300. over this year’s models.

The RDX became the first Acura SUV available with the A-Spec sport appearance package, which includes 20-inch wheels and low-profile 245/45R20 tires, gloss black exterior accents, large-diameter exhaust finishers, A-Spec badging and exclusive interior upgrades including an available red or black leather interior with black Ultrasuede® inserts.


The RDX boasts an athletic stance with an extended wheelbase, short front overhang and wide track. The design leads off with Acura’s signature diamond pentagon grille, next-generation Jewel Eye™ LED headlights and NSX-inspired front air curtains.


Entering the cabin, the new RDX provides luxurious interior appointments, including available authentic brushed aluminum, stainless steel and Olive Ash wood accents, supportive sculpted sport seats, an ultra-wide panoramic moonroof and a high-deck floating center console that features the new True Touchpad Interface and the NSX-inspired drive mode dial. The cabin space features pleasing rear legroom, a fully-flat rear floor, and a large cargo area with 1.7 cubic-feet of compartmented underfloor storage.


The RDX cabin’s connectivity and infotainment is top-notch, with Acura’s True Touchpad Interface™ that combines the advantages of both conventional touchscreen and remote-based approaches. The True Touchpad Interface™ features a 10.2-inch full-HD center display mounted high atop the center console, and a center console-mounted touchpad, precisely mapped, one-to-one, with the action on the center display. Also available is Acura’s ELS Studio 3D™ premium audio, a 16-channel, 710-watt system. Another feature is the natural language voice recognition system. Th3ere’s also up to date AcuraLink™, with in-vehicle 4GLTE Wi-Fi, available over-the-air software updates and a wide array of cloud-based services.


My test 2020 Acura RDX was an A-Spec trim model with SH-AWD. The exterior was finished in Platinum White Pearl metallic with a two-tone Madder Red and Black Ultrasuede interior with contrast stitching. The Wheels were 5-“tri-spoke” Black Painted alloys. The MSRP read $45,800 with the only extra cost incurred being the destination and handling charge, elevated the final total to $46,795. before tax and license.


The 2020 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec’s ride quality leans to the firm side of the scale without being harsh, and the handling attributes are nimble and instantly responsive.

The acceleration and performance capability is superlative, and borders on sporty, with an authoritative roar when dialed into the Sport + setting.

The overall driving experience of this 5-passenger CUV is more like that of a sumptuous sport sedan.


In the final scope of things, The 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec with SH-AWD will prove itself to be a just right-sized Crossover for many consumers that is luxuriously comfortable, while delivering a sporty, fun-to-drive persona. Acura’s reliability factor, renders the RDX as an ideal choice in the CUV marketplace.


Base Price: $45,800.
Price as Tested: $46,795.

Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve VTEC, turbocharged 4-cylinder with Direct Injection and Drive-by-Wire Throttle System

Horsepower (bhp): 272 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 280 @ 1.600-4,500 rpm

Transmission: Electronically controlled 10-speed automatic with sequential SportShift Paddle Shifters.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Super Handling All-Wheel Drive.

Suspension: Front: MacPherson strut with Adaptive Damper System and 30 mm stabilizer bar
Rear: Multilink with Adaptive Damper System and 23 mm stabilizer bar

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS,EBD, BA, Hill Start Assist and TPMS.

Tires: Goodyear Eagle RSA 255/40 R20 111V mounted on 5-“tri-spoke” Black alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 108.3 inches
Length Overall: 186.8 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Height: 65.7 inches
Curb Weight: 4,015 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.9 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 17.1 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 21 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested

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