What Is It?
The best-selling model in the Acura lineup, the RDX gets updated for the 2022 model year with refreshed exterior styling, an upgraded interior and retuned suspension. With its sporty looks and dynamic driving characteristics, the 2022 Acura RDX confirms Honda’s luxury marque is moving in the right direction by acknowledging and honoring its roots as a premium performance brand.
Acura provided us with a 2022 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec Advance painted in an attractive Apex Blue. Acura simplifies the ordering process with packages built into the trim specs, so the only option on the top-level trim of this RDX is the extra cost for the Apex Blue paint. Total MSRP for this vehicle is $52,845. Competitors to the RDX include the BMW X3, Audi Q4, Lexus NX, Lincoln Corsair, Cadillac XT4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
At first glance, the 2022 Acura RDX doesn’t look much different from the previous year, although those familiar with the vehicle will detect subtle exterior changes. The signature Diamond Pentagon grille gets a thinner chrome surround, while larger air intakes give the RDX a more aggressive stance. Acura’s “Jewel Eye” LED headlights — an apt name since each light appears to contain jewels or diamonds — flank the grille and feature signature LED running lights.
The RDX tester we drove included the A-Spec treatment as well as the Advance Package, which gives this Acura a unique, sportier look. The RDX A-Spec stands out with gunmetal finish for the Diamond Pentagon grille and gloss black trim replacing the chrome on the grille surround, lower intake, window trim and headlight surrounds. At the rear, the A-Spec RDX gets large, round exhaust outlets that replace the standard rectangular versions. Also new are 15-spoke 20-inch wheels finished in Shark Gray.
Under the Hood
Powering the 2022 Acura RDX is a VTEC Turbo 2.0-liter direct-injection engine that produces 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. All A-Spec trims come with Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. According to the U.S. EPA, the RDX SH-AWD is rated at 21 mpg city / 26 mpg hwy / 23 mpg combined. During our drives the trip computer read 21 mpg, so those figures seem accurate.
Four drive modes are available on the RDX: Normal, Comfort, Sport and Snow. For 2022 Acura has better differentiated the modes — each alters throttle response, gear changes, power steering feedback, traction control and active sound control for completely different driving experiences. Comfort works well for cruising at highway speeds; however, we prefer the quicker shifting and more engaging throttle response of Sport mode.
The A-Spec treatment continues inside with a new flat-bottom steering wheel as well as metallic trim on the dashboard. Up front, comfortable and supportive sport seats get trimmed in leather with UltraSuede inserts. An UltraSuede insert in front of the passenger features contrasting stitching, giving the cabin a more premium vibe. For 2022 Acura includes additional sound insulation throughout the vehicle, making this the quietest RDX ever.
Room for Stuff
The 2022 Acura RDX offers a decent amount of storage space up front. The bottom of the center stack has room for multiple devices or other personal items that need to come along for the ride. Other stash locations include two cupholders and a covered central storage area beneath the sliding armrest.
For 2022 Acura adds wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as Alexa integration —all of which vastly improve the voice recognition system. The RDX now has a wireless smartphone charger — a nice improvement in conjunction with wireless phone integration. Another new feature for 2022 is IconicDrive LED ambient lighting, which allows drivers to choose from 27 lighting combinations including some inspired by famous destinations and racetracks.
In 2019 when Acura released the updated RDX it introduced a new infotainment interface that uses a touchpad rather than a touchscreen. This allows the screen to be located a bit farther from the driver and eliminates unsightly fingerprints. The pad acts as a proxy for the display screen, so anywhere on the pad the driver touches highlights that spot on the screen. A touch of the fingertip selects an item, but it does not execute until pressure gets applied to the pad. We understand the premise, but find the interface frustrating to use and difficult to manage. During our time with the RDX we did not master putting a finger in the right place on the pad to correspond exactly with the correct section of the display screen.
Unlike many compact crossovers, the rear seats in the 2022 Acura RDX are surprisingly spacious. Although the rear area would be a bit cramped for three people, two enjoy plenty of headroom and legroom. Two USB ports are available for powering passenger devices.
The 2022 Acura RDX offers a decent amount of cargo space for a small crossover. A storage space beneath the cargo floor is destined to be a favorite feature. Large enough to hold a backpack or briefcase, the space stays completely hidden from view. For additional space, rear seats can be folded flat.
On the Road
The 2022 Acura RDX is a great option as an everyday driver thanks to its smooth, quiet ride. The 272-horsepower engine provides adequate power for cruising through town or easily accelerating to highway speeds. And even though spacious inside, the RDX doesn’t feel large, making it is easy to maneuver in tight spots.
The 2022 Acura RDX is a surprisingly fun vehicle to drive — one that enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy. With plenty of power and a quick-shifting 10-speed transmission, accelerating from a standstill is a pleasant experience. The SH-AWD system works great in dry or wet weather, noticeably sending power to the outboard wheels during turns to help the RDX practically pivot through the corners — all of which make the RDX feel much more agile than expected.
Return to Roots
The experience from behind the wheel of the turbocharged 2022 Acura RDX is reminiscent of what Acura used to be — a premium performance brand. Acura had lost some of its performance connection over the years, but with the updated RDX it seems Honda’s premium marque returned to its roots and found its way again.
The RDX resides in one of the largest market segments in America — premium compact crossover — yet it stands out from that crowd. The latest styling enhancements give the RDX a sporty, premium look with some of the brightest headlights on the market. This vehicle delivers on all qualities desired in a compact crossover: a comfortable, roomy interior; plenty of cargo space; and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. And thanks to precise steering and a responsive turbocharged engine, the RDX is also great fun to drive. And even though we’re not fans of the touchpad interface, the 2022 Acura RDX is certainly worthy of consideration.
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