When something is generally working but could improve, you only make the necessary changes to make it better. Take, for example, the third-generation Acura RDX, a luxury compact SUV brimming with value that competes against the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. For 2022, the RDX receives a midcycle refresh, including sharpened exterior styling, more standard tech, and interior enhancements. Acura also smoothed up the ride quality and further buttoned up the handling.
Fine Tuning It
The updated RDX launched with a new PMC Edition model finished in the captivating Long Beach Pearl Blue. Limited to 200 examples, this new RDX variant essentially combines the A-Spec trim and the rich Advance Package with an exclusive color scheme, forming the new top-trim RDX. New premium paint choices on regular RDXs include Phantom Violet Pearl (dark blueish purple) and Liquid Carbon Metallic (gray), and 19-inch wheels are now standard.
On The Road
For our Los Angeles-area drive, we commandeered a non-PMC RDX A-Spec model in Apex Blue Pearl equipped with the Advance Package and headed for the twisting tarmac of Mulholland Drive and Topanga Canyon. The ’22 RDX is mechanically unchanged from last year, meaning it still relies on a 272-hp turbo 2.0-liter I-4 paired to a 10-speed automatic; buyers can choose from front-wheel drive or Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).
Every 2022 RDX gets revised front fender liners, a retuned audio-based noise cancellation feature, and a lower 900-rpm engine idle speed. Opt for the $2,650 Technology package, and Acura tosses in thicker carpeting, the aforementioned acoustic glass, and an insulation pad inside the dashboard. The Advance package stuffs even more sound insulation into the dash, under the hood, and underbody, along with acoustic glass for the rear doors and a smattering of muffling materials throughout the cabin.
Immediately after setting off, the RDX’s quieter cabin stood out. All ears for wind and road noise, we purposefully muted the audio on the 16-speaker ELS Studio sound system for most of the drive route to gauge whether the improved sound insulation and additional acoustic glass indeed muffle outside commotion better; we think so.
Acura also re-tuned adaptive suspension, which during our drive nicely absorbed blemishes and asphalt fractures on the few rugged roads we came across. Push the RDX aggressively, and it doesn’t fall apart; it is a solid-handling and sporty SUV with good body control. Steering responses are sharp, and the brakes feel strong.
An Underrated Interior?
Though beautifully constructed and filled with interesting materials, contrast stitching, and two-tone seats, the RDX’s cabin has one asterisk: The infotainment trackpad. Most will have qualms when first using this system, in which users tap their fingers on a rectangular touchpad on the center console, their finger placement on that pad corresponding to a general area on the screen atop the dashboard. Put another way, to select something in the upper left corner of the display, you tap the upper left corner of the touchpad. With practice and patience, owners can get used to the setup, but we wish Acura had addressed this shortcoming more full-on for this update.
Nearby the touchpad on the console and far more noticeable is the large, round drive mode selector. From the available driving modes it commands, Sport calls up the most exciting behavior from the suspension, powertrain, and steering should you find yourself on some twisties. Comfort and Normal modes tone things down without completely neutering the Acura’s eager feel.
The Price…It’s Nice
A fully loaded 2022 RDX runs $52,845, which is fairly restrained for the segment, in which competitors can be optioned well into the $60,000 range. On the other end of the spectrum, an entry-level RDX starts at $40,345, an increase of $900 compared to the previous model year. Front-wheel drive comes standard, while Acura’s SH-AWD system (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) adds $2,000. Acura’s newly honed RDX is on sale now.
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