The 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec is a stunning performance crossover which, we have made no secret, is one of our favorites. While it’s no off-road basher, it does have the ability to handle challenging terrain. Now, we have the opportunity to drive one on the snow and ice.
It was epic!
This is more than a turbocharged grocery machine. The 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec is a sporty driver that has one of the most competent all-wheel drive systems in the market. Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system can allocate up to 70-percent of its power to the rear wheels when needed.
According to Acura, “The system continuously determines the optimal level of power distribution between the front and rear wheels – and between the rear wheels individually – based on a continuous analysis of wheel speed, steering angle, lateral G-force and yaw rate.”
The 272 horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is extremely responsive and there is very little turbo lag. It makes 280 lbs-feet of torque that hits between 1,600 and 4,500 rpm. A 10-speed automatic transmission is the only transmission available. Regrettably, Acura connected that transmission to a push-button gear selector that’s far less initiative to use than a proper gear lever. Paddle sifters sit behind the steering wheel, helping with the sporty driving feel.
Other than the push-button transmission, the only other gripe I have with the 2019 Acura RDX A-Spec is the lack of a standard heated steering wheel.
If you take each benefit on its own, like the outstanding SH-AWD system, great power, excellent handling and well executed interior – each one of these attributes would make for a good vehicle. Combined, it makes for something special.
The steering feel is best-in-class with great weight and enough feedback to rival some sports sedans. Pushing through a corner at full-boil, you can get a great feel for what’s happening with each tire. Rare. Add to that great linear acceleration to squirt out of corners and aggressive brakes – oh my.
On snow and ice, you’ll never need these high performance driving capabilities. Fortunately, the Acura’s snow mode slows things down and delivers plenty of traction on all but the most slippery surfaces. At one point I shut off the entire traction control system (which requires a nearly impossible several-step-process to do) and turned the RDX off the leash.
It allowed some tail-out action while still giving the driver excellent control. Banging between first and second with revs, snow and ice flying was uncanny. Flying sideways around cones on snow was a blast, but the overall driving experience on all surfaces was the most satisfying of all.