2022 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec Review – Restyling a Best-Selling Premium Compact SUV

By John Faulkner Clean Fleet Report

The Acura RDX has been one of the best-selling compact premium SUVs since 2006, and has sold more than 50,000 every year since 2015. With this success you had better bet folks at Acura were careful when doing a light restyle for the 2022 RDX, with a refresh of the exterior, interior and suspension plus added standard technology.

Exterior: A Family Resemblance

The RDX received styling changes for 2022 that make it resemble its larger sibling, the MDX. The Apex Blue Pearl on our RDX A-Spec® SH-AWD® with the Advance Package, set against the blacked-out grille had chrome restricted to the emblems, with the 20-inch Shark Gray multi-spoke wheels adding a great look.

The jewel-eye headlights are set wide on the fenders of the restyled diamond pentagon grille, which sports a very large Acura emblem. The sides are smooth with architectural sculpturing, the roof housed a panoramic power moonroof and ended with a very small spoiler over the hands-free power liftgate.

LED taillights and twin, round chrome exhaust tips on the outer edges of the fascia completed the rear design.

Turbo Power

The 272 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft. of torque comes courtesy of 91 octane fuel pumping through a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder VTEC® engine. Torque comes in at a low 1,600 rpm, getting power to the all-wheel drive system, which Acura calls SH-AWD, through a 10-speed automatic. Using the sequential SportShift paddle shifters helped the automatic get through the gears quicker, with zero-to-60 times consistently around 6.4 seconds.

The EPA fuel economy numbers of 21 mpg city/26 highway/23 combined are almost exactly what we got covering 301 miles driving through Southern California. We were hoping to get 30 mpg on the highway, but no matter how hard we tried, the best we could do was 28.1 mpg over a 130-mile run, with the adaptive cruise control set at 65 mph. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the next generation RDX offers a hybrid, or plug-in hybrid, to get fuel economy into the mid-30 mpg range.

The four drive modes of Comfort, Normal, Sport, and Snow are part of the Integrated Dynamics System (IDS). Managed by the large wheel on the center console, selecting one of the modes integrates specific driving dynamics that affect the throttle response, steering, suspension dampers, and the exhaust note. The biggest swing is from Comfort to Sport where the feel is noticeable during acceleration and ride dynamics. Comfort was the place to be when on the open road, while Sport was where you want to be when carving through forests or mountains.

SH-AWD® Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™

The “SH” stands for Super Handling, a big promise from a 4,059-pound compact SUV. The engineered handling characteristics are delivered through the electrified torque vectoring that instantly applies traction to the wheel most in need of grip. Torque vectoring is most effective during accelerating and turning, where the engine torque is split right-to-left and front-to-rear.

Whether on high-speed freeway onramps or mountain corners, the driver doesn’t sense these torque transitions, except in the positive and predictable handling being delivered. Understeer was non-existent, so it was possible to get back on the gas quickly when hitting corners hard. The Brits call this “point and squirt cornering,” where you take aim, then using positive braking and a slow entry with quick steering, you can accelerate out of the corner hard and never lose grip or confidence. This describes the RDX SH-AWD with torque vectoring, perfectly.

The mechanical part of the handling includes front MacPherson struts, rear multi-link, stabilizer bars, and an active shock absorber suspension system that was retuned for 2022. The 20-inch alloy wheels are shod with 255/45 Goodyear RS-A all-season tires providing sure and confident grip, with the RDX SH-AWD feeling planted at highway speeds or aggressive cornering. Straight and consistent stops come from four-wheel ABS disc brakes, with electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist.

Interior: Quiet Comfort

Acura has improved interior quietness with Active Sound Control, which they say “cancels exterior sounds from polluting the interior ambiance.” What it does is employ interior microphones to detect noise, and then uses an amplifier to send a canceling noise to negate the unwanted sounds. Pretty fancy stuff that you don’t notice except that the RDX is a pleasant place to spend time.

We drove the 2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance, which is one of five trims: base RDX, Technology, A-Spec, Advance, A-Spec Advance and PMC Edition. Our RDX A-Spec Advance included the Tech and Advance packages, which loaded the interior with every feature expected on a premium SUV, including customizable, Acura IconicDrive™ LED ambient lighting with 27 themes. The black dash with brushed aluminum and UltraSuede inserts was part of the interior’s overall Ebony and Graystone color scheme. The 16-way power ventilated and heated driver and front passenger seats were covered in Milano Premium leather.

Out back, the second row has generous head and leg room with heated outboard seats. HVAC vents, power ports and cup holders complete the rear seating environment.

With the rear seat upright there is 31.1 cubic feet of space, but lower the 60/40-split folding seats and cargo room behind the front seats grows to 79.8 cu. ft. Make sure to lift the rear floor cover to reveal handy storage compartments.

The cockpit design is driver-friendly, but the gauges would be easier to read if the numbers were black against a white background as opposed to being red. The usual type of gear shifter was replaced with a large chromed wheel located on the center stack. All controls are easy to reach, including those for the dual-zone automatic climate system.

The heated, flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel contains audio telephone, Bluetooth and voice controls. The center console has a lower area to store smaller items, and is where the wireless phone charger is located.

Standard on the RDX A-Spec Advance is the great sounding 710-watt, 16-channel, 16-speaker, Panasonic-developed ELS Studio® premium audio system that included AM/FM/HD Radio® and SiriusXM®. There is an auxiliary audio jack for MP3 playback, two USB-A charge ports, wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, with built-in Amazon Alexa. This sound system is amazing, quite possibly better than anything in your house.

Convenience

Convenience features include a 10.5-inch Head-Up Display (HUD), rain-sensing wipers, rear camera washer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink®, a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation with voice recognition and a Surround View Camera. The camera provides a downward 360-degree look at anything that may be in the vehicle’s surrounding area, and you will come to rely on it, especially when backing up and parking.

One feature that is becoming more common is automatic brake hold, where at a stop light the brakes are automatically applied, allowing drivers to release their feet from the pedal. This convenience feature saves on lower leg fatigue, relieving the need to firmly press on the brake pedal.

Safety

The RDX A-Spec Advance is well-equipped with the AcuraWatch™ suite of safety and driver assistance technologies. These include Lane Keep Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, and Lane Departure Warning. I had the unplanned opportunity to test the Collision Mitigation Braking System™. Believe me when I say it works, and you will be glad it is on the 2022 Acura RDX.

Other safety features are eight air bags, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with a tire sealer and repair kit, collapsible steering column, anti-theft alarm, and an engine immobilizer.

The 2022 RDX has earned a U.S. Government National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, where 5 Stars is its highest safety rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not rated the 2022 RDX, but did award the 2021 model its Top Safety Pick+ (TSP+) for overall crash protection.

Pricing

Clean Fleet Report’s 2022 RDX SH-AWD Advance, with the optional $500 Apex Blue Pearl paint and the $1,045 destination and handling and fee, brought the bottom line to $52,845. The 2022 RDX lineup starts at $40,345 for the base, front-wheel-drive model, including destination and handling.

Observations: Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec Advance

Built in the Honda-Acura plant in East Liberty, Ohio, the RDX has been a longtime Acura success story, and there is nothing about the 2022 RDX that should derail that record. The 2022 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-Spec Advance offers good value for what it delivers, which is probably why consumers have made RDX a sales leader.

The 2022 refresh will take the RDX until the next iteration a few years from now, which may see the addition of some sort of electrification. If you need a bit more space than a sedan, and want to step-up to a more premium SUV, then by all means visit your Acura dealership and take the RDX SH-AWD Advance for a lengthy test drive.

For more product information visit Acura.com

For more reviews by the author visit Clean Fleet Report


About the Author

John Faulkner is Road Test Editor at Clean Fleet Report. He has more than 30 years of experience branding, launching, and marketing automobiles. He is a journalist member of the Motor Press Guild.


RDX press fleet vehicle provided by Acura Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Prices and vehicle information applies to U.S. market models, not including taxes, title, license, etc. All product information, including prices, features, and specifications, is subject to change without notice.

Photos (as noted) © 2022 John Faulkner, © 2020 Lex Adams. Additional photos courtesy of Acura Division

Story © 2022 Clean Fleet Report – This review is reposted with permission on CarNichiWa.com