2022 Acura RDX remains quietly confident

For 2022, the Acura RDX sees some noticeable changes to the exterior including a more sophisticated-looking grille. CONTRIBUTED BY HONDA

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For 2022, the Acura RDX sees some noticeable changes to the exterior including a more sophisticated-looking grille. CONTRIBUTED BY HONDA

Luxury compact SUV a stalwart in this segment.

When it comes to luxury compact SUVs, the Acura RDX may not be the first vehicle that jumps to your mind. This segment is certainly competitive and full of powerhouse names and brands; but since 2015 the RDX has sold on average 50,000 units each year and is approaching nearly 600,000 units sold since that time. I don’t normally get into sales figures on my reviews, but this was worth mentioning as clearly the RDX is a stalwart in this segment and for good reason.

For 2022, the RDX receives some significant upgrades to the exterior as well as some improved driving dynamics. Plus Acura adds a more refined cabin for the RDX and drops some more tech into the cabin too (despite having a less-than-intuitive infotainment system). More on that later.

For 2022, the Acura RDX sees some noticeable changes to the exterior including a more sophisticated-looking grille. Who remembers the “beak-like” grille from Acura in the past that was quite divisive? Whereas many of the Lexus SUVs that rival the Acura, have a grille that is also divisive, the RDX’s new grille is thinner and is flanked by new LED fog lights. Overall, the RDX has a wider appearance and still looks sleek and modern. Perhaps that is one of the keys to its long-term success.

But what good are updated looks if it lacks personality behind the wheel? While the Acura RDX has no real powertrain updates for the 2022 model year, there are still options based upon what you want from this luxury SUV.

There is only one powertrain option but it’s a pretty good one. The RDX has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that produces 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission does a great job of handling the turbo and presents little to no turbo lag. Front-wheel drive is standard, but my tester had the optional all-wheel drive. Acura has invested a lot in AWD technology and when mated with the sportier trimmed SH creates the SH-AWD that has torque vectoring throwing torque to whatever wheel needs it the most. This is a significant part of the aforementioned personality of the Acura RDX.

Inside, as you’d expect from a luxury vehicle, there’s plenty of niceties. And for this model year, Acura boasts a 30% improvement in noise reduction — thanks to new acoustic glass and sound-deadening materials. Certainly the cabin is quiet and comfortable.

When outfitted with the A-Spec package, the RDX oozes luxury with a black headliner, suede-like door inserts, leather seats and leather steering wheel. Other packages added more features like puddle lights, heated rear seats, Acura’s ELS Premium Sound System, and ventilated front seats.

As nice as the sound system is, the clunky infotainment system detracts from it. Similar to Lexus, Acura still employs a hard-to-manage, non-intuitive touchpad that is both distracting and frustrating. With just a serious of knobs, buttons and some touch commands, the overall infotainment system and corresponding technology would be vastly improved.

New for the 2022 model year is a wireless charging pad, a USB-C charging port, wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity and built-in Amazon Alexa features. All of that tech is great but gets overshadowed by the confounding touchpad.

The RDX has a starting price of just under $40,000. But when loaded with optional packages the price can raise to as much as $53,300. My tester, which came with several pricier options, had a base price of $51,300. With the addition of the beautiful Apex Blue exterior ($500 charge) plus handling fees, my tester had a final MSRP of $52,845.

The AWD RDX has an EPA rating of 21 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of mixed suburban driving, I averaged nearly 24 mpg and that felt adequate.

To be so successful for so many years, Acura has to be doing something right with the RDX. It’s not overly flashy or highly marketed, yet it still remains a big-seller for Honda’s luxury brand. And having spent a week in the compact luxury SUV, I can see why the Acura RDX remains so quietly confident.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Acura RDX SH-AWD A-SPEC ADV

Price/As tested price................................................ $51,300/$52,845

Mileage.......................................... 21 mpg/city; 26 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower................................. 272 hp/280 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. 10-speed automatic

Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ East Liberty, OH

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