If It Ain't Broke: The 2022 RDX Is as Great as We Remember

If It Ain't Broke: The 2022 RDX Is as Great as We Remember

The changes are small, but they add up to an even more refined drive

  • Minor changes to the exterior design
  • Increased soundproofing should make for a quieter interior
  • New Advance A-Spec model combines the luxury features of the Advance model with the A-Spec's sporty styling
  • Part of the third Acura RDX generation introduced for 2019

What is the Acura RDX?

If you like your luxury crossovers with a dash of adrenaline, the 2022 Acura RDX will likely be one of the first to catch your attention. The RDX is a compact SUV that isn't afraid to express itself, with dramatic styling that includes sharp creases and large air intakes. For the most part, it backs up those looks with crisp handling and lithe performance. Acura focused more on providing a smooth ride than matching the acceleration of some truly batty rivals — like the Porsche Macan — and the RDX finds its niche as a comfortable all-around crossover at an appealing price.

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this year's Acura RDX is more or less the same as the 2021 model, but the RDX has, in fact, been refreshed for 2022. The visual changes on the outside are fairly minor — the lower half of the front bumper has been resculpted to stand out a bit more on the road. A new PMC Edition (limited to just 200 units) adds some spunk courtesy of a Long Beach Blue paint scheme, but the rest of the exterior hasn't been fiddled with in the slightest.

Many of the changes are to parts of the RDX you can't really see. Acura has retuned the available adaptive suspension; Acura says the ride is even more comfortable in Comfort mode, while switching to Sport mode should result in a more buttoned-down experience than last year's model. Thicker carpets across the model range and the addition of acoustic glass on the side windows (as well as the windshield) should make the RDX's cabin even quieter and more subdued.

2022 Acura RDX

2022 Acura RDX

You also get new tech features, such as a newly available wireless charging pad located beneath the center console. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard across the RDX lineup, and Acura has even added Amazon Alexa integration for 2022. All in all, not too much has changed, but Acura says the list of requests from customers was short, so it decided not to mess too much with one of its most popular vehicles.

How does the Acura RDX drive?

Just like last year, power comes courtesy of a gutsy 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 272 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. That engine is backed up by a 10-speed automatic transmission, and the RDX can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Our first turn behind the wheel of the 2022 RDX came in the form of the new Advance A-Spec model with all-wheel drive. Since our drive was mostly on the rutted roads of Los Angeles, we left the optional adaptive dampers in their Comfort setting for the vast majority of the drive. The extra refinement that Acura brought to the retuned dampers was immediately noticeable. Lumps and bumps were dismissed with aplomb, and tire noise was hushed on any road surface. The 2022 model's extra sound deadening — included in places like the truck compartment and wheelwells — helped hush unwanted noises too. Advance and A-Spec Advance models get more sound-reducing glass than before, and as a result this SUV feels even quieter and more luxurious than before.

In Comfort mode, the RDX's driving experience has an easygoing quality to it. The throttle pedal is a little too light, but response from the turbocharged engine under the hood is quick when you need a little get-up-and-go. It doesn't drive and handle quite like its rivals from BMW or Mercedes, but it feels just as comfortable on the road.

If you're feeling adventurous and turn the dial to Sport mode, the RDX really firms up. Sport mode reduces body roll even more than before and makes the steering wheel a little heavier in your hands. We actually prefer the extra steering weight, as the Comfort setting is a little too light and occasionally feels disconnected from the car itself. In Sport mode, turn-in becomes noticeably more crisp, and the RDX is significantly more willing to dance around the corners of a curvy road with you. We don't expect RDX buyers to go seeking out the twisties hidden away in Malibu, but it's nice to know this SUV can handle when you need it to.

The RDX makes for a great little SUV for cruising around town or touring highways. It's a quiet and comfortable SUV with some of the sharpest moves in its class.

How's the Acura RDX's interior?

Much like the engine bay, the interior gets only small changes for 2022. A new wireless charging pad is available as an optional extra. Beyond that, the only other change comes with the limited-production PMC Edition, which adds blue contrast stitching and blue piping throughout the interior. 

The only other notable change is the addition of ivory-colored leather for the seat surfaces, which we got to try out during our first taste of the 2022 RDX. While it does make the cabin feel a tiny bit more upscale, we'd probably go for the black interior — white interiors tend to show signs of wear much faster than black ones do. The seats themselves, which are unique to A-Spec and Advance A-Spec cars, are supremely comfortable and are cooled and heated, and they feature adjustable under-thigh support. Thanks to that adjustability it's easy to get into a pleasantly supportive driving position. We loved these seats so much, we wanted to take one home and make it into an office chair, but Acura wasn't quite as excited about the idea as we were.

The rest of the interior is well screwed together, and there's a sense of quality everywhere you look and touch. Any hard plastics are hidden away, well below your belt line, and what you do see is leather or a soft-touch material.

How's the Acura RDX's tech?

It's easy to criticize the RDX's center stack for being busy, but we won't do that here. There are physical controls for almost everything, and we love to see that in an era where so many automakers are rushing to fill cabins with touch-sensitive buttons instead of real ones. It might seem like there are too many buttons at first, and the center stack does look a bit cluttered. However, after a few hours in the RDX everything falls easily to hand and the controls are easy to navigate.

If there is one area in which the RDX (and pretty much every other Acura) doesn't shine, it's in the infotainment department. The RDX's central screen doesn't have touch capacity, so you must use a laptop-style track pad to control it. This touchpad presents a steep learning curve as you fumble around trying to pinpoint with laser precision exactly where you want the cursor to go. Make sure to take the touchpad for a drive if you're considering an RDX, so you can make sure you can operate it effectively.

How economical is the Acura RDX?

Most front-wheel-drive RDX models are rated at 24 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway). Opt for all-wheel drive, and the estimates drop slightly to 23 mpg combined (21 city/27 highway). Note that selecting any model with the larger wheels (this includes A-Spec, Advance, A-Spec Advance and PMC Edition trims) knocks down the highway rating by 1 mpg.

Edmunds says

The 2022 Acura RDX didn't need much to retain its status as one of the best crossovers in its class, but new tech features and a lightly refreshed exterior should help keep it competitive in its hotly contested segment.

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