Long Beach Blue Pearl? Yes, that’s a special Acura color that is now available on the special 2022 RDX PMC Edition. Acura wants to stand out in the large field of small CUVs, and Acura’s quality paint program is among the best in the business. In fact, if you opt for the special PMC edition (built alongside the Acura NSX supercar), you can get the exclusive paint color. My more mundane A-Spec model came in the Apex Blue Pearl that’s a close second. But besides the new special colors, what else makes the 2022 Acura RDX special?
New Exterior Design
Acura looked to the current MDX for inspiration for the RDX. The front is dominated by the signature diamond-pentagon grille flanked by large LED fog lights. The RDX also features a bangin’ backyard – exhaust tips reminiscent of the import-tuner era, but not done in a cheesy way. Baby got back! And it looks the part by giving a real racy look to the smaller-sized CUV.
The RDX gets either 19- or 20-inch wheels. My tester featured the 15-spoke design finished in Shark Gray that made it look very current.
Power-folding side-view mirrors are another nice touch usually not found on smaller CUVs. For those who parallel park in the city streets, it is nice to tuck potentially expensive mirrors away from rogue garbage trucks.
It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts
The RDX features genuine aluminum trim on the doors, dash and center console. It is even available in a bronze tone for cars with the saddle interior. But the big news is the super-quiet cabin to allow you to enjoy the ELS Surround audio system. According to Acura, the 2022 RDX has been extensively updated to reduce road noise in the cabin. A new front fender liner reduces road noise, and the Active Sound Control (ASC) system has been enhanced to further cancel exterior sounds and augment the interior ambiance. There is a thicker carpet padding, new insulation in the doors and acoustic glass to reduce road roar. The higher-level models go all-out, with even more insulation added to the ceiling, dash, rear doors and under the hood. Even the rear hatch covering has additional sound deadening materials. We love the attention to detail that makes the RDX feel like it could compete in the uber-luxury vehicle class.
Acura has always been known for progressive technology packages, and the RDX does not disappoint. The RDX uses more hard buttons compared with the touchscreens offered by competitors. In fact, the RDX features a screen but it is controlled via a touchpad on the center console. For those concerned about fingerprints on touchscreens, this could be your ride. The hard buttons make finding most common controls easy. But I do wish Acura offered infotainment touchscreen controls in addition to the touchpad, as Mazda does. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are here, along with Amazon Alexa. A USB-C charging port and a Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging pad keep your devices topped off.
Acura calls its new LED ambient lighting IconicDrive. It allows the vehicle owner to select between one of 27 distinct ambient lighting color combinations, including 24 inspired by the world’s great destinations and racetracks.
Surrounded by Audio
Since its signature audio system was released years ago in the Acura TL, the company has formed a partnership with ELS Surround. The man behind the tuning is music producer Elliot L. Scheiner, and the electronics are provided by Panasonic. The RDX’s version is called the Acura/ELS Studio 3D 32 Premium Audio System. It features 16 speakers and 710 watts. There are four unusual car audio speaker locations with small drivers in the headliner. Acura calls the speakers Highline ceiling-mounted speakers. Typically, speakers so close to the listener’s head can ruin the soundstage. But the small loudspeakers were meticulously tuned for opening up the soundstage for true surround sound. I toggled the effect on and off and brought my ears close to the speakers to determine what signals they were reproducing. Unlike a supertweeter, the effect is more like an electrostatic driver reproducing midrange signals. I thought I wasn’t going to like it, but I preferred the soundstage with the ceiling drivers operating. You could hear the merits of the Grammy-winning music producer.
In the crowded sea of CUVs, the Acura has the look, feel and technology of something in the high-level luxury class. Although not inexpensive, with my tester coming in at $52K, it offers every expected technology, including a comprehensive safety suite. If you don’t have a penchant for touchscreens and prefer the tactile feel of hard buttons, the Acura is your choice!