When the third-generation Acura RDX launched for 2019, our test drive found it to be a fine return to form for the Acura brand. Not only did it cast aside the humdrum personality of the second-gen, but it gave itself a reason to exist in the crowded luxury compact crossover field. In fact, it landed competitively mid-pack amongst the German Großen Drei of Mercedes, Audi and disappointing BMW. Though we did have a gripe about how certain packages weren't available on certain trims, with the 2022 update Acura has rectified that very complaint.
We'll get to that in a minute, but first let's start with the base RDX. Acura says that one of the biggest improvements comes in the form of noise, or lack thereof. We didn't think the 2019 model was particularly noisy, but Acura says the cabin is "dramatically quieter." Though they don't provide a decibel reading, they do inform us that a retuned Active Sound Control system and new front fender liners help reduce road noise.
New for 2022, the next-level-up Technology Package takes noise reduction even further, with thicker carpets and acoustic glass in the front doors. New sound insulation in the those doors, under the dash pad and in the D-pillars also help keep road, wind and engine noise out of the cabin. The package also comes with a rear camera washer.
The top-spec Advance Package adds even more sound deadening material to the headliner, dash, hood, drivetrain tunnel and rear hatch. Here, the rear doors get acoustic glass and noise insulation to match the fronts as well. Power-folding side mirrors and a 12-volt power outlet in the cargo round out the changes for 2022.
Best of all — and this is the nit we picked in our 2019 test drive — the sporty A-Spec package is at last offered with the Advance Package. This wasn't the case before, inexplicably leaving the adaptive dampers off of A-Spec models. Now the look finally matches the equipment.
In addition, A-Spec cars get some of their exterior bits dipped in gunmetal and gloss black finishes set them apart visually. Inside, a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel is unique to the package, along with other interior exclusives and an available bronze finish on interior aluminum bits if you choose the Saddle Brown upholstery.
If those aren't special enough, Acura is once again offering a limited-production PMC Edition of the 2022 RDX. If you need a refresher, these are hand-assembled examples built alongside the NSX at Acura's Performance Manufacturing Center and shipped to dealers in closed containers.
As with past PMC editions, they undergo a five-day paint process in a color combo once reserved for the NSX. In this case, it's Long Beach Blue, a color that traces its roots to the original NSX and that is named after the southern California Grand Prix race that Acura sponsors and competes in. In this case, it's paired with an Orchid Milano (ivory) interior and limited to just 200 examples.
The assembly process of every RDX PMC Edition begins with the delivery of the body-in-white from the East Liberty Auto Plant which produces RDX. Once the five-day paint process is finished, the Acura's most skilled master technicians hand assemble each PMC Edition, which then undergo the same quality control process as the NSX before being wrapped in a specially designed car cover and transported to a dealer via an enclosed car carrier.
Acura is also throwing a bunch of tech and safety gizmos into the RDX as standard equipment. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Alexa and Qi, as well as a USB-C charging port, are all present by default now. Same goes for a numeric speed reading in digital instrument display and Acura's IconicDrive ambient lighting system, which names 27 LED-produced colors after driving spots like the Pacific Coast Highway or Honda's legendary Suzuka Circuit.
Standard electronic chaperones include low-speed braking both front and rear, and higher-speed collision mitigation braking whose forward detection adds Pedestrian AEB at speeds above 6 mph. New rear seat belts now have pre-tensioners, load-limiting abilities and reminder chimes, while rear doors benefit from additional side impact protection. The standard equipment continues in new blind spot sensors with lane change assist that watch behind the car at a range four times greater (about 100 feet total). Last but not least, a new traffic sign recognition system is camera-based rather than GPS-based.
The 2022 RDX's drivetrain continues unaltered with the same 272-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four mated to a 10-speed paddle-shift auto. However, performance has been tweaked with new suspension settings. Acura promises more differentiation between the Integrated Dynamics System's four drive modes thanks to new adaptive damper settings. The electronic brake booster has also been recalibrated to deliver a better pedal feel, says Acura.
A minor facelift helps set the new and improved models apart. The grille has a thinner frame, while a larger lower intake is flanked by a bit less chrome around the LED foglamps. At the rear, the exhaust finishers are now square rather than round. Two new colors, Liquid Carbon Metallic and Phantom Violet Pearl, have been added to the palette.
The updates should make an already competitive RDX even more so, but we'll have to wait until we get some seat time to enter a verdict. Acura says the 2022 RDX will arrive in showrooms in early November.
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