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2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance Chooses Style Over Substance

The 2022 RDX Comes Up Short When Compared to Its Premium Competition

2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance

Winter is a punishing time in northern New England. This year’s season has certainly been challenging in its own way, with our weather skewing to the icy side of precipitation with annoying regularity. Beyond confounding my electric snowblower and making walking outside a taxing chore, the weather has also made driving a real hassle. Even so, the 2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance in Apex Blue Pearl that recently showed up in my driveway was a decent companion for the conditions.

2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance Review

The 2022 Acura RDX starts at $40,345. My test vehicle was the 2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance, which adds several tech and luxury features to the sporty A-Spec package. With a price tag that tops out a $53,645, after a $1,045 destination charge, the A-Spec Advance isn’t a cheap vehicle, but it’s less expensive than comparable SUVs from Europe and elsewhere in Asia.

Stylish, But Little Wow

One thing the A-Spec package does not do is hone the RDX’s performance to go along with the aesthetic performance upgrades. It adds sporty bodywork, striking interior color combinations, and fat exhaust tips, but the RDX’s turbocharged 2.0L engine and 10-speed automatic transmission are unchanged. It produces 272 hp and pairs with either front- or all-wheel-drive.

The good news is that the engine is a stout turbo-four that offers strong acceleration and decent responsiveness. The 10-speed gearbox hits the right notes and helps keep the engine working hard, but it can be slow to respond and downshift when necessary. The engine wails under heavy throttle with an aggressive note, but Acura, unfortunately, decided it needed sound support with faux exhaust notes pumped through the SUV’s stereo.

The A-Spec package also brings 20-inch wheels, and the top A-Spec Advance adds adaptive dampers that give the driver control over firmness. Even with the big wheels, the RDX managed a relatively smooth ride over Maine’s winter-plow-torn pavement, but the big stuff — potholes, sunken manhole covers, and railroad tracks — give it trouble. That said, the 2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance’s SH-AWD system and responsive steering combine to give the RDX a precise, sharp feel on the road.

The fuel economy is decent, though A-Spec models see a one-mpg penalty on highway mileage due to the larger wheels. The RDX A-Spec AWD returns 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. The standard RDX AWD manages 27 mpg on the highway. The top-rated Porsche Macan, by comparison, hits 25 mpg highway with its base 4-cylinder engine, and 22 or 23 mpg with its twin-turbo V6. Granted, the Macan is a more powerful, sportier vehicle, but fuel economy still matters.

Quality Interior Short on Luxury

One of the most noticeable differences between the 2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance and its luxury-packed rivals is interior design and finishes. The RDX doesn’t feel low-rent by any means, but its cabin lacks the special feel that many of its competitors bring.

The A-Spec package brings unique two-tone upholstery with perforated leather and synthetic suede that give the space a striking, sporty look. Though busy, it’s easy to make sense of the RDX’s variety of controls and buttons. The layout is intuitive and well organized, and most functions are clearly labeled for easy use.

Being pretty is great, but the 2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance’s seats deliver real comfort and support to go along with their good looks. The front buckets are deep and nicely padded, and the addition of faux suede gives them enough grip to keep everyone’s backsides in place when the driver feels frisky.

Head and leg room are decent for passengers in the front seat, at 40 and 42 inches, respectively. Though finished in the same materials, the back bench seat is nowhere near as supported or as soft. There is ample space, however, with 38 inches of both head and leg room.

Cargo space is decent but short of the measurements found in vehicles like the Honda CR-V. With the back seat upright, the RDX manages 29.5 cubic feet of space, which expands to 58.9 cubic feet with the seatback folded flat. By comparison, the similar CR-V offers up to 75.8 with the seats folded down.

Decent Tech with Great Safety Gear

Acura gives every RDX a 10.2-inch touchscreen that runs wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sound quality is excellent in the A-Spec Advance, with its 16-speaker, 710-watt ELS Studio 3D sound system.

Other niceties like wireless smartphone charging, HD radio, and SiriusXM are also standard, but the whole package is let down by its touchpad controller system. Spending a week with the vehicle, it took several days for me to become somewhat comfortable using it with any accuracy, but it does eventually become second nature. Pressing in one area of the pad leads to an input in a corresponding part of the screen, but it’s not a precise science, and I found the feature led to many unintended actions and on-screen selections.

The 2022 Acura RDX earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which includes top scores in all crash-test areas and “Superior” ratings for front vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention.

Every trim level gets the AcuraWatch safety package, which brings automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and traffic sign recognition. Top trims add blind-spot monitoring rear cross-traffic alerts, a head-up display, and a surround camera system.

2022 Acura RDX A-Spec Advance: Not a Home Run

The 2022 Acura RDX is somewhat of a value pick in a segment packed with much pricier vehicles, though the tradeoff is that it’s not quite as plush or as powerful as some of its rivals. For example, newcomer Genesis hit a home run with the GV70 SUV, which starts at around $1,500 more than the RDX, but its cabin, tech, and styling are all superior. Certainly, there’s enough content in the RDX’s base trim to keep most people happy, especially in the safety department, but dedicated luxury buyers may be left wanting more.

About Chris Teague

After working in the technology and software industry for several years, I began writing as a way to help people outside of that world understand the sometimes very technical work that goes on behind the scenes. With a lifelong love of all things automotive, I turned my attention to writing new vehicle reviews, detailing industry trends, and breaking news. Along the way, I earned an MBA with a focus on data analysis that has helped me gain a strong understanding of why the auto industry’s biggest companies make the decisions they do.