By on July 18, 2018

2019 Acura RDX

Acura would love it if we talked about the brand in the same manner that we did, oh, say a decade ago. Maybe the turn of the century. But we don’t, as vehicles like the second-generation NSX simply didn’t capture our imagination like the original. There’s no cheap, fun little car like the Integra anymore, and cars as a whole are vanishing from conversations as quickly as they fade from sales sheets.

Sales of Acura cars in the U.S. fell over 25 percent in June, year over year, and volume over the first half of 2018 was down 6.5 percent. That leaves Acura’s utility vehicles with the job of counteracting the loss — a difficult task for just two models.

For the freshest model in Acura’s stable — the totally revamped 2019 RDX compact crossover — June returned the news Acura execs were hoping for.

Last month wasn’t just a good showing for the new RDX, it was also the best sales month in the model’s decade-long history. Acura sold 7,292 units in the next-generation model’s first month on the market — a year-over-year increase of 36.9 percent.  Over the first half of 2018, RDX volume rose 8.1 percent.

2019 Acura RDX

In contrast, the larger MDX, which underwent a refresh for 2017, saw volume decline 7 percent over the same time frame. In June, MDX sales sank 8.2 percent. Maybe the just-released 2019 model can turn it all around.

Yes, the RDX carries plenty of responsibility. Sporting an edgier design (both inside and out) and improved handling dynamics, the 2019 model’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 10-speed automatic transmission, and tech-heavy cabin is aimed at premium buyers on the sportier side of the aisle. Until a new utility model joins the Acura stable, the RDX (Acura’s best-selling model) is expected to do much of the heavy lifting.

Acura no doubt hopes June’s performance isn’t a one-time fluke, as the brand’s overall year-to-date volume remains in the red. Acura sales dropped 1.6 percent over the first half of 2018. Last month’s RDX spike helped push it over the mark on a monthly basis, with June volume rising 3.5 percent.

After attaining annual U.S. sales above the 200,000 mark in the mid-2000s, Acura sales plunged to half that number in 2009. The brand reached a post-recession sales high of 177,165 in 2015, only to see volume fall off in the years since.

If you’re thinking the RDX was the only Acura model to post an increase last month, think again. The big RLX flagship sedan saw a year-over-year gain of 68.9 percent. However, that just meant sales rose from 74 units in June of 2017 to 125 last month.

You can see what the RDX and its larger sibling are up against.

[Images: Acura, © 2018 Matthew Guy/TTAC]

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40 Comments on “Acura’s Redesigned RDX Did Exactly What the Brand Wanted It to Do...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    A sale is counted when it leaves the assembly line. With cars.com showing 5,000 2019 RDX’s currently for sale, are there really only 2,200 units sold in the first full month?

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      No, a sale is counted in company sales figures when the car is in the hands of the end customer (individual consumer or fleet).

      Of course dealers gave money for more cars than sold to the OEM that are currently sitting on the lot, but if nobody buys them the dealers will stop wanting to buy new ones and production will have to be slowed. So ultimately end sale count is what OEM is really concerned with in the figures.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Oops! Looks like.we are both wrong. When It hits the dealership hands.

        http://fortune.com/2014/04/30/an-insiders-guide-to-auto-sales-reporting/

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          From your article:

          “ The monthly auto sales data does, in fact, reflect sales to final customers, not wholesale sales to dealers as was previously reported. “

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    Sigh.

    Acura should be the company building the Genesis G70. I’ve driven the TLX and it’s boring as dirt. I love my Alfa, but I wish there had been a fun, reliable as heck, well-made, sharp-handling alternative that was cheap to service to 250k miles and had a free-winding 6-cylinder for less than $50k.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The TLX is that car if you’re willing to turn a wrench. It’s a set of springs/shocks/tires/brake pads away from dynamic greatness in pretty much any trim. That 2.0T hauls the mail, but it revs like a diesel and I wouldn’t trust it much further than I could throw it. By contrast the J35 is tried and true, and lets out a REAL scream no 2.0T can match.

      Plus while the Giulia is doing better than I expected ultimately it’s only a matter of time before its sales tank and yield to those of the Stelvio. Car companies are in the business of making money, remember?

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        To be fair, I could care less how many Stelvios they sell. I’ve driven it, it’s fine, but I have no appetite for “sport-luxury” SUVs. I want my car to handle, so I bought a car; if the rest of the US wants to buy fat hatchbacks on stilts, I won’t stop ’em.

      • 0 avatar
        chrishs2000

        Have you driven the 2.0T with a stick? It most assuredly does not rev like a diesel. The L15 turbo is a little lethargic. Not so the K20.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Acura can’t build an Alfa any more than Alfa can build a Lexus. You are ruined for life now, swallowed by the snake.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think this is the RDX Acura needed all along. The first one was excellent, but too adventurous and specialized. The second one went the complete opposite direction and was boring, but sold decently. This new one has all of the features people care about, with a passionate design and a sense of occasion. It should sell like hotcakes.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    Never understood why there is an A-CURE-UH brand. It is not luxurious. It rarely ever has any performance these days above what you can get in a Honduh, and until recently, it was uglier than even a Honduh (never thought that was possible). Right now these are just fancy Honduhs with less insulting on the eyes exteriors – but you pay through the nose for marginal products.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      Not sure who you’re trying to convince what of, besides your own ignorance and narrow mindedness. Comments like this make me so happy that I don’t have some irrational and nonsensical hatred of a particular car brand.

    • 0 avatar
      kc1980

      Well for starters Acuras are cheaper, and come better optioned in the base and lower tierd models than the Germans. They are also less expensive to maintain, and are more reliable.

      So for many, the Acura brand makes all kinds of sense. If they continue towards a trajectory of more compelling styling, and performance oriented products the like the TLX A spec, and RSX/Rsx A Spec. There will be all sorts of compelling reasons to take a look at Acura.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        I remember ILX was kickass — and it was a total secret. Anyone who even knew it existed thought it was a Civic. I just wish they had any headroom in it, it would be the best sleeper ever.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I had a chance to drive the new RDX last week and was impressed. It drives as well as any sub 50k X3 and the interior is now full luxury grade. My guess is it will continue to sell well.
    If this drive train comes to the TLX then Acura would also sell a lot more of them.

  • avatar
    deanst

    I’ve lost track. Does acura sell anything with a manual transmission anymore? Doesn’t seem like it.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Bottom line for me: good try, appreciate SH-AWD, but still much too big. It weigh almost the same as the new Wrangler (about 10 pounds heavier, both vary with a trim: say 4020 lbs versus 4010 lbs). It’s wider than just about anything. Longer, too – although shorter than GC/WK2, it’s not by much: it’s 186″ long. Bottom line, it would be lightest and most economical if it were in the class of Benz GLE and Bimmer X3, which dimensionally it is. So, Acura, good job, but call me back when you make Evoque or XC40.


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