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2013 Acura RDX

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2013 Acura RDX Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The 2013 model year marks the second generation for Acura's RDX, and it feels akin to a rebirth for this 5-passenger SUV that made its debut six years prior. Now slightly bigger and more powerful – yet lighter and more fuel efficient – the new RDX is better refined and more mature than its predecessor. Among the biggest and best news is that the RDX is now propelled by a powerful-yet-efficient V6 engine instead of the smaller, fuel-thirsty turbocharged 4-cylinder of old. The RDX doesn't have the road-carving dynamics or towing power of some in this category, but its jack-of-all-trades character and overall good nature make it a welcome competitor to rivals like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and Cadillac SRX.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a smaller, premium SUV with plenty of comfort, value, performance, and predicted reliability, put the RDX on your shopping list. In those latter aspects, as well as some styling cues, the RDX may remind you of an upscale CR-V – not surprising, since Acura is Honda's luxury division.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Plan to tow with the RDX? Plan light. The Acura RDX's maximum towing capacity is just 1,500 pounds. The Audi Q5, on the other hand, can lug 4,400 pounds. If fleetness of foot is more your forte, the sportier BMW X3 edges the Acura.

What's New for 2013

Outside and in, from the curvy sheet metal to the soft leather interior, to the engine and even transmission, the RDX is all new for 2013. Acura's goal was to make the RDX a more viable choice for professionals in their early 30s who value comfort over sportiness, and who will eventually need extra room for the baby seats.

Driving the RDX

Driving Impressions A comfortable, quiet ride was paramount for the 2013 RDX, and the Acura delivers. To our welcome surprise, this small SUV went above and beyond, also proving itself a capable...

performer in initial acceleration and passing power. The new V6 is quite smooth and more powerful than we anticipated. For those rare times when more oomph is required, the RDX has a sport mode for speedier acceleration and passing. It doesn't take a whole lot of work to get comfortable in the 10-way power driver's seat, but front passengers might feel like they're riding low, as that seat does not adjust for height.

Power Tailgate/One-touch Folding Rear Seats
These conveniences, with the power tailgate as part of the Technology Package, are super helpful for loading cargo – then getting it to fit.

Push-button Start/Stop
No more digging a key out of your pocket or purse to start or stop the car. Like more and more new vehicles, the driver need only push a button to turn the RDX on or off. That may not sound like a big deal, but over the course of years it will be something to appreciate thousands of times.

2013 Acura RDX Details
2013 Acura RDX photo Interior

The 2013 Acura RDX's cabin is a good example of form meeting function. Yet the RDX still boasts a commendable amount of soft-touch materials, giving this SUV the premium feel (literally) its price warrants. Numerous buttons populate the dash and steering wheel, but they are relatively easy to use and identify, and are more straightforward than the center-console-mounted rotary dials used in the Mercedes GLK, BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Unlike past RDX models – and current CR-Vs – the Acura no longer features tumble-forward rear seats to create a flat floor. But they do fold in a 60/40 split to accommodate larger items. Rear-seat legroom has been improved over the first-generation RDX, and also betters rivals like the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Volvo XC60, Infiniti EX, and even the Cadillac SRX, whose total length is over half a foot longer.

Exterior

With the RDX's newly refined powertrain also come more grown-up looks. Acura learned from some of its past, shall we say, design controversies with the ZDX and TL, opting to play it safe with the 2013 RDX. On the whole it works, though with its sloping rear roof and teardrop windows, you wouldn't be blamed for confusing the RDX with the CR-V if glancing at the Acura from the side or rear. Thankfully, the RDX's nose signals a different, classier car, as do its prominent fender arches. In addition to being longer than the old RDX, the 2013 model is taller and offers more ground clearance, further giving this revamped vehicle a larger, stronger stance.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All 2013 Acura RDX models come with a V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, leather seating, rear-view camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a keyless entry, and a 360-watt, 8-speaker AM/FM/XM/CD system with USB and MP3-player inputs. Also standard are six airbags and a security system.

Optional Equipment

Major options for the RDX are bundled in the $3,700 Technology Package that can be added to either front-drive or all-wheel-drive RDX models. The package includes a navigation system that is spruced up with features like real-time traffic, Zagat Survey ratings and weather forecasting. The tech package also adds a power liftgate and 410-watt premium radio/CD/DVD system with hard-drive storage. A voice-recognition feature allows you to issue over 600 commands for the audio, climate and nav systems – and may just make feel like you're never traveling alone. For those desiring further customization, a la carte options include a wood steering wheel, and roof mounts for sports gear.

Under the Hood

In addition to being the first V6 offered in an RDX, the vehicle's 3.5-liter, naturally aspirated engine boasts another first for Acura: Variable Cylinder Management. The purpose of this system is to save fuel by deactivating cylinders when they're not needed. A V6 uses six of them – hence the name – but this system enables the engine to run on four or even three, essentially making it a smaller, more fuel-efficient power plant. Cylinder-deactivation systems have had a rather tainted past, but today's computer-assisted engine management systems make for a smoother application. How smooth? You probably won't even be aware that cylinder deactivation is taking place in the 2013 RDX.

3.5-liter V6
273 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/27 mpg (all-wheel drive)

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2013 Acura RDX Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 67 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

disappointing vs. prior Acura vehicles

By on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "relatively good gas mileage, smaller SUV"

Cons: "poor connectivity with phone &voice recog. system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"i replaced an MDX with the smaller RDX. I have had a whistling noise in the front passenger window since I bought the car 2 years ago. The window does not leak and Acura dealer can't eliminate the noise. I have a rattle beneath the car I hear whenever I hit a bump or expansion join in the pavement. For some reason, the leather upholstry on the outside portion of the driver's seat has peeled since I bought the car. The dealer says I am causing this to happen. All i do is get in the seat, fasten restraint system and drive. I don't wear belts or any clothing to do this and I've never had this happen with prior Acura's."

Great SUV "FOR THE MONEY"

By on Sunday, August 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good value, Honda products are reliable"

Cons: "rear seats don't fold flat, Variable-VCM problem"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I own a 2016 White Diamond Pearl RDX AWD with the Tech package. Should have added the Acura Watch safety package for another $1300. Contrary to other reviews, I find the Acura to be quiet on the road with a slight jittery on bumps and a slight noise from the struts. On the highway, I do not hear any wind noise (dislike wind noise) so I would notice that. The seats are firm with "pretty" good support. The front seats do need additional extended thigh support. There is plenty of rear seat room BUT the rear seats do not fold flat...There is good acceleration from the 6 cyl engine, although I find the new variable cyl management system to be annoying on the open road. The Acura does not handle as well as the Audi, BMW, but for the price and the included features I can overlook that. I'm not looking to race the Acura SUV like a Porsche."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Constantly shifts gears

By on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 378

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good price, technology and looks"

Cons: "6 speed transmission that constantly shifts gears"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I hate the way this suv runs. Because of the 6 speed transmission it is constantly shifting gears going up and down hills. If you live in a flat area its great but where I live with most the roads being hilly and curvy this is not the vehicle to own if you like a smooth ride. I hope I can get use to it but I find it very annoying to say the least."

Excellent

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Cons: "slight lag around 25mph"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The first thing I noticed was how quite this car is. I also like the good visability. The car is powerful and rides beautifully on the highway and when being pushed.The car has a firm ride and takes a little getting used to on bumpy roads. My only complaint is i notice a little lag at times around 25-35 mph. My gas mileage is good, around 25mpg. I like the look and size of the car as it is a near perfect happy medium. i have the base model which is very well equipped except the seats are not real leather, but look and feel pretty close. I have owned three other Acuras and been very happy. I was in a bad accident in an Acura legend and walked away unscathed. I looked at the Mercedes GLA 250, Mazda c-5 and Subaru Outback. I have 2k miles on my car and am happy.I found kbb a terrific sight to help me with my purchase."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

very secure in drive when its raining

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"is the best car I had in my life, very secure, wonderful car. Very good when you drive and its raining hard. Cruise control work excellent. Very smooth car."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Quick, handles better than expected

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 700

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "powerful V6 with decent gas milage, luxury cabin"

Cons: "very small sunroof, mirrors don't fold at all"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought the 2016 RDX AWD and love it, I was planning on getting the Audi Q5, but wanted more power and it was $10,000 more. I love my RDX, it has more power, all the luxuries and cheaper. Both styles are old with the Q5 being the oldest. The upgrades on the 2016 RDX are slight but enough not to feel dated. the Q3 was even smaller with less power. also considered the Lexus NX, it also had less power, smaller, and in my opinion uglier"

16 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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