By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
By Joe249 on Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Not much and just OK."
Cons: "Front seat is very uncomfortable, ride is lousy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Purchased the vehicle new and overall think it's a decent SUV. The ride is a bit choppy compared to my previous used 2006 Audi A-4 and at 30K miles have experienced some unusual engine and drive train maintenance issues. Luckily, it's still under warranty. I initially liked the body styling, but not as much now. The vehicle offered less modern technology than the comparable Honda CRV, but the CRV's styling was awful. Relative price for the Acura was definitely at the luxury level, no real discounts from the dealer. I have used three different dealers for scheduled maintenance due to moving around the country and find them consistent and professional. I am on the fence whether I would recommend the car to a family member or friend. It lost about 10K in value over the first 18 months of ownership, so I would take a bath with a dealer trade or private sale. One recall so far. However, I don't expect to spend the big bucks that my 2006 Audi cost to maintain. Another odd thing about the vehicle is front parking it with the nose first. It tracks funny. Also the vehicle is a super tight fit between a standard garage door. Next vehicle for me might be a Honda, but surely won't be an Acura. I look forward to unloading it in 2-3 years."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By lisa4labz on Monday, June 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice drive, sound system, love the size!"
Cons: "No blindspot/land departure warning"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I researched a tremendous amount before pulling the plug and buying this vehicle. Giving up the blind spot monitoring was huge for me, but when I looked at other vehicles and prices, this made my budget happy. Ended up with the tech package and I'm just getting used to everything-a little overwhelming but enjoyable. I wish it had a bigger sunroof that extended back further (came from a vehicle with a panoramic roof), and the blind spot/lane departure safety measure; other than that I love the radius of the turns-very tight and easy. Purchase is a very simple procedure, there are 4 choices that are very simplified. Looked at a Volvo X60 and the buying choices were overwhelming (so many engine types and packages) but when it came down to it gas mileage and the rear seat were a huge factor in deciding. If you're on the fence do your homework."
13 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Capri on Sunday, June 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks,comfort, mpg,"
Cons: "teck pkg not worth 4k"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The SUV hit all my check marks when i researched my new vehicle and it was a smart choice for my wife and I.Looks,comfort,mpg,saftey,bang for my bucks,sound system,and a consumer reports "best buy" for compact luxury."
8 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By rdxandrav on Friday, May 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great ride, look and feel"
Cons: "Tech Package, especially the Navigation Sys."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"For the past year we have enjoyed our RDX while driving to Florida and into the Midwest. Very comfortable seats, nice ambiance and well-positioned instrumentation. Only problem has been left-rear shock absorber, dealer fixed it. Use regular gas with no problems. My primary complaint is the navigation system is inaccurate 20% of the time and does not have a touch screen. Interesting that Acura and Lexus still use the old manual knob to select word characters, sort of like searching on Netflix. Would not pay $4K again for the Tech Pkg. Get a Garman GPS with free updates, etc. Otherwise we like the car:)"
12 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Rick on Saturday, March 22, 2014
I want this caroverall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, styling, handling and performance"
Cons: "More imagination for the "little things" ."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I test drove the 2014 RDX (AWD Tech package) twice. It is a very nice handling SUV and it is gorgeous. It very well may be the best in its class in virtually every area. My problem is one of personal taste. I am annoyed no end that Acura seems to "cut corners" where their competition doesn't. In general there are not enough exterior colors--no blue, no green, etc. Is this for cost-savings? Or is this the result of some unimaginative stylist? The problem also extends to interior colors. The Basque Red exterior, for example, can only be purchased with one interior color--parchment. I am also bothered by the fact that the RDX does not have a dual, chrome-tipped exhaust. Its big brother the MDX does and all its competitors do. So why not the RDX? Let's see a bit more imagination and a little less concern over "nickel and dime" expenses. This is a great looking, quality SUV and with a few minor changes it could be much nicer."
19 people out of 34 found this review helpful
By Rob on Saturday, February 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nimble ride, smooth power"
Cons: "Fit and finish, sound system, nav system."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car is nimble and smooth. But for $40,000, it should be so much more. It barely started when the weather got cold. That's when you need it to start the most. First time through the car wash, the sunroof leaked, spraying me with water. So much for fit and finish. It has a sound system that was designed to link with Blackberrys. Who has those anymore? I have an iPhone, and the thing will not consistently sync. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It has a hard drive that you can load CDs onto, but not MP3 files. CDs? Who uses those things anymore? I guess people who use Blackberrys do. And the Nav system? It's so bad it should be fraudulent for them to sell it. So as long as you're driving around and you know where you're going, listening to an FM radio station (or Sirius), and it doesn't rain, you'll like this car."
21 people out of 31 found this review helpful