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 JJ on Tuesday, September 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Priced right, fun to drive, good looking."
Cons: "Taking a while to learn the technology."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very competent, reliable, crisp ride, and nice to look at. Will use around town, on trips, and for everyday use. Affordable luxury. Powerful engine, fun to drive. Handles well. Loaded with the WOW's at an affordable price. Honda reliability. Previously only bought Toyota's."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Jules on Thursday, September 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great pick-up/acceleration, comfortable front seat"
Cons: "No rear air vents, outdated Navigation system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I've been a Honda or Acura owner for more than 20 years and love the brand, consequently didn't do a lot of detailed shopping around when it came time to purchase my next vehicle. This is my first move from sporty to crossover, so am having some personal adjustment. PROS: Great pick-up/acceleration Comfortable front seats Better than expected gas mileage CONS: No rear seat/compartment air vents, consequently difficult to cool in the Texas summer sun just due to volume of air to cool with only the front vents. Navigation system was 15 months out of date at purchase. I regularly drive on a relatively new toll road that opened in Oct. 2012, but is not noted on a Nov. 2013 purchase. The a/v system automatically records CDs to the hard drive and it's somewhat cumbersome to stop the recording, which has to be done at every stop/start of play time. I drive a lot (500 mi/week) and listen to a lot of audio books, and find this feature frustrating."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By drcrutch on Monday, September 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, drives well, good turning ratio"
Cons: "Could have more technology"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"After owning 3 Infiniti's (QX4, FX 35 x 2), and encountering a very difficult environment at the local Infiniti dealers, I gave up on "brand loyalty" and began to look elsewhere. The local Acura dealer treated me a million times better! The trade was easy, the price was negotiated to include several options, and add ons. Compared to my Infiniti, the Acura is NOT as luxurious--but it was also $20K less out the door! I can afford a bit less luxury for the savings. Vehicle interior is the color I wanted, the sound system is NOT as good as the Bose system--but $20K less (remember?), and the technology package isn't quite up with the MOST recent technological innovations (the Infiniti QX50/60/70) had much more technology. But $20K less, remember?"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Bartlett92 on Sunday, August 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Nice looking, Good leg room front and back."
Cons: "No air conditioned seats, No backup warning system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Traded in the MKX and went back to Acura. My wife and I both say it's fun to drive. Better gas mileage then the Lincoln."
By Wayne H on Thursday, August 28, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "A powerful engine"
Cons: "No AC in back, no park sensors, no blind spot, no"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"We wanted to like the car but it really is just a loaded Honda CR-V with bigger engine at the end of the day. This car lacks all of the features of actual luxury SUV's, such as blind spot monitor, cross traffic sensor, lane swerve, accident avoidance mechanism, backup and forward parking sensors, a modern display, etc. It looks like Acura/Honda has been sleeping for the past ten years, compared to all of its competition. You even have to pay another $4,000 and get the 'navigation' model just to get a tailgate lift, something even a Ford Escape or Hyundai will give you. And to add insult to injury, there is no AC in the back. I don't know what Honda/Acura is thinking. A Ford Escape or Hyundai will give you more than this car, and for a lot less. Needless to say we passed on this CRV, eh I mean RDX!"
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."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful