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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
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 75 Ratings for the 2013 - 2016 models.

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

Was sort of talked into the 2015

By on Friday, January 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good price, easy to drive, love the no key start"

Cons: "No beepers to back up, figure out electronics????"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought this on spur of the moment, without my husband. I should have bought the 2016 with bells and whistles, but was sort of talked into (good salesmanship) a 2015 they wanted to get off the lot. Money not the issue. It gets great gas mileage and rides very nicely."

Don't like the vehicle

By on Sunday, January 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
3/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "See Review"

Cons: "See Review"

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

"We traded a 2004 Lexus for a 2015 Acura RDX: bad decision. The engine performance is excellent; most of our problems have been with the interior design. The vehicle is difficult to get in and out of. I'm 5'7" and have to duck my head to get into the driver's seat. Side door pockets and overall interior storage are a inefficient. The passenger's seat sets too low and has no electronic adjustments for up and down movement. My biggest problem is that I traded an automatic manual gear shift for steering wheel paddles. I drive in the mountains of West Virginia a lot and trying to downshift with paddles on switchback curves is impossible (and no fun as with a gear shift knob). We also opted for the technology package; another bad decision because there is simply too much and way too many distraction; and many of the functions are difficult to perform in a moving vehicle. Despite the good power and reasonable fuel mileage, there is far more we dislike about the RDX than we like. Probably at a financial loss, we will be trading car for another. We tend to keep vehicles for 10+ years and can't comprehend the thought of keeping this one that long."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Very balanced vehicle.

By on Sunday, December 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Appearance, driving experience, reliability, value"

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

"My 2016 RDX is a balanced vehicle that does a lot of things well. Good looks, good driving experience, and lower purchase and long term costs. There are others in this class that may excell at certain factors, but the RDX is a great performer at a good value that has won my respect."

Awesome SUV for the money

By on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,125

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"One of the best vehicles I have ever owned. Not many vehicles with this type of quality leave the showroom floor for around $34K. No X3 or Q5 can compare price wise. SUV is very quick and comfortable. Rear storage could be a little bigger but would take away from the room you get in the back seat. Acura and Honda are known for their quality and this vehicle measures up. Over 30K miles so far and nothing but oil changes and tire rotations. City driving I get around 22 mpg, highway I can hit 30 if you drive nice."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

16000 miles and still unsure

By on Thursday, December 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Peppy,fun drive,comfortable seating,nice looking"

Cons: "Technology, button placement, idle noise"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I've had this car for just about a year now. It is very comfortable for a 30 min commute and I love the leather in it. The size is just what I wanted as well being a smaller SUV there is still plenty of room for groceries and packages. It would be a little small for my lab to sit in the hatch for extended trips. I am very disappointed in the technology considering it's a higher end vehicle. I really should have looked at this aspect more than just the driving and safety. The voice commands for dialing through the Bluetooth all have to to be programmed. So you have to program any #s you want to be able to dial through the car and give them a programmed voice recognized name. The voice recognition is terrible and having to program all of this is a pain. It really should be able to just sync with your contacts like the newer Ford technology. The steering wheel buttons for the radio on the left. I never use them because of this. I know there are leftys out there, but in this instance the placement for the majority should have been common sense. The seat heater buttons are on the middle console below the shift and can get hit accidentally here. They should have been on the dash with the rest of the environmental controls. I have had some issues with what I believe to be a louder than normal clunk when shifting into drive from reverse and vice versa. I'm told this is normal. I also find it idles annoying loud at lights or any stop and I'm also told this is normal due to going from 6 cylinders to 4 when it's stopped. I can't find where it states this vehicle does this so I'm going to another dealer to have this looked at. The one issue that isn't with the car, but with owning it is that there are no dealers near my home. I didn't think it would be a big deal and I would just have Honda do the oil changes, but it has become a big deal when having the noises looked at. Again very happy with the actual driving of the car, but the technology and noise are disappointing."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

After one year.... still unsure of this purchase

By on Thursday, October 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,200

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "AWD"

Cons: "Long list of items in write-up"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Purchased the 2015 RDX new one year ago and I'm still questioning my decision. The main reason for the purchase was due to winter weather and needing an AWD vehicle. The areas that I focused on during my research were AWD's that received the top safety and reliability ratings. For that purpose the Acura has performed very well. The Lexus LS430 that I had for the previous 11 years was a nightmare to drive in the snow. Outside of that I loved everything about the car. Areas that I'm struggling to get past with the Acura are the following: navigation system is extremely difficult to use, voice controls do not work well, no rear vents so our child is either cold or hot, a lot of road/outside noise, if one of the back windows is down we need to have one of the front windows open (if not the sound causes significant ear pain for both myself and husband in the front), drivers seat is uncomfortable for long trips, and the cargo space is extremely limited. I thought with time that I would be able to discard my concerns in these areas; however, now I'm not so sure."

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

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