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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
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 81 Ratings for the 2013 - 2017 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Excellent Vehicle Overall

By on Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Power, Reliability, User Friendly, Paddle Shifters"

Cons: "Slightly Rough Ride -- Better With More Tire Press"

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

"Three years after purchase, the RDX has been maintenance free apart from routine items, and has been a very enjoyable car to own. Plenty of power, good handling (put 38 psi in the tires), and I love the paddle shifters in sport mode for great shift control on hilly terrain. With standard items that cost extra for other brands (leather, Bluetooth etc.), lots of cargo and leg room, and classic styling, the RDX is an excellent value and I highly recommend it."

Nice & nimble

By on Saturday, June 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "smooth and crisp ride excellent seating comfort"

Cons: "Can be bumpy over rough spots"

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

"Very reliable and nimble ride but it does not handle bumps well it seems to move the driver and passengers from side to side on tough bumps but other than that it is a smooth and luxurious ride I had an RL before this and plan to stay in the Acura family as long as they continue to get it right."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle for the Money

By on Monday, April 25, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,450

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fit and finish are great"

Cons: "Seat adjustment up/down would be nice."

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

"Before buying this car, I set criteria for myself as to the features and functions I wanted in a vehicle. For the money, this vehicle surpassed them all. I was looking for a vehicle with a 6 cylinder engine, all the luxury options and could get around 30 mpg on the highway. This vehicle exceeded these expectations and it looks good as well."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

2015 RDX Base FWD

By on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "value"

Cons: "seats lacking adjustability"

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

"This is my wife's car and I also drive it every now and then. It is really the best value you can get on a premium brand. A lot of standard features. Maintenance cost is somewhat the same with a non-luxury brand. Very peppy engine and a good highway cruiser. I just wish they made the front passenger seat height adjustable and the 2nd row seats reclinable. But it's not bad. 2nd row is spacious and comfortable."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

30K miles - 2013 AWD RDX w/Navi

By on Thursday, March 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun driving"

Cons: "Turning radius is not as good as my Honda Odyssey"

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

"Love my 2013 car - now want the extra bells and whistles that come with the 2016's. I have one of the initial models and had its teething problems, which the dealer fixed ASAP. Overall a great experience; get around 20-22mpg in city driving and 28+ mpg on freeway. On the 2013's I can use regular or premium gas but prefer the premium. That's a nice feature in case you're stuck somewhere with only regular gas. The turning radius is not so good though, so you'll be doing 3-point u-turns on narrow streets. To put things in perspective, my Odyssey can turn circles around this car."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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