While a full-production version is due at dealers in the spring, the 2013 Acura RDX Prototype took the show stand at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show to offer a good look at what lies ahead. According to Acura, the second generation of its mid-size five-passenger crossover SUV will match sleeker and more sophisticated style with even better performance and economy while adding a host of new techno touches. To endow the new RDX with a more substantial visual presence, Acura did a bit of proportion tweaking. The hood is longer and more sculpted while revisions to the C-pillar and fender flares appear to have been inspired by its larger sibling, the MDX. A longer wheelbase and wider track dimensions further enhance the bigger/bolder look.

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Inside, the more spacious cabin has been completely recast to give the 2013 Acura RDX an even more upscale look and feel set off by flowing contours, understated matte-finish surfaces and the generous application of real leather. Larger door openings ease entry/exit for people, while additional cargo space and a power rear tailgate make the new RDX even more practical. Extensive use of noise-abatement materials and an Active Sound Control system ensure the next RDX will be quieter, as well.

In addition to its enhanced roster of Acura-spec infotainment /navigation systems -- the latter now with a massive 60-gigabyte hard drive storage system -- the 2013 RDX will introduce features like a Pandora internet radio interface, SMS text messaging capability, a smart entry keyless access system, pushbutton start, and a three-view rear camera.

>More Acura from Detroit: Acura NSX Concept , Acura ILX Concept 

On the mechanical front, the 2013 Acura RDX jettisons the veteran 2.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder and five-speed automatic transmission pairing in favor of a new 3.5-liter V6 that makes 273 horsepower coupled with a new six-speed autoshifter. Despite having 33 additional ponies underhood, the front-drive version of the 2013 RDX is expected to net 20/28 mpg city/highway EPA figures, which would be best of any gasoline-powered luxury SUV. No word on numbers for the all-wheel-drive RDX, but a new, lighter AWD system will likely help that cause as well. Always an impressive handler, the dynamic character of the 2013 RDX also should be elevated thanks to its longer/wider platform dimensions, a new motion-adaptive electric power steering system and new Amplitude Reactive Dampers.


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