The original Acura RDX, categorized as a “small SUV,” appeared in 2007. It was for the young and hip, for the urban professional who’d be generally rolling in the city streets, not out in the wilderness. It had a turbocharged engine, which caused car guys to be geeked.
But let’s face it, there aren’t a whole lot of young urban professionals who are in the market for crossover utilities (unless they’re on the used market, because chances are these young urban professionals are really trying to make their rent payments if they live in a cool urban environment, or don’t really want to have a luxury brand car parked out on the streets if they live in an up-and-coming urban environment). What’s more, while those car guys may have been exhilarated by the notion of the 240-hp, 2.3-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine, it is analogous to the guys in the audience at a rock show who (1) fist-pump, (2) shout out “ROCK AND ROLL!” and (3) sing along with the band: they’re not adding anything to the performance, and these car guys probably aren’t buying a whole lot of Acuras or any other cars.
So the 2013, second generation RDX is for the bona-fide grownups. Which is not to suggest that it is dull or ponderous or uninspired.
Quite the contrary. It is actually a crossover that is not only improved compared to its predecessor, it is a vehicle that can handily hold its own against the likes of the Audi Q5, Infiniti EX35 and other competitors in the “Entry Premium SUV” segment.
The I4 has given way to a 273-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine. “Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “A V6 replacing a four? With higher horsepower? Didn’t anyone tell the folks at Acura that gasoline is not priced as it was in 2007?”
Turns out that the Acurates did take that into account. So they deployed the Honda Variable Cylinder Management system on the RDX, which automatically shuts down cylinders when they’re not needed, and have provided the crossover with a six-speed automatic transmission (the previous RDX had a five-speed). Consequently, the fuel economy is improved for the RDX, with the AWD version providing 19/27/22 mpg (city/highway/combined), which is better than the 17/22/19 mpg that its predecessor brings.
It’s not all powertrain improvements that bring the better numbers. It is more systemic than that, whether it is improved aerodynamics (e.g., things like a smoother front fascia (less of the sharp shield) and underbody panels) or an increase in the use of stronger-but-lighter high-strength steel in the structure (57% of the material in the new car vs. 47% in the previous).
In the cake-and-eat-it-too category, it is worth noting that this more fuel-efficient vehicle is bigger in all exterior dimensions (especially the length and wheelbase), and it really pays of in the cargo capacity, which, with the rear seat folded down, comes in at 76.9-cubic-feet, which is 16.3-cubic-feet more than the previous model. Remember: this is a utility vehicle.
The RDX has a single trim package—the Technology Package—which the vehicle driven here was equipped with, which pretty much means that it adds the AcuraLink Satellite Communication System, and the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, and an upgraded Acura/ELS Surround audio system, among related items. The point here is that the standard version has a lot of amenities standard.
Quiet. Comfortable. Capable. And when you get on the accelerator, it gets after it. All of which is to say, the 2013 Acura RDX pretty much checks all the boxes for the still-young and not-stultified buyer.
Engine: 3.5-liter, SOHC, V6
Material: Aluminum block and heads
Horsepower: 273 @ 6,200 rpm
Torque: 251 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 105.7 in.
Length: 183.5 in.
Width: 73.7 in.
Height: 66.1 in.
Curb weight (AWD w/Tech Package): 3,852 lb.
MSRP : $39,420 (destination & handling : $895)
EPA: 19/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined