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  • 2013 Acura RDX Compact Crossover SUV

  • 2013 Acura RDX SUV inerior

  • Acura’s engine has 273 hp and torque of 251 lb-ft at 5000 rpm.

  • The new RDX has FWD or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction

2013 Acura RDX Compact Crossover SUV

Acura RDX SUV recast and repowered with FWD or AWD traction

  • Review
  • Fast Facts

BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. — Gripping a leather-bound steering wheel while thumb-tapping shift paddles of the upgraded six-speed SportShift electronic automatic on Acura’s recast and repowered RDX crossover utility vehicle, we’re driving the tricky route to Borrego Springs — an oasis of green golf courses and tall palm trees dotting the vast brown wilderness of California’s bleak Anza Borrego Desert — on sand-swept pavement whipping over Yaqui Pass in the Valencito Mountains.

Yanqui Pass Road (Calif. 78) brings too-tight curves and whoop-de-do pavement heaves mixed with pancake flats for speed tests. It’s a sweet track to sample the agile handling traits and enthused attitude of feisty RDX, which scores a complete makeover for 2013 in a larger package toting a V6 engine earning higher fuel economy numbers.

The CUV first appeared in Acura’s line as a 2007 model slotted for the compact class with a 104-inch wheelbase and a turbo-charged in-line-four engine.

RDX for 2013 represents Generation 2.0 of Acura’s smooth-riding and sporty CUV that drives and rides like a car but functions like a luxury wagon.

Foundation for the 2013 RDX is a unit-body platform which shows the extensive use of high-tensile steel. The platform merges chassis and superstructure to forge a single framework that’s extremely strong and rigid. It has a low center of gravity and a wide-track tread to enhance vehicle stability when set to motion.

Compared to its predecessor, the 2013 RDX increases the wheelbase length by 1.4 inches to 105.7 inches with the body extending about 3.8 inches longer in overall length to 183.5 inches.

Body styling appears sleeker and stronger.

There’s a low hood line to enhance forward visibility for the driver and a revised V-shaped grille rimmed in chrome in place of the former beak-like pointed prow.

Fender blisters bulge around front wheels to forge a forceful stance, as the roofline arches over the cabin and strips of flank windows get black-capped pillars. At the rear long red lamps streak horizontally into the top-hinged tailgate which carries a roof-mounted spoiler lip.

Dramatic styling continues in a spacious cabin filled with creative designs, extensive safety equipment and downright fancy features.

The driver-oriented cockpit stocks a leather-wrapped steering wheel with fingertip controls and racing-inspired paddle shifters, an instrument cluster with light-emitting-diode (LED) back-lighting for an easy read and a Multi-Information Display (MID) which provides access to a variety of electronic functions.

The layout consists of bucket seats and center console in front of a bench seat for three and a bay in back measuring to 26.1 cubic feet for cargo and sports equipment. Rear seatbacks split 60/40 and fold forward to increase the aft storage space to 61.3 cubic feet.

Posh standard gear includes perforated leather trimming seats, automatic controls for the climate system with dual zones for comfort, power operation for windows and mirrors and door locks, the driver’s bucket with 8-way power controls including adjustable lumbar support, heat elements inside both front buckets, a power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off functions, a keyless entry device and a 360-watt Acura Premium Sound System with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA plus seven speakers and XM satellite radio service.

Working in favor of a dynamic vehicle is CR-V’s independent suspension — tuned MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link design in back with amplitude reactive dampers and stabilizer bars added front and rear to check lateral body sway when RDX tackles a set of curves.

And there’s a computer-managed vehicle stability control (VSC) system aboard coupled to a traction control system (TCS), plus a four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) units.

The front-wheel-drive (FWD) powertrain for RDX consists of a six-cylinder engine linked to the six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The single-overhead-cam (SOHC) 3.5-liter V6 has an aluminum block with a drive-by-wire throttle and i-VTEC (variable value timing and lift electronic control) valvetrain.

Acura’s plant develops 273 hp at 6200 rpm and torque of 251 lb-ft at 5000 rpm. It also earns good fuel-burn scores with EPA mileage estimates rising to 28 mpg.

Further, this engine employs a variable cylinder management (VCM) device to conserve on fuel by modifying the number of engine cylinders at work. The VCM can switch from six to four or even down to three cylinders, depending on the power demand at any particular moment, by closing the intake and exhaust valves of a particular cylinder while also shutting off fuel injectors on that cylinder.

Acura rigs the new RDX with FWD or optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction.

RDX/FWD and RDX/AWD may be upgraded with a Technology Package of electronic gear like the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, a 60-gig hard disk drive, GPS-linked dual-zone automatic climate control system, Acura/ELS Surround Premium Sound System, power-controlled tailgate, bi-xenon HID headlamps and front foglamps.

Acura establishes MSRP figures for the 2013 RDX CUV beginning at $34,320 for RDX/FWD, or $38,020 with the Technology Package aboard. The 2013 RDX/AWD lists for $35,720 or $39,420 with the Technology Package.


  • Description: Compact luxury sports CUV
  • Model options: FWD or AWD
  • Wheelbase: 105.7 inches
  • Overall length: 183.5 inches
  • Engine size: SOHC 3.5-liter V6/iVTEC/VCM
  • Transmissions/speeds: Auto/6/Sequential SportShift
  • Rear/front drive: 2WD/FWD or4WD/AWD
  • Steering: EPAS/rack and pinion
  • Braking: Power 4-disc,  ABS/EBD/BA/TCS/VSA
  • Air bags: 2 (front), 2 (side), 4 (side curtain)
  • EPA mileage est. city/hwy.:
    • 20/28 mpg: RDX/FWD
    • 19/27 mpg: RDX/AWD
  • MSRP, est.:
    • $34,320: FWD
    • $35,720: AWD