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Acura RDX AWD Tech Review By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Acura RDX AWD Tech



Model: 2013 Acura RDX AWD Tech
Engine: 3.5-liter SOHC V6
Horsepower/Torque: 273 hp @ 6,200 rpm/251 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Sequential Sport Shift
Wheelbase: 105.7 in.
Length/Width/Height: 183.5 x 73.7 x 86.1 in.
Tires: P235/60R18
Cargo volume: 26.1/76.9 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway/17.7 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 16.0 gal.
Curb weight: 3,852 lbs.
Sticker: $40,315 (includes $895 destination charge)

The Bottom Line: The Acura RDX can be summed up in one word: elegant. This is a nice SUV with decent performance and a comfortable ride, just what the market for the RDX will demand.

I wish we had to take the Acura RDX on a long trip somewhere when we had it. Unfortunately, our trips were confined to primarily local driving. Still, we had several opportunities to stretch the vehicle's legs, but the bottom line shows that we had relatively poor overall fuel economy. I used the word "elegant" to describe the RDX. This doesn't mean that it's overly wooded up with trim, or that there's an abundance of unneeded leather. I just felt that every time we got into the RDX, there was this sense of refinement that you don't often find in other vehicles of its ilk. The 2013 RDX comes with a redesign, a new engine, new transmission and new all-wheel drive system.

The 3.5-liter V6 engine that replaces the turbocharged 2.3-liter inline four in the previous version is smooth and has plenty of power to get you where you want to go quickly and with a minimum of fuss. In addition, it's quieter, thanks to what Honda calls Active Noise control that leads to a quiet cabin.

The cabin itself shows a redesign that includes sweeping shapes, matte surface trim and enough leather to make you feel good, but not feel as if you're inside a cow. We had good side support in the front seats, enough to add to the comfort level. In the rear there is very good leg room for rear passengers. In fact, the people who rode there commented on how comfortable their ride was.

Going further to the rear, there's a carpeted cargo area with a flat floor. Underneath is a compact spare. The cargo area itself is a roomy 26.1 cubic feet that expands to 76.9 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. You can fold the seats either by using a button on the seat tops or by using a lever in the cargo area itself. The total cargo area isn't perfectly flat, but it's good enough for most packages. There's a power rear tailgate that can be operated with the key fob.

When I received the RDX, the rear headrests were all raised, including the center one. Even though this headrest is lower than the two on the outside, it was still a bother,. When I finally lowered it, the rear visibility was better.

General visibility all around is very good. Recently, we have driven cars with thick A-pillars that obstruct some oncoming traffic.

Backing up is aided by a rear view camera by the license plate. The driver's side exterior rear view mirror also tilts down when you shift into reverse. It would be better if both mirrors tilted. I like to use the right mirror to see how close I am to the curb. The outside edge of the driver's mirror is also more convex, giving a view of the blind spot.

The Acura RDX is a very comfortable driver. With an excellent sound system and an easily programmable navigation system, not to mention an air conditioning system that cools you well, there is little to make the ride unforgettable.

Acura is one of the manufacturers that has developed a master knob on the center console that controls the audio, HVAC and navigation systems. There are times when I wish I had spent more time when the car was in my driveway going through the exercises with this control knob. It's easy to use and learn, but a few minutes spent learning how to use it early might have saved some time later. For example, when you want to program a destination into the navigation system, you use the knob to work your way through the alphabet to get the town, street, etc, then push the knob to "enter" the date. This is not an activity for the driver while the car is moving.

I used the term elegant in describing the Acura RDX. Elegant in the sense of being a nice solution to the problem of redesigning what is already a very successful entry premium SUV. Acura did a good job.

2012 The Auto Page