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Heels on Wheels - 2013 Acura RDX Review

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2013 Acura RDX Review

By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Acura RXD is a performance-minded small crossover, with the interior exuding an air of luxury not evident in now-trending competitors. This model year received a much-needed makeover featuring a whole new drivetrain, exterior design and interior arrangement.

I drove a 2013 Acura RDX with the standard 273-horspower 3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management matched to a six-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift and paddle shifters. Available in one model – without or without the Technology Package and all-wheel drive – my loaded RDX came with the following standard features: leather-trimmed sport seats; XM radio; USB audio interface; push-button start; ten-way driver’s power seat; heated front seats; Bluetooth; steering-wheel mounted controls; moonroof; and eighteen-inch alloy wheels. The Tech Package consists of Acura’s voice-recognizing navigation system, a ten-speaker upgrade audio system, a GPS-linked dual-zone climate control, a power tailgate, Xenon headlights and fog lights. Total vehicle price came to $40,315.

The RDX’s rebuild came in the nick of time, as performance hatchbacks like the Lexus CT200h and a more solid nemesis like the all-new Mazda CX-5 are emerging in great numbers and strength.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: The elongated and favorable new sleek design equates to added cargo space. Boasting a meatier build than most rivals, the new shape also helps the vehicle stand apart from the larger MDX. Inside, a well-appointed cabin decked with modern amenities uses higher quality materials – the two-tone dash and snug seats definitely do away with the lackluster feel-and-finish detected in later models. The navigation system is complex, but user friendly, delivering traffic updates and configuring destination changes in just a few turns and clicks from a magical master dial.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) delivered the RDX the highest ratings of “Good” in all crash-test areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet rated the vehicle. Standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Assist, an advanced airbag system, anti-lock brakes, ACE body structure, LATCH for child seats, side-impact door beams.

Cost Issues: Starting price for the RDX is $34,320 and climbs to my test drive price of $40,315. What I like about the RDX and Acura’s packages in general is that the options and costs are straightforward – and in the case of the Tech Package, highly recommended because each item brings daily use.

Activity & Performance Ability: The new V6 engine puts forth an undeniable sporty response, an agreeable replacement to the turbocharged four-cylinder, and with respectable fuel economy to boot. A new six-speed automatic transmission replaces a five-speed for smoother gear changes. I had previously sited the ride quality seeming harsh and constrained by a higher sense of gravity – now obsolete thanks to significant gains in handling refinement. .

The Green Concern: EPA-estimated fuel economy with the V6 engine is 20 miles-per-gallon city and 28 highway for 22 combined. The Variable Cylinder Management feature aids in gas conservation by shutting off cylinders in cruising speeds and using lower-friction pistons rings.

The 2013 Acura RDX’s new V6 engine delivers more power than its turbocharged predecessor, with an impressive fuel economy of 22 miles-per-gallon combined. High quality materials and overall stronger craftsmanship deliver better handling and passenger room potential.

2012 Katrina Ramser