May 23, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 11:58
Acura has made big improvements to its stylish RDX compact sport-utility vehicle for a relatively small price. At about $1,500 more than its 2012 predecessor, the 2013 RDX is smoother, quieter, more powerful and even more fuel-efficient.
Formerly powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a time when competitors were adding V-6s, the RDX now has a 273-horsepower V-6 linked to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission. Other improvements include a rear camera, included on all trim levels; an available power liftgate; and restyled exterior and interior.
We’ve liked the RDX since its model year 2007 introduction as a versatile, nicely proportioned, fuel-efficient, five-passenger crossover SUV, at a comparatively modest price. It exuded value and quality, and it didn‘t hurt that it was built in America. But the engine was a little more rough and noisy than one would expect in a premium-brand SUV. The competition in this sector hasn’t been resting on its laurels, so the redesign is welcome.
We mostly drove our RDX along Interstate 84 across Connecticut, and on back roads in the western part of the state. It was noticeably quieter and more refined than the RDX we drove in 2006. And it’s just as much fun to drive as its predecessor, handling corners crisply and responding vigorously to the throttle.
Our top-of-the-line RDX Tech with all-wheel drive was loaded with features, and while the sticker price wound up a little north of $40,000, one can knock $6,000 off that price by going for a less-well-equipped model. A front-wheel-drive Base RDX starts at $34,320.
The higher sticker price adds a navigation system with voice recognition and multi-view rear camera, AcuraLink communication system with real-time traffic and weather reports, upgraded sound system, automatic climate control, power liftgate, xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, and fog lights. The Base version is quite well equipped in its own right; standard features include XM radio, leather upholstery, power glass sunroof, and dual-zone climate control.
Front seating is roomy and plush. A six-foot-tall adult can sit comfortably in the back seat, even with the front seat pegged to the back of the tracks. Head room also is sufficient for tall passengers. The seat folds down easily, and it isn’t necessary to move the front seat forward to clear the front backrest. The cargo area, thus expanded to 77 cubic feet, is not flat, however.
Fuel economy is surprisingly good: 19 mpg in the city, 27 highway. We averaged a little better than 25. There’s one down side: Acura recommends using premium gasoline.
Past RDX’s have had better-than-average reliability, according to Consumer Reports magazine reader surveys. The new model has not undergone government crash testing but earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The RDX fits into a narrow yet well-populated niche — premium compact crossover SUV — but this well executed redesign puts it near the top of its class once again.
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6, 273 horsepower, 251 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic
Weight: 3,852 lb.
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, double wishbone rear
Ground clearance: 8.1 inches
Wheels: 18x7.5-inch alloy
Tires: P235/60R18 102V all-season
Seating capacity: 5
Luggage capacity: 26.1 cu. ft.
Maximum cargo capacity: 77 cu. ft.
Maximum towing capacity: 1,500 lb.
Fuel capacity: 16 gallons
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
Fuel type: premium unleaded
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