By Duane Pemberton
The 2013 RDX has a few cool changes to the vehicle, the most obvious is the powerful V6 engine that really gets it up and moving in no time at all. This bonus, however, does come at a bit of a cost in the AWD system in that it goes from front-to-back and no longer side to side in regards to its ability to power the four wheels. That said, however, I feel it’s a good trade-off because most people will rarely take it off-road enough to notice any difference and the front-wheel-drive bias is going to be a better deal for your average driver.
Engine & Performance
- Base engine size: 3.5 L
- Cam type: Double overhead cam (DOHC)
- Cylinders: V6
- Valves: 24
- Valve timing: Variable
- Torque: 251 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm
- Horsepower: 273 hp @ 6200 rpm
- Turning circle: 39.0 ft.
- Base engine type: gas
- MSRP from $39,420<
- Basic: 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
- Drivetrain: 6 yr./ 70000 mi.
- Roadside: 4 yr./ 50000 mi.
The standard 6-speed automatic does have a “Sport mode” which does a pretty good job of holding the gears a lot more aggressively and compliments the paddle shifting rather well.
It’s a great-looking crossover SUV and I like the subtle changes to the front badge that Acura has implemented over the past few years – it looks better and more in-tune with the rest of the body styling.
18″ alloy wheels come standard on the AWD model and have a set of P235/60R18 all-season tires on them – the tires really do look well on the RDX and performed rather well in the inclement weather we tend to get so often here in the Seattle area.
Inside, Acura has a surround-sound audio system that features a 10-inch subwoofer that’s mounted in the rear cargo area. The overall sound quality is good but not near as good as it should or could be given its relative specs. I found that when I went to crank the volume up louder, it was difficult to get good bass-response and when I adjusted the bass to augment the music, it would get muddy-sounding.
I”d like to see Acura push more wattage to the subwoofer and perhaps go with a better audio partner who makes better drivers. Having said that, the technology in the entertainment system does have a ton of features such as DVD playback, surround sound, mp3/wma-encoded CD playback as well as bluetooth audio.
It’s synchronization with a cell phone is rather cool as well – in fact, it’ll display text messages on the center screen which means you don’t have to look at your phone while driving, everytime a message comes in. Of course, this could be a privacy concern as well if you have passengers in the car so you can disable it.
The bluetooth audio quality was also good – much better than other cars I’ve tested in this price range. Most folks I talked to had an easy time hearing me for the most part, however at certain freeways speeds, the road-noise did become a slight issue.
The seat comfort is another area I really enjoyed – firm yet subtle enough for longer drives with good support, the front seats were nearly spot-on. Since I didn’t get any time riding in the rear, I can’t comment too much other than to say there’s ample leg-room and they seemed pretty good based on my limited exposure to them.
There’s plenty of room in the rear cargo area – 26.1 cubic feet with all the seats in place and a whopping 76.9 when the seats are folded down.
Ride and handling were very good and some of the best I’ve had in its relative price bracket. Ride quality is very vehicle-appropriate – holds well around harder corning and doesn’t ever feel “tipsy” even though there’s quite a tall stance to this vehicle.
The RDX is a very nimble crossover that brings a healthy amount of power, versatility and technology at a price point that’s extreme competitive.
If you’re at all in the market for a new crossover SUV for the $40k-ish price range, then I’d highly recommend you get out and test drive one.