With an all-new 2013 RDX, Acura aims to change its target from the young male professional with a sports-crossover complex to the pre- and post-child couple. Along the way, it gets better gas mileage, better ride quality, a better interior, and mildly updated looks. Accordingly, Motor Authority rates the 2013 RDX at 7 out of 10 possible points.
The looks may be somewhat too close to the Honda CR-V for some, but the RDX looks like its own vehicle to our eye--and it looks similar to, but better than--fresher than--the previous RDX. Well-proportioned and more finely detailed, it's almost a shrunk-down MDX. That's a good thing.
Inside, the RDX is more mature, less boy-racer, with fewer plastic swoops (though still more than we'd like) and more matte-surfaced, well-built panels and improved (standard) leather seating.
Under the hood lies a 273-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine, replacing the 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder of the previous RDX. Where the last-gen RDX's engine was torquey, whooshy, and a bit unrefined, the new V-6 is smooth, linear, and much more suited to its role in a near-luxury crossover. It also nabs about 5 mpg more highway mileage than its predecessor, though the EPA hasn't yet released official estimates.
Ride quality and handling are improved vastly over the last RDX, which had a brittle, harsh quality that seemed an effort to convince the driver it was "sporty" when in reality it was just uncomfortable. A new twin-piston damper system has smoothed out the typical commute to segment-leading levels, while still providing just as much curvy-road fun when desired. It's a simple but elegant solution that really works.
The RDX is a compact luxury crossover, not a mid-size and certainly not a full-size. This becomes clear when you start trying to stuff multiple people and their gear inside. It's a comfortable environment for four adults; five is a squeeze, and the cargo area will hold just a bit more than your average sedan's trunk until you fold down the rear seats. It's for couples, not families.
On the safety front, the NHTSA and IIHS haven't yet tested the 2013 RDX, but the 2012 model did fairly well in IIHS testing. Standard safety equipment including front, side, and side curtain airbags, plus stability and traction control, with available all-wheel drive give us confidence the RDX is as safe as most any other crossover.
For the full details on the 2013 Acura RDX, be sure to visit the full review at The Car Connection