The Acura RDX hasn't been with us all that long - debuting in 2006 - but it's already been treated to its first comprehensive redesign for the 2013 model year. The 2013 Acura RDX compact crossover not only sports a new look but it also feels different from behind the wheel thanks to a number of changes that have been made under the skin. Even passengers will pick up on the RDX's altered interior styling as well as its re-tuned ride, changing the identity of the small SUV and giving it a new shot at switching up its buyer demographic.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Acura RDX.
01. The 2013 Acura RDX Offers Fresh Styling
The 2013 Acura RDX has traded in some, but not all of the youth-oriented creases and angles in its sheet metal in order to emerge as a more 'mature-looking' compact crossover. Whereas before the RDX made prominent use of the brand's large, shield-inspired front grille, this particular feature has now been toned down, giving the SUV a less attention-grabbing first impression. That being said, despite pushing more towards the styling language used on the vehicle's larger Acura MDX sibling, the RDX is still very recognizable as the entry-level member of the luxury brand's family vehicle lineup.
02. The 2013 Acura RDX Provides A Brand-New Engine
Perhaps the single biggest change made to the 2013 Acura RDX platform was the decision to jettison last year's turbocharged, four-cylinder motor and replace it with a V-6. The new Acura RDX comes with a 3.5-liter, six-cylinder mill that churns out a very healthy 273 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, delivered with much less drama - and buzz - compared to the engine that came before it. The new engine is also considerably more powerful, adding 33 horses in order to make up for a small drop in overall torque. Putting it all together, the 2013 model is slightly faster in the sprint to 60-mph (accomplished in just a tick over six seconds) with a top speed of 135-mph.
03. The 2013 Acura RDX Offers Improved Fuel Economy
The new engine found under the hood of the 2013 Acura RDX isn't just more robust - it's also more fuel efficient. While it might seem unusual for Acura to add an extra two cylinders to the crossover's total count, in contravention of the industry's current direction towards smaller motors, the move paid off in the form of an additional four miles per gallon on the highway and a single mile per gallon in stop and go driving. The secret? The V-6 comes with a built-in cylinder de-activation feature that helps reduce fuel use during steady-state cruising, and the vehicle's six-speed automatic transmission has been reprogrammed in order to emphasize efficiency.
04. The 2013 Acura RDX Swaps SH-AWD For A More Traditional System
Another factor working in favor of the 2013 Acura RDX's improved fuel economy was the choice made by the automaker to eliminate SH-AWD from the options sheet. The vehicle's new all-wheel drive system is shared with the Honda CR-V, and while it might lack the torque-vectoring capability of the 2012 RDX's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, it is significantly lighter and less complicated, helping to contribute to lower overall fuel consumption. The new all-wheel drive system is capable of distributing as much as 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels should a loss of traction be detected, and it operates much like a front-wheel drive system during regular driving.
05. The 2013 Acura RDX Comes With A Roomy Interior
The 2013 Acura RDX is now larger in almost every dimension, and this includes its wheelbase where it gains 2.6 inches. The RDX's more spacious interior provides modest but noticeable upgrades in shoulder and legroom for vehicle occupants, especially for those riding in the second row of the five-passenger crossover where 38.3 inches of legroom await. A 26 cubic foot 'trunk' is available between the rear seatback and the vehicle's hatch opening, and folding down the back row opens up a competitive 61 cubic feet of total cargo space - putting the RDX on par with its rivals.
06. The 2013 Acura RDX Is Available In A Single Trim Level
The 2013 Acura RDX comes in a single trim level that is generously equipped. All versions of the Acura RDX offer a sunroof, HID headlights, power adjustments for both the driver and front passenger, leather upholstery, seat heaters for the first two positions, a sound system that includes satellite radio, a six-CD changer and an iPod interface, and Bluetooth connectivity. Dual automatic climate control and cruise control are also included with the crossover, as is a tilt and telescoping steering column. On the outside, the RDX features 18-inch rims, tinted windows, fog lights, and heaters for its side view mirrors.
07. The 2013 Acura RDX Is Available With The Technology Package
A single upgrade package is offered with the 2013 Acura RDX. Called the Technology Package, this group of features provides both comfort and safety items, bundling a rearview camera with items such as a navigation system, Acura's ELS surround sound audio system, a larger center screen for accessing entertainment and communications features, and automatic weather and traffic updates. The Technology Package also installs one of the most unique Acura features: a climate control system that keeps track of the sun's position in the sky relative to the SUV in order to selectively heat and cool different sides of the vehicle to compensate for its rays.
08. The 2013 Acura RDX Is Very Safe
The 2013 Acura RDX has been packed with protective technologies of both the active and the passive variety. The RDX features front side airbags, forward airbags, active front head restraints designed to help prevent whiplash, and side curtain airbags that extend along the length of the crossover's entire passenger compartment in the event of a serious impact or rollover. The Acura RDX also comes with electronic stability control, electronic traction control, the option of a rearview camera (with the Technology Package), and a brake assist feature that can automatically enhance the amount of braking force exerted by the vehicle during an emergency stop.
09. The 2013 Acura RDX Emphasizes Ride Comfort
By moving the 2013 Acura RDX away from its previous performance focus, the brand has been able to improve the crossover's comfort out on the road by a considerable degree. New shocks and springs have been installed which don't offer quite the same level of precise handling as the 2012 version of the SUV, but they certainly do a better job of insulating riders from the jarring effects of rough pavement. The 2013 Acura RDX also features a higher level of sound deadening that makes for a more quiet interior, and the power delivery of its V-6 engine is vastly more linear than the turbocharged four-cylinder that it replaces.
10. The 2013 Acura RDX Offers Value In A Crowded Class
There was a time when the 2013 Acura RDX (MSRP $34,320) was aimed squarely at compact crossovers like the BMW X3 (MSRP $38,500) and the Infiniti EX (MSRP $35,800), vehicles that are intended to balance utility with a sporty ride. Given it's new focus on comfort, however - and its increase in power - the Acura RDX is more competitive when shopped against the Mercedes-Benz GLK (MSRP $35,880) and the Audi Q5 (MSRP $35,600). This is especially true when taking into account the fact that the RDX offers more standard features at a lower price when compared to its Teutonic rivals.