Acura’s RDX got a new engine and a new transmission in its redesign for model year 2013. The new drivetrain results in much better mileage, and all the smart technology you expect from Acura remains. The RDX, an entry-level midsize premium SUV, seats five comfortably and wins a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The RDX gets a boost of 33 horsepower from its new 3.5-liter V-6 engine, compared to the 2012’s 2.3-liter 4-cylinder. The V-6 also uses variable cylinder management, meaning three of the engine’s six cylinders are deactivated when less power is needed. The result is that the 2013 RDX has mileage estimates of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway for the AWD. It’s an increase of 5 mpg over the 2012 model. The front-wheel drive RDX gets one mpg better in the city and on the highway.

Our test RDX had the only optional package available: the Technology Package which adds the Acura Link Satellite Communications System, navigation with voice recognition and real time traffic and weather, a new 10-speaker sound system with 410 watts, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power operated rear hatch. Standard features include leather upholstery, pushbutton start and a backup camera.

The RDX has more passenger and cargo room, even though the vehicle is only an inch longer overall. The cabin is in what Acura calls a “dual personal cockpit” design with bucket seats up front and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat. With the second row seatbacks folded down, the RDX has 76.9 cubic feet of storage. The total passenger volume is 103.5 cubic feet. Though the RDX is midsized, it just feels bigger inside. And it’s got all the luxury you’d expect. Our test RDX was in the Crystal Black Pearl color with a cream colored leather interior.

The test vehicle was also equipped with an AWD drivetrain that is lighter and more sophisticated than the previous version. The 6-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift and paddle shifters on the steering wheel shifted smoothly throughout the range of gears. The transmission replaces the 5-speed on the previous model.

The ride in the RDX is refined and comfortable thanks primarily to a 4-wheel independent suspension. The electronic power steering was precise, but there was some body roll in hard cornering. Braking was excellent and the cabin was very quiet thanks to added insulation and other soundproofing.

When it comes to safety, the 2013 Acura RDX has received a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, garnering the IIHS top score of “good” in each category.

The redesigned 2013 Acura RDX with the Technology Package stickered at $39,420. Add $895 in destination charges and the bottom line was $40,315. Acura says the target audience for the RDX is young professionals in their 30s just starting families, but still wanting a sportier driving experience.


2013 Acura RDX

Engine: 3.5-liter V-6 with variable cylinder management

Transmission: AWD 6-speed automatic with sequential shifting

Horsepower: 273

Test model base price: $39,420

EPA mileage rating: 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway (AWD)