he Acura RDX was always a different kind of a car.
T Designed to provide great performance and superb handling, the previous generation RDX was perhaps a bit too aggressive in its approach to maximize performance while somewhat compromising comfort and luxury.
The turbocharged engine and European-like handling provided immense driving pleasure for a SUV, but this dynamic package did not deliver as much "luxury value" to traditional, upscale SUV customers who were more drawn to softer, smoother riding vehicles such as the Lexus RX 350.
For 2013, Acura decided that it was time for it to become "more mature." The redesigned 2013 RDX features refinements to every aspect to the vehicle. The exterior lines are softer, the interior is more plush, the drivetrain is smoother and the engine is more powerful yet more efficient. Most important of all, the new RDX looks and feels much more expensive.
The revamped 2013 RDX did away with the 240-hp, 2.3-litre turbocharged inline four and replaced it with a 273-hp, 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 that's already widely used in the Acura lineup. It's mated to a new six-speed automatic transmission which gets 10.7L/100km in the city and 7.3L/100km on the highway, which is a vast improvement over the 2012 number; 12.4L/100km city, 9.8L/100km highway.
The new V6 is much more refined cruising around town and handles highway curves comfortably, though it does not have the sportiness of the previous model. The suspension is softer and smoother, but the only disappointment is the steering feel, which - while accurate in its ability to track the road - is light and somewhat artificial.
Even though the actual amount of added interior space is not that much, the interior feels more spacious.
The spacy feel is consistent throughout, as legroom and headroom is plentiful for the average adult in the rear seats.
While the luxuries are nice, the RDX is still a functional SUV and needs to fulfill the utility portion of the title. The rear door opens high, offering sufficient head clearance, and the 739 litres of cargo space allows you to carry more than average SUVs in this category.
The rear seats split 60/40 and fold down to increase the space to 2,178 litres.
The 2013 RDX starts at $42,935 with an available Technology Package adding $3,000 to the asking price.
Standard equipment includes: four-wheel ABS with EBD and brake assist; front and side curtain airbags with rollover sensor; tire pressure monitoring system with location and pressure indicators; Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control; eight-way power adjustable driver seat; four-way adjustable front passenger seat; heated front seats; five-inch colour information display; dual-zone automatic climate control system; Bluetooth with steering wheel-mounted controls, SMS text message function, and rearview camera. The Technology Package adds an eight-inch LED backlit VGA display; navigation system with Voice Recognition; 410watt premium audio system, GPS-linked; solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system and power tailgate.
Quality interior materials, easy-to-use electronics and improvements under the hood make the 2013 Acura RDX vastly superior over its predecessor.
The changes to the engine and transmission may be welcome, but the new electric steering lacks feedback.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The new RDX represents a marked improvement over the previous model.
It now represents a great "luxury value" that could really hurt the competitors' sales.