First Drive: 2013 Acura RDX reviews luxury cars first drives acura
2013 Acura RDX. Click image to enlarge
More Acura RDX reviews at Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Acura Canada

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Photo Gallery:
2013 Acura RDX

Scottsdale, Arizona – The all-new 2013 Acura RDX is a complete departure from the model it replaces, representing a shift toward a target market that favours more luxury, more utility, and more conventional styling.

Gone is the previous generation RDX’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine, its performance-oriented sport suspension, edgy lines and that model’s somewhat compact dimensions. Gone, too, is the excellent Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system still found in the Acura MDX SUV and the TL and RL sedans.

However, the new version should prove more popular with a broader range of consumers.

Starting at $40,990, the 2013 Acura RDX is larger, more aerodynamic, offers increased power with reduced fuel consumption, and according to Darryl Matsushita, Product Planner for Acura Canada, these are the attributes that most resonate with its intended buyers.

First Drive: 2013 Acura RDX reviews luxury cars first drives acura
2013 Acura RDX. Click image to enlarge

Who are those buyers? The so-called DINKs (dual-income, no kids) and empty-nesters (baby boom couples whose children are grown and gone) represent the main groups for whom the new RDX has been developed.

“The key objectives of the RDX,” says Mr. Matsushita, “are to build on the previous generation RDX and ensure that it’s stylish and sexy.” The RDX will represent what Acura calls “Smart Luxury,” which translates as having a compact size with midsize utility and excellent fuel economy.

Replacing the last generation’s turbo-four is Acura’s 3.5L V6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The engine makes 273 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. It is estimated to return 10.7/7.3 L/100 km, city/highway using premium fuel. While making 33 more horsepower than the previous model, it consumes 1.0 L/100 km less fuel in the city and 1.3 L/100 km less on the highway. It is also quieter and smoother in operation.

In contrast to manufacturers who are using direct injection and turbocharging to boost power and reduce fuel consumption, Acura’s RDX V6 engine imperceptibly switches between six-, four-, and three-cylinder operation to optimize fuel efficiency, depending on driving conditions and style. In addition, the use of low viscosity engine oil (0W-20), improved aerodynamics, low-rolling-resistance tires, a redesigned fuel pump, and electronic power-assisted steering contribute to the impressive fuel consumption numbers.

First Drive: 2013 Acura RDX reviews luxury cars first drives acura
2013 Acura RDX. Click image to enlarge

The 2013 Acura RDX features increased body rigidity, revised suspension geometry, and a revised “floating” subframe. The wheelbase is extended by 35 mm, and overall height is lowered by 5 mm. Despite increased ride height, it has a lower centre of gravity, and its amplitude-reactive dampers (dual piston) improve ride comfort.

According to Acura Canada, passenger volume and front/rear legroom are now at class-topping levels. The rear cargo area has an opening that has increased by 165 mm in width over the outgoing model, and ground clearance has increased significantly to 205 mm from the previous model’s car-like 158 mm.

The 2013 RDX comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system it shares with the 2013 Honda CR-V. It adjusts from a ratio of 100:0 percent (front:rear) to 50:50 percent front:rear, depending on requirements. There is no low-range gearing, and the RDX has a maximum towing capacity of 680 kg (1,500 lb.).

The new RDX is designed to provide agile handling with a high quality ride and class-leading road and cabin noise levels. The latter is achieved via thicker side glass, active noise control, higher density carpet and hood lining, additional dampening materials throughout the vehicle and the above-mentioned floating front subframe.

Connect with Autos.ca