Joe Duarte, Wade Ozeroff

2013 Acura RDX: engine upsizing

Acura goes big on features for small RDX

2013 Acura RDX: engine upsizing

Car Review

Overall rating:

7/10

Editor's Ratings:

  • Performance: 7/10

  • Price: 7/10

  • Comfort (front): 7/10

  • Consumption: 6/10

  • Look: 7/10

Acura goes big on features for small RDX

"Acura is bucking a trend among manufacturers by upsizing the engine from the four-cylinder turbo of the previous generation to a big V6."

Wade: The new RDX certainly rides better than the last one I drove, now that Acura has stretched the wheelbase. I won’t pretend to know what “amplitude reactive dampers” are, exactly, or that I could pick out their specific influence, but my tester rides smoothly and absorbs the bumps well - noticeably less ‘springy’ feeling in the cabin when jouncing over uneven pavement.

View available trims for the 2013 Acura RDX

Joe: I agree and it handles nicely too. I get the feeling of driving a really nicely hunkered down sport sedan very much like the TSX or the even the new ILX, except for being up higher above traffic (which I like – I get kinda claustrophobic in sporty coupes in traffic). Nice quiet cabin, too – spacious (at least for someone who’s not Hulk-ified) with comfortable seats and it keeps out a fair amount of noise while letting in little wisps of engine sound, especially under throttle, to contribute to a sporty ambience.

Wade: That it does, and the company keeps the sportiness alive underhood, too. Acura is kind of bucking a trend among manufacturers by upsizing the engine (from the four-cylinder turbo of the previous generation to a big V6), and that may cost them some economy-conscious buyers; but that sweet-six-sound and ample acceleration may fill the gap with new ones. So might the toning down of the old “Acura grille”, always one of my least-fave styling cues from this manufacturer.

Joe: I think upscale buyers are perhaps more willing to overlook excesses such as less-fuel efficient engines in favour of smoother cruising. Either way, it does as good a job as the previous turbo “four” in acceleration and even in fuel economy. I also like that they toned down the grille, though I find it’s still not a good nose job. I do like the balanced profile, though rear doors seem a tad small for bigger passengers to squeeze through. Acura did some good work around back, too, with the high spoiler fitting in very naturally. In fact, it almost mirrors the hood over the display screen at the top of the centre-stack in the dash. I don’t know if that was intentional.

Wade: “Access” is something that always comes up when people talk about mid-size utility vehicles, the ease of getting in and out. A lot people like an entrance that isn’t hard on the knees, and the rear seat roominess is actually a little more generous than upscale rival Lexus’ RX. The front row leaves the best impression, though. The driver’s seat in my tester was great, good fit and tailorable, and the dash and console is fascinating to look at, festooned as it is with buttons and switchgear, at least in the “Technology package” trim level.

Joe: I found the rear seats reasonably roomy, though I’m just under six feet tall, and there’s no knocking all that cargo space behind them - there’s almost room for another row of seats (though I’m glad Acura didn’t go there) but I’m disappointed a $275 cargo cover isn’t part of the cash outlay, seeing as you’re going to be spending over $40,000 just to buy in (never mind all the option packages).

Still, for 40-large, you do get a V6 engine, leather seating and Acura’s technological advancements, and that ain’t bad.

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Fact file

2013 Acura RDX

Price as tested (before taxes): $43,990

Options on test vehicle: Technology package ($3,000) inc.: nav system with voice recognition, premium audio system, climate control system, power tailgate.

Freight/PDI: $1,945

Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive

Engine/transmission: 3.5L V6/ 6-spd auto with sequential shift

Power/torque: 273 hp/ 251 lb.-ft.

Fuel (capacity): regular (60L)

Fuel economy ratings: 10.7 L/100km city; 7.3 L/100km hwy

Observed fuel economy (L/100km): 10.4 over 297 km (city); 9.4 over 875 (comb.)

Warranties: 4 years/80,000 km (basic); 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain)

Competitors: Audi Q5; BMW X3; Infiniti EX35; Lexus RX 350; Volvo XC60

Strengths: smooth ride; exterior looks; steering and handling; acceleration and braking

Weaknesses: fiddly controls; multilevel voice control interface