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Used 2013 Acura RDX SUV Review

2013 Acura RDX SUV

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Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Acura RDX SUV

  • More power, better fuel economy and a fresh look make the 2013 Acura RDX a solid choice for a premium small crossover.

  • Pros

    Strong yet fuel-efficient V6 engine, roomy cabin, generous standard features list.

  • Cons

    Some rivals are sportier or have a few more available features.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the Acura RDX is fully redesigned, getting a new look, a new engine, a roomier interior, improved fuel economy and a revised all-wheel-drive system.

    2013 Acura RDX Video Review

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Acura RDX SUV

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Acura RDX is fully redesigned, getting a new look, a new engine, a roomier interior, improved fuel economy and a revised all-wheel-drive system.


The 2013 Acura RDX gets a complete overhaul in an effort to provide wider appeal and better efficiency. A naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine replaces the former turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder, and it provides more power along with improved fuel economy. Although the old turbo-4 was a spirited performer -- it made 240 horsepower -- it didn't provide the fuel economy and refinement one might expect.

By contrast, the new V6 version makes 273 hp, yet earns EPA estimates of 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined (front-wheel-drive version), compared to the 19/24/21 ratings of last year's RDX with the smaller engine. The roomier, more powerful and better-performing RDX accomplishes this impressive feat via various fuel-saving measures such as cylinder deactivation while cruising and a new six-speed automatic that replaces the old five-gear unit.

The all-wheel-drive version of the new RDX uses the system from Honda's CR-V, retuned by Acura for better performance. Acura says the new AWD system is lighter and costs less than the outgoing SH-AWD system offered in the previous RDX. It's probably a smart move on Acura's part, although the enhanced handling capabilities provided by SH-AWD that helped the RDX stand out in this segment might be missed by more serious driving enthusiasts.

That switch to a simpler AWD system is another indication of the different tack the 2013 Acura RDX takes. Though the newer RDX loses some sporty flavor in terms of ultimate cornering prowess, it gains significantly more in the way of ride refinement, cabin ambience and luxury features. The new styling strikes us as an improvement over its more generic predecessor, with a cleaner grille and a more sculpted body that's highlighted by a slightly tapered greenhouse. Our previous gripe that the RDX lacked a few key luxury features has been largely addressed, as keyless ignition/entry and a power liftgate, for example, are now available.

Thanks to this shift in focus that brought so many key improvements along with a pleasant driving demeanor, the 2013 Acura RDX finds itself in good standing in a very competitive segment. There's a lot of traditional Acura value here, too, with the RDX providing more cargo space along with some standard luxury features -- such as a power sunroof, heated front seats and keyless ignition/entry -- that cost extra on more expensive rivals. But if the RDX's suite of talents doesn't quite match your desires, we also highly recommend the stylish Audi Q5, the sporty BMW X3, the feature-packed Cadillac SRX and the family-friendly Volvo XC60.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Acura RDX small luxury crossover SUV is available in two trim levels; base and base with Technology package. Each is available with front- or all-wheel drive.

Standard features include 18-inch wheels, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, automatic headlights, a rearview camera, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), heated front seats, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, Pandora radio interface, an iPod/USB audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Technology package adds xenon headlights, foglights, a power liftgate, a navigation system (with real-time traffic and weather), GPS-linked and solar-sensing automatic climate control, and a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound audio system with 15GB of music storage.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering the 2013 Acura RDX is a 3.5-liter V6 with 273 hp and 251 pound-feet of torque. Power comes through a six-speed automatic transmission, and there is a choice between standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.

In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive RDX accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is quick for cars in this class. In terms of fuel economy, the RDX is quite good for its class, with the EPA rating the front-drive RDX at 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined. The AWD version drops slightly to 19/27/22.


The 2013 Acura RDX comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. A rearview camera is standard as well. In Edmunds brake testing, an all-wheel-drive RDX came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, a few feet longer than average for this class.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RDX the highest possible score of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the latest RDX is a notable improvement over the previous generation. A dual-cockpit dash design along with the use of higher-quality materials and two-tone dash/upholstery color schemes spices things up considerably. The RDX's various high-tech convenience features, including the navigation system, are user-friendly, while the powerful uplevel sound system should please most audiophiles with its clarity and separation.

Seat comfort front and rear is very good, with firm, supportive cushions and plenty of head- and legroom. At 38.3 inches, rear legroom is impressive and more like what you'd find in a larger crossover. In terms of cargo capacity, the RDX provides 26 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats. Folding them down affords 61 cubic feet. Both capacities are about average for this class.

Driving Impressions

Along with its stronger performance (about a half-second quicker to 60 mph) and higher fuel economy, the V6 in the 2013 Acura RDX also provides smoother, more linear response than the old turbo-4 setup. Fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology, which can shut down two or even three cylinders while cruising under light load conditions, is seamless in action -- we never heard or felt it during our time with the RDX.

Though it's not quite as sharp on a twisty road as its sometimes rough-riding forebear, the latest RDX still changes direction in fine fashion with minimal body roll and a precise, if light, feel to the steering. Indeed, despite the loss of SH-AWD and the freakish agility it conferred, the new RDX still handles with ample alertness and composure. On the open highway, the increased refinement is obvious in the lower levels of road and wind noise and its relaxed demeanor.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 68 reviews) Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Extremely underrated

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Acura RDX

2013 model passenger seat is non adjustable. No back seat air vents. Light and nimble for its size. Looking for a 2016 now.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sensible luxury at an affordale price

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Acura RDX

Drive the RDX -- it handles well and is appointed like cars costing much more... and it hold sits value as well. We have enjoyed driving it.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Buy a lexus instead!

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Acura RDX

I have owned this car for 1 1/2 years. Soon after purchasing had to have the back shocks replaced (under warranty). The dealer claimed to know nothing about shock problems but the other 4 people that I personally know that have this car have had to have their shocks replaced as well, some more than once. Recently my A/C quit working without incidence or warning. When I called the dealer where I purchased the car I was told "maybe a pebble jumped up and put a hole in your condenser". I dismissed this as very unlikely as I had never heard of such a thing in my 40 years of driving nor did I hear, see or run over anything. Well he was right and since caused by road debris would not honor the warranty. Repair $750. I researched this issue and found that Honda/ Acura had a previous class action suit settled in 2010 for 38.5 Million FOR THE EXACT SAME PROBLEMS!!!!!! Suit claimed placed where road debris can hit it easily and thin metal was used. Said "Parts that fail and they know it". My husband called Acura Customer Service which is apparently a joke. Explained we owned a Honda Pilot and CRV previously and purchased the RDX and TSX to upgrade to a premium car. Again a joke. They refused to fix under warranty or even discount the repair at all. Apparently no concern that we have purchased 4 vehicles. NOT ANYMORE!!!! They apparently are still having A/C condenser failing issues. Any of you Attorneys want a class action?

8 of 18 people found this review helpful

Do not buy this car

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Acura RDX

I don't know where to start. Interior cheap. GPS is the worst-does not even recognize state roads. Also the entry of data into this system takes impossibly long time. I have reverted to using Google maps. Voice activation- throw it out the window- does not understand a single command from someone with no accent at all. Loud interior on the road- you hear all road noise. Cant even hear people on the bluetooth on the highway because car is so loud. Bought this car brand new and wish I never drove it off the lot. My husband has 2008 TL and his GPS is more knowledgeable than mine. And, with only 30K miles on it, it already has a knock with all regular maintenance performed as scheduled.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

My 2013 rdx tech

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Acura RDX

I've had my 2013 RDX since January, purchased used with 30K, got a great deal and it looked brand new. Prior to my Acura I had a Honda Accord V6, amazing car, then purchased a 2008 Lexus IS250 and what a nightmare! Car was beautiful, eye catching, but at 30K engine oil rings and pistons needed to be replaced, car was burning oil, fortunately all covered by Lexus! Once the car hit 100K and after several repairs it was time to unload and get back into a reliable Honda/Acura! My next car will be an Acura again! As I read reviews people complain about this attractive SUV, what most people don't see if the reliability of Acura's and overall value!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Ho hum

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Acura RDX

Just got rid of the Acura RDX and got and infinity QX50 with Navigation, loaded for $50 a month less than the Acura. The RDX in my mind was a Honda CRV, same tiny display that looked exactly like the Honda, the blue tooth was terrible (I came out of a TL) and it was a step backwards. The Infinity is more comfortable, better equipped and truth be told, while Acura is a step above others in a buying experience sense, the Infinity is in a class above, really first rate. I would have considered the MDX but it was way over priced. Sorry to leave Acura but honestly they have changed as a car company in my mind. The QX50 is a much better car as far as I am concerned.

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Read more about the 2013 Acura RDX

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Acura RDX Suv in VA is:

$55.50 per month*

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