2013 Acura RDX Review
2013 Acura RDX Review
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Used RDX for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Strong yet fuel-efficient V6 engine, roomy cabin, generous standard features list.
- Some rivals are sportier or have a few more available features.
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.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2013 Acura RDX Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.53 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
RDX Technology Package
Avg. Midsize SUV
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
2013 Acura RDX models
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.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.25 out of 5 stars
Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
We purchased the new RDX AWD with Tech in early July and have just driven from Minnesota to Arizona. The vehicle is most everything we hoped it would be. We compared and drove most every compact suv and picked the RDX because we felt it was the best value for a well equipped suv. While the RDX is not the most nimble handling in its segment it is IMO the most comfortable. We averaged 28.6 … MPG on the trip, better than I hoped for. This car is a great road trip car, again comfortable, quiet w/ very little driver fatigue after hours behind the wheel. The smooth and plentiful power of the V6 was a joy in the mountains and passing. We like the car and would make the decision to buy [it again.
4.63 out of 5 stars
Awesome crossover for young family
Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
I've had an RDX for a month and all I can you won't regret a test drive. This is an awesome Crossover with performance on par to sport sedans. Those who say it's basically the same as the Honda CRV have no clue what they are talking about. For one thing, the V6 just shines...it instills confidence and I actually look forward to driving. Try drive up a hill in the RDX and you will … understand it's capabilities. Secondly the technology for value can't be beat. I recommend going for the technology package if you can afford it. You get a very convenient power lift gate and an awesome 410 watt sound system which plays music in all sorts of ways (CD, DVD-Audio, XM radio, Bluetooth, Ipod)
5 out of 5 stars
Hard to impress me!
Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
We bought this for my wife to drive. She was driving a 2012 Honda Pilot. In the past few years she has had a Honda CR-V, Lexus RX350 and a Honda Pilot. The comfort and quite has impressed us the most. I researched the 2013 RDX hard before we made our decision. Great choice. All of the websites said the the average price paid (TMV) for this model was a little over $37K. I was able to get … it just a little under $36K. I would compare this to a Lexus RX350, it's a little smaller, but about $9K less. Great decision....
5 out of 5 stars
My husband (BMW guy) wants my RDX!!
Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
This car is perfect! Traded my '07 MDX for better gas mileage and because I only used 3rd row twice last year. The RDX is so much better than the Lexus RX that I was considering. RX may have a few more options but the Lexus RX ride is "mushy" compared to the quick and nimble Acura RDX. My husband, who drives a BMW 535i, LOVES my RDX - he always wants to switch cars! The RDX is roomy yet … sporty; super smooth, agile and quick. We have 3 kids and they fit comfortably in the back seat (my oldest is 5'7"). I would have like one more option pkg (heated steering wheel, heated 2nd row seats, wood grain trim) but not a deal breaker. We are very happy for the value of the RDX for the price.
Features & Specs
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2013 Acura RDX
More About This Model
Musicians will tell you that the sophomore album effort is always the most challenging to tackle. When faced with the task of creating the 2013 Acura RDX, the second generation of the company's entry-level compact crossover, the company decided to tweak its genre from modern rock to something that takes a step toward smooth jazz.
The move makes sense, as the original RDX didn't quite resonate with the demographic for which it was intended. With the luxury of this hindsight, Acura is aiming the 2013 RDX at a more mature and mainstream buyer.
Six Cylinders Instead of Four
For starters, the powertrain has been completely overhauled. The outgoing RDX's 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder has been binned in favor of a normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6. Considering that many other automakers these days are going in the exact opposite direction with their powertrain strategy, this may sound like a curious move on Acura's part.
Fuel economy and drivability were the driving forces behind the decision. The turbo-4 lacked the direct-injection fuel system that would have enhanced its fuel-sipping potential, and its laggy-then-abrupt torque delivery conflicted with the 2013 RDX's mission of increased maturity. Though more frugal with fuel, the V6 still generates a healthy 251 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm and 273 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. For those keeping tabs, the new V6 gains 33 hp while giving up a slice of midrange torque to the turbo-4.
In our testing the 2013 Acura RDX ran to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds (6.2 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and completed the quarter-mile sprint in 14.7 seconds at 94.0 mph. This is robust thrust that places the RDX among the fleeter crossovers in its class. What's more, its speed is now accompanied by a crisp linearity at part-throttle that the previous turbo engine never exhibited. It's more natural-feeling, more... mature. There's that word again.
Improved Fuel Economy
The V6 packs some fuel-saving tricks that help earn the 2013 Acura RDX a provisional 20/28 mpg for FWD models and 19/27 for AWD variants, figures that are up from 19/24 and 17/22 respectively. One of those tricks is cylinder deactivation — the V6 will shut down two or three cylinders depending on driving conditions.
In practice the system is seamless, something you never hear or feel while driving, probably because the RDX's active engine mount and the cabin's active noise cancellation system are doing their jobs. We put a few tankfuls of fuel through our tester and netted 22 mpg in mixed driving, which is dead-smack on its combined EPA number.
Another fuel-saving move that also improves drivability is the additional cog in the automatic transmission, bringing the total to six. The new six-speed autobox allowed the powertrain engineers more flexibility in gear ratio selection and spread. Notably, the steering wheel has sprouted paddle shifters, which are useful devices even in everyday driving — like when you want to summon engine braking.
Further fuel economy improvement was gleaned by the switch from hydraulic power steering to electric power steering. A bit of heft has been lost in the transition, but that's probably the right move considering the RDX's shift in mission. Nevertheless, the 2013 RDX's tiller is still sharp, and it helps make the wagon drive more nimbly than its 3,821-pound curb weight suggests.
Simpler All-Wheel-Drive System
Gone is the outgoing RDX's handling-enhancing SH-AWD system, replaced with a simpler AWD system that's lighter and cheaper — AWD is now a $1,400 option rather than $2,000. The new system — largely carried over from the Honda CR-V — may be more pedestrian, but it, too, provides strides on the fuel economy front by decoupling drive to the rear wheels when it's not needed.
Despite the loss of SH-AWD and the freakish agility it conferred, the new RDX still handles with alertness and composure. In the slalom the 2013 Acura RDX turned out a tidy 64.6-mph result despite moderate 0.79g grip from its 235/60 all-season Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires. In our braking tests the RDX reached a halt from 60 mph in 128 feet.
The new RDX's ride quality is noticeably less busy than that of the outgoing trucklet, while still doing a fine job of controlling body roll. Acura credits new dual-piston dampers with integrated rebound springs that mechanically provide travel-dependent damper force — the idea here is to skew both ends of the age-old ride-handling trade-off, making both better. You know, to make it more capable. Bet you thought we were going to say "mature," right?
Quite Pleasant, Really
Strides in refinement are evident when you slide into the seat. From the low levels of road and wind noise to the glove-soft leather on the seats and steering wheel, the RDX is an eminently pleasant place in which to spend time. There's a greater sense of space in the cabin, too, though the actual dimensional gains are rather modest. Still, airiness is welcome whether it's illusory or not.
Its face adopts a corporate, mini-MDX look that's more cohesive than the, uh, amphibious first-gen RDX. The proportions are balanced and the styling clean, if on the anonymous side, which is no bad thing considering some of the truly odd styling flourishes we've seen come out of Acura's design studio in recent years.
Acura didn't quite hold the line on pricing, of course, as base prices rise slightly over the outgoing model. Front-wheel-drive versions of the 2013 model increase by $1,425 to $35,215 with destination, while AWD models start at $36,615, an increase of $825. Notable standard features include a back-up camera, heated seats and keyless entry.
At the pointy end of the pricing spectrum is our fully loaded all-wheel-drive tester equipped with the Technology package at $40,315. Crossing the $40K threshold with an entry-level compact SUV is a bold psychological move on Acura's part, but at least there's a comprehensive list of equipment in the deal — the Technology package grants access to nav, a power liftgate, HID headlights, premium sound and a few other items.
The new RDX successfully achieves its objectives. From its improved fuel economy to the smoother ride quality, enhanced refinement and linear power delivery, the 2013 Acura RDX is far better equipped to take on its crossover rivals.
It may be fashionable to poo-poo any decision involving the de-sport-ification of a vehicle, but it is hard to find fault with the logic behind Acura's alterations to the RDX formula. Better still is that the end product, the 2013 RDX, is a wholly accomplished and enjoyable result.
Growing up isn't so hard after all. Keep the Kenny G to yourself, though.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2013 Acura RDX Overview
The Used 2013 Acura RDX is offered in the following submodels: RDX SUV. Available styles include Technology Package 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Technology Package 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A). Pre-owned Acura RDX models are available with a 3.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 273 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2013 Acura RDX comes with all wheel drive, and front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2013 Acura RDX comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 6 yr./ 70000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2013 Acura RDX?
Price comparisons for Used 2013 Acura RDX trim styles:
- The Used 2013 Acura RDX Technology Package is priced between $17,990 and$23,998 with odometer readings between 41023 and112677 miles.
- The Used 2013 Acura RDX Base is priced between $16,500 and$24,990 with odometer readings between 25386 and104597 miles.
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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Acura RDX for sale near. There are currently 32 used and CPO 2013 RDXS listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $16,500 and mileage as low as 25386 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Acura RDX.
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Should I lease or buy a 2013 Acura RDX?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.