2013 Acura RDX Prototype: Up Close

The 2013 Acura RDX at the auto show was called a prototype, but in Honda parlance that means it's essentially done. (Most of its concepts are almost done.) For a complete redesign, it doesn't deliver much change.

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In terms of its styling, I just had déjà vu. The Acura RDX five-seat crossover is similar to the BMW 3 Series I reported on earlier: It's a model from a company whose designs have gone astray, but the RDX itself hadn't seen the worst of it (that would be the Acura TL sedan until its redo for 2012). The RDX had gotten the silver shield grille but otherwise retained a handsome, sporty look.

The 2013 design looks blander to me, more like a large wagon — and I'm someone who likes wagons. It has a smaller shield grille, but it's hard to tell how well it works against the prototype's silver paint.

I got inside looking for inspiration, and I found good quality, a swoopier dashboard design and a tidier center control panel. All good — just not something that will make shoppers stand up and take notice.

The backseat is reasonably roomy, but in redesigns I've come to expect a backseat that slides fore and aft, or at least has a reclining backrest, for better apportioning of passenger and cargo room. The RDX has neither at this stage.

As we reported separately, the RDX is expected to address one of its historical failings — marginal gas mileage — and will add a number of modern features. There's a lot for the head here; just not much for the heart.

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