2013 Acura RDX

Change Year or Vehicle
$13,533–$23,737 Inventory Prices
SAVE
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
Compare
Back to top

Key Specs

of the 2013 Acura RDX. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • More power
  • Big mileage boost
  • Dashboard ergonomics

The Bad

  • Looks like a wagon
  • Backseat doesn't slide

Notable Features of the 2013 Acura RDX

  • First redesign since 2007
  • Seats five
  • New drivetrain
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Standard leather
  • Keyless access

2013 Acura RDX Road Test

David Thomas

The redesigned 2013 Acura RDX is better armed to win over shoppers — it's larger, lighter and more efficient — while offering an attractive value proposition.

Acura didn't have much success with the RDX in its previous incarnation. It was reasonably priced with a slew of standard features shoppers would want in a luxury SUV, but its quirky turbocharged engine and cramped confines were deal breakers.

The 2013 has been redesigned in a number of significant ways. Not only is it larger inside and out, it's lighter, features a different optional all-wheel-drive system and, most important, there's a standard V-6 engine under the hood that's more efficient.

Performance
There is a battle raging among luxury and mainstream automakers to figure out what type of engines should replace V-6 and V-8s as fuel efficiency becomes paramount in our age of more stringent regulations. Most thinking foresees turbocharged four-cylinders replacing V-6 engines and turbocharged, supercharged or hybrid V-6 power plants replacing V-8s.

Acura's last RDX was ahead of the game with its turbo four-cylinder, but not only did it deliver a somewhat herky-jerky driving experience, its fuel economy was below what many V-6s returned. And it required premium gas.

The 3.5-liter V-6 in the new RDX features cylinder deactivation, is teamed to a new six-speed automatic transmission and returns not only better power – 273 horsepower versus 240 hp — but also significa...

The redesigned 2013 Acura RDX is better armed to win over shoppers — it's larger, lighter and more efficient — while offering an attractive value proposition.

Acura didn't have much success with the RDX in its previous incarnation. It was reasonably priced with a slew of standard features shoppers would want in a luxury SUV, but its quirky turbocharged engine and cramped confines were deal breakers.

The 2013 has been redesigned in a number of significant ways. Not only is it larger inside and out, it's lighter, features a different optional all-wheel-drive system and, most important, there's a standard V-6 engine under the hood that's more efficient.

Performance
There is a battle raging among luxury and mainstream automakers to figure out what type of engines should replace V-6 and V-8s as fuel efficiency becomes paramount in our age of more stringent regulations. Most thinking foresees turbocharged four-cylinders replacing V-6 engines and turbocharged, supercharged or hybrid V-6 power plants replacing V-8s.

Acura's last RDX was ahead of the game with its turbo four-cylinder, but not only did it deliver a somewhat herky-jerky driving experience, its fuel economy was below what many V-6s returned. And it required premium gas.

The 3.5-liter V-6 in the new RDX features cylinder deactivation, is teamed to a new six-speed automatic transmission and returns not only better power – 273 horsepower versus 240 hp — but also significantly better fuel economy: 20/28 mpg city/highway versus 19/24 mpg. Premium is recommended to achieve those figures but isn't required.

On the road, power builds at a somewhat slower pace than the turbo generation provided, but it's a more consistent experience. Leaving a stoplight isn't as energizing, but accelerating onto a highway on-ramp or passing cars at highway speeds are easier maneuvers with the new V-6.

Steering is lighter than before. There's more body roll in tight turns; the brakes are not as grabby and the ride is softer. For performance fans, the RDX is definitely a step back from the previous model, but for the average car shopper, it is a huge step forward because the experience is more comfortable.

This is a competitive class with the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 aimed right at the RDX. Neither one is a dynamic performer with their base engines; the RDX has just one engine choice and competes on price with the lesser offerings from BMW and Volvo, so the RDX shines. It has more power and features than the XC60 at a similar price and costs significantly less than the BMW. Its mileage also bests the other two.

The optional all-wheel-drive system also has been changed. Instead of the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive from the 2012, a new, superlative-less system replaces it. Power can be shifted up to 50 percent to the rear wheels, but only when slippage is detected such as in bad weather. Otherwise, power is split 75/25 percent front/rear in normal acceleration, 90/10 when mild acceleration is needed to increase cruising speed and 100 percent to the front when cruising. This power split along with the system's reduced weight helps lift mileage numbers.

I've tested every player in this segment many times, including a new high-performance version of the XC60 the week prior to test-driving the RDX, and the Acura doesn't fall behind any of them as an overall performer.

Consumer Reports' overall reliability for the outgoing 2012 RDX received the publication's highest rating while the competition received average scores or below, with only the X3 getting an above-average grade.

Interior
The RDX has been redesigned from the engine and exterior styling to the interior confines. Most of the materials in the cabin resemble what was in the 2012, but the layout has been changed.

The dashboard is more distinctly separated from the center console that's between the driver and front passenger. There are also more contours to the dash, lush padding on the leather sections of the doors, and more curvaceous lines nearly everywhere. This adds a sense of luxury versus the hard-edged sports-themed cockpit of the previous generation.

The leather seats are exceptionally comfortable, with wide seat bottoms.

The rear seats have plenty of leg- and knee room for average-sized adults. Both front and rear legroom lead the class.

It was relatively easy for me to install child-safety seats for my two preschoolers, and they had an easy time getting in and out of the backseat.

I also liked the numerous cubbies and small cargo compartments in the RDX. For me, the most useful one was in the center console that sits in front of the cupholders. It holds the USB input and can fit a smartphone, wallet, sunglasses and keys easily while still allowing the cover to slide closed. This makes it a convenient storage place for trips to the beach or gym.

Cargo
How the RDX's cargo space measures up against the competition depends on whether the rear seats are folded or not. At 26.1 cubic feet behind the backseat, the RDX's cargo volume is below average in the class, falling behind the BMW X3, Volvo XC60 and Cadillac SRX at 27.6, 30.8 and 29.8 cubic feet, respectively. The RDX tops only the Mercedes-Benz GLK's 23.3 cubic feet.

I found it plenty large for my needs, which included a Costco run that filled the back with three 55-pound bags of potting soil and left enough room for food and other items. More important, the low load floor simplifies throwing in those large items.

Fold the rear seats down with levers by the liftgate and cargo room expands to 61.3 cubic feet, which is much more competitive. Only the X3 and XC60 top it at 63.3 and 67.4 cubic feet, respectively, and the rest fall short, even if just barely. The expanded cargo floor is also relatively flat, which is helpful when loading long items such as shelving.

While the numbers may not blow away the segment, Acura did improve the overall experience for hauling goods. The rear seats fold flat with one movement instead of having to flip the seat bottoms forward as in the previous model, and gone is the removable floor piece that doubled as a cargo cover yet was rarely used.

Features and Pricing
The RDX remains one of the more reasonably priced players in this segment with a starting price for the base front-wheel-drive model of $35,215 (including an $895 destination charge). That's up $1,435 from the outgoing model, however. You can compare the 2013 and 2012 models here.

Acura doesn't use traditional option packages or trim designations for most of its models, and the RDX is no different. If you choose to move up from the base model called simply "RDX," there are three choices: RDX AWD at $36,615, RDX with Technology Package at $38,915 or RDX AWD with Technology Package at $40,315.

Standard on all RDX models are keyless entry, push-button start, leather seats, heated front seats, a backup camera, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, 5-inch color display and 360-watt stereo with subwoofer.

The Technology Package adds a navigation system with 8-inch screen, voice-activated stereo and navigation controls, power liftgate, 410-watt 10-speaker premium sound system with 15 gigabytes of media storage, fog lights and xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights.

Safety
The 2013 Acura RDX is equipped with a standard suite of airbags and has earned Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn IIHS' highest rating, a car must get the highest score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests.

The federal government has not yet crash tested the 2013 Acura RDX.

RDX in the Market
The RDX had an advantage by being an early player in the small luxury crossover segment. That head start didn't lead to big sales, but taught Acura some lessons they've applied to the 2013.

Now that it is better aimed at the right type of shopper, Acura has no excuses if the RDX fails.

Send David an email  



2013 RDX Video

The previous-generation Acura RDX was such a competent hauler that Cars.com Managing Editor David Thomas recommended one to his mother-in-law, and she ended up purchasing one.

Latest 2013 RDX Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.2)
Value For The Money
(4.1)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Performance in a refined package

by Bfont from Bellnore NY on July 12, 2018

I have owned this car for 4 years and it has been my best vehicle yet. The performance and handling is that of a sports car yet it has excellent passenger and cargo room. Everyone raves about the ... Read full review

(3.0)

RDX rear shocks are a problem

by Mike S from Jackson, CA on June 29, 2018

I have a 2013 RDX with 29,000 miles. I purchased brand new so only owner. I perform all required MT at the intervals per the onboard system / manual. For the last few weeks there has been a dull thud ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2013 Acura RDX currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2013 Acura RDX Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Head Restraint
good
Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Acura

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, trip-interruption services, trip-planning services, emergency fuel delivery, emergency lockout service and Acura Concierge Service

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    1-year/12,000-mile non-powertrain warranty begins after expiration of original warranty (4 years/50,000 miles) or on date sold as certified (no deductible); 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty begins from the original in-service date (no deductible)
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 182 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

Change Year or Vehicle

0 / 0 0 Photos
0 / 0

Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The RDX received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker