Acura Automobiles: 2013 RDX


The market for personal sized SUVs has been increasing in popularity in the last few years. Based on current economic conditions and changing consumer preference, small is becoming big in the eyes of today’s consumers. With the all-new 2013 RDX, Acura once again offers the right product at the right time.

The Acura RDX burst on to the Sport Utility Vehicle scene in 2007. Upon its debut, the RDX 5-passenger crossover SUV generated excellent reviews and strong praise. Never content with “well enough”, Acura engineers set out to develop a whole new RDX for 2013. The latest RDX significantly ups the game with its all new looks, a new engine, a new transmission and even a new all-wheel-drive system. The RDX exterior incorporates a sleek (more aerodynamically efficient) body and chassis updates abound in the form of a longer wheelbase with increased track, all-new Amplitude Reactive Dampers and a new motion adaptive electronic power steering system. Copious use of technology has always been key with Acura vehicles, and the 2013 RDX provides even more driver relevant technology features than before. Smart luxury has long been a tenet for Acura, and the new RDX delivers this in spades.

Inside the 2013 RDX, occupants will appreciate a new interior design along with the luxurious materials. New sweeping shapes, matte surface trim and generous use of leather combine to give the RDX interior an upscale look and luxury feel that Acura customers have come to expect. When driving, the rich interior materials, abundant use of noise insulation materials and numerous high-tech appointments (such as Active Noise Control) team to provide an exceptionally quiet cabin. Features such as larger door openings, more passenger room, larger cargo volume and a new power rear tailgate make the RDX interior even more accommodating for owners who are on the go.

Passenger safety has always been a cornerstone with every Acura model and the 2013 RDX employs new design features and numerous high strength materials aimed specifically at occupant protection. As a result, top scores in government (NHTSA) and independent (IIHS) crash testing* are expected.

*The 2013 RDX had not been crash tested as of March 2012. However, Acura expects that the RDX will receive a 5-STAR Overall Vehicle Score in governmental (NHTSA) NCAP testing and achieve GOOD ratings in all tests performed by the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


The original RDX heavily targeted young professionals who were early in their career, without kids, who participated in a very active lifestyle, and who preferred a vehicle with a decidedly sport-minded driving characteristic. For 2013, the RDX target buyer has shifted to a slightly older (early 30s versus late 20s) driver that is married and soon approaching parenthood. In addition, the target buyer will likely be well into their career and have a higher household income ($125,000 versus $100,000) than the previous RDX target buyer. The RDX target buyer still values a sport minded driving character but also prioritizes increased comfort (with strong emphasis on premium interior appointments) and increased utility.


The Entry Premium SUV segment is relatively new and is populated by a small group of vehicles including the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infinity EX35, Mercedes GLK350, Volkswagen Tiguan and Volvo XC60. This vehicle segment is expected to grow significantly in the next few years and the 2013 RDX positions Acura strongly within it— with its host of unique and attractive features.

Powertrain features

  • 3.5-liter SOHC V-6 engine
  • 273 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm
  • Variable Cylinder Management™ with Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (iVTEC®) for intake and exhaust valves
  • Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission
  • AWD with Intelligent Control (available feature)
  • EPA estimated* city/highway/combined fuel economy: 20/28/23 mpg (2WD); 19/27/22 mpg (AWD)
  • EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions compliance

*Based on 2013 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

Body CHASSIS features

  • Unit body structure with extensive use of high-strength steel
  • Independent front suspension with MacPherson struts
  • Independent rear suspension with multi-link design
  • Amplitude Reactive Dampers
  • Motion Adaptive Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
  • 18×7.5-inch split 5-spoke aluminum wheels with P235/55R18 all-season tires
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Projector beam front headlights with halogen bulbs
  • Heated outside mirrors with integrated directional turn indicators, Reverse gear tilt-down function and new blind zone reducing feature

INTERIOR features

  • Luxuriously appointed cockpit designed for comfortable driving
  • Power-adjustable perforated leather-trimmed seats with heaters
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with fingertip controls and racing-inspired paddle shifters
  • Tilt and telescoping steering column
  • LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination
  • Multi-Information Display (MID)
  • Rear view camera with three viewing modes
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control system with air filtration
  • Power moonroof with tilt, auto-open/close, auto-reverse and key-off operation
  • One-touch 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks
  • 7-speaker Acura Premium Sound System with multi-format CD player, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Radio
  • USB port (such as for iPhone®, iPod® or memory stick connectivity)
  • AUX input jack (for external music player connectivity)
  • Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® connectivity
  • Keyless Access System with pushbutton start

Technology Package Features

  • AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System
  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™
  • Hard Disk Drive (HDD) system with 60 gigabytes of storage capacity
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™
  • GPS-linked solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system
  • Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Sound System with 10 speakers, DVD-Audio, multi-format CD player, AM/FM tuner, and XM® Radio with Note function
  • Power actuated rear tailgate


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Impact-absorbing crumple zones (front/rear)
  • Dual stage, multiple threshold front airbags (SRS)
  • Front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System
  • Side curtain airbags for front and outboard rear seats with integrated rollover sensor
  • Adjustable-height 3-point front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters
  • 3-point seat belts at all three rear seating positions
  • Automatic Locking Retractor/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR) seat belt mechanisms (excluding driver)
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system
  • Low tire Low tire pressure warning
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control
  • Theft-deterrent system with electronic immobilizer


The 2013 RDX makes use of an all-new powertrain that not only delivers significantly more horsepower, but also delivers improved fuel economy. Replacing the previous turbocharged 2.3L inline four cylinder engine is a new 3.5L V-6 engine that marks the first use of Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM®) for an Acura vehicle. Producing 273 horsepower (+33 hp over the outgoing engine), the V-6 makes use of the latest version of VCM® that allows for three levels of cylinder deactivation.

Also new for the 2013 RDX is Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission paired with a new multi-clutch torque converter. In addition to adding another forward gear, the new six-speed transmission is also smaller and lighter than the previous 5-speed automatic. The result is improved performance and better fuel economy.

The new V-6 engine and 6-speed transmission team to deliver an EPA estimated* city/highway/combined fuel economy of 20/28/23 mpg (front wheel drive) and 19/27/22 mpg (all wheel drive). In the case of the all wheel drive model, this represents a 5 mpg increase in highway fuel economy versus the previous RDX. As expected, the 2013 RDX complies with EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards.

The 2013 RDX also features a new all-wheel-drive system that is smaller and lighter than the previous drivetrain setup. Known as AWD with Intelligent Control, the new system also is more efficient than the prior version, which, along with the reduced weight, helps achieve the AWD RDX’s increased fuel economy.

*Based on 2013 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.


Compared to the outgoing model, the new RDX body is more refined and fluid which better matches the design preference of the target buyer. A smoother front fascia, wider wheel arch lips and flatter side panels not only deliver a more upscale look, but combine to make the 2013 RDX more aerodynamically efficient than before. In particular, much time was spent designing new underbody panels that not only provide significantly smoother airflow, but also generate less wind noise to make for a quieter cabin.

At the front, a new grill blends together with much longer, more graceful headlights. Along the sides, the 2013 RDX makes uses of smoother door panels that incorporate a crisp body line that runs through the door handles. At the rear, the RDX roofline is far more tapered than before and the rear fascia has a much smoother look than the 2012 model. For 2013, a power actuated rear tailgate (as part of the available Technology Package) is a first for the RDX.

For strength, further increased use of high-strength steel (56-percent versus 47-percent used previously) not only provides increased strength at a lower weight, but generates a stiffer body for improved performance and reduced NVH.

Like its predecessor, the 2013 RDX rides on 4-wheel independent suspension with a MacPherson strut design in front and a multi-link design in back. However, a longer wheelbase, increased track width and a lower center of gravity help give the new RDX improved handling with a more subtle ride. New chassis technology abounds in the 2013 RDX in the form of items such as all-new Amplitude Reactive Dampers and a new motion adaptive electronic power steering system that replaces the previous hydraulic steering.

RDX features as standard bold new split 5-spoke 18-inch diameter wheels and improved 4-wheel disc brakes that include an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Not only do the brakes provide better performance, but they also incorporate improvements to reduce brake drag— which reduces rolling resistance and improves fuel economy.


For 2013, the RDX has a whole new interior with more of what customers want. Topping the list is more legroom and shoulder room for both front and rear occupants. More cargo room is now available along with a significantly wider rear hatch opening. Despite the improved interior roominess, the exterior footprint of the RDX is comparable to the previous model. In addition, more insulation and a new Active Noise Control system generate a quieter cabin, while a new audio system delivers a more enjoyable listening experience.

Throughout the cabin, the new “dual personal” cockpit design makes use of more sweeping shapes (rather than the previous RDX interior design that had an angular look with more sharp lines). And of course, the 2013 delivers even more driver relevant technology including a new hard disk drive (HDD) based navigation system paired with a new W-VGA color screen. All said, the 2013 RDX interior has an even more upscale look and a luxury feel that Acura customers have come to expect.

Just as before, RDX seats five but caters to the driver and front passenger first and foremost. Its leather seating surfaces and ergonomically designed seat contours are designed to provide ample support during spirited drives or long road trips. The power actuated driver seat is 8-way adjustable with adjustable lumbar support for a custom fit. For the driver, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination and a Multi-Information Display (MID) that allows access to multiple electronic functions.

Among the advanced electronic technologies in the 2013 RDX is a new 360-watt audio system with seven speakers, a CD player, AM/FM radio, XM® Radio with Note function, Bluetooth® Audio, USB port and AUX jack connectivity, and Speed Volume Control.

Even more so than ever before, transformability of a vehicle is of top concern with buyers— so to be able to quickly and easily transform the RDX from a people hauler to a cargo hauler was paramount. Thus, besides offering exemplary comfort, interior roominess and cargo carrying were high priorities for RDX designers. With a new “one touch” activation of the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, the rear cargo area (with rear seatbacks folded down) offers 76.9 cubic feet of storage— 16.3 cubic feet more than before*. Interior storage compartments include a large center console between the front seats and there are numerous other storage pockets and cubby spaces throughout the RDX. The 2013 RDX has a total passenger volume of 103.5 cubic feet (versus 101.4 cubic feet with previous RDX) which means it has the largest volume in its class.

*All interior volume figures are based on Honda internal testing data

Technology Package
The 2013 RDX is so well equipped in standard form that only one trim package is available. With the Technology Package, a host of driver relevant features are added including AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System, Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ with radar image maps. For 2013, the navigation system is even more advanced and is operated by a new hard disk drive (HDD) system with 60 gigabytes of storage capacity. The HDD system operates with far greater speed than the previous CD-based system, and it has 15 gigabytes of dedicated space allocated for music storage. The navigation system also makes use of a new 8-inch W-VGA color screen (with four times better resolution than the previous screen) that is also used for a new rear view camera system.

Audiophiles will rejoice as the 2013 RDX with Technology Package includes a new Acura/ELS Surround® 10-speaker, 410-watt premium audio system with DVD-Audio, CD, DTS™, AM/FM radio, XM® Radio, Bluetooth® Audio and a 3,500-song* hard disk drive (HDD) media storage system. With more power and added features, the new audio system is sure to please the most discriminating audiophile.
Also part of the Technology Package is a GPS-linked solar-sensing, dual-zone automatic climate control system along with a power operated rear hatch. In total, these technologies put the RDX at the cutting edge of the Entry Premium SUV segment.

*Approximate capacity based on an average song size of 4.0 MB per song at a 128kbps bitrate


The pursuit of outstanding safety is a critical element designed into every Acura built. This concern for safety not only extends to the driver and passengers of the RDX, but also to the safety of occupants of other vehicles as well as the injury mitigation to pedestrians.

For Acura, equally important is addressing both active and passive safety. Active safety features can help the driver avoid a collision, and the RDX includes as standard items such as Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and traction control. For 2013, a revised 4-wheel disc brake system teams with ABS and Brake Assist to further enhance safety and to generate greater driver control.

Should a frontal collision occur, Acura’s acclaimed Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure utilizes a network of connected structural elements to help distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the RDX. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. To address the federal government’s new FMVSS 216 standard for roof crush resistance, the 2013 RDX body incorporates several new structural enhancements in the roof and side pillar areas. As a result, top governmental (NHTSA) and independent (IIHS) test ratings are expected.

While ACE™ is a structural foundation for the RDX’s safety performance, its array of industry-leading passive safety technologies is equally important. The list begins with six airbags including dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags (SRS), dual-chamber front seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags for the front and outboard rear seating positions. In addition, the front passenger seat is equipped with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative technology designed to deactivate the side airbag if a child or small-stature adult leans into the deployment path of the side airbag. Safety features continue with 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions, while the driver and front passenger have front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system with load limiters. The RDX offers head restraints for all seating positions. The rear seat features Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH), which permits easy attachment of up to two child seats.

Acura’s “Safety Through Innovation” initiative is based on the brand’s commitment to leadership in safety— and excellent safety is a paramount element in every new vehicle that Acura builds. The initiative’s goal is for all Acura models to provide a high level of safety regardless of size or price of the vehicle.

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