Acura’s 2013 RDX Drives like Squishy Love

It drives as mature as it looks. 

Rolling around in the 2013 Acura RDX made my family’s tushies happy as it weaved its love over nasty surfaces. Seriously, this is one of the best riding vehicles in its class. It’s creamy even squishy over road surfaces that made the old RDX shutter like a tambourine.

If you drive a Honda CR-V, you’re most likely not a performance seeker. Still, it’s nice to know that you’re in a well-built, top rated SUV/Crossover – right? There will come a time when you will long for more oomph, more luxury and better driving dynamics. The Acura RDX delivers all of that while feeling like a grownup CR-V.

Here are five things you need to know about the 2013 Acura RDX

  1. It’s beefier than the old RDX: The old RDX had a turbocharged four-cylinder that made 240 horsepower. The new 273 hp 3.5-liter V6 is normally aspirated, and makes 251 lbs-feet of torque. It now weighs about 3,700 lbs – but it’s faster and it gets better gas mileage. There is a easy shifting six-speed automatic transmission that has paddle shifters… which are kind of silly, but maybe someone will use them.
  2. It’s more mature: The old RDX was pretty sharp around corners as it had a version of Acura’s lauded Super-handling All-wheel Drive (SHAWD) and, boy, was the ride crap. That was because of the intention to make the old RDX a sports-biased crossover. Not anymore. The 2013 Acura RDX has dispensed of the SHAWD, tight suspension and grumbling four-banger. A mechanical center differential replaces the SHAWD. It’s pudding-like smooth and very quiet. It can still corner, but only if you must. It would rather not push on corners too hard. If you push it, you will under-steer and plow. The steering is fairly responsive, but there is no steering feel.
  3. It’s thriftier: despite being an altogether bigger and more powerful machine, the gas mileage has improved. With the old RDX, I averaged 19 mpg. Acura says the 2013 RDX will get 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Despite my juvenile driving, I averaged about 22 mpg. That’s pretty damn good. The starting price of about $34,000 is impressive too. My tester’s price of about $40,000 was competitive for this bracket.
  4. It’s one of the most confounding vehicles when it comes to gizmos: When I brought the rugrats to school, I parked the 2013 Acura RDX, shut off the ignition and walked out of the vehicle to open their doors. Guess what? They were still locked. I had to unlock the Acura to let the kiddos out. The hatch won’t open if the vehicle is running. Despite having less buttons, there is still a myriad. The navigation is unfriendly and the stereo controls require a long time to familiarize with. All these wiz bangs and no cooled seats or vent for the rear passenger? It’s kind of a bummer.
  5. It’s ridiculously comfortable and accommodating: I cannot emphasize how impressed I was with the comfort level of the 2013 Acura RDX enough. The seats are worlds better than the last model and the legroom is very good all around. Hip room in the back might be tight for three adults, but three kids have plenty of space. The cargo area has a very useable 26.1 cubic feet of capacity that extends to 76.9 cu-ft with the rear seats down. That’s quite good for the class.

Yes, the 2013 Acura RDX impressed me and my little family with ride sophistication that spoiled our derrières. It does everything well with the exception of its electronics. Still, if you want the definition of smooth riding in a small, luxury crossover – it’s hard to beat the 2013 Acura RDX.

On the TFLCar scale of:

Buy it!

Lease it!

Rent it!

… or Forget it!

I say lease it!

“It looks better from behind.” God, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me…

Check out our early review video of the 2013 Acura RDX!


Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and video are popular worldwide!
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Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.