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2013 Acura RDX Debut

2013 Acura RDX Research Click to hide

What's New
The Acura RDX is based on the Honda CR-V, so it's no surprise that hot on the heels of a new CR-V, we're seeing a new RDX. Until now, details on the new 2013 Acura RDX were about as sparse as they were for the NSX Concept that also debuted here. This time, the RDX is bigger, emphasizes luxury more than sport, and will offer a 273-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and lightened all-wheel drive system. Outside, the styling closely resembles the MDX, albeit with a softened version of the (in)famous Acura "beak."

Who It's For
Compact luxury crossovers like the Acura RDX are a rapidly expanding market. Consider that other vehicles in the same size class are the Lexus RX, Cadillac SRX, the upcoming Buick encore, the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi Q5, Infiniti EX35...and that's just to start. The RDX never quite caught on the way Acura wanted, but with a more refined drivetrain and better styling, it may finally find its niche.

Key Features
Now that it has debuted, we know the following about the 2013 Acura RDX.

  • Engine: The 2013 Acura RDX will have a 3.5-liter V-6 that puts out 273 horsepower. It will most certainly be from the same basic family as the rest of the Honda/Acura lineup.
  • All-wheel drive: Acura says it has reduced the all-wheel drive system's weight to help improve fuel economy, which is one of the current RDX's biggest drawbacks.
  • Styling: It still looks like an RDX, but with a better grille and profile.

What We Think
The previous generation Acura RDX is a vehicle we liked more in concept than in execution. It sounded like a good idea -- combining the maneuverability and utility of a CR-V with the handling and power of an Acura -- but the resulting vehicle rode far too stiffly, had an underwhelming four-cylinder engine, and was way too thirsty for a vehicle its size. From the sound of things, Acura has learned from its mistakes. The V-6 engine will be more suitable to a luxury vehicle, and with the added emphasis on luxury, we're expecting the ride to be more comfortable. At last, the RDX sounds like it will be what it should have been from the start: A smaller version of the Acura MDX, rather than a hopped-up Honda CR-V.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Detroit 2012