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Review (2/2)

2013 RDX Features New Design, Engine and AWD System

Source: Acura | Published: Tue Mar 27, 2012

(continued from the previous page)

Body and Chassis

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.

Interior Design

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.

Engine and Powertrain

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.

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.

High Safety Standards

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.

Acura RDX: Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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