Acura is moving its compact crossover -- the RDX -- toward the center of the premium crossover segment and away from its sport-oriented first-generation model. We called the 2007 RDX "the Evo of crossover," but the prototype version of the 2013 Acura RDX debuting at the 2012 Detroit auto show exchanges its turbocharged four-cylinder engine and so-called super-handling all-wheel drive for a more powerful V-6 and a lighter all-wheel-drive system.
Set to launch in spring 2012, the 2013 RDX is powered by a 273-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 mated to a six-speed automatic. The outgoing RDX used a five-speed automatic and a turbocharged 2.3-liter I-4 with 240 horsepower. What the first-generation RDX lacked was the 2013 Acura's 20/28 mpg city/highway estimated fuel economy. If the 2013 RDX actually gets those numbers, that will put it above front-drive-based luxury crossovers like the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60.
Compared with the outgoing RDX, the new model has a longer wheelbase and wider track, what Acura calls Amplitude Reactive Dampers, and a new electronic power steering system. Perhaps more important to those who drove the RDX when it originally arrived in the 2007 model year, the 2013 Acura RDX is said to have an improved -- and quieter -- interior. Larger door openings should make ingress/egress easier, while a power rear tailgate is a feature that will help Acura dealers further distinguish the RDX from loaded versions of the new Honda CR-V.
Like that Honda, the 2013 Acura RDX gets a three-view rear camera and a Pandora radio interface. The upgraded navigation system has voice recognition, can reroute around traffic, includes real-time weather with radar image maps, and offers 15 gigabytes for music storage. Other 2013 RDX luxuries include an SMS text message reading feature, smart entry keyless access system, and push-button start.
The 2013 Acura RDX integrates the latest version of the luxury brand's power plenum grille along with side windows that mimic those on the larger MDX crossover. Since the MDX has always been a decent-looking crossover, we see no problem with the RDX's mini-MDX appearance.
With more interior space, added power, and increased fuel economy, the latest Acura RDX appears well on its way toward capturing a bigger slice of the compact luxury crossover pie. Whether it will capture the attention of Truck Trend editors is something we hope to find out soon.