The RDX, Acura’s smallest SUV doesn’t get talked about much here at The Garage. First introduced as a 2007 model and motivated by a turbocharged four, the RDX has always lived in the shadow of the larger MDX, the brand’s best-selling vehicle. It hardly helped that mainstream auto media largely ignored the RDX, which is priced just under more recognized cars like the Mercedes-Benz GLK or Infiniti EX. Worse, many see the RDX’s size and assume it is just a plush Honda CR-V-it is not. In any case, Acura is introducing the second generation, 2013 RDX. Whether any past misconceptions of the last RDX can be dispelled remain to be seen.
The most notable change from the last generation RDX is the loss of the turbo four cylinder engine in favor of a 3.5L V-6 with an additional 33hp on tap, paired to an all-new six-speed automatic. An RDX with front-wheel drive will start at $34,320USD. The RDX will come standard with leather seats, power heated front seats, power moonroof, Pandora internet radio, and a rearview camera. All-wheel drive will cost an additional $1,400. The only option after that is the Technology Package, which adds AuraLink satellite communication, voice-recognition Navigation, a 60GB hard drive, dual-zone auto climate control, surround sound, power lift gate and bi-xenon HID headlights for $3,700 extra.
I can see Acura’s product planners thinking that a V-6 RDX was the way to go given its direct competition. I was present at the Acura stand at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit when the RDX was unveiled. There was no energy or enthusiasm from Acura for the RDX, and the audience of a few hundred auto journalists fed on that, and none of us cared either. It is that attitude that frustrates me about Acura today. In 1986 Honda took a huge gamble on creating a Japanese luxury brand named Acura during a time when no one associated Japanese cars with luxury. Honda created Acura, and three years later Toyota created Lexus, which destroyed Acura in sales.
I will reserve final judgement of the 2013 Acura RDX until I get the opportunity to drive one, but my fear is Acura continues to play it safe with cars no one feels any passion for. Stay tuned.