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September 13, 2023 8:35 pm by

2013 Acura RDX: Used Car Buyer’s Guide

2013 Acura RDX exterior front three-quarter view

Quick Take

  • Pros: refined and powerful V6, comfortable and well-crafted interior, above average reliability
  • Cons: limited cargo space, lackluster handling, few advanced safety features

The 2013 Acura RDX offers a compelling mix of performance and comfort thanks to its standard V6 engine and well-appointed cabin. It also enjoys a strong reputation for reliability, thanks to its Honda roots. For long-distance travelers or daily commuters seeking a refined, pleasant drive that won’t spend too much time at the repair shop, the 2013 RDX should be on your shortlist.

However, despite its powerful engine, the 2013 RDX isn’t as sporty as you might think. Its ride and handling are tuned more for a comfy ride than carving corners. Additionally, tech-focused buyers and those with growing families may find its limited cargo space and lack of advanced safety features a bit of a turnoff.

2013 Acura RDX exterior front view


  • First year of the model’s second generation (2013-2018)
  • Completely redesigned, including new styling, more power, and additional features

The 2013 Acura RDX kicks off the model’s second generation with a comprehensive redesign, featuring more aerodynamic lines and reworked front and rear fascias, which give it a sleeker, more upscale look. Inside, the roomier cabin benefits from notable upgrades such as standard leather upholstery, while the dashboard and center console gain a cleaner, more intuitive layout.

Power for the 2013 RDX is also boosted by 33 horsepower with a switch from four to six cylinders, while fuel economy benefits from a new six-speed automatic transmission, offering one more gear than the prior unit.  However, Acura’s terrific Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, available on the first-gen RDX, is dropped in favor of a less sophisticated AWD setup, which is optional.

Buyers can choose two main trim levels for the 2013 RDX. The base model comes relatively well equipped with features, including heated front seats and a sunroof. Those who want even more goodies, such as navigation and premium audio, will have to opt for an example with the Technology package.

2013 Acura RDX driving on highway

Driving Impressions

  • Smooth and quick acceleration
  • Plush ride but somewhat lackluster handling
  • Tows up to 1,500 pounds

Slide behind the wheel of the 2013 Acura RDX, and you’ll immediately notice the smooth, quick acceleration delivered by its 3.5-liter V6 engine. The unit produces 273 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, translating to zero-to-60 mph times that are better than average for a luxury compact SUV of its era. The six-speed automatic transmission also offers crisp shifts, allowing for responsive overtaking on highways.

However, if you’re expecting a sporty ride, the 2013 RDX might not entirely meet your expectations. Acura has tuned the suspension and steering more towards comfort than agility. As a result, you get a plush, well-damped ride that irons out most road imperfections. Enthusiasts may find the handling a bit on the soft side, lacking the responsiveness found in some competitors, such as the BMW X3.

The 2013 RDX offers a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds, suitable for small trailers. Its off-road capabilities are also somewhat limited, with the available AWD system being better suited to slippery pavement than to rugged trails.

2013 Acura RDX engine bay

Fuel Economy

  • EPA-rated at 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined for FWD models
  • Slightly below segment average, but respectable given the V6 engine
  • Real-world experiences largely match EPA estimates

The 2013 Acura RDX doesn’t exactly lead the pack when it comes to fuel efficiency, but it holds its own, especially considering it comes with a V6 engine. According to EPA estimates, the front-wheel-drive version of the RDX is rated at 20 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. If you opt for the all-wheel-drive variant, expect a slight dip in those numbers.

Compared to other luxury compact SUVs, these figures are a bit below average. Many competitors offer four-cylinder engines that deliver better fuel economy. However, the trade-off is often less power, so the RDX’s ratings are reasonable when you consider its robust V6.

Owners generally report that these EPA numbers are pretty accurate in real-world driving conditions. There’s no significant discrepancy between the advertised figures and what RDX drivers are actually experiencing.

2013 Acura RDX interior front seats and dashboard

Interior and Features

  • High-quality interior with lots of standard features
  • Seating for five with ample front and rear legroom but limited cargo space
  • 5-inch display on base trim, 8-inch on Technology trim

The 2013 Acura RDX boasts a well-crafted interior that prioritizes comfort and luxury. The standard equipment list is long, offering heated side mirrors, keyless entry, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player and Bluetooth integration.

The 2013 RDX accommodates five people comfortably. Front and rear legroom are both generous, making it a good option for families or those who often have backseat passengers. However, you might be disappointed if you’re looking for a cargo hauler. The RDX offers less space behind the rear seats than the leaders in its segment, such as the Volvo XC60.

On the technology front, the 2013 RDX shows its age a bit. While the base model has a modest 5-inch display, the Technology trim steps it up with an 8-inch screen and adds features like navigation and a premium surround-sound stereo. However, modern smartphone integration like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is notably absent, something that tech-savvy buyers should consider.

2013 Acura RDX IIHS roof test


  • Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, stability control, and multiple airbags
  • No advanced driver-assistance systems
  • Excellent ratings from IIHS and NHTSA

The 2013 Acura RDX comes equipped with basic safety features that were standard for the luxury compact SUV segment at the time. These include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and a rearview camera. However, it’s worth noting that the RDX lacks the kind of advanced driver-assistance systems that have become more commonplace in recent years, such as lane-keeping assist or adaptive cruise control.

When it comes to safety ratings, the 2013 RDX was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after earning its highest marks across all crashworthiness test categories. The 2013 model wasn’t tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the 2014 model, which is largely the same, received a five-star overall rating from NHTSA.

check engine light


  • Strong reputation for reliability and longevity
  • Ownership costs are reasonable for the segment
  • Some complaints about minor interior issues

The 2013 Acura RDX boasts a solid reputation for reliability, much of it owed to its Honda parentage. If you’re looking for a luxury compact SUV that’s likely to go the distance, the RDX is a strong contender. Its V6 engine and other mechanical components are generally considered robust and durable. The 2013 model enjoys a 4.2-star rating on Edmunds consumer reviews, with some owners reporting racking up 200,000 or more miles with little more than routine maintenance. Additionally, Acuras tend to be more reasonable than their European rivals when it comes to ownership expenses.

That said, it’s worth noting that some owners have complained about occasional glitches with the infotainment system and minor issues with interior fittings, such as loose trim or rattling. These aren’t deal-breakers, but they’re aspects you might want to inspect closely when considering a used 2013 RDX. Buyers should also check to ensure the engine’s timing belt has been changed at the proper interval, which is about every six years or 60,000 miles.

2013 Acura RDX exterior rear three-quarter view

Which One to Buy

In the market for a used 2013 Acura RDX? We recommend the following configurations.

Best Overall: RDX with Technology package

If you’re looking for the most well-rounded option, prioritize a 2013 Acura RDX equipped with the Technology package. This trim level adds an 8-inch display, navigation, and a premium surround-sound stereo to an already well-equipped vehicle. The Technology package appeals to used car buyers who appreciate added creature comforts and tech features but also value the RDX’s underlying reliability and performance.

Budget Friendly: RDX base FWD

For those with tighter budgets who don’t require all-wheel drive, the front-wheel-drive RDX makes a lot of sense. FWD versions tend to cost less on the used car market, and you’ll get slightly better fuel economy without sacrificing much in terms of performance or interior quality.

All-Weather Performer: RDX with AWD

Consider the all-wheel-drive RDX if you live in a region where weather conditions are often less than ideal. While it lacks the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system found in its predecessor, its available AWD setup still offers added traction and confidence on slippery surfaces.

Photos courtesy of Acura and IIHS


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