• Driving the Acura RDX in the Hills of Malibu

    by John Coyle

    On Tuesday, Acura invited my buddy Armaan and I out to Santa Monica to drive the 2013 RDX crossover and the all-new ILX sedan. In the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal that the PR peeps fed us delicious food in not one, but two gorgeous locals, and made it extraordinarily easy to enjoy the stunning Southern California day. Acura asked us to keep our impressions of the ILX under wraps until the end of the month, but did give us the green light to write about the RDX.

    After a short presentation at the swanky Huntley Hotel, we hopped on the PCH and drove over to Malibu, where several flavors of each model where waiting at the base of the hills. Figuring we'd need all the grip we could get, we opted for the AWD and headed for the twisties. For 2013, the RDX has dropped the turbo four-pot in favor of 3.5L VTEC V6, and the 273 ponies give it more than adequate pep. The tranny has also gotten an extra cog, and the six-speed gearbox helps it deliver a very respectable 22 miles per gallon combined.

    Now, nobody is going to buy the RDX specifically to go corner carving. But I had a blast throwing it into the turns up on Malibu Canyon Road, and the AWD system—while not as fancy as the one found in the previous gen—made it feel sure-footed, even as I got the tires to sing a few notes. When you get an opportunity to drive on a magnificent stretch of pavement like this in the middle of a Tuesday, you should take advantage of it.

    As you'd imagine, all the touch points are comfortably soft, and the RDX's cabin feels huge. I totally appreciated that the windowsill was the perfect height to rest my elbow on—something rare in new cars. When we stopped for a photo opp, I climbed into the rear seat, and even though I'm over six feet, I had plenty of head and leg room, so folks who need to transport adults should be pleased with the RDX. The only real complaint I had dealt with the iPod integration. After a couple of minutes of fiddling, I was able to get the first Young Evils' record playing, but once there, I could only use the controls on the head unit to change tracks, not albums. Personally, I'm happy with an 1/8-inch jack. That said, I found the Pandora interface intuitive, and the audio sounded great.

    I got more seat-time in the ILX, so stay tuned for my driving impressions toward the end of the month!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. DanF's Avatar
      DanF -
      My wife has the 2007 RDX which we love. I have two huge issues with the car, and hopefully they fixed them in the new model: 1) At highway speed the car is very noisy, partially from wind noise and partially from tire noise. It makes it nearly impossible to enjoy the radio at a normal level. This brings me to complaint 2) The radio/speakers are the worst I've ever had in a car. The system in my 2002 CL-S is 1000 times better. Part of it is less noise from the car, but I most of it is the speaker placement in the RDX and the lousy speakers. Having a sub-woofer in the rear of the RDX is useless. There is almost no mid-level frequencies from the speaker system. At highway speeds it's as though I'm listening to a cheap transistor radio. I hope they fixed these problems. Other than these two items, the car has been a pleasure, but when we look for another car to replace it, there is a 99.9% chance we won't get another RDX based on the horrendous noise level at highway speed.
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