Once ahead of the game--perhaps too far ahead--with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the RDX, Acura has made an about-face, offering only a 3.5-liter V-6 engine in the 2013 model. The new engine is actually more powerful and more efficient, despite being a larger, normally aspirated V-6. While it gives up some of the torquey low-end feel of the previous turbo engine, as well as the sudden surge as boost builds, it's a much smoother, quieter, and more luxury-oriented combination. The six-speed automatic transmission offers slick and easy shifts, though it will hesitate on multiple-gear downshifts when sudden acceleration is requested. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters come standard.
In the corners, the 2013 RDX is less brittle and harsh than its predecessor, but it also exhibits more initial body roll. Once that first bit of roll has started, however, an ingenious new double-piston design engages, increasing damping force and making for a surprisingly capable crossover. Steering isn't perfect, being a bit over-light and vague at lower speeds, but it weights up nicely as speeds rise.
The all-wheel drive system for 2013 is no longer of the SH-AWD variety, but a simple automatic biasing system that delivers torque to the rear as front wheel slip is sensed, or as the angle of ascent changes.
Braking force is reduced with a new system that also shortens pedal stroke, and while it makes around-town driving easier, it takes away some of the feel and modulation in sportier driving.