By LARRY CORNWELL
Special to The Post and Courier
Non truck-platform Sports Utility Vehicles, also known as “crossover” utility vehicles or CUVs are all the rage these days.
Even though these models are more civilized than traditional SUVs, they aren’t favorites of mine either. Whereas the SUVs are too rugged for urban conditions, CUVs lack that extra grunt for hearty off road adventures and towing. In addition, they also tend to be more feminine.
Models such as the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Cadillac SRX, Infiniti EX35, Lexus RX 350 and Lincoln MKX ooze estrogen.
Acura has redesigned the all-new 2013 RDX with more masculine, MDX-like features. The fresh grille that fronts the RDX is crisp and has a strong presence. Overall the 2013 Acura RDX has one of the best designs among its direct competitors. Only the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX and Volvo XC60 have more dynamic designs.
Although the RDX has not pulled me over to the side of these covered wagons, I did enjoy my time behind the wheel. Power from the 3.5-liter V-6 engine was solid and motivated the RDX up to speed swiftly. I also loved the three angle review camera that is available on the RDX which makes for more accurate parking maneuvers.
My one complaint is with the proximity key fob. Similar to the majority of other “prox-key” models, there is not a dedicated place for the key in the RDX. Most designers expect women to leave the key in their purse, which is fine. However, if you are a man that owns an RDX, this could be a problem. I, like most men do not like items in my pockets while I am driving. This means the fob ends up in various areas in the cabin, which prompts frantic searches upon exit. Infiniti modes have a dock for their fobs, which is an excellent idea.
One of my biggest complaints about SUVs and CUVs is the sore topic of fuel “efficiency.” It took great restraint, but I drove the 2013 Acura RDX with the goal of driving it as efficiently as possible. My goal was to see how far I could go on one tank of fuel. The 2013 Acura RDX averaged a combined city/highway of 27 mpg. This is actually pretty good by large sedan fuel economy standards, and especially among SUVs and CUVs.
Look next for my review of the Toyota IQ, which turned out to be one of the best tests I performed in a long while.
2013 ACURA RDX
VEHICLE TYPE: Mid-size SUV/CUV
PRICE RANGE: $35,000-$44,000
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V-6 producing 273 horsepower and 251 pounds-feet of torque
DRIVETRAIN: Six-speed automatic transmission
FUEL ECONOMY: 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway (27 mpg mile city/highway combined average observed under very conservative driving)
COMPETITOR MODELS: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Cadillac SRX, Ford Edge, Infiniti EX35, Lexus RX 350, Lincoln MKX, Mercedes Benz ML350, Volvo XC60
PRODUCTION LOCATION: East Liberty, Ohio
Larry Cornwell is an automotive journalist based in the Charlotte area.