Why Did Acura Ditch the RDX's Turbo?

DSC_0823
When every other automaker is downsizing due to fuel-economy regulations, Acura actually added two cylinders to the engine of its redesigned compact crossover. For 2013, it swapped out the RDX's turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder and replaced it with a version of the TL sedan’s 3.5-liter V-6. Why the switch?

It starts with an unlovable turbo. Turbos are supposed to be fun and fuel-thrifty, but the RDX's turbo engine was unrefined and thirsty at the pump. According to Cars.com's Managing Editor David Thomas, the crossover's new engine offers something different: "Leaving a stoplight isn't as energizing, but accelerating onto a highway on-ramp or passing cars at highway speeds are easier maneuvers with the new V-6," he says in his 2013 RDX review.

"When we launched the '07 RDX with the 2.3-liter turbo engine, we were using the turbo to maximize engine power. We feel that we accomplished this as this engine produced 240 hp. However, it came at the cost of higher fuel economy than the market ultimately craved once gas prices started to climb," Acura spokesman Chuck Schifsky said.

As Thomas states in his review, the fuel-economy gains with the new engine are significant: The 2012 RDX was EPA rated at 19/24 mpg city/highway; the 2013 front-wheel-drive model is rated at 20/28 mpg. Horsepower is up, too: The previous generation had 240 horsepower; the 2013 model makes 273 hp.

DSC_0813
"For 2013, we were able to use our 3.5-liter V-6 with variable cylinder management &mdash' it can run on three, four or six cylinders to save fuel. This allowed us to bump the horsepower," Schifsky said.

The 2013 RDX, however, is also more expensive than the outgoing model. Base versions of the 2012 started at $33,780, including an $885 destination fee. The new model costs almost $1,500 more and starts at $35,215, including an $895 destination charge. There is one penny-pinching bonus with the new model: Acura now says premium fuel is recommended instead of required.

The price increase hasn't driven away buyers yet, however. The compact crossover just went on sale amid a major marketing campaign. May 2012 sales were nearly triple what they were in May 2011 at 3,301 units. That's more than the BMW X3 (2,460), Audi Q5 (2,332), Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class (2,133), Volvo XC60 (1,751) and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque (706). Only Cadillac's SRX did better with 3,900 units sold in May.

Related
2013 Acura RDX Review
2013 Acura RDX Priced at $34,320
Research More Luxury Crossovers

Comments 

skippydog

The turbo in the old RDX was thrashy, jumpy, and unrefined for the price. The transmission also hunted for gears and you really had to work it hard to get all the power. If I didn't know the specs I would rate it more like 200 - 220 hp than 240.

Claude

My '07 RDX isn't as refined as your typical Japanese engine but I've never experienced any transmission hunting issues you speak of.
I professionally track tested my car two years ago and it did a best 0-60 in 6.3 seconds. I'd say it's definitely putting out 240hp.

Paul

Did you ever see this youtube video where the RDX was dynoed?

The guy said that Honda underrated the hp and it's more like 260-270hp

http://youtu.be/1icRJoRe3vg

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App
Ask.cars.com