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.