2013 RDX - Safety

SAFETY OVERVIEW As a direct result of Acura’s “Safety Through Innovation” initiative, the design of the 2013 RDX emphasizes safety for everyone- from the...


As a direct result of Acura's "Safety Through Innovation" initiative, the design of the 2013 RDX emphasizes safety for everyone- from the driver and passengers, to the occupants of other vehicles, as well as injury mitigation to pedestrians.

The RDX is equipped with a comprehensive array of the latest technologies and designs to enhance active safety (collision avoidance) and passive safety (crash safety performance). Standard features such as Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control and a 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) enhance collision avoidance capability in the new RDX.

Key safety technologies include the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, a total of six airbags, active head restraints (for the front seats) as well as front seatbelts with an automatic tensioning system.


The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure is an exclusive body design incorporated into the RDX that enhances occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes. The ACE™ design utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. This enhanced frontal crash energy management helps to reduce the forces transferred to the passenger compartment and can help to more evenly disperse the forces transferred to other vehicles in a crash. ACE™ helps maintain the structural integrity of the passenger cabin in a frontal crash. It does so by markedly improving energy distribution away from the cabin during the crash, thus allowing a more uniform absorption of impact energy. This crash energy redirection helps reduce the chance of intrusion into the passenger cabin. By doing so, ACE™ is the cornerstone engineering feature that defines much of the RDX structure.

In addition, the ACE™ design also provides benefits by increasing vehicle compatibility in frontal crashes, which can improve passenger safety when vehicles of dissimilar size, height or weight collide.


As full-size pickups and SUVs have become larger and taller, so has the dilemma of when such vehicles collide head-on with smaller vehicles. ACE™ helps distribute the impact forces of a larger and heavier vehicle across the entire front structure of the RDX. This redirection of crash energy helps to reduce the risk of interior intrusion as well as helps to better disperse the crash energy across a wider area of the front of the vehicle to help reduce the risk of occupant injury.

The RDX also has a special lower member that extends below the front bumper beam. This lower member helps ensure that if the RDX collides with a smaller vehicle, the lower front member will better engage the other vehicle's bumper system.


Another target that Acura designers felt strongly about was the RDX's ability to withstand a rollover with the roof frame maintained, no fuel system damage, and no tailgate door-opening damage. The use of a high-strength steel safety cage helps provide the stiffness that allows the RDX to better withstand rollover forces.

In the event of a rollover, a roll-rate sensor (along with multiple G sensors) determines the rate of roll- and then deploy the side curtain airbags accordingly. The system uses algorithms to continually evaluate the situation and determines whether a rollover is imminent. The roll-rate sensor and multiple G sensors calculate the angle of roll and the speed of the vehicle in order to deploy the airbags at the correct point for optimum protection. In the case of a rollover, the side curtain airbags on both sides of the vehicle will deploy. However, in the event of a sufficient side impact that does not result in a rollover, only the airbags on the impacted side of the vehicle will deploy. The airbags maintain full inflation for approximately three seconds after inflation to allow for the increased duration of a rollover accident.


To help reduce the likelihood of injuries to the driver or front passenger's legs in a frontal collision, the RDX has energy-absorbing knee bolsters. The bolsters are designed to help dissipate collision forces if the driver or front passenger's legs should contact the lower instrument panel during a frontal collision.


Even though there is no current governmental requirement to do so, as part of Acura's "Safety Through Innovation" engineering philosophy, the 2013 RDX incorporates design elements that take into account the well being of pedestrians.

Specifically, engineers optimized certain structures in the RDX front end to help absorb energy in the event of a collision with a pedestrian. Research shows that these features can dramatically improve a pedestrian's chance of survival if struck by a moving vehicle.

Key Pedestrian Safety Features include:

  • Hood designed to deform if contact is made with a pedestrian
  • Energy-absorbing fender mounts and supports located under the hood
  • Greater clearance between hood and engine components
  • Crushable hood hinges


Dual-stage, multiple threshold front airbags (SRS) are provided for the driver and front passenger. One or both of these airbags will be deployed in the event of a sufficient frontal impact. If deployed, these airbags are capable of being inflated at different rates depending on crash severity, seatbelt usage and/or other factors. Frontal airbags are designed to supplement the seatbelts to help reduce the likelihood of head and upper body injuries in frontal crashes. A seamless dashboard cover conceals the passenger front airbag, while the driver's front airbag is located in a small housing within the steering-wheel.

Dual-Stage, Multiple-Threshold Airbag parameters:

  • Airbag deployment characteristics are finely controlled depending on the severity of a collision, seatbelt usage and/or other factors
  • The dual stage, multiple-threshold strategy applies to front airbags only and does not affect operation of front side airbags or side curtain airbags

In addition, the airbag system also uses a sensor in the seat to assess the weight of the front passenger. The front passenger airbag is shut off if the weight sensor indicates that a child or small-stature person is occupying the front seat.


Side airbags mounted in the outboard area of each front seatback are designed to provide upper torso protection for front occupants in the event of a sufficient side impact. In addition, the front passenger seat is equipped with the Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), an innovative system designed to deactivate the side airbag if a child (or small stature adult) is occupying the front seat. The system utilizes sensors in the passenger seatback to determine the height and position of the occupant, and determines whether to deploy the side airbag. If the front passenger leans into the side airbag deployment path, OPDS will prevent the airbag from firing. When the front passenger returns to a normal upright seating position, the side airbag reactivates so it can deploy.

Side Curtain Airbags

In a sufficient side impact or rollover, the RDX side curtain airbags deploy from roof-mounted modules, providing head protection for outboard occupants seated in both rows of seating. Side curtain airbags effectively cover the window area from the A-pillar back to the C-pillar. Tests show that the g-forces acting upon an outboard occupant's head during a collision are far lower when side curtain airbags are used.


The RDX includes a LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for the outboard locations of the rear seat. LATCH features built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system, which can simplifies child seat installation. Up to two LATCH child seats can be installed simultaneously.


Both front seatbelts have an automatic tensioning system with load limiters that work in conjunction to help protect the driver and front passenger in a collision. The components work automatically in a 1-2 sequence. In the first few milliseconds of a sufficient collision, the tensioning system automatically tightens the front seat belts. Research has shown that seat belts that are snugly secured around the occupants provide better protection. However, if the deceleration forces rise above a predetermined threshold, the load limiter releases (in a controlled manner) a small length of seatbelt webbing to reduce the pressure on the occupant- which helps reduce the likelihood of injuries that seatbelts can cause in a severe, high-speed collision.


Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is included as standard equipment on the 2013 RDX. By continually monitoring the vehicle's operating parameters (such as vehicle speed, throttle position, steering angle, individual wheel speeds, lateral G-force and yaw rate), VSA® detects if the vehicle is about to experience oversteer or understeer.

To help correct either of these situations, 4-channel VSA® automatically reduces the engine's power output as needed, and applies one or more brakes individually to help stabilize the chassis. The VSA® response is so quick that the instability may be corrected even before the driver knows that it is occurring. Traction Control is integrated into the VSA® to help the RDX accelerate smoothly on slippery surfaces. If required, Traction Control can be disabled.


Acura RDX has an onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that warns the driver if the air pressure decreases significantly in any tire. The system helps reduce the chance of damaging a tire or losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow leak might not be easily detectable but could over time cause significant air loss resulting in loss of grip or potentially a blowout.

TPMS uses a sensor mounted in each wheel that continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to the TPMS electronic control unit (ECU). The process begins with a signal initiator located on the chassis just inboard of each tire. The initiator sends a unique signal for each TPMS sensor. Then the TPMS sensor sends tire pressure data to the TPMS ECU, which compares the values for each tire's pressure against an acceptable range of pressures.


The RDX's 16-gallon fuel tank is located in a protected area in front of the rear body-deformation zone, which helps minimize the risk of tank damage during a collision. In addition, locating the fuel tank in this protected area helps optimize vehicle balance by moving the weight of the fuel tank farther forward. Thus, handling characteristics are minimally affected whether the fuel tank is full or near empty.




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