For years, Acura has turned out vehicle cabins with excellent fit-and-finish but that were, well, not so eye-catching.

But for the second-generation RDX compact cross/utility vehicle, the Honda near-luxury brand steps it up a notch, enough to earn a Ward’s 10 Best Interiors trophy for 2013.

Against all standards of fashion, the mix of beige, black and deep-brown tones inside the RDX is gorgeous. These comforting shades, in addition to Acura’s signature angular lines, smoothed out a bit from the older RDX, make the new ’13 model a winner with our judges.

“This has a pleasing color scheme and is nicely styled overall,” says one WardsAuto editor. Another likes the contrast between the beige and dark black plastic trim on the doors.

“It’s very attractive and breaks up what could be a monotonous color scheme (of brown tones),” one editor says.

Many judges like the logical layout of switchgear inside the RDX and how, thanks to the slanted, protruding center stack, each button or dial is within easy reach of the driver.

Although it’s thought of as a small CUV, the new RDX has a back seat loaded with legroom – more spacious than we’ve encountered in many big SUVs.

Expanding storage capacity is made easy by levers in the cargo area. With a pull, the second-row seatbacks fold flat. They also can be folded traditionally via levers near the head restraints.

Once the seats are folded, getting them back up is a snap. In many vehicles, raising seatbacks manually to the vertical position is a struggle. The lightweight function in the RDX is particularly useful for parents who have their arms full of kids or groceries.

Storage compartments are sizable as well, with one editor marveling at the generously sized glove box: “My pug could fit in there!”

Hmm. With the Honda Odyssey’s new in-van vacuum, maybe a built-in doggie cage for the RDX isn’t far behind.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com