Detroit 2018: Acura RDX is Born in the USA

16 January 2018 | by Michael Gooderham

Acura is a brand created and owned by Honda, but really it was created for Americans who didn't want a humble logo on their expensive car. However, the cars have always had Japanese input, and in some cases (NSX, Integra, Legend) have previously been little more than left-hand-drive Hondas with different logos on.

That has been changing over time, and the world debut of the new RDX (in supposed 'Prototype' form despite looking fully finished) brings us the first Acura designed and developed fully in the USA, on a platform that won't be shared with Honda. It'll be built in Ohio, too, starting this summer.

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A product of Acura's 'precision' design language, the new grille - which resembles a larger, hollowed-out version of the infamous 'beak' and has an explosion-like pattern - is flanked by NSX-style 'jewel eye' headlights with deeply embedded LEDs in the main cluster and daytime running strips on the lower edges.

The fake corner grilles are part of a complex array of styling cues all shoved into one small area, which doesn't work as nicely.

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The waistline is intriguingly complex, with three main slashes overlapping with each other as they interact with different door handles and light clusters. The light catcher below it is filled with chrome, which will suit the American market.

The taillights, like the headlights, have a strip of chrome intertwined for extra flash (as it were).

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While the outgoing RDX gained quite a staid reputation, this new one is part of Acura's plan to add some spice to its brand.

Said plan includes special badges; as well as announcing a revival of the old Type-S moniker for performance versions, Acura is using the introducing an A-Spec trim level, starting with the RDX, that adds a superficially sporting edge to the regular model variants in exchange for more money.

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Acura is also very proud of its new 'Precision Cockpit' interior design. One thing worthy of note is that, rather than keeping it out of screen's way on the transmission tunnel, the drive selector takes centre stage in the dash, suggesting that driving is considered more of a priority here than it is in other crossovers.

Information is conveyed by a 10.2-inch screen, crisply illuminated instruments and a head-up display.

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The RDX will go on sale later this year and feature a new 2.0-litre VTEC-enhanced turbo four-cylinder engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, active suspension with four modes (Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Snow) and either front- or 'SH-AWD' active all-wheel-drive.

Consider it the brand's independence day.