Acura Intros New RDX and New/Old Direction in Detroit (Video)

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The best news about the new RDX is that Acura is back. Not chrome-beak Acura, but the Acura that gave us the Integra Type R and the first NSX.

As with most of these vehicle launches (prototype in this case), the company gets someone from the top to do some talking. That man is Toshiaki Mikoshiba, President and CEO of American Honda Motor Company. Mikoshiba takes the stage at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, or “Detroit Auto Show”) and pronounces, “The RDX Prototype is the most comprehensive redesign in more than a decade.” That, we expected.

“This is a powerful indication of things to come,” he added. Later on, he elaborates by promising that all core models will feature an A-Spec variant, starting with a new 2.4L A-Spec TLX A-Spec in the spring. Also on the docket is a dedicated turbocharged V-6 for Acura models only. We’ll let the engine swappers in the forum decide that, Mikoshiba-san.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype

Okay, you say, A-Spec is only a trim. We want something serious again! Again, Mikoshiba doesn’t disappoint: “We will relaunch Type S in the next few years.” First, a Type R Civic, and now Type S returns? Well, things are looking up for the luxury division at Honda. Acura is back, baby.

Details, details

The big focus of this launch was, of course, the 2019 Acura RDX Concept. Jon Ikeda, Vice President and General Manager of Acura, lays out the details: Type-R derived powerplant, the return of SH-AWD, a multi-link rear suspension with adaptive dampers, and a variable ratio steering rack mark a few of the mechanical high points.

“Going forward: if it looks like metal, it’s metal. And if it looks like wood, obviously it’s wood,” says Ikeda. We’re talking brushed aluminum and open-pore wood. Like a proper luxury car. Nappa leather too.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype

We don’t know about you, but we think materials in upscale cars can make or break the experience. Leave the veneered wood and chromed plastic to Lincoln Town Cars.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype

Acura is also promising seating for five real-size adults. They call it “first-class comfort for five”. The wheelbase has been extended by 2.5-inches, and the RDX was widened by 1.2-inches, which should improve the available interior room. They claim class-leading rear legroom, cargo space, and cabin space.

So, when Ikeda starts talking about the infotainment system, don’t fall asleep. The standout detail is the touchpad. This is the first application of absolute positioning in an automotive application. What the heck does that mean in real life? Tap the bottom left of the touchpad, and you get the app on the bottom left of the infotainment screen. Hard to believe this is something to brag about, as it seems like an obvious thing to do. We’ll reserve any effusive praise until we’ve used it. Sounds promising though.

Acura Watch becoming standard fare on all RDX models is actually pretty cool. As automakers roll out different assistive technologies with the intent of reducing the number of crashes and the severity of the ones that still occur, you don’t have to pick and choose which features you’ll take on the new RDX.

Would anyone consider a new RDX? Like the direction Acura says they’re heading? Join us in the Forums and let us know what you think.

Austin Lott is a longtime auto journalist who loves writing about cool cars and hearing the stories behind them. He is a regular contributor to popular Internet Brands Auto Group websites, including Honda-Tech and 6speedonline. Although he's partial to Japanese imports, he'll give anything cool a shot.

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