Honda’s first turbocharged engine debuts in….an SUV.
Last year’s RD-X concept, a small crossover SUV, gave way this year to the Detroit show’s RDX (note the loss of the hyphen), a “near-production prototype” that was nearly identical to the vehicle that will go on sale this summer as a 2007 model. The RDX is clearly related to last year’s concept vehicle, with a similar roofline, greenhouse, and C-pillars. The doors are different, though, and not just because they now have handles; last year, the rear doors were cut out around the wheels, but for production they are more squared off in shape.
There’s big news under the RDX’s hood: the first turbocharged engine (other than European-market turbodiesels) for a Honda or Acura street vehicle. The all-new, 2.3-liter i-VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder makes 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a five-speed manu-matic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Acura’s Super Handling All Wheel Drive system is standard. One would assume that the RDX is built on a variant of the Honda CR-V platform, but Acura insists that it is actually underpinned by an “all-new global light truck platform.” We assume the company will elaborate on that assertion in due time.
As you would expect, the RDX will be equipped with standard front, side, and side curtain air bags. The cabin also can be fitted with Acura’s navigation system with real-time traffic reports and an ELS DVD-Audio surround sound stereo system.
The RDX, which will be assembled in Ohio, will enter the small, premium crossover segment, which the BMW X3 hasn’t exactly set afire. They’ll be joined soon by the Land Rover Freelander replacement and eventually the Audi Q5.