Acura Heats Up Premium Compact CUV Race with a New RDX

Luxury crossover gets a redesign for Detroit debut

FARMINGTON HILLS, Michigan — Cadillac passed Acura in October as the fifth-bestselling premium/luxury brand in U.S. sales, year-to-date, and the extra 2,000 or so XT5 compact sport/utilities sold the last few months versus RDX SUVs accounts for much of that success. Honda’s premium brand strikes back next month at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the formal unveiling of its third-generation Acura RDX, self-described as the brand’s “most extensive redesign in a decade.”

Superlatives don’t stop there. Acura says it’s the first RDX designed and to be assembled in America, on a new Acura-exclusive platform, and with key design elements from both the Acura Precision Concept, using its “low, wide and sleek presence” and Acura Precision Cockpit with its new interior design, user interface and operating system.

Similar to the Precision Concept, which is an RLX-size sedan, the new RDX’s profile features two strong character lines nearly meeting in the front doors, with the front character line developed off the chiseled hood bulge, and the rear character line sweeping up from roughly the middle of the rear doors, below the beltline, and to just above the taillamps. The result is styling that de-emphasizes the Acura RDX’s SUV ride height.

The profile also eschews the “floating” D-pillar proliferating on much of the RDX’s latest competition, in favor of a distinctive sideways v-point with upper daylight opening chrome emphasizing the lines. The new Acura RDX also shares its grille with the Precision Concept. It’s a large, five-point grille thankfully devoid of the recently banished “platypus” brand signature.

Acura’s Precision Cockpit features a prominent center divider between front seats, with a vertically placed control dial in the center and a touchpad below it. There are two pop-up-style screens; one for the center information/navigation/entertainment screen high on the dash, and one for the instrument panel, just behind the steering wheel. Both screens are fixed in place.

The 2019 Acura RDX is expected to launch in 2018, and we expect more details by the time of its official launch on January 15 at NAIAS.

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