Acura RDX Prototype points to Honda's crossover future

Published: 15 January 2018

► Acura RDX Prototype unveiled
► Latest news from Detroit show
► Crossover points to production car 

The Acura RDX Prototype looks rather too production ready to be wearing its ‘Prototype’ nameplate. The latest version of Honda’s US-built five-seater SUV franchise won’t make it to the UK market. But it does promise to usher in a change in design direction – it’s called the Acura Precision Concept, and is a simpler, less cluttered look that would be most welcome on the next-generation Honda Civic.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see Acura's diamond pentagon grille, but the sharply sculpted body and all-LED exterior lighting will definitely make it to Europe.

Set to launch in the middle of 2018, the next-generation RDX has what Honda describes as ‘class-leading cabin and cargo space,’ and promises to go head-to-head with more established rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5

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So, what’s actually new?

As you’d expect from Honda, the interest lies in what’s underneath the skin. It sits on an all-new platform and features a lightened, stiffened body. It’s powered by 2.0-litre VTEC turbocharged engine, mated with an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. 

Acura RDX

Backing up its SUV/crossover styling is Honda’s tortuously-named Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. It has a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, which promises incisive on-road handling, and limited off-road capability, too. Perfect for driving in the snow, then (see above).

There’s also an adaptive damper system that’s been developed as a result of the work done of the NSX. It shares that car’s drive mode dial is placed high in the center console, giving drivers an easy choice of drive modes to suit their mood and conditions. 

What will we see from this car in Europe?

As well as a variation of its cleaner new design language, expect the interior to be a friendlier place. The new True Touchpad Interface looks set to combine the best elements of a touchscreen and remote interface. We shall see when we get behind the wheel. 

The infotainment system is Android-based, and projected onto a dual-zone, 10.2-inch full-HD display mounted high in the centre console. Honda says this will not disrupt the driver as much as more traditional, low-mounted systems, and it’s also available with an interactive head-up display (HUD). 

Acura RDX

The interior is certainly more spacious, and comes across as a tastefully designed place to spend time. It’s finished in high-grade materials throughout, including Nappa leather, brushed aluminum and open-pore Olive Ash wood.

Not for the UK, but should we care?

Okay, so it’s yet another SUV/crossover, and the market is far from running short of options. We probably won’t miss it in the UK, but the design direction on the outside and the up-scale interior certainly promise a future generation of better-looking Hondas. And about time too, we say.

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By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR

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