January 15, 2018 an epic day for American Honda Motors, Acura Division in Detroit

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The 3rd generation Acura RDX captivates one’s imagination from every angle.

January 15, 2018, will mark a day in Honda history when two innovative, segment topping, benchmark-setting vehicles were presented to the world press from Detroit, Michigan –still, the epicenter of North America’s auto industry. Honda, America’s #5 automaker comes to N.A.I.A.S (North American International Auto Show) with two showstoppers — the reinvented 3rd generation Honda Insight and Acura Divisions 2019 RDX SUV, the first ground-up reinvention of Acura’s best selling compact SUV in the better part of a decade. I wouldn’t throw my 2017 Acura RDX in the crusher.

The Insight journey began in 1999 as America’s first hybrid electric car

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Shades of Civic Hybrid

I still see first generation Honda Insights from time to time running the streets of North America, tinny by today’s standards, the initial Insight offering was a 2-place 3 door hatchback that averaged over 60 MPG highway. Very cool looking. in a quirky, fender skirt sort of way. The original subcompact Honda Insight fell to the side of the road in sales due to Toyota’s introduction of the larger Prius, the best selling gasoline/electric hybrid in history.

After a brief market hiatus, a second generation Insight returned to the market in 2010 as a larger 4-door hatchback with underwhelming performance drive dynamics. Yet, In my several interviews with Insight owners, I’ve yet to meet one that didn’t praise their Insight. In rolls a much improved, larger scale 5-passenger sedan, featuring Accord Hybrid, Clarity PHEV, 2nd generation 2-electric motor Honda hybrid gasoline/electric hybrid technology. As of this writing, Honda’s expanded a bit on the date of arrival, as well as specifications for this Prius slayer. However, that’s about it. I’ll keep you posted.

Moving on: The 3rd generation Acura RDX is visually captivating

As promised by our friends at Acura, 2019 RDX is a show stopper that most definitely lives up to its pre-reveal hype. Without question, the most advanced future-forward SUV design to come out of Acura’s Los Angeles based design studio, the manufactured in Ohio 3rd generation RDX presents the maker’s near future design directive for Honda’s premium brand. When released to markets in midyear 2018, RDX will return sport-driving dynamics to the very popular 2-row crossover segment.

New for 2019 is the first mainstream integration of Acura’s Precision Cockpit Concept design architecture; a much improved up-trim interior, full-length glass roof, available 2nd generation SH-AWD (smart-handling-all-wheel-drive) greater structural rigidity, a new turbocharged high-torque engine, 10-speed transmission, available 3-D ELS sound/ entertainment interface, and more. Read my Detroit Car Show recap here.

My congratulations go out to Acura’s G.M. Jon Ikada, the Acura engineering and design team, as well as Acura P.R., for a job, well done. In other news, Acura tells us that the V6 is not dead in their future lineup. Look for a turbocharged, high output V6 to premiere in the 2019 RDX. Also, Acura vows to resurrect an S-Type for the sport-driving enthusiast, while expanding the A-Spec trim packaging to all Acura car and light truck offerings.

What’s new for Acura in 2019 and beyond

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2019 Acura RDX optimizes “Precision Crafted Performance”

In a recent Torque News article titled “5 improvements Acura owners want in the near future,” I discussed the current state of Honda’s premium car Division, and what will be required in the near future to¬†elevate Acura to its rightful position in the premium car and light truck segment.

Setting the record straight: In speaking with Acura owners, while the majority praise the mark for producing an overall outstanding vehicle, many point to Acura’s outdated tech-side as sub-par, needing work, and glitchy at times. Or, more specifically, the navigation voice-command needs some work. Fit and finish are at times inconsistent. And unfortunately, for a very few, the initially problematic¬†ZF 9-speed automatic transmission remains prone to intermittent glitches, and in worse case scenario, failure! It does happen.

Today Acura MDX and RDX remain best sellers in their respective SUV segments. Affordable, premium, and fun to drive, Acura remains the go-to brand for consumers looking for understated elegance, precision, and sport-like drive and ride dynamics. When looking to pricepoint, Acura holds the advantage in the SUV and midsize premium sedan segment. What does the future look like for Honda’s premium brand?

In response to this Acura-owner want and wish list, I’ve received some very poignant¬†responses. Read that article here.

Moving on to what’s new for Acura¬†in 2019

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2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

The evolution of Acura will continue with the prototype introduction of the all-new RDX compact SUV. This will be the first offering to feature Acura’s Precision Concept Cockpit design. Losing the 2-screen center stack dash layout, 2019 RDX will instead feature a centered floating touchscreen, with a redesigned, and much larger i-MID. I first experienced the Precision¬†Cockpit at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2016. We’ll be reporting details here on January, 15, from Detroit.

To date, Acura presents¬†a much refreshed 2018 MDX, MDX Sport Hybrid, and, TLX-A-Spec. All feature Acura’s outstanding pentagon diamond precision grill and SH-AWD options. In the case of MDX Sport Hybrid, NSX, and RLX — we discover hybrid electric torque vectoring SH-AWD. (smart handling all-wheel-drive.) Acura’s quest for Precision Performance began with the 2nd generation NSX super-car — an unparalleled¬†performance value for the money.

I look to Acura for great things in 2018 and beyond. I’ve met the design team, engineers, and top management, they’re passionate, dedicated, and have the resources at hand to dominate. Good things take time. In the meantime, I like driving Acura. It’s very cool in its own understated, precision directed elegance, and posh! I tame the streets of¬†Los Angeles in RLX.

This week in Honda News Insight and Ridgeline come under the spotlight

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Insight Shades of Civic Hybrid. Photo Attributes American Honda 2017.

This first week of 2018 is a bit slow as to breaking Honda News. Here it is Tuesday, and American Honda has yet to publish year end sales data for the 5th largest U.S. car brand. Japanese owned, but mostly made in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., production related news, will most likely come on Wednesday, with yet another record year for America’s #5 car brand.

Factoid: Honda integrates more U.S. sourced parts into their new car lineup than Fiat Chrysler, GM or Ford. If you drive Accord, Civic or CR-V, your car or light truck is more likely than not, built in North America. Here’s where the news comes in to play: Last month American Honda Motors teased not only the redesigned Acura RDX compact crossover, but a made in Ohio 3rd generation Honda Insight Hybrid. This marks the remake of the first hybrid gasoline/ electric car made available to North American buyers back in 1999, light years ago by automotive design and development standards.

Yet here we are, once again returning back to the future — with a Civic sized Insight that Honda tells us will be manufactured in the U.S, rolling down the same production line as Honda CR-V — that plants an idea or two for the future of CR-V. Electrified? Certainly! Read my Torque News take on Honda’s latest and greatest mainstream hybrid car here.

I anticipate an entry trim price point just south of $30,000. What do you think? Will Honda get it right this time — market timing that is, Insight was and remains a great compact hybrid.

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2019 Acura RDX crossover Prototype. Photo attributions Acura Division 2017

Honda’s luxury car Division is scheduled for a new offering or two. That reinvention will begin with the introduction of a ground-up RDX compact crossover redesign for 2019.

As shared at the top of my first week of 2018 rant, 2 weeks earlier, Acura leaked a Pre-Detroit Show reveal of Acura RDX; the one and only compact, CR-V derived crossover in the maker’s North American lineup. I like RDX, in-fact, It’s my favorite personal daily driver. But, it could use a makeover, more specifically on the electronic, connectivity, integrated navigation side of the equation.

In short, RDX electronics don’t work perfectly, something that Acura owners insist on!¬† Looking to the reveal photo, 2019 RDX comes to market with a futuristic, low drag coefficient look. I see RDX taking on Lexus, it’s that cool!

However, I’m afraid that Acura’s mechanically bulletproof V6 will go the way of 2018 Honda Accord. In its place will most likely sit a high output, fuel efficient 2.0L direct injected, turbocharged 4 cylinder gasoline engine, paired to a segmented CVT or 8-speed duel clutched transmission. Yes there will be an all-wheel-drive offering. Will it be electrified, smart ?

Hang in there Honda fans: We should know more after Acura shares a detail or two in Detroit on January 15, 2018. Read my take on the all new Acura RDX here.