NAIAS 2018: Acura RDX prototype aims to take on premium crossovers

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All-new Acura RDX prototype shows what a premium CR-V is like

So far, the small luxury crossover market sees a majority of German offerings. Acura wants to turn the tide with the all-new RDX. While it still says concept on the plate, the car here is essentially a thinly veiled version of the production car. 

For the first time in the brand's history, Acura claims that the platform used for the RDX is exclusive to this model. Prior to this, the RDX, along with other Acura products, were based on existing Honda models. In the case of the previous -generation RSX, it was based on the CR-V. Acura adds that it will also gain a sportier model, in the form of the A-Spec. From the looks of it, and what the brand has been saying, Acura wants to challenge the Germans by distancing itself from its Honda relatives.

One look at the fascia and it won't be mistaken for a CR-V. The bold front end sees a pair of upswept, aggressive LED headlights. Giving it more presence are the signature 'Jewel Eye' light signature, as seen in the RLX flagship sedan (better known here as the Honda Legend). The wide, sweeping grill also presents the marque's design direction for future crossovers. 

Creases and lines dominate the side of the RDX, complete with flared fenders to give it a wider-looking stance. Its roof on the other hand uses a sloping design to show off a sleeker profile. As for the rear, there are still some shades of Honda, particularly for the rear tail light design. While not pillar mounted, the slim, wraparound look appears to be a nod to the current CR-V.

The interior however should convince many that the RDX isn't a tarted up Honda.  Its dash features a wraparound look for both the driver and front passenger. Like the exterior, defined lines and creases are present throughout the cabin. A 10.2-inch infotainment screen dominates the center of the dash and the system uses Android software. It is then controlled via Acura's new True Touchpad interface. In essence, it works similar to a laptop trackpad.

Powering the RDX is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. Before you say it's the Civic Type R engine, it's likely that it is based on it and will probably be detuned for more docile crossover duties. Also, official figures have yet to be released. There are no manuals for this model as the lone transmission choice is a ten-speed automatic transmission. Lastly, the RDX can be specified with either front wheel drive or all-wheel drive. 

Once the Acura RDX reaches production, it will go against the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. The lone Japanese-American competitor is the Infiniti QX30, which is actually based on the Mercedes-Benz GLA

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