Late last month, Acura and Honda hosted a special preview party in Detroit for the new RDX and Insight Prototypes and we were fortunate enough to attend this event.
While the Insight looked great from the exterior, we were unable to check out the interior. The RDX Prototype, on the other hand, had a full interior so we were able to sit in it and get a feel for Acura’s new Precision Cockpit.
Exterior Impressions The Acura Precision Concept set the tone for Acura’s styling direction 2 years ago at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Since then, Acura has worked elements of this styling into the 2018 MDX, 2018 TLX, and most recently the 2018 RLX. The RDX is the first vehicle that was designed from the ground up to feature the new design language, and that’s something that makes Dave Marek (Acura’s design chief) very happy. At first glance the RDX appears to be very close in size when compared to the current RDX, but in reality it carries a wheelbase that’s 2.5 inches longer and it has a track that’s 1.2 inches wider. The overhangs are shorter front and rear, and the RDX sports an improved “dash to axle” ratio.
Interior Impressions It’s clear that Acura worked very hard to bring the RDX interior up to a much higher standard. Premium materials are found throughout the cabin. Everything that appears to be metal is in fact metal (including the speaker grilles). Everything that looks like wood IS real wood. The infotainment system benefits from Acura’s Precision Cockpit themed interface and it features a “True Touchpad Interface” with a beautiful full-HD 10.2-inch widescreen display serving as the focal point. The “True Touchpad Interface” refers to a centrally mounted touchpad which maps input directly to the corresponding spot on the screen – you don’t have to “mouse around” to move the cursor to spot – eventually by muscle memory you’ll remember almost exactly the spot to touch on the touchpad to select a given point on the display.
The layout of the center stack is inspired by the NSX interior - there's a huge centrally mounted dial selector for the IDS (Integrated Dynamic System) with 4 distinct drive modes: Sport, Sport+, Comfort, and Snow.
A huge panoramic sunroof is standard in all 2019 RDXs. The front seats are heated and ventilated, and adjustable 16-ways for both driver and passenger sides. Very comfortable. Accommodations in the rear are also comfortable for 2 passengers. It will fit 3 adults but it looks like it could be a bit of a cozy affair for 3. The cargo area is trimmed nicely, and there’s a good sized bonus compartment under the cargo floor cover. We didn’t go crawling underneath the RDX (yet), but our guess is the RDX’s cargo floor had to be raised (compared to say, the CR-V) to accommodate the bulk of the SH-AWD differential, and that left a bit of a “pocket” behind it, so this became the underfloor compartment.
ELS Studio 3D In 2019 the RDX will introduce the latest development in the ELS line of audio products –16-channels and 710 watts are combined with 4 ultra-thin ceiling mounted speakers. With these additional channels and drivers, the soundstage can be pinpointed with unrivaled accuracy.
2.0L Turbocharged engine, 10-speed automatic, and SH-AWD is back! As expected, the new RDX will launch with a 2.0L Turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. While Acura hasn’t put any real numbers out there, we were assured it would be tuned to a higher specification than the new Accord 2.0T, which is rated at 252hp. We were told that our guess of 275-280hp probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark. While the news of the return of the (available) SH-AWD system is a welcome development, we learned that it’s a new evolution of the system and if what we heard is accurate, this new SH-AWD unit will carry a higher torque capacity than the existing system. This means more torque can be shifted to the rear at any given time, which is important for driving feel.
The 2019 RDX prototype also features adaptive dampers - we don't know for sure, but our guess is that these will only be offered on the upper trim levels.
WHAT??? NO V6?! Yeah, for now there’s no V6. BUT, we heard that there is a pretty good chance that a V6 is coming some time later, and it could very well be a part of an exclusive Type S trim. An A-spec trim will be offered with the RDX at the time of launch, which will be “later this year”.
Acura’s “exclusive” platform What’s this “Acura-exclusive platform” business? Isn’t it basically the same architecture that the Accord/CRV/Civic all run? Not really. We’re told that the middle portion of the “platform” has some similarities to the existing platform, but the front and rear portions are 100% unique to Acura. Up front, it has been engineered to fit a V6, and in the rear it has to be able to accommodate the SH-AWD diff. So effectively, all of this adds up to an “exclusive” platform for Acura.
Photos Photography was not allowed at the special preview event, so for now all we can share with you are the official PR photos in the gallery below. Of course, if you're reading this at around 11:20AM on January 15, 2018, we will be busily shooting photos from the floor of the North American International Auto Show, so be sure to check back for more photos.