By on February 5, 2015

2016 Honda HR-V

While Acura is making a renewed push on the passenger car side, with the TLX and a thoroughly refreshed ILX, the brand’s crossovers are arguably its strongest offerings. But there’s little room for growth above the three-row MDX, meaning Acura has only one way to go if they want to expand their offerings.

Speaking to Ward’s Auto, American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel said that Acura was currently studying a version of Honda’s new HR-V crossover, which is the same size as vehicles like the Buick Encore and BMW X1.

Aside from a new offering in the North American market, the addition of a small crossover would be a big boost for the brand in markets like China and Russia, where CUVs, particularly small ones, are all the rage. Presumably, the business case for such a vehicle isn’t so tough to make. Finding production capacity might be a different matter. While the HR-V is built in Honda’s all-new plant in Mexico, the HR-V is destined to be a hot seller. An Acura version will bring higher profit margins, but could also put a crimp on volume.

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60 Comments on “Acura Mulling Sub-RDX Crossover...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “But there’s little room for growth above the three-row MDX”

    I mean, there is room there if Honda would build a V8. Then, they could rebody the Ridgeline into a large, albeit softer Tahoe/Suburban competitor.

    OR

    Thinking on this, does Honda play at all in the “UN vehicle” type market with the Land Cruiser, Patrol, Pajero? I don’t think they do but maybe I missed some rare model (and no the Discovery I-cum-Crosstour didn’t count).

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Concur on the V8. It would open up a whole new vehicle and buyer for them, but for some reason Acura seems to be ignorant to what US consumers want as an option.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        They need the V8, a larger CUV, and an Avalon competitor.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          Agree. They’ve needed a V8 for years now. The RL, the Ridgeline, and the MDX could have all used a V8 option.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “But there’s little room for growth above the three-row MDX”

            This is misleading, there is plenty of room for growth above the MDX. Honda just has no experience at that end with the Ridgeline/Pilot being the biggest thing they have. BMW, MB, VW (Audi), Jeep, all have larger SUVs coming up

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I query whether that buyer would really open up to them at all. I don’t see the Suburban buyer looking at a Japanese vehicle, period, and for the same reason that the RLX isn’t going anywhere I don’t see any buyer paying $90k for an Acura mommymobile.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Really? You don’t think a Suburban/Tahoe shopper doesn’t cross-shop the QX-80/Land Cruiser?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            He thinks the Suburban costs $90k. He really doesn’t have a leg to stand on anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Re:Tahoe vs Land Cruiser vs. QX-80 vs. et. al.

            It depends on the shopper. Are you trying to find the best vehicle in the category or are you a brand loyalist for some reason?

            Personally when I was shopping for a three row CUV my criteria was if I could find an example with a AWD/4wd, V6, roof rack, and the right options I was willing to drive it.

            My father on the other hand when looking for a 5 passenger SUV/CUV (because mom wanted something that rode higher than the sedans they had been driving) was only willing to drive GM/Ford/Chrysler Corp. Doesn’t believe in that “fur-in” junk.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            @Lie2me: Not really, at least based on the Land Cruiser owners I know.

            @CoreyDL: That’s sort of a weird and [email protected]@@-y response, as well as a misreading of my post. I was identifying two markets: the Suburban market, which again I doubt cross-shops Japanese SUVs all that much (though I could be wrong), and the market for the “UN vehicle” you referred to originally. The Lexus version of the same is the LX570, which starts at about $85k. And I don’t think that Acura could compete for that buyer at that price point.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You’ll have to forgive me for misreading your multiple-subject-per-sentence structures then.

            :)

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            Oh course they would cross shop those. I’m sure they’ll cross shop German brands too.

          • 0 avatar
            an innocent man

            I don’t know about the QX-80, but I’m not sure people do cross-shop LC with Tahoe. Mainly because I think you have to actively want/already know you want the LC. Of the 3 Toyota dealers close to me, none has an LC on lot, and hasn’t in what seems like forever. Tahoes and Suburbans are easy to find. I’m not sure most buyers of Tahoe/Sub even know what a LC is.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      They could do an all-in, luxury version of the Oddyssey; something like the Mercedes R-Class.

      That said, the sales of the Mercedes R-Class is a good reason not to do something like the Mercedes R-Class.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yup; like sales of the Ridgeline might be a warning against “make the Ridgeline into a V8 Avalanche” as suggested above.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well the Avalache sold pretty well. Honda would be smart to make the Ridgeline more like the Avalanche than the Ridgeline.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I can’t figure out why Avalanche didn’t continue on the new Colorado platform, its an innovative concept and screams “lifestyle” vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            A Colorado “Avalanche” would be a good idea for that truck. Since I am a Red Wings fan, it cannot be named “Colorado Avalanche.” But the smaller truck with a flexible set up like the Avalanche would be sweet (and no, the Ridgeline is not a small Avalache).

            They stopped production of the Avalanche because they are trying to push people into the Silverado and Sierra. They probably have a bunch of studies saying people that buy the Avalanche/Escalade EXT will just buy a truck or large SUV from GM.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            Honda needs a small/mid-size truck with serious 4wd drivetrain. Simple, 4 and 6 cylinder. They could make one that would be super durable. Doesn’t need to be the best at anything specific but legit 4wd with rear locker, effiecent engines and off road/utility suspension. They have all the know how in their ATV powersports division. They make some of the best atvs that actually get worked and used off-road by their customers.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, you guys are sooooo right. That’s exactly what Honda needs.

      Or not at all.

      Honda has no reputation in the truck/large truck-based SUV market, and reputation is what you need. It’s the only reason Toyota sells and Tundras or Sequoias. When the company specializes in small 4 and 6-cylinder cars, expanding into a market that they a) have no experience in and b) is shrinking (how many HEMI JGCs and Durangos do you see compared to their V6 counterparts?) and c) they have no loyalty in would be completely stupid. It doesn’t play on any of their strengths, and would cost a lot of money.

      The RL wouldn’t have sold ANY better with a V8. Look at the S80, did it fly off the shelves with a V8? Did the MKS with an Ecoboost? No. In fact, the V6 is/was totally sufficient, and the least of the RL’s problems. Ditto for the Ridgeline (which wouldn’t have sold any better with a V8) and the MDX (which simply doesn’t need it).

      VW and Jeep have larger SUVs coming because their current range doesn’t have a 7 seater SUV. M-B and BMW have both the market (versus Acura’s ceiling of say $65k) and the platforms already.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Most big SUVs have V6s. Only ones that have V8s are BOF tow rigs and 6 figure depreciation pits. Former is a no go for Acura, latter is dependent entirely on brand cachet Acura doesn’t have. Stop projecting.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Has Honda ever built a V8, let alone put one in a production car? The company always struck me as an elite efficiency producer not necessarily a company interested in V8 rigs of any sort.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      If Honda was ever going to build a V8, the time for that sailed years ago. Everyone can yell and scream about wanting a V8 from Acura, and they won’t be a real luxury brand without it, but fact is, no one would buy it.

      If you look at the carmakers that sell (not offer, SELL) luxury cars above the $60k mark in any significant volume, there are two names. BMW and Mercedes. Lexus trickles along, Jag trickles along, Audi trickles along, and Hyundai sells like 3 cars a year. And basically everyone has given up on the midsized V8, the E-class only has it in AMG form, and the 550i makes up a tiny portion of 5-series sales.

      There just isn’t any appetite for a V8 flagship luxury car from anyone but MB and BMW, at least in anything close to the volume it would require to recoup development costs. And with emissions and CAFE targets only heading in one direction, the idea that Honda should NOW develop a V8 is laughable and tone deaf.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Not sure why Acura hasn’t moved on this already. SUVs are the strongest categry Acura has. Why not build an entry level Acura crossover? Why didn’t they think about it a couple years ago I don’t know. Acura has struggled (and is struggling) for years to have a solid presence with their sedans. I see parallels here.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Yup, Pilot:MDX, CR-V:RDX, Vezel/HRV:upcoming product.

      Speaking of struggling products, Carmax has the much unloved ZDX for about $30k.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “Carmax has the much unloved ZDX for about $30k”

        I’m waiting until they get to $15K to make my move. It will look so nice next to my Crosscabriolet

        • 0 avatar
          gasser

          Tune back in next week!!! They should be down to $15K by then.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Run from this POS, I suspect its going to turn into a cult car.

          MY13 Acura ZDX

          07/25/13 SO CAL Factory $37,500 6 Avg BLACK 6G A No
          02/21/13 SO CAL Factory $45,250 16 Avg BLACK 6G A No
          06/12/13 DALLAS Regular $39,500 111 Avg SILVER 6G A No
          08/22/13 SO CAL Factory $35,250 3,537 Avg BLACK 6G A No
          08/22/13 SO CAL Factory $36,500 3,709 Avg BLACK 6G A No
          06/12/13 DALLAS Regular $38,700 4,298 Avg BLACP 6G A No
          04/03/14 CHICAGO Lease $33,000 8,159 Avg WHITE 6G A No
          08/27/14 NJ Factory $31,600 10,149 Avg SILVER 6G A No
          03/31/14 SO CAL Lease $34,300 13,371 Avg SLV 6G P No
          08/22/14 NEVADA Regular $33,000 13,391 Avg WHITE 6G A No
          03/06/14 SO CAL Factory $34,500 18,548 Avg SILVER 6G A No

          MY12 Acura ZDX

          1/15/15 SO CAL Lease $29,750 17,245 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
          01/08/15 PHOENIX Regular $30,000 21,532 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
          01/15/15 CINCINNA Regular $29,600 26,151 Avg GREY 6G A Yes
          01/29/15 SO CAL Lease $30,000 27,802 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
          01/23/15 PA Lease $29,800 30,417 Avg BLACK 6G P Yes
          01/15/15 SO CAL Lease $29,250 31,431 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
          01/23/15 PA Lease $28,300 42,610 Avg BLACK 6G P Yes
          01/15/15 ATLANTA Lease $24,800 45,346 Below PEARL 6G A No
          01/28/15 NASHVILL Lease $26,100 57,190 Below BLACK 6G P Yes
          01/23/15 PA Lease $28,000 64,882 Avg GREY 6G P Yes
          01/12/15 ATLANTA Lease $28,600 78,140 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            Can you translate one of these lines, please? I love when you post data, but I can’t parse all the info.

            What I understand is: sales date, location, type of sale, price, odometer, condition, color, engine, ?, ?

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            OK. Found the info – Condition, Color, Engine, Trans, In Sample.

            6G = # is cylinders, G is gas

            A = automatic, dunno what P means. Manuals get listed by the number of gear, e.g. 6 for 6-speed manual

            In Sample = whether or not this vehicle transaction in included in MMR sample reports

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You got it, sorry for the late reply. I think P is paddle shifter. Back in the day the trans codes were simply “A” or a number which indicated the number of gears in a manual. Lately I’ve seen “P” and “M” in addition to the number or an “A” for auto.

            The other thing is Manheim always used three conditions, but black book used up to five (extra clean, clean, average, rough, extra rough) but the two systems are not directly correlated. IIRC for instance no car beyond 20K miles could be considered extra clean but in Manheim parlance a car with say 25K could be considered above the same as a 10K car could be, which isn’t the case under black book’s system.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “I’m waiting until they get to $15K to make my move. It will look so nice next to my Crosscabriolet”

          The ZDX is much worse than the CrossCabriolet.

          • 0 avatar
            mjz

            The ZDX is a truly awful design. A friend of mine was leasing hers, and she actually bought it after the lease expired. It looks weird, is very impractical with limited interior space and is actually hard to get in and out of.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    I’d take a larger MDX – if it had better rear seat access – maybe suicide doors in the rear or dual sliding doors.

    Even minivan third row access sucks. Find structural rigidity somewhere else, I’d like a vehicle with three full rows, three full sized doors a side.

    Then again, I’d like a full-size four door convertible, and nobody will make one either.

    Acura’s weak stable of sedans and perfect near-lux SUVs tell the entire tale.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    If the Acura version has the 2.0L as a minimum this would do well. Finding a way to offer the 8spd/2.4, even if only FWD would be awesome, built it!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Well, when in Rome. CUVs are hot commodities and why let Buick hog all of the oxygen in this emasculating and baffling (to me) mini-CUV not-quite-near-luxury segment?

    The car offerings have ranged from underwhelming to downright dismal, so SUVs is what they have left.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      SUVs are not much better than the cars they are based on, so I hope you are equally disgusted with the cars on the same platform as well.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Boy, I hope so too. Because I’d sure hate to annoy another internet commenter by expressing a personal opinion they didn’t feel was consistent enough.

        I don’t like these mini B-segment cute utes. I think they look dorky & awkward, aren’t all that useful, and as such are better suited to the cheap n’ cheerful price range rather than semi-premium Buick and Acura.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          There are a growing number of folks who want a premium vehicle without having to drive a land yacht. It’s not a difficult concept to understand. Not sure what relevance you not liking them has on them being good car business.

  • avatar
    EX35

    How about you focus on a unique platform that is actually competitive. Rear-biased AWD? RWD? Hello?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with you but we must remember Acura is not a real brand. If Honda builds a shared platform which can be used for these purposes, Acura might have a shot at using it.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        That’s what I was thinking. I assume any Honda we see will become an Acura at some point. If they can make a “luxury” version of the Civic (ILX) then why not the HR-V? The days of unique Acura offerings are long gone. I believe this is one of the reasons they struggle. Lexus makes things you can’t get in a Toyota wrapper. Infiniti makes things you can’t buy from your Nissan dealer. What products does Acura make that isn’t a rebadged Honda? I believe just the TLX. The CrossTour / ZDX mess proved to me that Acura has given up… clearly they’ll slap an Acura label on anything Honda gives them.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          The Acura MDX 2014-15 is built on its own unique platform. It is not part of the Accord/Odyssey/Pilot group anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Which is funny because the ZDX and Crosstour are unrelated; Crosstour is an Accord, ZDX a rebodied MDX.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It’s kind of confusing because…

            “The Pilot shares underpinnings and the powertrain with the Acura MDX luxury SUV, and their platforms are shared with the Odyssey minivan and the Accord sedan.”

            “Although the ZDX shares a similar profile with the Honda Crosstour, the two vehicles are not mechanically related: the latter is based on the Honda Accord, while the ZDX is based on the Honda Pilot/Acura MDX”-Wikipedia

            So, if the Pilot is an Accord and the ZDX is a Pilot…

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            Good point: people tend to forget that the Crosstour and ZDX, while being released at the same time, aren’t at all related products.

            The Crosstour a all-dressed Accord with a lift kit. It drives like an Accord (and if you swap the crossover rubber for car tires, exactly like an Accord) and is easy to use as an Accord.

            The ZDX is a truck and drives like it: heavy, clunky and clumsy. The issue is that they took the MDX’s virtues (step-in, ease of ingress/egress, sightlines) and got rid of them.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          But keep in mind that the best selling Lexus models are those that you can get in a Toyota wrapper.
          Also, easier to get away with being FWD based in the lux market with a CUV than a sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Lol you again… top selling luxury SUV is based on a Camry with no sporting pretensions whatsoever. IIRC MDX is Acura’s top selling vehicle. Stop projecting your preferences as what the auto industry “needs” to do. Generally speaking nobody cares about “RWD” in the luxury market.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Actually they do – while it is less of an issue for CUVs than sedans in the lux market.

        There’s a reason why the ES is priced like the IS and not the GS and while the CTS and XTS basically are in the same price bracket, the CTS goes a good bit higher and it is the CTS that is compared with the Germans and not the XTS.

        Also, same reason why Audi doesn’t offer the A7 and A8 in FWD here.

  • avatar
    Varezhka

    A B-segment premium crossover may not be a bad idea for Acura.

    On a separate note, why do we keep lumping X1 and Encore together?
    BMW X1 and Lexus NX are C-segment vehicles based on their footprints, while cars like Encore/Juke/HR-V would be solidly in B-segment.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    O.K. , I get it , stick that ugly Acura Beak on the front end and we are done here.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Clearlly no one at Acura has a finger on the pulse of the market. Why build unsellable RLX when Acura-izing the Honda HR-V might actually sell?? The RDX is moving well (Leather interior, the ubiquitous Honda V6 and a 6 speed AT) building off the CRV. Why not use factory space for this Acura HR-V?? Even in L.A. these RLXs (warmed over Accords, with a bigger 6 and AWD) are rarer than Maseratis. If Acura wants to sell a more expensive car, it needs to be BIGGER, never mind the V8. Hyundai Genesis seems to sell just fine with a V6. Bury that RLX, add to the bottom of the CUV line and move on!!!

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Honda needs to build an Acura version of the HR-V without the ugly beak on the front, it would sell well and possibly keep the Acura line alive. I agree with the above comments that the time has past to build a large V-8 powered SUV. Honda would not recover their costs and it would be even less successful than the Ridgeline. The development costs for the HR-V have already been incurred and it would not take too much to make it into a Encore competitor. Priced competitively it could take sales away from the Encore.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Honda needs to build an Acura version of the HR-V without the ugly beak on the front, it would sell well and possibly keep the Acura line alive. I agree with the above comments that the time has past to build a large V-8 powered SUV. Honda would not recover their costs and it would be even less successful than the Ridgeline. The development costs for the HR-V have already been incurred and it would not take too much to make it into a Encore competitor. Priced competitively it could take sales away from the Encore.

    One thing that Honda could do to set an Acura version of the HR-V apart from the competition is to include power adjustable passenger front seat, heated and cooled front seats, key less entry, and a remote hatch and offer it at a price that is not too much more than a loaded Encore.

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