A guest showed up at the apartment yesterday, ready and prepared for when things got hot. No, stop thinking that, you weirdos — it was my landlord. He was replacing my smoke detectors. God.
Nice guy, I should point out, certainly the best landlord I’ve ever had. Anyway, as tends to happen with this fellow, we got to talking about cars. Also per the norm, he found himself on the fence regarding a purchasing dilemma — one that’s no doubt familiar to many readers.
Crossovers and SUVs are the gravy train from which just about every manufacturer is currently drinking, more than happy to quench the buying public’s seemingly insatiable thirst for high riding all-wheel drive machines. Acura’s been in the game for ages with the MDX, RDX, and departed weirdo ZDX.
After vanquishing the unfortunate guillotine grille from the rest of its lineup, Acura has set its sights on revamping its littlest crossover, the RDX. Yes, the word “prototype” is in the headline, but one can be assured that the machine shown here is virtually production-ready.
This week, Acura teased the prototype of its third-generation RDX ahead of its world debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Claiming its to be the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade,” the brand believes it will usher in a “new era” for the company.
While the shadowy images hint at more aggressive and angular styling, the RDX needs more than a pretty face to compete in an increasingly crowded segment. It seems as if every luxury automaker fields a midsize crossover these days, though often at higher price points than the RDX. However, Acura isn’t going to bunt here and hope a freshened model boosts this years’ weaker sales. It’s bringing an entirely new platform that’s exclusive to the brand.
Officially, there is no word. Unofficially, Acura seems plenty content with the idea of bringing the Chinese-market CDX subcompact crossover to North America, so long as there’s a business case for it.
“It’s a model that interests a lot of our people, so we have our R&D guys looking into the possibility,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president of American Honda’s Acura division, last April.
Is an American design patent granted to Honda proof that the company’s braintrust have made up their minds?
Though we wrote about the Sterling brand in a previous QOTD post from earlier this year, we’ve never covered one as a Rare Ride. It’s not often one finds a Sterling for sale these days, as most examples fell into disrepair and disuse by the late 1990s. But B&B commenter FreedMike managed to find a very tidy Sterling for sale at a dealer in Wisconsin, which is near Canada.
Come have a look at the not-quite Honda from Blighty.
Honda has been on a bit of a teasing streak lately, showing us a brace of great concepts unveiled by Honda at the Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows – concepts which may or may not evolve into anything we can buy on this side of the pond. Rumors also floated around about a little brother being created for the NSX. Adding fuel to that particular fire, patents were discovered for the latter.
As it turns out, those patents were absolutely real and a baby NSX is on its way… as a driveable machine in the Gran Turismo video game.
Acura has a tough job ahead of it. As the brand tries to grow volume and retain some of the clout it lost in past years, it finds itself with too many cars and two few SUVs in a market that demands more of the latter, not the former. Meanwhile, the impressive reborn NSX, now a hybrid, hasn’t captured the imagination of sports car fans in the same way as its long-lived predecessor.
Keeping up with — and in some cases, getting in front of — technological trends is part of Acura’s comeback plan. Naturally, in the interest of technological advancement and environmental appeasement, it was necessary to bring a multi-cog automatic transmission on board. However, a series of manufacturer service bulletin point to two potential weak points in the company’s nine-speed.
Psst… Have I got a deal for you! There’s a low-profile $30,000 factory incentive out there on a really great mid-engined supercar. You could be looking at just $1,500 a month on a lease, which is about what you’d pay to buy a new Corvette Grand Sport over five years. Or you might get a car with a $165k sticker for just $122,000. Are you FREAKING OUT right now? Or are you waiting for me to tell you which one?
Well, let’s see… It’s not the Ford GT, because those are sold out. It’s not the Ferrari 488GTB, which is on a waiting list and subject to $100k worth of additional dealer markup. It’s not the Lamborghini Huracan, used examples of which are fetching close to MSRP. It’s not even the Audi R8, which has some nice lease programs at the moment but which still generally sells for sticker or close to it.
You know what I’m going to tell you, of course. You know it’s the Acura NSX. From day one it’s been a tough sell and, while I’d like to think that the 2017 Road & Track Performance Car Of The Year accolade helped the showroom traffic a bit, I’d be naive to think that it was enough to move the needle too far. Starting next year, NSXes will be special order only. If you want a car out of dealer stock, now’s the time to do it and Honda will throw $30k worth of cash on the frunk to make it happen.
Maybe it’s time to ask why this state of affairs came to pass — but I bet you already know that, too.
It has become increasingly evident that America’s compact sedan consumers aren’t terribly interested in a semi-premium-branded version of a previous-generation Honda Civic.
But for 2018, the Acura ILX gains a new Special Edition. Ah, that’ll do the trick.
Last week we took entries for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade. There were certainly plenty of submissions; it’s always easy to dream up crossover criticism (less dream, more nightmare in the case of the Acura ZDX).
This time around, we flip the question: What’s the best utility vehicle of the past 10 years?
Is it possible to move this elephant out of the room?
Perhaps not, but whether we try to move the elephant or allow him to stay, a review of the revamped 2018 Acura TLX, even in this top-spec V6 SH-AWD A-Spec trim, will forever be set against a backdrop that is the all-new 2018 Honda Accord, a veritable wooly mammoth.
It can’t be helped. Acura knows the new 10th-generation Accord offers features unavailable in the Acura lineup. The TLX, meanwhile, features an interior that’s more than a little reminiscent of the ninth-generation Accord’s cabin. Fonts, buttons, switches, two-screen format — the upmarket/downmarket connections are too obvious to be dismissed as simply the mandatory parts-bin sharing of a global automaker with justifiable cost concerns. The new 2018 Acura TLX and the old Honda Accord are remarkably similar cars.
But is that so bad? The Honda Accord is, with good reason, consistently one of America’s most popular sedans, and the refreshed 2018 Acura TLX is a particularly nice interpretation of that car. Besides which, the Acura TLX isn’t just an Accord. It’s not merely an Accord. The TLX’s more powerful V6, a nine-speed automatic, and a very effective all-wheel-drive system make sure of that.
True, the elephant hasn’t exited the premises. But now that it’s standing out in the hallway, we can judge the 2018 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD A-Spec on merit, rather than simply distinguishing the degree to which the TLX is or is not a Honda.
Utility vehicles have been a hot ticket personal transport item for some time, much to the delight of OEMs and their shareholders. As the definition around what should qualify as “utility” became more and more blurred during this (presently, CUV) craze, inevitably some entries missed the mark and floundered. Perhaps a redesign was in the cards if the manufacturer felt confident, or a product cancellation if it didn’t.
Either way, recent examples of bad utility vehicles are our subject today. What’s your pick for the worst utility vehicle of the past decade?
It’s early days for the second-generation Acura NSX, known in most global markets as the Honda NSX. After a decade-long hiatus, the Ohio-built NSX only returned in the summer of 2016.
Yet 577 copies of the NSX have been sold in America during the supercar’s first 14 months. In the much smaller and less supercar-friendly Canadian market, 82 copies of the Acura NSX have been sold since July 2016, including 29 in the last two months.
And in Australia? Down Under, sales of the [s]Acura[/s] Honda NSX have been less, shall we say, numerous. So far, Honda Australia has reported… carry the one, find the inverse sine, if c is equal to a+b… a grand total of two NSX sales.
Two. Dos. Zwei. Ni.
The reasons are obvious.
The long-established U.S. auto industry is essentially impossible to turn on its head. An automaker can’t simply show up with a new brand or a new philosophy or new design tactics and instantly upset the apple cart.
Just as you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it’s difficult to teach an old automobile market to adopt new buying habits. Market share swings are incremental. Progress is slow. At Acura, for example, facelifts of the TLX and RLX sedans and improved availability of the MDX (after moving some production to Ohio) will likely not combine to increase the brand’s market share by even one-tenth of one percent.
Given the difficulties faced by Acura in America — sales have fallen by more than a quarter since 2005 — Honda’s premium brand is turning its gaze to a larger, fresher, less established market. A market where buying habits are not cemented, where market share is still up for grabs, where market-specific vehicles are the norm.
And if Acura can soon succeed in China, where the brand has high hopes for the near-term, then Acura stands a much better chance of succeeding in America.
It made perfect sense. In 2009, when Hyundai wanted customers to view its new Genesis luxury sedan as a premium bit of kit, Hyundai did not compare the Genesis to the Sonata. In an early marketing campaign, Hyundai’s voiceover said the Genesis is “as spacious as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, yet priced like a C-Class.”
When the time came to market the Genesis R-Spec, Hyundai reached way upmarket to compare 0-60 mph times with the Porsche Panamera. Hyundai wasn’t under the mistaken impression that the Genesis would steal thousands of sales from $100,000 Benzes and Porsches. But Hyundai was crafting an image. Hyundai didn’t require you to believe that the Genesis was a viable S-Class alternative — the company just wanted you to understand that this is premium-oriented S-Class-sized sedan at a C-Class-like price.
Long before the Hyundai Genesis tried to cultivate a premium persona, Acura was failing to keep up with Lexus in the quest to be viewed as a true luxury rival for the German establishment. It’s still a problem. So Acura dealers are now just trying to make sure you understand that the Acura TLX is better than the [s]Audi A4 Lexus ES Infiniti Q50[/s] 2018 Honda Accord.
The Honda Accord is by no means a younger sibling, operating as the senior member of American Honda’s fleet.
More specifically, the 2018 Honda Accord will never be viewed as the little brother in the American Honda family, not with these substantial dimensions and MSRPs that reach deep into the $30Ks.
But the 10th-generation Accord is still a Honda. Just a Honda. Merely a Honda. Only a Honda. And while you might expect Honda to enjoy technological hand-me-downs from the automaker’s upmarket Acura brand, that’s not the way it works. Not when it comes to the Accord.
As a result, we’ll wait and see which hand-me-ups appear on the next all-new Acura, the third-generation 2019 Acura RDX.
Earlier this week in his Question of the Day, Matthew Guy asked everyone to share a favorite vehicle from their year of birth. An interesting walk through history ensued in the days following, and I encourage each of you to head there and read through the comments if you haven’t done so already. You’ve probably already guessed from the title above where I’m going with this particular question.
Today’s inquiry is all about the worst, steamiest pile of junk on sale the year you were born. Let’s get down and dirty.
Last month, I brought to you a Question of the Day about resurrection; saving something from an untimely death. Naturally, we were talking about car brands — specifically, which dead brand you’d select to bring back to life in a modern world, with a modern lineup.
In the well-established TTAC interest of balance, fairness, and equality in all things, now we ask the opposite question: Which car brand deserved its death?
They’re always bridesmaids, never the bride.
But after holding down the fort as America’s second-best-selling Japanese premium brand since surrendering to Lexus some two decades ago, Acura is now about to be bumped from its maid of honor position.
Scottie Pippen? Acura is quickly becoming Toni Kukoc.
After a record U.S. sales performance in 2016, Infiniti sales are rising faster than any other auto brand in America save for four niche-market luxury contenders. After trailing its Acura compatriot for 28 years, it’s past time for Infiniti to catch the bouquet.
Upon its debut in late 2014, the Acura TLX had big shoes to fill. Not only was the TLX intended to replace the Acura TL, the TLX would also serve, at least in part, as a replacement for the Acura TSX.
Not surprisingly, the TLX never sold as often as that duo did at their peak. Acura sold over 113,000 TLs and TSXs in 2005. Yet by the end of their run, in 2013, Acura managed to sell fewer than 42,000 TLs and TSXs. As a result, the arrival of the Acura TLX — and yes, it’s difficult for both reader and writer to keep the letters straight — was heartily welcomed by Acura dealers. The TLX represented a simpler lineup, one sufficiently spacious car, and 47,080 sales in 2015.
But TLX sales have trailed off rather precipitously ever since, and Acura is counting on a thorough refresh for the 2018 model year to spur TLX demand once again.
And quite a spur it must be. Wards Auto is reporting that Acura’s goals for the facelifted TLX are loftier than ever.
Can frugal transportation and family transportation coexist in a single package?
Lead Honda R&D engineer Tom Sladek indicated to Wards Auto at the Hawaiian launch of the all-new, fifth-generation, 2018 Honda Odyssey that Honda’s minivan could receive a hybrid powertrain in the future.
Presently, hybrid powertrains are available in a numerous three-row crossovers. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is presently launching a plug-in hybrid version of the new-last-year Chrysler Pacifica, as well.
“The electrification initiative is definitely coming, but on which products and which timing is not 100% clear yet,” Honda’s Sladek told Wards. If one such product is the Odyssey, we would expect to see improvements both in the Odyssey’s fuel economy and its performance.
And all-wheel drive?
With production of the three-row Acura MDX joining the Acura RDX at American Honda’s East Liberty Auto Plant in East Liberty, Ohio, Acura has become a profoundly Buckeyed automobile brand.
Still stealing some production space at Honda’s Lincoln, Alabama assembly plant where the Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline, and 2018 Honda Odyssey are also built, production of the MDX has shifted to Ohio in order to free up capacity for both Honda’s and Acura’s top-selling model.
As a result of the MDX’s relocation, Acura now builds five of its six models in the state of Ohio.
And the one Acura that doesn’t hail from Ohio? That’d be the RLX, which forms less than 1 percent of the Acura brand’s volume.
Stop multi-tasking and listen to me for a minute, because I’m going to tell you the most important thing you’ll read this week.
Many years ago, when I was still in the pharmaceuticals game, I had a business mentor of sorts. He was a thick-set, bald, African-American fellow in his early 60s who dressed exclusively in velour tracksuits and, at the time of this story, had a custom-ordered pink S500, an SL500, and an aftermarket-droptop Lexus SC400 in his garage.
We were sitting at dinner one night and I was griping about a fellow we knew who had been given every chance possible by both of us to become remarkably wealthy. Yet every time one of us gave him a chance, he pissed it away through random acts of fiscal impropriety or domestic violence. I couldn’t understand why this dude could not get his act together and handle his business in an appropriate manner.
“Listen up, young blood,” my mentor said, stabbing me in the chest with a finger about the size of a Mag-Lite flashlight, “you cannot want something for someone they do not want for themselves.” I think I dropped my fork. He was right, of course. In the years since then, I’ve had occasion to remember those words again and again. You cannot want something for someone they do not want for themselves.
I need you to keep that in mind as you read this review. If you are like most automotive enthusiasts, you want Acura to return immediately to the glory days of the beautiful first-generation Legend and the sublime twin-cam Integra. But you cannot want something for Acura that it does not want for itself. Acura is perfectly content with being primarily known as the manufacturer of the RDX and MDX sport-utility vehicles. Those two products are market leaders and they’re more than enough to guarantee Acura’s continued existence. If you continue to hope that Acura will build razor’s-edge sporting compacts and M3 rivals, you will continue to be disappointed. Period, point blank. Got it?
If you’re not familiar with Acura’s subcompact CDX crossover, take a gander at Honda’s HR-V and think of China. Right now, that’s the only country that gets to buy the HR-V-based utility, but things could change.
Acura is reportedly mulling a trans-Pacific journey for the little CUV as it takes stock of its meager U.S. utility lineup.
“We’ve really upped the ante in terms of styling, emotion and road presence,” Acura general manager Jon Ikeda said, talking about the refreshed 2018 Acura TLX shown by Honda’s upmarket brand at 2017’s New York International Auto Show.
And for once, an auto executive’s hyperbole matches reality.
The 2018 Acura TLX’s ante has been upped. It appears as though the grille that’s somewhat awkward on the refreshed Acura MDX is far more cohesively adapted to Acura’s affordable 3 Series alternative.
Given the anonymity of the first TLX, which ran for three increasingly less successful model years through 2017, an aggressive exterior is a positive step in the right direction.
You might look at the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid and think, “Hmm … maybe it’s just me, but that looks a lot like the normal 2017 MDX.”
But don’t be fooled. This seven-passenger midsize SUV is just an incognito NSX; a tiger in Montessori parking lot camouflage. Hey, sometimes you have to ferry around the kids — and, holy God, have you ever tried hauling groceries in a two-seater? Those multiple trips eat into “you time.”
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but that’s what Acura wants you to think. Honda’s luxury division is in the midst of overhauling its image, and it’s doing so by injecting a little NSX into its products — both spiritually and mechanically. While that supercar, reborn as a hybrid last year following a decade’s absence, might seem totally removed from Acura’s popular — and tastefully refreshed — MDX, some familiar DNA appears beneath the new Sport Hybrid’s sheetmetal. (It also appears in the RLX sedan, if you weren’t aware.)
Oh, you’ll get better fuel economy with the MDX Sport Hybrid, but don’t talk to your friends about that. You bought it for the power. Capisce?
The Acura TLX did not start poorly. When the TL/TSX replacement arrived nearly three years ago, we asked whether the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. First month results were strong.
The next month, the TLX’s early results suggested that, by Acura standards, the core Acura sedan might be a hit.
The Acura TLX then produced some very impressive results in just its third month of availability. In fact, so great were those results, when nearly 5,000 TLXs were sold in October 2014, that Acura has only exceeded that total once in the 28 months since. Instead, TLX sales have rapidly declined, sliding 5 percent in 2015’s fourth-quarter, plunging 21 percent in calendar year 2016, and falling 19 percent so far this year. TLX sales have declined in 14 of the last 16 months, year-over-year.
But 2017’s New York International Auto Show will host the reveal of a refreshed, facelifted Acura TLX next month. Acura says the TLX will feature “a design direction that has already successfully influenced the styling of the 2017 Acura MDX.”
U.S. sales of Acura’s car sales are down 27 percent this year. The Acura brand is down 13 percent. The loss of more than 1,000 TLX sales in just two months is a big factor in the brand’s decline.
Is a refreshed Acura TLX way too little, way too late?
Slowly but surely, the inhabitants of the Acura stable are dropping the toned-down version of the brand’s polarizing “shield” grille in favor of the far more appealing “diamond pentagon” mouth.
That grille debuted on Acura’s Precision concept car before appearing on the redesigned 2017 MDX. Now, it’s the TLX sedan’s turn for plastic surgery. The automaker promises a refreshed and shieldless TLX at the New York International Auto Show on April 11, hoping that a new face might turn the tide on the midsize sedan’s flagging fortunes.
At American Honda’s upmarket division, the Acura MDX is the lifeblood; the premium crossover that keeps Acura’s trains running on time.
In 8 of the last 10 years — including each of the last 7 — the Acura MDX has been Acura’s best-selling model. Fully one-third of Acura’s U.S. volume over the last decade has been generated by the MDX.
Honda knows best of all just how important the MDX has been to Acura’s fortunes, having watched as the brand’s passenger car volume was essentially chopped in half over the last decade. Honda is removing the interference caused by the Pilot, Odyssey, and Ridgeline at the MDX’s Alabama plant by moving production of the big Acura to Ohio.
And more importantly for consumers, the first hybridized MDX — the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid — is launching now with a pricing scheme that evidently makes the hybrid the best MDX of all.
It’s normal for many new car buyers to fall out of love with their vehicles once the honeymoon is over and the thrill is gone, though the majority stick with their vehicles for the long haul — well, until the lease period is up, anyway.
The jilted romantics will run to tell Consumer Reports and anyone else in their immediate vicinity about how unsatisfied they are with their car’s finicky infotainment unit and herky-jerky transmission, but their complaints fail to shed any light on costs. Initial quality and customer satisfaction are nice things, but what about the impact on the buyer’s wallet over time?
Kelley Blue Book can provide some advice, as it tallies up the top brands and models based on ownership costs over a five-year period.
Throughout much of the third-generation Honda Pilot’s tenure, U.S. sales have not measured up to the success of the previous-generation model, though not for lack of demand.
In a market gone mad for SUVs and crossovers, three other vehicles have constrained production of the Pilot in Lincoln, Alabama. In addition to the Pilot, American Honda builds the Honda Odyssey in Lincoln, along with the Acura MDX. The second-generation Ridgeline started rolling off the Alabama line in May 2016.
As a result, Honda dealers have had a difficult time getting their hands on enough Pilots to sate the predictably high level of interest in a respected three-row crossover nameplate. Heading into December, for instance, Honda only had 36 days of Pilot supply according to Automotive News, about half the current industry average.
But with an all-new 2018 Odyssey about to pick up steam and the Ridgeline reaching a second-gen high of 4,085 sales in December, the Pilot needs room to breathe.
With remarkable consistency, the Acura MDX has remained exceptionally popular for more than 15 years, through three generations, and in the face of increasing competition.
Vital to the fortunes of American Honda’s upmarket brand, the MDX is consistently Acura’s top-selling model, earning more than one-third of all Acura U.S. sales in four of the last seven years. No premium-badged three-row utility vehicle now sells more often in America.
But why is it so popular? And does it deserve to be such an automatic choice for nearly 5,000 buyers per month, for more than 835,000 American SUV buyers since its launch in 2000?
Refreshed styling for the 2017 model year joins key mechanical upgrades from the 2016 model year to create this fully optioned $59,340 Acura MDX: all-wheel drive, entertainment package, technology package, advance package.
With distinctly wintry pre-winter conditions and six occupants aboard, we spent one week with a 2017 Acura MDX and came away with few heartfelt compliments and few serious complaints.
Burying its loathed “shield”-style grille in the deepest depths of history’s dustbin is a big part of Acura’s plan to reverse falling sales, but product seems to be at least as big a problem as design.
The automaker, which has seen its U.S. sales fall 10.5 percent so far this year, is in the midst of a design pivot, though many feel that the brand needs a bigger shake-up then just a “diamond pentagon” grille.
If you’re looking to add a subtherapeutic dose of sex appeal to your TLX, Acura has a new GT package with your name on it. The automaker claims the race-inspired offering embodies track-proven performance and marks the company’s racing heritage.
To Acura, this package may embody, symbolize, exemplify, personify, and represent all sorts of great performance-related concepts. What it actually delivers to the consumer is another story.
There’s desperation lurking in this package.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration broke from its orderly recall of potentially dangerous Takata airbags today to warn drivers of certain 2001–2003 Honda and Acura models.
New tests show a certain subset of the faulty airbags, linked to 14 deaths worldwide, have a much higher risk of exploding in the event of an accident — a likelihood of up to 50 percent. The NHTSA is urging owners of these vehicles to avoid driving them.
Because of the age of the models, the agency issued an appeal to the public to help track down unrepaired vehicles.
Acura is turning 30, and to celebrate, it’s turning its attention away from the yuppy Gen-Xers who first discovered the brand to the hopeful, car-buying Millennials of today.
It’s not pandering for vehicle sales, it’s a relationship, see?
Honda’s luxury marque just launched a marketing campaign that seems perfectly designed to lure in the largest-growing segment of car buyers. Called “30 Years Young,” the ad plays up Acura’s status as the leading luxury brand of this age demographic, while stroking the ego of the Millennial buyer.
Honda’s Chinese subsidiary is proud of the upcoming Acura CDX compact SUV, as it’s the first Acura designed for, and built in, that expanding car market.
Based on the Honda HR-V, the CDX tries to erase all signs of its body donor’s identity. Among other things, the new model adds shapelier flanks, conventional rear door handles, Acura’s new corporate diamond grille, and taillights that align with the brand.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was working for a crazy little company in Fremont, California in 1995. One day the boss-man pulled up in a shiny new Acura NSX. It was low. It was foreign. It was cool. Little did I know the bitchin’ Acura in the parking lot would upset the supercar apple cart.
Twenty-five years ago, Honda put the big-boys on notice with a fast, economical and reliable supercar. Yes, reliable and supercar can be used in the same sentence without irony when speaking of a first-generation NSX.
If you set the way-back machine to 1990, you’ll realize it was a different world. Supercars were rear-wheel drive, few made more than 300 horsepower, and a modern Volvo wagon would probably eat them alive on a track. By the time the NSX was euthanized in 2005, the competition had more than caught up and Honda decided its resources were best used elsewhere.
For 2017, Acura has resurrected the NSX name and applied it to an all-new mid-engine coupe, but can it fill the big shoes left by its predecessor?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has started rating headlights, and just released a report that takes a dim view on the performance of most midsize cars.
Only one vehicle out of 31 testers earned a rating of “good” from the road safety nonprofit, with the bulk of midsize vehicles earning a rating of “marginal” or “poor.”
The results are even less dazzling when you take into account optional lighting packages, which pushed the number tested to 82. Even then, it was only the LED-equipped advanced technology package on the Toyota Prius V that earned the IIHS’s acclaim.
Acura has two big changes in store for the refreshed 2017 MDX; one up front and in your face, the other hidden beneath its mainly familiar flanks.
The automaker’s flagship luxury SUV, revealed at the New York Auto Show, drops the “silver shield” grille that has adorned the face of Acuras big and small for years, favoring a diamond pentagon mouth reminiscent of the Acura Precision concept.
Acura said the Precision signaled a new design direction for the brand, so consider this the first shield to drop.
New-to-TTAC reader Kobe writes:
I’ve only begun to read TTAC and your email responses are a great read, so I figured I’d give sending you a question a shot.
Two of my wife’s friends are looking for reliable, used cars. The parameters I’ve been given were $4,000 or less (as she will need to save a little for maintenance repairs I figure), a hatchback (preferably four-door), automatic, front- or all-wheel drive, and decent gas mileage. Her friend has lived around NYC most of her life, so although she has her driving license, she has rarely driven.
Now, I went about scrolling through all the makes and models that are listed on Autotrader and came up with this possible list:
We have three cars in our household that see regularly use, but we are considering going down to two vehicles in an attempt to save some money. However, instead of just getting rid of one of those three cars, we are trading in two of them toward a newer vehicle that we plan to keep long term.
Like those who only read certain magazines for the articles, the Super Bowl brings millions of people together in front of TV screens to, ostensibly, watch a football game. Many will watch the event strictly for the commercials, which have become a cultural phenomenon in their own right. Others will watch for the halftime show, hoping for glimpses of nipples and/or sharks.
Car manufacturers have taken advantage of the massive number of eyeballs focused on the screen, and target them with high-priced, cinematic advertising loaded with celebrities and inspirational messages.
Check them all out … after the jump!
Vast amounts of witless cash arrived at Scottsdale this week. To wit: the first serial production Acura NSX — or, at least, the right to order it — sold for $1.2 million at Barrett-Jackson on Friday.
For that $1.2 million (plus somewhere between $156,000 and $205,700 for the car itself), winning bidder Rick Hendrick (yes, that Rick Hendrick) will be the first “normal” person to enjoy such model-specific features as automatically reversing cat bolts, tires that don’t grip (if so equipped) and a painstaking 12+ month wait to 60 mph.
At least Acura and Mr. Hendrick will get the warm-and-fuzzies. All that crazy auction money will go to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground in Georgia, and not Honda’s Formula 1 engine development program.
Yes, dear readers, I do read the comments. I try and chime in when I can, but I have a day job that doesn’t always allow me to monitor, refute, or verbally flog every remark, even when warranted.
Wednesday, prolific commenter CoreyDL noticed a blurple Acura CL lurking behind my beloved Gallic pile of rust. Somehow, I’d forgotten about these, even though a former neighbor had a beautiful metallic orange CL Type S that always caught my eye.
In other words, I’m running out of ideas. Keep up the comments and suggestions!
Despite selling all the damn crossovers they want, automakers are lining up to show off what they envision next for their future sedans. Case in point: the Acura Precision Concept. The four-door NSX-ish looking car was unveiled Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show and, according to the automaker, it’s a sign of things to come — especially its grille.
The car has all the concept earmarks: comically large wheels, no mirrors, no door handles, tight shoulders and wide hips, just like its tease last year suggested.
This Saturday is the calm before the storm.
While the Los Angeles Auto Show is the opening act of the North American auto show season, Detroit is the main event. Here’s what to expect at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, which begins this Monday.
That, Herr Müller is planning on visiting Detroit and U.S. regulators, and the Infiniti QX30 name change was forced by dealers … after the break!
Honda announced Friday that it had found a logjam in its news department, and summarily fixed the problem by releasing a month’s worth of news for the automaker in about an hour.
The logjam apparently precluded the release of information it had for the North American International Auto Show next month, namely an Acura sedan concept with hood lines like an NSX and hips like a Playmate.
The so-dubbed “Precision Concept” will make its bow next month and foretell the company’s future plans for performance sedans. According to Car and Driver, Acura general manager John Ikeda said there was much to be read into the car’s long hood — which may mean a longitudinally mounted mill and rear-wheel drive.
Forbes reported that American Honda and Acura are effectively finding owners of potentially defective Takata airbags through social media and rolling billboards plastered on their trucks.
The automaker, who has been particularly aggressive in finding and recalling its cars with defective airbags, is pushing messages to potential owners in their Facebook feed. The automaker may be matching Vehicle Identification Numbers obtained from state agencies with names and locations in Facebook.
After years of delays, a redesigned concept and lots and lots of auto show carpet time, the Acura NSX still isn’t ready for prime time.
The automaker announced today that the NSX would begin production in spring 2016, not this fall as was previously reported. Automobile first reported the delay.
A spokeswoman for Acura said delays at the Marysville, Ohio plant producing the NSX, and changing performance targets for the car were responsible for the setback.
“Since this American-made supercar is the ultimate expression of the Acura brand, we want to ensure we’re delivering the best vehicle and customer experience possible,” an Acura spokeswoman wrote.
Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL.
Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura Division, effective immediately as Accavitti is no longer with the company.
Acura and BMW are heading to Monterey Automotive Week with vehicular examples old and new.
Both automakers will show vehicles at several events during the week, including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Gordan McCall’s Motorworks Revival, and Carmel-By-The-Sea.
Acura has been a brand of highs and lows for a while. The MDX has been a perennial best-seller while their large sedans have largely sat unsold. The RDX, meanwhile, has had an interesting history.
Acura’s first attempt at a 2-row crossover was ahead of its time with a 2.3L turbocharged engine producing 240 horsepower and Acura’s Super Handling AWD system capable of sending 90 percent of engine power to the rear. The ride was criticized by Motor Trend as “harsh” and folks complained about turbo lag from the segment’s only four-cylinder turbo engine.
As the segment grew, most entries used naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engines and RDX sales failed to achieve orbit. All indications were that Acura’s compact crossover was destined to be a low-volume niche player in one of the fastest growing segments. Then Acura did something unexpected.
For the entry-level Acura’s fourth model year, the ILX is undergoing a complete powertrain transformation. LED headlights and trim-line changes further differentiate the refreshed 2016 ILX, but the less visible changes are the real difference makers.
• U.S. Market Price As Tested: $35,810
• Horsepower: 201 @ 6800 rpm
• Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm
• Observed Fuel Economy: 29 mpg
Gone is the ILX Hybrid, the base ILX’s 2.0L four-cylinder, and Acura’s last remaining manual transmission. The sole powerplant is now a 201-horsepower 2.4L from base versions of the TLX.
The Honda Civic-based ILX therefore isn’t using the exact same engine as the range-topping Civic Si, and it’s certainly not using any of the Civic’s transmissions. Instead, the 2016 ILX is equipped with an 8-speed dual-clutch unit.
My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed. And he is currently searching for a Vigor 5-speed in Arcadia Green.
Hugie clearly has a case of ADHD – Acura Definite Hyperactivity Disorder.
So naturally we had to take his orphaned Acuras along with the greatest discontinued Honda ever – a S2000 roadster, my 2008 with 32,000 miles – for a run up Tucson’s twisty Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon and bemoan the demise of these late, great Honda cars. All in the name of automotive research, of course.
It has been two years since we last looked at the ILX, and my conclusion went like this:
The 2.4L engine needs an automatic and some infotainment love, the 2.0L engine needs more grunt and the hybrid needs to be euthanized. Without changes like these, the Acura ILX will remain a sensible Civic upgrade but as a competitor to Buick’s new-found mojo, Acura has some catching up to do.
2016 brings what I was expecting: a mid-cycle refresh with a new nose and new rump to keep the photos fresh. What I didn’t expect was for Acura to also address the major mechanical systems that we all complained about. Neither did I expect the ILX to be so transformed by a “simple” heart transplant. Can the ILX live up to the legendary Acura Legend? I snagged the keys to a “A-Spec Technology Plus” model to find out.
Some time ago the Acura brand has lost its ways. The recent regroup of the brand’s car lineup resulted in the small ILX, midsized TLX, and top-dog RLX in a tried and true same-sausage-in-three-lengths setup. I recently had a chance to sample both the entry-level 4-cylinder TLX, as well as the loaded V6 all-wheel-drive version.