Well, Acura is finally joining the legion of brands offering a small SUV or crossover, and in this case it will look a lot like the RD-X, introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2005.
Granted, when we actually get a chance to drive one it probably wont have polished rosewood flooring or a steering wheel that looks something like a ceremonial Klingon weapon.
However, this particular compact SUV should be one to write home about when it finally hits the pavement. With over 200-horsepower promised, and an all-new light truck platform coupled to Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, the RD-X should be a highly maneuverable SUV.
Starting from the ground up, the all new frame rides on 255/50R19 rubber wrapped around 19-inch alloy rims, showing just the right amount of gritty industrial-strength toughness mixed with an upscale, classy matte finish.
Through the gaps in the 5-star alloys its possible to see the silver-painted Brembo calipers that complement a set of slotted rotors. Like a $2,000/month loft apartment with exposed concrete, 12-foot-ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, sometimes industrial chic can cost a pretty penny.
Working our way up, a fully independent suspension keeps the tires attached to this slightly mysterious chassis. The only information Acura has not withheld is that its seven inches shorter than the MDX, and that its a brand new "highly refined" platform designed specifically for light trucks.
Most likely it is a monocoque architecture using high tensile steel and, as with the RL, Advanced Compatibility Engineering; a process used to design a cockpit that will protect riders from undue damage in the event of an accident.
In its RD-X manifestation, this platform will support the same Super Handling AWD powertrain as is found on the latest RL. That’s the drivetrain that can transfer torque between the rear and front wheels, as well as between the left and right rear wheels, meaning extra sticky road holding.
Why? Because in a turn the outside wheels can accelerate faster than the inside wheels, which can cause a loss of traction. Proportioning power to each wheel maintains optimal levels of traction and in-turn keeps the car flatter, allowing us to achieve greater speed though the turn, further maximizing our ability to defy physics and lay waste to the theory that man is a reasonable creature.
Anyhow, the other mystery Acura poses us with is the engine question. Tom Elliott, executive vice president of American Honda, promises over 200-horsepower, which means it will most likely get the same 2.4L, 4-cylinder plant as is found in the TSX. This engine produces 200-hp and 166 lb-ft of torque, so expect a few more horses and substantially greater torque in this application; it is an SUV after all.
On the other hand, those cagey folks at Honda may be holding back. Consider that the RD-X will be produced at Hondas Marysville, Ohio, plant, the same site where Acura assembles the TL, which features a 3.2L V6 kicking out 270 hp with 239 lb-ft of torque. That definitely qualifies as "more than 200 hp," and would kick some serious compact SUV butt.