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Acura Shows Off 2007 RDX SUV

2007 RDX Share Center Stage with MD-X Concept at New York
Acura used its time at the 2006 New York auto show to formally introduce its 2007 RDX, which goes on sale in summer 2006 and tease us with a near-production-but-still-concept version of the 2007 MDX (on sale in fall). VehicleVoice and AutoPacific contributors were on hand when the new Acura SUV lineup went on display.


RDX Brings Acura a Small SUV
This vehicle comes to market wearing the name RDX, similar to the RD-X concept cars of 2005 and of 2002. At the 2006 Detroit auto show a near-production model was shown, followed by the production car at the 2006 New York auto show in April. Sales begin in summer 2006. The first two RD-X concepts explored the needs of what Acura calls active urban professionals, with the 2005 concept more realistic than the first. The 2006 Detroit concept was clearly the closest of all. The philosophy is to combine sports sedan performance with the utility of an SUV, in theory more akin to a smaller Infiniti FX than to a Toyota RAV4, and has the BMW X3 in its sights.


This product is a variant of the next-generation Honda CR-V, due for a 2007MY major change. Honda is calling this a global light-truck platform, in much the same way as the Acura MDX, Honda Pilot, and Honda Ridgeline are. That platform evolved from the Odyssey minivan, which was derived from a previous Accord. But along the way, the trucks have evolved into their own entity. Following this logic, the RDX and upcoming CR-V may be more heavily evolved from the Civic platform than the first two CR-Vs were.

As a CR-V variant, however, RDX faces its own set of challenges. These Civic-based entries do not package a V6, which is something U.S. buyers clearly desire. Toyota RAV4 is also new for the 2006MY, and offers a 269HP V6 as well as models with three rows. The RDX arrives with only two rows of seats and a 240HP turbocharged four-cylinder engine. With 240HP, it should perform well, and Acura executives expect its overall performance to win over those who think a V6 is required. They certainly will win over some customers, but the overall image of the vehicle will remain as a softer proposition in American minds. This supercharged four-cylinder is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with F1-style paddle shifters.

As a member of the Acura family, RDX will get a version of the RL’s terrific Super Handling AWD system, which will not likely migrate to the CR-V. Typical of Acura packaging, it gets a long list of standard equipment. On it you will find eighteen-inch wheels and tires, four-wheel ABS with EBD and BA, six airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, mirror-integrated LED turn indicators, HID headlamps, power moonroof, heated outside mirrors that tilt down when the transmission is in reverse, body-color tailgate spoiler, and speed-sensing windshield wipers. This well-equipped small SUV will also offer standard dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, remote keyless entry, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, power windows and mirrors, seven-speaker stereo system with six-disc in-dash CD player, MP3/auxiliary jack, and XM satellite radio. Ordering the technology package will add navigation with Acura’s real-time traffic system and a rearview parking camera, hands-free phone system, an uplevel climate control system that is also GPS-linked and solar-sensing, and a ten-speaker with DVD audio and surround sound.



Speaking of RAV4, the Toyota product grew with its third generation, and it is slightly larger than the RDX is at launch. By slightly, we mean that RAV4 has an extra 0.7 inch in wheelbase and 0.3 inch in overall length. RDX is wider, though, by 0.6 inch. All in all, these dimensional differences are not significant. Up against the BMW X3, Acura’s stated target, the RDX offers more power and a longer overall length, but a shorter wheelbase and a front-drive bias versus a rear-drive bias.

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