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William Maley

Acura News: Acura Looks Towards All-Wheel Drive As A Differing Factor

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Its no secret that Acura has been struggling in the auto marketplace. Aside from the bright spots of the MDX and RDX, the brand has been seeing year-over-year sales drop. But the brand could have a idea that might reverse that.

Automotive News recently spoke with Koichi Fukuo, Honda's senior managing director for Acura says the brand is looking into whether or not they should follow in the footsteps of Subaru and equip all of their vehicles with all-wheel drive.

"The key is awd," said Fukuo, "As a premium brand, we need something different from the competition."

Currently, Acura offers all-wheel drive in half of its lineup and the company is in the process of introducing a new all-wheel drive system that debuted in the new TLX sedan this year. But this change to an all-wheel drive exclusive lineup could take awhile. Also, Automotive News points out that this change might not help Acura at all. 90 percent of Audi's lineup came with all-wheel drive, while nearly 60 percent of BMW's lineup was equipped with all-wheel drive.

Now this plan is currently only being talked about at this time. Fukuo presented this plan to the board last week.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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How about they make a RWD car instead of rebodied Civics and Accords.

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Why not have AWD as standard along with more standard and opt power then competitors using Direct Injection and Turbocharging? If done correctly Acura could be the Powerships of affordable Luxury cars! Where BMW has 240HP and Cadillac has 272HP with their Turbo I4's Acura could have 300+HP and up from there! Their 3.5L V6 could do 400HP easly with Turbocharging! Then they could rename the RLX the Legend and have the power to back up the name!!;)

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FAILURE from the Start. Everyone else has been there already, they need to come up with something new and exciting in style, features and packaging.

 

Acura, Your HYBRID One Stop Shop.

 

All auto's are Hybrid, Electric AWD Driven with Petrol Generator for long distance driving. This would put them ahead of everyone with a GREEN Footprint to boot!

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AWD V6 is a poor combo for fuel economy, that hurts Acura compared to some competitors.  Probably why they want some FWD and 4 cylinder models to advertise the higher fuel economy.  Acura doesn't have a diesel or a turbo 4 in a sedan, they basically are an Accord V6 with AWD to give it a 1-2 mpg penalty.

 

Making every Acura a hybrid of some kind would make them unique, but then you also risk adding cost and trying to sell a $45,000 TLX, and I don't think anyone wants a $45,000 Accord hybrid.  Acura has the same problem Lincoln has, you can only do so much with a Ford or Honda, and can't really put a price tag much over $40k on them.

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AWD V6 is a poor combo for fuel economy, that hurts Acura compared to some competitors.  Probably why they want some FWD and 4 cylinder models to advertise the higher fuel economy.  Acura doesn't have a diesel or a turbo 4 in a sedan, they basically are an Accord V6 with AWD to give it a 1-2 mpg penalty.

 

Making every Acura a hybrid of some kind would make them unique, but then you also risk adding cost and trying to sell a $45,000 TLX, and I don't think anyone wants a $45,000 Accord hybrid.  Acura has the same problem Lincoln has, you can only do so much with a Ford or Honda, and can't really put a price tag much over $40k on them.

 

Yet you miss the point, take these basic cars and CUV's give them a decent mid luxury interior and the performance of the Tesla with Electronic AWD system and the Generator that VOLT has proven works so well and you have a Fast, Mid Luxury line with distance and selling at high 30's to low 50's and you have a special product line of Hybrid that no one else has.

 

Why not do a mid luxury line that can beat Tesla at their own game and have the Green credentials and performance to boost at half the price.

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How is AWD a differing factor?

4 out of 5 (soon to be 5 out of 6) Buicks have AWD available.

All of the (relevant) Audis have AWD available or standard.*

All of the relevant BMWs have AWD available.*

All of the relevant Mercedes have AWD available.*

All Cadillacs have AWD available.

All Lincolns have AWD/4WD available.

All Infinitis have AWD available.

All relevant Jaguars have AWD available.*

 

*I'm ignoring cars in the lineup like the Z4 and SLK since Acura doesn't make anything close to that.

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How about stop making ugly, bloated vehicles?

 

The problem is that Hondas have gone upmarket and are plenty nice, and there's little reason to get an Acura,especially when they are aesthetically challenged.  Most Californians won't care about AWD and don't need the extra traction, and it just adds weight, cost, complexity, and hurts fuel economy.

 

The TLX is a step in the right direction over the TL, but I don't think it will have much staying power.

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How about stop making ugly, bloated vehicles?

 

The problem is that Hondas have gone upmarket and are plenty nice, and there's little reason to get an Acura,especially when they are aesthetically challenged.  Most Californians won't care about AWD and don't need the extra traction, and it just adds weight, cost, complexity, and hurts fuel economy.

 

The TLX is a step in the right direction over the TL, but I don't think it will have much staying power.

 

 

Agreed....

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Legend. Integra. Vigor. Interesting names. Acura lacks style and Honda never innovates in anything.

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Honda really shouldnt pretend that Acura is cutting edge. Look at Lincoln , they just make tarted up puff cruisers now and don't try to ever pretend to be all about performance. Seems to work well for them. Just make really posh good looking Hondas.

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    • By William Maley
      For the past decade, Acura has felt lost at sea. Not sure of what it wanted to be as a brand. This was shown by mixed messaging in their lineup as they weren’t sure to focus on luxury, technology, or sport. This muddled mess of identities would cause a fair amount of issues. But in the past couple of years, Acura started to get its act together thanks in part to new leadership. The first fruits of their efforts came last year in the form of the third-generation RDX. 
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      You Want Presence? You Got It!
      The RDX is the first production model to feature Acura’s newest design language and its no shrinking violet. The front end draws your attention with a large trapezoidal grille paired with a massive Acura emblem. Sitting on either side is Acura’s Jewel-Eye LED headlights that add a distinctive touch. My A-Spec tester takes it further with distinctive front and rear bumpers, 20-inch alloy wheels finished in black, and a special Apex Blue Pearl color that is only available on this trim. This crossover garnered a lot of looks during the week I had, something I hadn’t experience in quite some time.
      Cozy, Polarizing Interior
      The RDX’s interior captures the feeling of being in a sports car with a symmetrical dashboard design that cocoons the front passengers. A rotary drive-mode selector found in the center stack echos the design found in the NSX supercar. While it does emphasize the sporty nature of the vehicle, the position of the knob does make the climate controls a bit hard to reach. A-Spec models have some special touches such as red contrast stitching, a suede panel on the passenger side of the dashboard, and new trim for the instrument cluster that help it stand out. Material and build quality are quite close to some competitors from Germany.
      A set of sport seats with increased bolstering and power adjustments come standard on the A-Spec. I found them to be quite comfortable for any trip length and were able to hold me if I decided to be a bit enthusiastic. Back seat passengers will be plenty comfortable with an abundance of head and legroom. I would have like to see the back seat be able to slide forward and back to offer more comfort. Cargo space is towards the top of the class with 29.5 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 58.9 when folded. There’s also a little storage nook under the cargo floor to stash valuables.
      Intuitive Infotainment?
      Acura’s previous infotainment system drew a lot of ire from people. The dual-screen layout was confusing as some functions were split between the two screens such as changing the audio input. Not helping was the two different control methods for this setup; touchscreen for the bottom portion and a controller for the top screen. Thankfully, Acura has introduced a new infotainment system for the RDX. A large 10.2-inch screen sits on top of the dash and is controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Seeing the touchpad for the first time sent chills down my spine as I thought back to my frustrating experiences with Lexus’ Touchpad Controller. But Acura says this controller is much easier and logical to use than competitors. Okay, challenge accepted.
      Acura’s touchpad controller is slightly different from Lexus’ setup as it is mapped to the screen. So if you want to access the navigation, you tap that part of the pad that corresponds to the screen. This removes the dragging of the finger across the touchpad to get it to the selection you want. This seems quite logical on paper, but I found to be somewhat frustrating. It took me a few days to mind-meld with the system as I was still used to dragging my finger across the touchpad to select various functions. This made simple tasks such as changing presets or moving around in Apple CarPlay very tough.
      There is also a smaller touchpad that controls a small section of the screen. This allows you to scroll through three menus - audio, navigation, and clock. This would prove to be the most frustrating aspect of this system as it didn’t always recognize whenever I scroll down on the touchpad to move to another screen.
      Thankfully, Acura has left a number of physical controls for the audio and climate systems. I’m glad that some luxury automakers aren’t falling into the trap.
      Powertrain Goes Back To Its Roots
      The RDX has always found itself with a different powertrain throughout its various generations. The first version used a turbo-four engine, while the second-generation moved to a V6. For the third-generation, Acura went back to the RDX’s roots and settled on another turbo-four engine. The 2.0L engine punches out 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a 10-speed automatic and either front or my tester’s Super-Handling all-wheel drive system.
      The turbo-four is quite a potent engine with little turbo lag when leaving a stop and a seemingly endless amount of power for any situation. The ten-speed automatic is very smooth and quick when upshifting. But it does stumble somewhat when you need a quick shot of speed. 
      I did notice that the 2.0L turbo isn’t a quiet engine when traveling on the expressway, going above 2,000 rpm when traveling at 70 mph. This may explain the slightly disappointing 21.7 mpg average I got during the week. EPA fuel economy figures for the A-Spec SH-AWD are 21 City/26 Highway/23 Combined. The standard RDX models see a small bump in their EPA fuel economy figures.
      Capable Driver
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      Welcome Back Acura
      The 2020 RDX shows that Acura is starting to figure out what it wants to be; a brand that offers something playful in the class. The RDX certainly has the qualities with a bold exterior, punchy turbo-four, and a surprising chassis that offers sporty handling and a mostly-comfortable ride. The slightly-confounding infotainment system and poor fuel economy figures do sour it a bit. But the RDX is a very compelling alternative to many compact luxury crossovers.
      It does give me hope that Acura is figuring out who it wants to be and excited to see what comes down the road such as the new TLX.
      How I Would Configure An RDX: For me, I would basically take the exact RDX tester seen here. That will set me back $47,195 after adding destination and $400.00 paint option. Everyone else should look at the Technology package that will get you most of the safety equipment that is part of Acurawatch, along with a 12-speaker ELS audio system, navigation, and parking sensors. It will not break the bank at $41,000 for FWD or $43,000 for AWD.
      Disclaimer: Acura Provided the RDX, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Acura
      Model: RDX
      Trim: A-Spec
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16-Valve VTEC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: 10-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 6,500
      Torque @ RPM: 280 @ 1,600 - 4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/26/23
      Curb Weight: 4,015 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: East Liberty, Ohio
      Base Price: $45,800
      As Tested Price: $47,195 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Exterior Color - $400.00
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