Acura is a luxury passenger car brand that is owned by Honda Motor Company. Acura, which is based in Japan, was developed primarily to compete in the United States and Canada, where it was introduced in 1986. Acura’s headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan, alongside Honda, but Acura also has corporate offices in the United States in Torrance, California. Acura expanded to Hong Kong in the early 1990s, and to Mexico and China in the mid-2000s. Expanding to Acura’s domestic market of Japan was low on Honda’s agenda, and the original plans were delayed by widespread economic concerns in 2008. However, Acura holds the distinction of being the first Japanese luxury brand, ahead of Toyota’s Lexus nameplate and Nissan’s Infiniti lineup. Acura’s sales have held strong in recent years, thanks in part to a strong lineup of Acura sport utility vehicles. Acura SUVs, which are often closely related to Honda models in design and mechanicals, offer reliability and elegance.
One of the first Acura SUVs, however, was not of Honda origin, but of Isuzu. The Acura SLX was a rebadged and mildly disguised Isuzu Trooper that was an exclusive model for the United States. The Acura SLX was sold from 1995 until 1999, and was plagued by poor reviews, especially the 1996 and 1997 models. When it was discontinued, a new Acura sport utility vehicle, the Acura MDX, took its place. The Acura MDX was introduced in 2001, and is based on the Honda Pilot. It is a mid size crossover sport utility vehicle, and earned the distinction of being the first vehicle in its class to offer three rows of seating, a feature which has since become a particularly competitive aspect of the crossover market. The Acura MDX’s market reaches beyond the United States, although in Japan and Australia, the model has been sold instead as the Honda MDX since 2003.
From 2007 until 2012, an Acura sport utility vehicle known as the RDX was produced at Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio. The Acura RDX was a compact crossover vehicle based on Honda’s CR-V compact SUV. When the Acura RDX was introduced, it slotted below the Acura MDX, taking the spot of the brand’s entry level SUV. Originally available exclusively with all-wheel-drive functionality, a front-wheel-drive option was added for the 2010 model year. And though the Acura ZDX doesn’t complete the list of past and present Acura sport utility vehicles, this short-lived crossover model represented a slightly different design direction for the brand, from 2009 until 2013.