Acura looks for a boost from a new SUV
This is big. Bigger than the onslaught of retro muscle cars like the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger. Bigger than the variety of new rides and concepts powered by everything from electricity to corn on the cob. Its magnitude can hardly be measured. Making its debut at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the 2007 Acura RDX, a midsize sports utility vehicle to be built in Ohio. While this summer’s release of a new premium SUV is noteworthy, it’s the powertrain that’ll blow you away. Acura, the brand that has to this point done everything humanly possible to extract every ounce of power from its naturally-aspirated engines, and has shunned automotive pop culture by fitting a V6 into its top-notch sedan, will drop a turbocharged four-banger into the RDX. It must be getting a bit chilly in hell right now. With that added boost, the 2007 Acura RDX’s 2.3-liter engine boasts 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. That last figure is especially interesting, considering that Acura’s existing motors are typically good on horses, though a little light in the area of pound-feet. The generous helping of power is controlled by a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel, and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), first introduced on the redesigned RL sedan but retuned for the RDX, is utilized as well. Built on a new light-duty truck platform, the RDX hits the road via 19-inch alloy wheels that are bolted to a fully independent suspension system. Stability control is included in the base price, as are antilock disc brakes, and added safety comes courtesy of six standard airbags. Acura claims that the RDX is aimed at younger, more active shoppers, a point clearly made by the SUV’s sporty design. From certain angles, the 2007 RDX resembles the Porsche Cayenne, while the tail looks to be influenced by the Infiniti FX and possibly the Volkswagen Touareg, though the direct competitors are more along the lines of the BMW X3. Accenting the RDX’s sculpted body is an integrated rear spoiler, large chrome exhaust tips, and high intensity discharge headlights. Inside, buyers will find leather-wrapped sport seats, a large and lockable center console, a split-folding rear seat, the most up-to-date version of Acura’s navigation system with real-time traffic information, and a premium audio system. Yeah, booming sound systems and capable all-wheel-drive systems are great, but dude, it’s a turbo, and in the world of automotive news, that’s huge.
Photos by Ron Perry