Acura was the first Japanese premium brand, several years ahead of Lexus and Infiniti. Since then, its model range has gradually expanded and now includes several sedans and crossover SUVs. The compact ILX and new TLX sedans are intended to rejuvenate Acura sales. The MDX SUV continues to be one of its best-selling models. Looking forward, the next NSX sports car promises to raise Acura's profile among enthusiasts.
The ILX is an entry-level luxury car based on the Honda Civic platform. Following an update for the 2016 model year, Acura consolidated the ILX to a single powertrain consisting of a 2.4 four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. The ILX is manufactured in Ohio.
The MDX has been a popular SUV since its introduction in 2001. The MDX provides a luxury car feel with excellent ride, maneuverability, and a cabin that is roomy and comfortable for up to seven passengers. The MDX is now offered in FWD, AWD, and Sport Hybrid models. Most MDX models equip a 3.5l V6 engine and 9-speed automatic transmission. A newer Sport Hybrid model equips a hybrid gas/electric drivetrain similar to that of the NSX. The Sport Hybrid system consists of a 3.0l V6 engine, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and three electric motors powering all four wheels. The Acura Advance package adds uncommon features such as adaptive cruise control and a collision mitigation braking system. The Entertainment package adds a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and heated rear seats. With Honda's reliability and high resale values, the MDX is an all-around safe bet.
The NSX returns after a 12-year hiatus. Whereas the original NSX was known for its simple and flawless execution, the modern NSX breaks new ground in cutting-edge hybrid powertrain technology. The powertrain consists of a turbocharged 3.5l V6 engine, a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission and three electric motors that collaborate to drive all four wheels. Total system output is estimated at 573-bhp. Acura designates the drive system sport hybrid and a similar system is available on the RLX sedan and MDX SUV. The NSX was designed and built in America.
The RLX is the flagship sedan for the Acura lineup. Replacing the long-running Acura RL, the RLX is a couple of inches bigger and about $10,000 more expensive than the next closest Acura, the TLX sedan. Compared to other luxury sedans the RLX is slightly larger than the BMW 5-Series, Audi A6 or Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but significantly smaller than flagship sedans like the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS. The base RLX is front-wheel-drive with a 310-bhp V6 engine under the hood. The Sport Hybrid models equip an advanced hybrid drivetrain that is similar to that of the NSX. The RLX Sport Hybrid combines a 3.5l V6 engine with three electric motors for a total system horsepower of 377-bhp. This all-wheel-drive powertrain is rated at an estimated 29/30 mpg (city/hwy). Pricing starts at $55,000.
The Acura RDX is a smaller five passenger SUV/Crossover that competes with models like the Audi Q5, Cadillac SRX and BMW X3. The second generation RDX switched to V6 power. The 3.5l unit in the RDX is rated at 279-bhp which compares favorably with competitive models. Both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models are offered. A six-speed automatic with paddle selectors is standard. The five-passenger interior has more legroom than others in the segment, but gives up a little bit of cargo volume to bigger and more expensive models like the Lexus RX. The base model has standard power-adjustable leather seats, dual zone climate control, and a 360-watt audio system. The optional technology package adds HID lights, a satellite-linked navigation system and power operated tailgate. The RDX is priced aggressively undercutting competitive models from Cadillac, BMW, and Lexus by thousands of dollars.