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Shanghai Auto Show: Acura Concept SUV-X previews future compact (tiny?) crossover

Acura Concept SUV-X front three quarterAcura just launched the redesigned MDX SUV at the 2013 New York Auto Show, but this SUV has an “X” in its name, so it must be something different. The Concept SUV-X is Acura’s preview of a new small crossover, and was unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show.

Befitting a concept car based on a possible production model, the SUV-X has many signature Acura styling cues, jazzed up with some dramatic flourishes that probably won’t be on said production model.

The toned down version of Acura’s “beak” grille leads the way, along with headlights that incorporate the jeweled LED elements seen on the RLX and MDX. The SUV-X also has the same side window shape (notice the thick rear pillar) as the MDX and RDX.

On the other hand, the lower half of this concept is full of curves and slashes, like the rounded fenders and the character line that runs from the rear of the front wheel well to the taillights.

The two elements don’t really work together. The SUV-X looks like Acura’s designers did half of the work, then handed it off to another car company, maybe Hyundai. The chunky front end, with its weird pointed chin, is especially discordant.

So is the SUV-X at least beautiful on the inside? We have no idea. For now, it’s just a styling exercise.

Acura Concept SUV-X rear three quarterSince Acura already makes the ILX Hybrid, a hybrid version of this compact crossover isn’t out of the question. So far though, Acura is only saying that it will have “the environmental performance of a small vehicle.”

How small it will be is another important question. Acura already has the RDX in its lineup, so a production version of the SUV-X would have to be even smaller to avoid poaching sales. That would put it in the same segment as the BMW X1 or the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

Alternatively, Acura could sell the SUV-X exclusively overseas. Honda’s luxury division plans to build and sell the car in China, but hasn’t said anything about any other markets.

Does this concept car deserve the green light? Tell us in the comments.