Acura teases next-gen 2019 RDX prototype ahead of Detroit debut

The current, second-generation Acura RDX — the company’s entry-level crossover — has been with us since 2012 as a 2013 model-year vehicle, and it’s clearly beginning to show its age. To keep with plans to update or replace models every four years, Acura has teased a completely new third-generation model, set for a reveal at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, next month.

From what we can see, the new RDX continues to carry on Acura’s “Precision Crafted Performance” design theme. Though Acura claims the RDX will introduce some new details that will continue to evolve its current design language. For instance, the new “diamond pentagon” grille seen on current models like the latest TLX, RLX sedans, and the MDX, replaces the forever controversial and polarizing chrome “beak” design. Complementing the new grid are the same Jewel Eye LED headlights seen on the models.

acura teases next gen rdx prototype ahead of detroit debut 2019 video teaser
Screenshot, Acura RDX Prototype Teaser Video

But significant detail revisions are also clearly visible in the teaser. While the overall profile of the new RDX seems to mimic that of the soon-to-be outgoing model, the biggest changes seem to take out some of the curvaceous bits, in exchange for more angular design cues. This ultimately will help separate the RDX as a more premium product from its Honda-related cousin, the CR-V.

For example, the wheel wells appear more straight-angled over the current model’s rounded shapes. Additionally, the body’s shoulder line seems to protrude more, blending with the edgier wheel wells for a more Euro-centric design. Following said shoulder line to the front end of the new RDX, one can almost say it resembles a similar front-end side profile as an Audi Q5.

The interior will also undergo a complete redesign in a bid to move more upmarket, though details are sparse as to what we are to expect.

acura teases next gen rdx prototype ahead of detroit debut 2019 video teaser 2
Screenshot, Acura RDX Prototype Teaser Video

As the company’s best-seller, however, racking in five consecutive years of record sales and seven straight years of year-over-year sales growth, you can bet the RDX will be more evolutionary — rather than revolutionary — in the design department.

Not much is known mechanically about the upcoming RDX. The current model receives motivation from a Honda-sourced 3.5-liter J-Series V6 — the same found in the current TLX. With engine downsizing still a trend, it’s not unlikely that the RDX’s lively V6 could potentially be dropped in favor of a force-fed (turbocharged) inline-four, like the one found on the latest Honda Accord.

Interestingly though, when the RDX entered its current guise, it defied the downsizing trend by replacing the first model’s turbocharged four-cylinder in favor of the naturally aspirated V6. It was found to provide better performance and fuel economy, thanks to Honda’s and Acura’s inclusion of cylinder deactivation.

Whether the RDX will continue to defy downsizing by retaining the V6 has yet to be revealed. But we expect such information to surface as we near closer to its debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in January.

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