RDX kicks off Acura's design evolution

RDX: First Acura fully developed on Precision ideas

DETROIT — Acura said its daring Precision Concept unveiled during the 2016 Detroit auto show pointed to a bolder future for the brand.

That future, as it turned out, wasn't far off.

Just two years later, the revamped 2019 RDX will hit the market as the first Acura fully developed under an edgier design direction first relayed with the Precision concept.

Acura has been methodical in rolling out elements of the design. Soon after the concept's debut, the brand added Precision-inspired design cues to its lineup, such as the diamond pentagon grille along with a sportier look, in midcycle refreshes.

The buildup to the RDX made the unveiling of the crossover's prototype at the Detroit auto show more impactful, argued Dave Marek, Acura's executive creative director.

"By having people getting used to the direction we were going first ... I believe it helped a lot," Marek told Automotive News.

Jon Ikeda, the former designer who is now Acura's general manager, said he thinks performance will help separate the RDX from the competition. The RDX has a 2.0-liter turbo engine, a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission and the return of Acura's Super-Handling all-wheel-drive system.

The interior draws from Acura's Precision theme as well, with a floating center console that can be tied to the Precision cockpit interior concept shown at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Ikeda said he wants to turn the Acura lineup into something that people want to be seen in. The RDX is only the first rung.

"We didn't want to force it into something," Ikeda said. "The RDX is the one where it's ground up. ... That's the direction we're going."

You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at vbond@crain.com -- Follow Vince on Twitter: @VinceBond86



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