Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rumor : Will a Reborn RSX Join Acura’s Revived Lineup?

Acura may offer the TSX sedan, but ever since it killed the slender RSX coupe in 2006, Honda’s flagship division has been without a premium compact offering -- a fact it may now lament.

Automotive News suggests a new compact offering is on Acura’s “to-do” list for future vehicles. Like the proposed Lexus LF-Ch, the new Acura compact would target the likes of BMW’s 1-series, Volvo C30, and the Audi A3. If approved for production, the compact would share mechanical bits with the next-generation Honda Civic, and reach dealers by 2012.

The TSX sedan, the smallest car currently offered by Acura, won’t see much change in the years to come. Although the TSX plays to the young professional crowd much in the same way the RSX did, the sedan receives an optional 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 for 2010, allowing it to cater to an older, more affluent demographic as well. Any chance of a wagon version joining the lineup has essentially been nixed by the advent of the all-new 2010 ZDX crossover.

Enthusiasts hankering for a premium sports car will likely need to look elsewhere. Development of a front-engine, V-10 sports coupe -- said to be a successor to the vaulted Acura NSX -- has been scuttled in light of the global economic crisis, and is unlikely to be revived anytime soon. Other plans, which called for a roadster based off the canceled next-generation Honda S2000, have also been canned.

Acura has also reconsidered how to revise its RL flagship. Originally, the firm planned to make the car a rear-wheel-drive cruiser powered by a V-8, but has instead opted to re-engineer the existing V-6, front-wheel-drive-biased car in 2011. If the rear-wheel-drive RL ever sees the light of day, it won’t be before 2015.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rumor : Acura Mulls TSX Wagon for U.S.

Acura executive has admitted that the company is considering joining Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz on the wagon bandwagon. According to John Watts, Acura's senior manager of product planning, Honda's premium brand is considering offering a wagon version of its TSX.

"We're closely, closely looking at it," Watts said.

A TSX wagon would follow in the footsteps of the upcoming 2010 Cadillac CTS SportWagon and the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon. The premium brands are hoping to capitalize on consumers' exodus from SUVs in the search for smaller, more fuel-efficient alternatives like crossovers. Acura hopes to appeal to younger buyers who don't have the same stigmas about wagons as their parents do.

"Boomers and Gen X who had wagons as kids don't want one, but the new kids do," says Watts.

Notoriously cautious Honda may wait to see how well its competitors' entries fare before it enters the premium wagon segment, but introducing the car to the U.S. market would be a relatively simple affair for the Japanese automaker, which already builds the TSX wagon. The European Honda Accord is actually the same vehicle as the Acura TSX here in the states, and in Europe they offer a wagon version called the Honda Accord Touring. Some badge swapping and NHTSA approval are virtually all that need to be done to import that Accord Touring as the TSX wagon.