Acura Hoping for a Home Run with Redesigned Acura RXD Compact Crossover

Honda Motor Company is in need of a “home run” and hopes that the new 2013 Acrua RXD will be it. The redesigned RXD compact crossover SUV was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January, and will begin appearing in U.S. dealer showrooms on April 2.

The new RXD is the embodiment of a number of lessons learned since the model’s original launch in 2007.

The 2013 model is larger than its predecessor and also comes with a larger price tag – nearly $1,500 larger. But Acrua is confident that the improvements are worth it.

For starters, the redesigned RDX features a V-6. Buyers of the first generation RXD were less than impressed by the performance of that model’s turbo-four engine.

The new V-6 is smoother and delivers an additional 33 horsepower.  Thanks to variable cylinder management, the new V-6 also delivers better fuel economy than the turbo-four. The front-wheel-drive model has a 0-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds.

Acura may replace the engine, which the RXD shares with the Honda Odyssey minivan, with a new V-6 when it premieres in the refreshed Honda Accord later this year.

The 2013 RXD also features a new sixth gear for highway cruising.

According to RXD project leader Ichiro Sasaki, “Empty-nest MDX owners don’t want to go back to a four-cylinder engine. The turbo-four and five-speed transmission meant lag and slippage in the torque converter, which hurt fuel economy. A V-6 with variable cylinder management is much better suited for this car.”

The center console and instrument panel have a premium feel and are well laid out.

Acura borrowed the electric power steering, front torsion bar suspension and lower A-arm from the RXD’s cousin, the Honda CR-V. But secondary reactive dampers in the RXD’s shock absorber pistons result in a much smoother ride.

Standard features include a backup camera, keyless access, heated power leather seats, a moonroof, 18-inch wheels and a 360-watt sound system.

Acura hopes that the redesign will bolster the RXD’s sagging sales.  Last year, sales fell to a mere 15,196 units, down from the record high of 23,356 in 2007.

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