AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
A slew of new product info and rumors have popped up, detailing big (and little) changes across Acura’s product portfolio. Updates are planned for the TL, while the there’s more news about the new sub-TSX model, as well as a new direction for Acura’s flagship RL.
Starting with the new small sedan, a source tells TempleofVtec that the design will be “edgy” yet the car will be affordable – hinting that this might just be the next generation of the Civic-based CSX (currently sold in Canada). The car will reportedly also be offered as a gasoline model and a hybrid and was described as an “aggressive IS350.”
As a RWD model is out of the question from Honda, we’re really hoping for an AWD car with the impressive 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder from the RDX. We won’t hold our breath though.
As for the RL, Acura may have finally figured out a space for the car in the marketplace, choosing not to peg it against other flagships like the S-Class, 7 Series or Lexus LS, but rather against a new line of coupe-styled luxury sedans. In other words, the next-generation Acura RL would be a Mercedes CLS rival. There’s a strong possibility Honda will debut a new full-hybrid system in this car, mated to a V6 engine an using it’s SH-AWD system.
In more down-to-earth news, the TL is slated to get a 6-speed automatic transmission that should help improve fuel economy, while the overall design will be toned down, 19-inch wheels made standard and several new technology items offered.
First there were rumors that Honda would axe the Acura RL, and then came the official word that it wouldn’t, but here is the first sign that the RL continues to carry on – even if the car has become irrelevant.
While it’s not official for North America, Honda in Japan has announced that the Acura RL (still sold as the Legend there) will get a refresh for the 2012 model year that includes a new 6-speed automatic transmission. This may help the RL pick up a few extra buyers as the added gear should help improve both fuel economy and acceleration. Then again, perhaps its just a bigger sign of how irrelevant the RL is when the supposed luxury car is only now getting a 6-speed transmission – something Ford offers on the $13,000 Fiesta.
A selection of other upgrades and trim changes for the RL are made for 2012, plus it gets a unique new invention: an in-wheel silencer that is designed to absorb road imperfections.
No changes are slated for the 300-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine.
If anyone at Honda is listening, we’re certain the addition of a more Honda-like grille (rather than the Acura beak) would help sell a few extra cars here as well.
Acura continues to talk about being a tier-one luxury automaker, but while Honda’s luxury arm keeps to talking the talk we’re not seeing a lot of walking. Recently the folks at Car & Driver had a chat with a few Acura execs during the launch of the new ZDX model – a seemingly niche-market vehicle that Acura somehow believes helps elevate them to (or nearer to) tier-one status.
Those Acura suits seemed to understand that with the recent introduction of the all-wheel drive TL model, the flagship RL (already a poor seller) was now completely obsolete. In fact, the TL SH-AWD, not only costs less ($44,195 vs $47,640 for the RL), but it actually makes more horsepower (305 vs 300). And considering the size difference between the two models isn’t all that significant either, there’s really no conceivable reason to buy an RL.
Acura has promised that the next RL (which we still don’t expect to see until 2011), will reassert its position as the flagship vehicle in the brand. Unfortunately, what that won’t mean is a V8 engine – unlike absolutely every one of Acura’s competitors. Acura continues to believe that the V8 is not the right direction as people continue to shift towards smaller fuel efficient engines. The company has, however, been touting this corporate philosophy since the launch of the current RL, which has been a dismal failure. We’ll cross our fingers that Acura decides to go the forged induction route, offering a turbocharged V6 to at least deliver the power of a V8.
[Source: Car & Driver]