The entry-level luxury car segment is different than most others in the industry. Unlike the larger compact D- and mid-size E-segments that see the Acura TLX and RLX sport-luxury sedans respectively fight…

2018 Acura ILX Technology Road Test

2018 Acura ILX Technology
At less than $30k the 2018 Acura ILX is such a good dollar value that it’s easy to overlook its many other attributes. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The entry-level luxury car segment is different than most others in the industry. Unlike the larger compact D- and mid-size E-segments that see the Acura TLX and RLX sport-luxury sedans respectively fight it out against similarly sized four-door models (plus the odd wagon), such as BMW’s 3 and 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz’ C- and E-Class, and Audi’s A4 and A6, the Japanese brand’s ILX compact sedan goes up against a four-door coupe and five-door hatch from Mercedes, two-door coupe and convertible models from BMW, a (now defunct) five-door hybrid hatch from Lexus, and yes another four-door sedan plus a two-door convertible and five-door plug-in hybrid wagon from Audi. It’s an eclectic mix for sure.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
Despite getting on in years, the ILX still delivers attractive premium styling. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I can’t see many luxury buyers cross shopping the ILX against a BMW 2 Series or any of the five-door family haulers in the class, but the Audi A3 Sedan is the ILX’ closest rival, followed by Mercedes’ CLA. And yes, I can’t be the only one still shaking my head that BMW never entered the North American fray with a four-door sedan version of its 1 Series, but I suppose now that compact SUVs have taken over most brands’ entry-level duties its previous sin of omission may now be seen as clever foresight.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
Yes, these five-element full LED headlamps come standard across the entire ILX line, unlike rivals that charge extra for LEDs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Yes, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding SUVs as of late, but BMW aside, which sold more than three times the number of X1 crossovers as 2 Series models last year, Mercedes obliterates GLA sales with its one-two CLA/B punch, Audi handily outsells the Q3 with its A3, and Acura sells 100 percent more ILX sedans than its… CDX? Of course, we’re still waiting for Acura to show up with a subcompact SUV of its own, so for now the ILX carries the entire entry-level show.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
You’ll need to move up to A-Spec trim to upgrade these 17-inch alloys to a sportier set of 18s. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Other than being a bit past its stale date, the ILX carries that mantle well. Styling, while still attractive, gives away the car’s age, at least when put beside the aforementioned TLX and RLX sedans that have already been updated with the brand’s new trademark “Diamond Pentagon” grille and complementary body augmentation. Instead, the ILX continues to wear the brand’s outgoing aluminum-tone “Dynamic Power Plenum” grille, a more attractive adaptation of the earlier “shield” grille that’s more commonly and less respectfully known as the “beak”.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
These sharp looking LED taillights have always been a design highlight. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Either way, the ILX wears its front fascia proudly, its centermost portion protruding pointedly, flanking headlamps made up of five “Jewel-Eye” LEDs apiece, and lower apron suitably sporty thanks to a narrow centre air slit and assertive set of corner vents. An upswept shoulder line, shapely waste line, and yet more sculpting along the rocker panels adds depth to its side profile, while an angular set of slim LED taillights has always been an elegant addition to its backside, these topping off a rear bumper cap that nearly mirrors the car’s frontal design when it comes to corner vents. It’s a smart looking ride, rounded out by silver-painted multi-spoke 17-inch alloys on my Technology trimmed tester.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The ILX delivers a premium experience for very little money. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

True, 17s seem a bit small for an optioned out premium sport sedan, but their size will be appreciated when it comes time to replace their 215/45R17 Michelins. Smaller diameter rubber can lead to substantial savings, and value continues to be an important element of the ILX’ success.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The gauge cluster and dual-display infotainment system could use an upgrade, but they’re still plenty functional and filled with features. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

At just $29,990 for a base 2018 ILX, it undercuts the A3 by almost 10 percent or $2,810, and the CLA by nearly 20 percent or $5,710, and even more when including freight and fees, while its impressive load of features makes it an even bigger bargain. Standard with the ILX yet optional on the two Germans in question are full LED headlamps, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless access, SMS text message reading capability, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and more.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The ILX houses its colour multi-info display on the centre stack and just slots a simple trip computer between the primary gauges. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It shares many features with its closest rivals too, including auto on/off headlights, heated power-adjustable side mirrors, ambient interior lighting, pushbutton ignition, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, a rearview camera with guidelines, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity with streaming audio, tire pressure monitoring, hill start assist, all the usual active and passive safety features, etcetera.

Of note, both the ILX and CLA include standard shift paddles, forward collision warning, and autonomous collision mitigation braking, whereas the ILX and A3 boast standard dual-zone automatic climate control and glass sunroofs.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
Acura’s navigation system is easy to use and very accurate. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, I’m not going to disrespect the Audi or Merc by neglecting to mention features they include in standard trim that are either extra with the Acura or not available at all, such items being rain sensing wipers, heated front seats, rear seat centre pass-thrus, and auto start/stop that shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling to reduce emissions and save fuel, all but the latter two features optional with the ILX, while the CLA also gets standard memory for its powered driver’s seat, and both of the A3’s front seats are powered while it also includes standard leather upholstery. Additionally, the ILX can’t be had with an electromechanical parking brake, standard on both German models, but (call me a luddite) I must admit to preferring the classic leather-clad handbrake more anyway.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The standard multi-angle rearview camera covers a lot of ground. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

On that note, the ILX doesn’t offer all-wheel drive either. To be clear, the three cars in this comparison feature standard front-wheel drive, but both German models offer the low- and high-speed traction benefits of four-wheel power, at a significant cost mind you, Mercedes’ 4Matic upping the CLA’s price point by $2,200 and Audi’s Quattro adding $4,800 to the A3’s bottom line. Once again we’re back to the ILX value proposition, these all-wheel drive alternatives retailing for $37,900 and $37,600 respectively, while we haven’t even passed the $30k threshold with the ILX yet.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
Switchgear is well made, but it looks a bit dated. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

In order to do that, $32,490 Premium trim is still less expensive than either German yet adds perforated Milano leather upholstery, powered heatable front seats with two-way driver-side memory, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a larger 8.0-inch backlit colour VGA upper infotainment display controlled by a rotating knob and various buttons on the centre stack, plus a second 7.0-inch multi-use colour touchscreen display below that, a higher grade seven-speaker and subwoofer-enhanced audio system with satellite radio, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
No one can complain about the ILX’ advanced 8-speed automatic gearbox, which boasts standard steering wheel paddle shifters. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My third-rung $33,990 Technology trimmed test car, priced slightly higher than the base A3 yet still more affordably than the CLA, added rain-sensing wipers, accurate navigation with detailed mapping, voice recognition, an excellent 10-speaker ELS surround sound audio system with Dolby Pro Logic, enhanced AcuraLink smartphone connectivity, and a HomeLink garage door remote.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
My tester’s powered driver’s seat with memory proved very comfortable. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, if you want to spice up the ILX styling, the $35,390 A-Spec gets everything noted above as well as an aerodynamic body kit featuring side skirts and a rear spoiler, plus fog lamps, sportier machine-finished 18-inch alloys with black painted pockets, metal sport pedals, Lux-Suede upholstery, and a black headliner. I tested this model last year and quite liked its upgraded styling and interior enhancements, while its mere $1,400 bump up from the Tech model is once again easy to budget for.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The ILX’ powered moonroof isn’t the largest in the class, but it comes standard. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

All of this value would be moot if the ILX wasn’t a well-built car with the kind of performance expected in the premium sector, and to that end it really does measure up to its European competition. At its heart is a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre four-cylinder that makes wonderful mechanical noises, including some brilliantly raspy highlights when revs near the 6,900 rpm limiter and a suitably sensational exhaust note when pushed hard too. Output is 201 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, making it an engine that likes to be pushed higher into the revs than the lazier 2.0-litre turbos on offer from Mercedes and Audi, the former good for 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and the latter making 186 and 221 respectively.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
Rear seat roominess is an ILX forte. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The ILX partially makes up for slightly less go-power by adding an additional forward gear, its eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox wonderfully responsive yet extremely smooth too, while I can’t argue against the two seven-speed Teutonic boxes either.

As for fuel economy, it’s a dead heat with the ILX achieving a claimed rating of 9.4 L/100km in the city, 6.8 on the highway and 8.2 combined, the CLA near identical at 9.6 city, 6.6 highway and 8.2 combined, and the A3 a fraction better at 9.1 city, 6.8 highway and 8.0 combined.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The ILX trunk is on the small side. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

At the limit handling is a toss-up too, although after extensive testing of all three I probably prefer either German due to their slightly firmer suspension tuning and more exacting responsiveness at the limit. Still, all three deliver great handling dynamics, with the ILX really impressing when pushed aggressively. Likewise, all can be driven comfortably all day long, whether in the confines of the city, enjoying the wide openness of the highway, or winding along a tight, twisting seashore drive. Your choice will come down to personal preference in the end, but no one competitor is necessarily better than the other in this respect.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
Without split-folding rear seats or a centre pass-through, the ILX lacks passenger/cargo flexibility. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

On that note this class isn’t only about performance, as most luxury buyers would probably want quiet refinement more often than not. I have to say all of these entry-level sedans do a good job of coddling their occupants, thanks to generous insulation and high-quality soft-touch synthetic surfaces above the waste, not to mention effective electronic noise canceling systems. The more modern cabins of the CLA and A3 might make them more appealing visually, plus some of their switchgear is nicer, but all stand up to this segment’s expected quality.

2018 Acura ILX Technology
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine is sourced from the previous Honda Civic Si, by the way, but comes mated to a much more advanced 8-speed automatic. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

All are roomy and comfortable up front too, while only the CLA lacks rear seat room, it being a four-door coupe and all. As for cargo capacity the CLA’s 470 litres and A3’s 480 beat the ILX’ 350 hands down, the Acura’s smaller trunk strange considering its near identical length to the former and longer dimensions when compared to the latter. What’s more, its single-piece folding rear seatback makes it the least flexible for loading in long cargo when rear passengers are aboard.

I expect Acura to address most of the current model’s shortcomings when the next-generation ILX debuts near the end of this year as a 2019 model, but until then the current model will continue forward as one of the better value propositions in the luxury car market. After all, we can’t expect perfection at such an accommodating base MSRP, especially when factoring in its many standard and agreeably priced options.

The ILX really does delivery solidly above its asking price, with sharp styling, a quality interior, best-in-class standard safety, good economy, and excellent driving dynamics, all for a price that’s thousands less than key competitors. In fact, its fiercest rival is probably the new Civic in top-tier Touring trim, but unless moving up into Si or Type R trim, which won’t allow for an automatic transmission, the ILX delivers much better driving dynamics. In other words, there are still plenty of reasons to choose an ILX over its four-door rivals.

Acura’s dramatic new “Diamond Pentagon” grille is making sweeping changes to the way its entire lineup looks, and now we see it manifested in the Japanese luxury brand’s RLX flagship sedan. I…

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite Road Test

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
A much more expressive new design gives the 2018 RLX Sport Hybrid the style it’s always needed. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Acura’s dramatic new “Diamond Pentagon” grille is making sweeping changes to the way its entire lineup looks, and now we see it manifested in the Japanese luxury brand’s RLX flagship sedan.

I certainly like the look. Acura first applied it to their mid-size 2017 MDX crossover SUV and more recently the 2018 TLX sport-luxury sedan, both having seen year-over-year sales growth since their updates, while the refreshed 2018 RLX Sport Hybrid has experienced a significant 33.3-percent uptick in its Canadian deliveries since it arrived in January.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
The rocker mouldings, trunk lid, taillights, bumper and lower rear valance have changed for the better too, making this a comprehensive refresh. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, there’s much more to the redesign than a new grille. For starters, Acura’s Precision Crafted Performance design language affects the entire front fascia, hood, side skirts, trunk lid, rear bumper, diffuser-like lower valance, new dual exhaust finishers, and machine-finished alloy wheels, not to mention its modernized set of five-element Jewel-Eye LED headlights displaying new LED character strips around their outside edges, and totally reshaped LED taillights. From front to back the new RLX is a much sportier, much more emotive design, which should really appeal to the car’s loyal fan base and hopefully attract more would-be buyers to the value-packed model’s camp.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
A closer look shows some nice detail within Acura’s new “Diamond Pentagon” grille. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Anyone who’s driven Acura’s RLX Sport Hybrid knows it’s an especially impressive sport-luxury sedan, especially in top-line Elite trim. It has simply suffered from forgetful styling, which has arguably been fixed with this effective mid-cycle makeover. Fortunately its performance-oriented hybrid drivetrain and wonderfully balanced suspension needed no modification, the former carrying forward with 377 net horsepower and 341 lb-ft of torque.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
Those are new five-element Jewel-Eye LED headlights, standard of course. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Similar to Acura’s fabulous NSX Sport Hybrid supercar and the brand’s most family-oriented MDX Sport Hybrid, the RLX Sport Hybrid uses a three-motor powertrain with electric torque vectoring. A tried and tested naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 powers the front wheels in concert with an electric assist motor, this most fuel-efficient combination used as a default in dry weather or under light loads, but if increased throttle input, hard cornering, or driving on slippery surfaces causes the need for rear-wheel propulsion an electrified version of Acura’s torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) provides traction from all four tires via two rear wheel-mounted electric motors.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
The new RLX Sport Hybrid now possesses the kind of performance-oriented styling to match its similarly sporting inner character. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Acura calls this system Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD), resulting in a long enough name to make any Teutonic carmaker proud, and while it’s a particularly advanced hybrid powertrain, its sophistication only scrapes the surface of all the technology aboard the RLX.

Before delving too deeply into the latter, take note that the front-wheel drive-only version of the RLX, available in the U.S., is not sold in Canada, which means its 310 horsepower V6, new 10-speed automatic transmission, Precision All-Wheel Steering (P-AWS), and lower price point remains exclusive to our friends to the south. Of course, if there were a reasonable enough market for it here, we’d see it. Let’s just be glad Acura Canada chose to provide us with the much more formidable RLX Sport Hybrid instead of the opposite scenario, as I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed my weeklong test anywhere near as much.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
New LED taillights help modernize the rear design, while also enhancing safety. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Yes, where the previous RLX Sport Hybrid was surprisingly fun to drive for its conservative appearance, the new model lives up to its sporty outward character. It moves of the line with zero hesitation, shooting from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds, and shifts through its seven-speed dual-clutch Sequential SportShift gearbox with slap shot responsiveness, Acura providing steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, Grade Logic Control and a Sport mode to make the process as engaging as possible, yet smooth and composed.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
Acura has improved interior refinement and materials quality for a better overall experience. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

A BMW M5 it’s not, nor a Mercedes-AMG E63, but the RLX Sport Hybrid is a stimulating drive that provides a proper upgrade for those trading in their TLX A-Spec. The Sport Hybrid’s unique SH-AWD system defies the big sedan’s obvious girth, its actual curb weight measuring in at 1,993 kilos (4,394 lbs) in top-line Elite trim, which is a mere 18 kilograms (40 lbs) more than the base model. Still, it never feels overly heavy thanks to a nice flat stance during sharp transitional moves, positive engagement from its big, sticky 245/40R19 all-seasons, and strong braking despite repeated stomps, the RLX confidence-inspiring when driving quickly.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
While the quality is obvious, the instrument panel now needs a wholesale redesign too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Ease off the throttle and it’ll pay dividends at the pump too, the Sport Hybrid combining idle start/stop and cylinder deactivation with its electrified powertrain for a claimed 8.4 L/100km in the city, 8.2 on the highway and 8.4 combined, which is superb when compared to similarly capable competitors such as the Audi A6 3.0 TFSI Quattro that gets an 11.5 L/100km city, 8.2 highway and 10.0 combined rating despite its lower engine output of 340-hp and 325 lb-ft of torque (albeit quicker 5.2-second sprint to 100km/h), the BMW 540i xDrive that achieves 11.6 city, 8.1 highway and 10.0 combined with even less go-power at 335-hp and 332 lb-ft (yet an even quicker 4.8-second sprint to 100km/h), the Mercedes-Benz E 400 4Matic that sucks back 11.8 city, 8.7 highway and 10.4 combined with even less output at 329-hp and 354 lb-ft (yet another 5.2-second charge to 100km/h), and the list goes on. I don’t know about you, but I’d be willing to give up a few tenths off the line for such significant fuel savings.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
Bright and legible, the primary gauges work well yet don’t offer the segment’s usual fully configurable option. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The RLX Sport Hybrid provides big initial savings as well. With a starting price of just $65,490 it hits the road for $1,360 less than the just noted Audi, $4,310 more affordably than the Mercedes, and $5,060 easier on the wallet than the BMW, while its list of standard features should at the very least make the Germans feel awkward.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
Acura was ahead of the curve when this two-tiered infotainment system debuted, but it’s now beyond time for retirement. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

On top of the standard full LED headlights noted earlier, the RLX Sport Hybrid includes standard heatable power-folding side mirrors with driver recognition, reverse gear tilt-down, and integrated LED turn signals, LED fog lamps, ambient interior lighting, remote start, passive keyless access with pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, a heatable leather-wrapped powered tilt and telescopic multifunction steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a garage door opener, a powered moonroof, colour head-up display, dual-zone auto climate control, AcuraLink infotainment with a multi-angle backup camera, navigation, voice recognition, Siri Eyes Free, SMS text message and email reading and response capability, Bluetooth with streaming audio, a 14-speaker surround-sound ELS audio system with hard disc storage and satellite radio, 12-way powered front seats with driver’s side memory, heatable front and rear seats, Milano leather upholstery, capless fuel filling, and the list goes on.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
The navigation system works well, yet the infotainment system needs some serious modernization to keep it current. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The updated 2018 RLX carries forward with the AcuraWatch suite of advanced driver-assistance systems too, including forward collision warning with autonomous collision mitigation braking, blindspot monitoring and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation, plus rear cross-traffic alert, which once again earns it an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating, while new for 2018 is Traffic Jam Assist that uses the Low Speed Follow function of the adaptive cruise control system to semi-autonomously maintain the flow of slow-moving congested traffic, a first for Acura.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
The Elite’s surround-view camera is really helpful when parking. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

AcuraWatch combines millimeter wave radar together with monocular camera sensing technology in order to detect lane markings and surrounding vehicles, which not only keeps the car within its lane, but can also intervene in order to prevent a collision or mitigate the severity of impact.

The move up to Elite trim adds $4,500 to the bottom line yet includes plenty of features to make up for it including extra exterior chrome, auto-dimming side mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree surround-view parking monitor, ventilated front seats, ambient rear passenger’s footwell lighting, rear side sunshades, a powered rear sunshade, and a sensational Krell ultra-premium audio system that might be worth the price of entry alone.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
These seats are superb, plus include heat and ventilation. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

All of this comes in a cabin that’s even more upscale than last year’s RLX, due to higher grade materials in key areas, soft touch surfaces throughout, beautiful aluminum and wood trim, well damped, nicely fitted switchgear that includes one of the more innovative pushbutton gear selectors in the industry, plus redesigned seats that are oh-so comfortable and supportive while trimmed out with sporty contrast stitching. Mine were done in Ebony to complement the Lunar Silver metallic paint, but no-cost Seacoast beige, Greystone light grey, and Saddle Brown are available as well, depending on your exterior colour choice.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
Rear seat comfort is excellent, living up to this model’s flagship sedan status. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If the RLX has a weakness it’s the digital interfaces displayed throughout, the highly legible analogue gauge cluster incorporating a fairly simple colour TFT multi-information display at centre instead of a fully configurable gauge package, while the centre stack houses Acura’s now outdated two-tiered infotainment system. It gets bonus points for providing multiple functions simultaneously, a process that normally requires a split screen and therefore a reduction in space for individual functions, but the setup looks and feels a bit old school when compared to those used by most mid-size sedan peers, especially the aforementioned E-Class that can be had with a massive 24.6-inch tablet-style primary gauge/infotainment system (comprised of two seamlessly fused 12.3-inch displays) that makes anything else look passé. Acura isn’t alone with this problem, but none of the mid-size E-segment’s top sellers suffer from first-generation iPad syndrome (hey, I could’ve compared it to the Palm Pilot, Samsung’s GRiDPad or Apple’s Newton). Its graphics are stale, colours and depth of contrast lacklustre, and functionality remedial when compared to some of the better systems now on offer, but its surround camera is very good and navigation extremely accurate.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Elite
The 339-litre trunk is short on space, but this should be expected with an AWD hybrid. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I like the RLX Sport Hybrid too much to leave this review on such a sour note, so suffice to say if you don’t find yourself glued to a smartphone or tablet every hour of the day you’ll probably be more than happy with the big Acura’s electronics, while the rest of the car has long been a joy to drive or be driven in. Now that it’s outward appeal matches its inner qualities, performance being key, I think it’s one of the more intelligent sport-luxury sedan purchases available today.

Acura has long been a performance-oriented luxury brand, and in an announcement made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month it appears to be upping the go-fast ante.…

Type-S trim and new V6 turbo promised for future core Acura models

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The new 2019 RDX will feature sporty A-Spec styling and will likely get Type-S performance tuning too. (Photo: Acura)

Acura has long been a performance-oriented luxury brand, and in an announcement made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month it appears to be upping the go-fast ante.

Along with a decision to expand sporty A-Spec styling from the current ILX and TLX sedans to more models in the Acura lineup, starting with the upcoming 2019 RDX compact luxury SUV that was simultaneously soft-launched in “Prototype” guise, Acura will also bring back its once popular Type-S performance sub-brand, to be included as an upgrade to core models as well.

2018 Acura TLX A-Spec
The recently refreshed 2018 TLX is available in sharp looking A-Spec trim, and would even be more alluring with a turbo-V6 under the hood. (Photo: Acura)

What’s more, with the concurrent announcement of a new high-performance turbocharged V6 powerplant, Acura will also be rejoining the ranks of automakers using turbos to boost performance while reducing fuel economy. The Japanese luxury brand previously offered a turbocharged four-cylinder in its first-generation 2007–2012 RDX, but that engine made way for the current model’s V6, which put an end the turbo in Acura’s lineup until the twin-turbocharged V6 arrived as part of the new NSX Sport Hybrid’s electrified power unit, but that 573 horsepower mid-engine exotic sports car can hardly be called a “core” model.

New Type S Logo
Along with the announcement, Acura introduced a new Type S logo. (Photo: Acura)

No doubt some commonalities will exist between the two engines, one certainly being their exclusivity to the Acura brand. That’s right, unlike the 2.4-litre four-cylinder and 3.5-litre V6 engines currently found in most Acura models, you won’t see this new turbo V6 in any future Honda products. Additionally, it will be exclusive to cars and SUVs fitted with Acura’s newest generation Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), which was introduced with the aforementioned 2019 RDX.

2002 Acura TL Type-S
The original 2002 TL Type-S was the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. (Photo: Acura)

“We have made a major commitment to Acura to bring each element of Precision Crafted Performance to life through a new generation of products,” said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, president and CEO of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Acura will pursue a unique powertrain strategy that underscores the brand’s rightful place as the performance division of Honda.”

2003 Acura CL Type-S
The 2003 CL Type-S included the most potent FWD engine up to that point at 260-hp. (Photo: Acura)

We’ll likely see that new turbocharged powerplant in future Type-S models, which will feature unique styling along with their uprated performance. The last time we saw an Acura Type-S was in 2010 on the Canadian-exclusive CSX, which was the predecessor to today’s ILX sedan. The CSX Type-S was a performance enthusiast favourite as it combined Acura’s premium finishings and features with Honda Civic Si performance, making these cars popular amongst collectors and the sport compact tuning crowd.

2002 Acura RSX Type-S
Remember the RSX? Acura offered the hottest versions of this sport compact favourite in Type-S trim. (Photo: Acura)

Sport compact tuning in mind, Acura also used the Type-S nomenclature for the 2002–2006 RSX compact sports coupe, still prized by performance fans, while Type-S versions of the 2002–2003 and 2004–2008 TL mid-size sedan (an A-Spec version of the TL was also available in 2004) and 2001–2003 CL mid-size sports-luxury coupe were offered as well, this past multi-model Type-S strategy executed similarly to how Acura will upgrade multiple core models in high-performance Type-S trim once it rolls out this sub-brand again.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Could we really see turbo V6-powered Type-S variants of the RDX and MDX in the near future? According to Acura’s announcement, yes! (Photo: Acura)

So what exactly is a core model? A dictionary term is “the central or most important part of something,” which if taken literally would mean that along with a Type-S variant of the popular TLX sport-luxury sedan we can also expect Type-S versions of the brand’s even better selling SUVs, the RDX and MDX. This would be a first for Acura, and potentially position these models against Audi’s SQ series, BMW’s M-branded X series SUVs, and Mercedes’ mighty AMG-badged GLC and GLE entries. Alas, if only Acura still had its sensational RDX they might finally have a true X6 M and AMG GLE 43/63 S Coupe fighter.

An RLX Sport Hybrid flagship won’t likely make the Type S grade, as this slow selling luxury sedan doesn’t fall within Acura’s core model specification and is a strong performer already, but an ILX Type S makes sense if Honda once again is willing to lend Acura its Si powertrain and suspension upgrades or, even better, Type R improvements when the next-generation ILX arrives.

Acura unveiled its 2019 RDX Prototype earlier this week in Detroit as part of the North American International Auto Show, and fittingly the brand’s best-selling model became the first to see a total…

Game-changing 2019 Acura RDX Prototype hits the stage in Detroit

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Acura’s game-changing RDX Prototype is a thinly veiled preview of the upcoming 2019 production RDX. (Photo: Acura)

Acura unveiled its 2019 RDX Prototype earlier this week in Detroit as part of the North American International Auto Show, and fittingly the brand’s best-selling model became the first to see a total ground-up redesign in quite some time. In fact, Acura’s own press release calls the upcoming 2019 RDX the “most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade,” signalling “the beginning of a new era for the luxury automaker.”

Last year’s TLX redo and the 2017 MDX update that arrived the year prior were merely mid-cycle refreshes, the latter introducing the brand’s now trademark “Diamond Pentagon” grille design as part of its remake, but this 2019 RDX Prototype ushers in the first complete redesign of an Acura model since the third-generation 2014 MDX arrived in 2013—the TLX arrived more recently, in 2014 as a 2015 model, but rather than a redesign it was an entirely new vehicle that replaced both the smaller TSX and larger TL.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The new RDX makes a dramatic statement both coming and going. (Photo: Acura)

Speaking of the TLX, last year’s refresh was more comprehensive than the MDX’, but both received thorough updates to their front fascias, as did the RLX late last year as part of its 2018 makeover. After this all-new RDX hits the market in production trim later this year, the entry-level ILX will be next, at which point the entire Acura line will wear the new sharply angled Diamond Pentagon face.

For a bit of history, Acura was launched in Canada and the U.S. in 1986, and has since struggled to find a distinctive identity amongst premium brands that rely heavily on prestige. Even as parent company Honda rolled the brand out in Hong Kong in 1991, Mexico in 2004, China in 2006, Russia (and Ukraine) in 2014, plus Kuwait in 2015, Acura’s original somewhat generic looking pentagon-shaped grille design (often compared to the grille used by Mazdas of the era) merely morphed into a pentagon shaped “shield”, which wasn’t universally appreciated. The bold shield grille was toned down over the years until it once again appeared generic, causing the new Diamond Pentagon design first adapted by a production vehicle in 2016 by the current MDX.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The RDX’ new “Diamond Pentagon” grille looks like a carbon copy of that used on Acura’s new TLX and RLX. (Photo: Acura)

On an aside note, the Acura brand is still not available in its home market of Japan. Honda hoped to introduce it to Japanese buyers in 2008, but the plan was delayed for economic reasons, a decision that’s been upheld since the 2008 financial crisis.

The current second-generation RDX dates back to 2012 when it arrived on the scene as a 2013 model. A 2016 model year facelift modified its grille and added the standard “Jewel Eye” LED headlamps that have become a fixture across the entire Acura lineup, but take note the new 2019 RDX Prototype modifies those LEDs with a septet of smaller rectangular units instead of its current five.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The outgoing RDX’ five-element LED headlamps will make way for this new seven-unit design. (Photo: Acura)

The RDX Prototype’s Diamond Pentagon grille appears identical in shape if not size to that already in use by the TLX and new RLX, all of which are slightly bolder and more pronounced than the first MDX variant, but the lower front fascia of the prototype pulls cues from that used by the Japanese brand’s larger SUV, particularly the pointed body-colour strike-throughs within the corner vents. They’re much larger and point in the opposite direction with the RDX Prototype, these, along with their horizontal row of LED fog lamps instead of the MDX’ vertical stack, flowing more naturally into the centre portion of the fascia. We think the RDX Prototype’s lower fascia design works well, especially how it wraps around to the sides of the bumper, and hope it makes production and even influences the MDX’ future mid-cycle update.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The lower fascia is attractive, with unique design elements and horizontal LED fog lamps. (Photo: Acura)

Likewise the more expressive headlamps wrap more fully around the sides of the new prototype’s front fenders before following the curvature of the front wheel cutouts upward to where they finalize at the hood line. Those fenders are rounder and more organically shaped, flowing naturally into more fluidly sculpted door panels, with the arcing greenhouse culminating at the centre point of the rear quarter window instead of the base. Look no further than the recently redesigned Honda CR-V for the side windows’ inspiration, although we should take note that the upswept similarity to the CR-V has little to do with matching hard points that were previously difficult to masque in the old RDX’ transition from mainstream volume-branded model to premium luxury variant—more on that in a moment.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Hopefully these 21-inch alloys make it to production on top-tier A-Spec trim. (Photo: Acura)

The top corner of the RDX Prototype’s rear design forms a visual “X” where extended chrome window trim butts up against body-colour rooftop and side panels plus glossy black rear window trim extensions, resulting in a unique take on current floating roof trends used by Lexus’ RX and Nissan’s Murano, while the multi-angled LED taillights probably have more in common with the aforementioned CR-V than anything in Acura’s past, albeit strike an even closer resemblance to Honda’s fabulous new Accord Sedan. Either way it’s all in the family, with a look that’s fresh, modern and harmonious to the rest of the RDX’ design. Lastly, the gloss-black diffuser style rear bumper cap hints at this prototype previewing Acura’s sportiest A-Spec trim level, a performance upgrade not yet offered with the RDX but nevertheless promised for the 2019 production model, while the gorgeous machine-finished 21-inch alloys further this argument.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Will these narrow side mirrors find their way to production? Probably not, but something similar albeit slightly larger will. (Photo: Acura)

All in all, each and every curve and fold that forms the new RDX Prototype, from the front grille rearward, shows greater influence by Acura’s Precision Concept than anything the brand has created since the sensational four-door coupe debuted at 2016’s Detroit auto show, which we consider a very good thing. The RDX adapts the two-year-old concept’s “low, wide and sleek presence to a five-passenger SUV,” says Acura, which results in a “more athletic stance and proportions” thanks to a 30-mm (1.2-inch) wider track, 63-mm (2.5-inch) longer wheelbase, and a shortened front overhang, the performance-oriented look further enhanced by each wheel getting pushed farther toward the SUV’s corners.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Acura executes a unique take on the floating roof trend. (Photo: Acura)

“The all-new RDX delivers a powerful statement about who we are and where we are headed as a brand,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. “For our customers, the new RDX is a quantum leap forward in design, style and performance, with luxury features and technology that will elevate their ownership experience.”

So, about the new RDX not needing to conform to the CR-V’s hard points: according to the Japanese automaker it will soon ride upon its own Acura-exclusive platform architecture. Acura hasn’t named the platform per se, instead only expanding on the subject by saying it gets a “lighter and dramatically stiffened body” and a “sophisticated new chassis,” so it’s more likely the new RDX gets a modified version of the same Honda-sourced modular architecture used by the latest Civic, and yes, the CR-V. No one should have issue with this considering just how good these two Honda-branded vehicles are, and more importantly Acura promises the “quickest, best-handling RDX ever.” Anyone who’s spent time in a Civic Si or, better yet, Civic R will attest that Honda’s new modular platform is one impressive bit of kit, so if indeed a version of this setup underpins the new RDX, upgraded with premium-level improvements, we’d hardly complain.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Check out the new Honda Accord’s taillights to appreciate their familial familiarity to these RDX lenses. (Photo: Acura)

As most expected, the RDX’ much-lauded V6 gets the axe for 2019, marking a return to turbocharged four-cylinder power, a formula that launched the original RDX way back in 2006 and quickly gave it a reputation for performance. The replacement engine is a much more efficient 16-valve, DOHC turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder with direction injection and, of course, VTEC. To be more accurate, the turbocharger is a low-inertia mono-scroll design, promoting a wider, fatter torque curve, resulting in 40 percent more low-end torque than the outgoing RDX, no doubt helped along by its dual variable timing cam.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The new RDX’ cabin appears to be a major move upmarket. (Photo: Acura)

Acura isn’t talking numbers at this point, but it will likely produce something north of the current SUV’s 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque in order to live up to faster portion of the aforementioned claim of “quickest, best-handling RDX ever,” although part of its accelerative advantage may come from its segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission, which “responds quickly” and “to the will of the driver,” says Acura, “with crisp and refined shifts that capitalize on the 2.0-litre engine’s flat torque curve.” Acura hasn’t announced an electrified version of this new RDX yet, but the new engine’s 2.0-litre displacement is identical to the new Accord Hybrid’s four-cylinder, which might make inclusion of that power unit more feasible.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Few rivals offer a head-up display unit in this compact luxury SUV class. (Photo: Acura)

Making sure all wheels find traction will be the next-generation of Acura’s impressive Super-Handling All Wheel Drive “in its most advanced form yet.” It gets a new rear differential capable of 150 percent more maximum torque capacity than the outgoing RDX. Whether or not this justifies the Japanese company boasting of its new SH-AWD as “the most sophisticated and capable torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system in its class” remains to be seen, but no doubt the claim will ruffle a few feathers at Audi, let alone BMW and Mercedes. Still, we shouldn’t question Acura’s engineering prowess when it comes to fast-moving all-wheel drive, as SH-AWD was one of the first torque vectoring AWD systems offered in the premium sector.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Configurable gauges provide a lot of functionality from the multi-info display at centre. (Photo: Acura)

Acura ties the RDX’ new Adaptive Damper System to the NSX-inspired Integrated Dynamics System, which features four drive modes including “Sport, Sport+, Comfort and Snow.” The system’s rotating dial selector has been positioned high on the centre console, similarly to its placement within the NSX’ cabin, which allows quick on-the-go adjustment from eco-friendly passive modes to performance settings.

The driver’s environment in mind, in the same way exterior styling was inspired by Acura’s Precision Concept, the new interior design and technology took cues from the Acura Precision Cockpit. This means it gets a more steeply raked floating centre console that’s really a combination of centre-stack and lower console in one, not unlike Porsche’s new centre console layout, albeit with Acura’s new single-display tablet-style widescreen up top, unique dual-zone HVAC interface in the middle, downright unorthodox gear selector setup below that, and totally new infotainment touchpad at the bottom.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
This impressive 10.2-inch widescreen infotainment display is now at the head of its class. (Photo: Acura)

Acura calls the latter its True Touchpad Interface, which it says is a completely new design that combines “the best elements of a touchscreen and remote interface in one powerful system.” The touchpad controls an Android operating system-based infotainment interface that appears to be at least as good as anything available in the compact luxury SUV segment thus far, the full-HD display measuring 10.2 inches in diameter, with ultra-crisp resolution, attractive graphics and deep, rich colours and contrast. Alternatively the system will project onto the windshield ahead of the driver via an available interactive head-up display, although despite photos provided (see the gallery) we’ll need to wait until we’ve tested it to comment.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The infotainment system is controlled by this advanced “one-to-one” touchpad. (Photo: Acura)

Perfecting the infotainment experience has been a top priority amongst automakers since BMW was lambasted for its original iDrive system way back in 2001, the then-new E65 7 Series dumbfounding customers and industry professionals alike with its complex Microsoft Windows CE for Automotive-based user interface. BMW and every other manufacturer have come a long way since, with the majority of premium makes attempting to one-up their rivals with innovative ways to digitally interact.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Acura’s unique button-actuated gear selector is joined by a rotating driving mode selector above. (Photo: Acura)

With voice recognition still a long way from perfection despite this upcoming RDX featuring a “new natural language voice recognition system” that Acura claims “dramatically improves the ease and intuitiveness of voice commands” (again we’ll defer judgment until tested), hand/finger actuation remains the sole process, with BMW’s rotating/side-tap dial having been joined by variations on the theme, some with switchgear on top and others with tiny touchpads, while Lexus has introduced both a joystick and touchpad of its own, neither of which has been widely lauded. Along the way Apple’s iPad and Android tablets that followed arrived on the consumer electronics market and similar touchscreen’s took on automotive roles, with Tesla and Volvo earning kudos for theirs, but no system satisfies everyone.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The new RDX uses authentic woods, metals and Nappa leathers. (Photo: Acura)

Acura’s outgoing dual-display setup attempted to satiate the masses with a best of both worlds’ scenario, the top monitor operated via a rotating dial plus surrounding buttons and the lower one a touchscreen, but the new RDX will introduce the aforementioned single widescreen display along with a new touchpad design said to deliver “the advantages of both conventional touchscreen and remote-based approaches.” Basically, Acura has devised a touchscreen featuring “one-to-one” realism, with the tap of a specific spot on the touchpad duplicated on the exact same spot of the display above. The system responds similarly with other tablet-like gestures, such as swiping and pinching. So, why not skip the touchpad altogether and simply install a touchscreen like so many others? As those who’ve lived with touchscreens already know, they can sometimes be a stretch, especially if mounted up high on the dash where they’re closest to the clear line of sight to the road ahead. A remote touchpad can be mounted closer to a driver’s hand for easier and safer operation, but again we’ll have to wait to experience it firsthand in order to judge it.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
The RDX’ front seats are 16-way powered and heated, with optional ventilation. (Photo: Acura)

“Absolute positioning transforms the touchpad experience, making it personal, intuitive and particularly well-suited for premium, driver-centric, performance machines,” said Ross Miller, senior engineer of user interface research. “It’s also designed to be adopted quickly and easily, as drivers become acclimated and comfortable in minutes.”

Comfort in mind, this larger RDX, in particular its longer wheelbase, promises a “more spacious” interior “with first-class comfort for five passengers,” which Acura claims as having “class-leading cabin space, rear legroom and rear cargo space.” The Japanese brand highlights the RDX’ new sport steering wheel as being key to its upmarket experience, this matching new “more intricately sculpted and styled” sport seats with 16-way powered adjustment for both the driver and front passenger, full-grain perforated Nappa leather for its soft, supple texture and durability, as well as seat heaters and cooled ventilation. Overall Acura says the RDX’ cabin will include “contemporary detailing using authentic, high-grade materials throughout,” including brushed aluminum and open-pore Olive Ash wood.” Lastly but hardly least, its “new ultra-wide panoramic sliding moonroof” is “the largest in its class.”

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
This is the largest panoramic sunroof in the compact luxury SUV class. (Photo: Acura)

The RDX Prototype also features a 16-channel, 710-watt Acura ELS Studio 3D audio system developed by Panasonic and tuned by Grammy Award-winning music producer and longtime Acura partner, Elliot Scheiner. Unique to this system are four “ultra-thin, ceiling-mounted speakers” that “add a new dimension of sound and fidelity to the audio experience,” so we’re hoping to hear it in person if included in the production RDX.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Rear seat roominess appears expansive, while rear seat heaters are available. (Photo: Acura)

That 2019 model will definitely include the brand’s AcuraWatch suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, however, which (depending on model) currently features forward collision warning, autonomous collision mitigation braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, road departure mitigation, lane keeping assist, and more, while additional connected-car and driver-assistive features like next-generation AcuraLink with 4G LTE Wi-Fi, hill start assist, a 360-surround camera system, front and rear parking sensors, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and more.

2019 Acura RDX Prototype
Acura promises the most rear cargo space in the compact SUV segment. (Photo: Acura)

Important to Acura’s largest customer base, this is the first time the luxury brand chose to use a U.S. research and development team to create a new vehicle, the RDX’ styling penned by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles, California, and engineering done at its Raymond, Ohio facility. North American-market models will continue production at the company’s East Liberty, Ohio plant, although the new 2.0-litre turbo will be built in Anna, Ohio, in the same building as the NSX’ twin-turbo powerplant. The RDX’ 10-speed auto will hail from Tallapoosa, Georgia, making the RDX more American than many produced by U.S. domestic brands—Buick’s directly competitive Chinese-built Envision immediately comes to mind.

Whether buy-American sentiments are behind the current RDX’ strong sales or not can’t be confirmed, but either way the SUV has long been a hit. After 12 months of 2017 it sits amongst America’s top-three best-selling compact luxury SUVs and holds second-place in Canada, despite being well into its lifecycle, so expect this all-new version to shoot up the sales chart after arriving here midway through the year.

Until then, enjoy our complete 2019 RDX Prototype photo gallery as well as the videos Acura provided below:

Full Detroit auto show press launch (20:31):

True Touchpad Interface explained (2:01):

Quick technology overview (0:47):

Acura, Honda’s luxury division, topped 20,000 sales in Canada for the third consecutive calendar year in 2017, a solid effort that was given an image boost by the all-new NSX Sport Hybrid supercar and…

Acura tops 20,000 sales in Canada for third year in a row

2018 Acura RDX
Acura’s RDX was once again the star of the show, growing sales despite the current generation being in its last full year of availability. (Photo: Acura)

Acura, Honda’s luxury division, topped 20,000 sales in Canada for the third consecutive calendar year in 2017, a solid effort that was given an image boost by the all-new NSX Sport Hybrid supercar and a real shot in the arm by the refreshed 2017 MDX mid-size SUV, both having arrived partway through the previous year, while an upgraded 2018 TLX sedan that went on sale halfway through 2017 pushed the premium brand over the top.

Acura’s 20,299 2017 deliveries beat last year’s 20,227-unit total, although in a refreshingly honest Honda Canada Inc. (HCI) press release the brand’s parent company called this modest gain “relatively flat sales versus the previous year.” HCI was clearly proud of its combined Acura and Honda brand sales, however, with its 197,251 unit total showing an annual increase of six percent over the same 12 months in 2016, which resulted in an all-time annual sales record for the fourth consecutive year.

2018 Acura MDX
The MDX continues to be a powerhouse in the three-row luxury SUV sector, topping overall sales. (Photo: Acura)

In a comparatively small way next to the 50,443 Honda CR-V deliveries in 2017, HCI’s total was nevertheless helped along by Acura’s top-selling RDX compact SUV that achieved its best-ever sales of 8,101 units despite being near the end of its current lifecycle. This marks six years of consecutive sales growth for the RDX, a vehicle that also managed an impressive second in sales volume out of 17 competitive nameplates, only beaten by Audi’s redesigned Q5 that broke five figures at 10,271 units.

“Acura’s RDX luxury SUV served as the brand’s success story last year, driving sales to surpass the coveted 20,000-unit mark for the third consecutive year, despite being in its final product cycle year,” said Jean Marc Leclerc, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Honda Canada Inc. “Representing the most extensive Acura redesign in more than a decade, the all-new RDX will launch later this year, signaling the beginning of a new era for Acura products inspired by Precision Crafted Performance.”

2018 Acura TLX
Sales of the new 2018 Acura TLX are up too, despite the D-segment slowing for most rivals. (Photo: Acura)

The RDX follows a value packed strategy that benefits all Acura models, with other strong sellers including the just noted MDX that’s up from 5,425 sales in 2016 to 5,838 deliveries in 2017. The MDX is the most popular dedicated three-row SUV in Canada, while at 4,205 unit sales in 2017, also improving on the previous year’s total, the renewed TLX sport-luxury sedan is the most popular non-German car in the highly competitive D-segment, by a long shot.

2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
Acura’s flagship RLX Sport Hybrid gets refreshed for 2018, but that won’t be enough to cause even a ripple in the force. (Photo: Acura)

As for Acura’s entry-level entrant, at just 2,047 deliveries for 2017, down from 2,459 in 2016, 2,551 in 2015, 2,752 in 2014, and a high of 3,192 in 2013, it’s hardly the slowest selling C-segment luxury car. That would be Lexus’ long-in-tooth CT at 367 units, while BMW’s 2 Series also suffered losses with sales coming in at just 1,929 units. Mercedes saw CLA deliveries sag too, albeit at 3,764 units it’s still number two in the segment, while B-Class sales grew to 2,369 units and Audi finished on top with 3,997 A3 sales. Still, Acura dealers (and fans) can hardly wait to get their mitts on the completely redesigned 2020 ILX to be based on Honda’s evermore-popular Civic, which was once again the best-selling car in Canada thanks to 66,935 buyers in 2017.

So what can we expect from Acura in 2018? A fully redesigned 2019 RDX won’t be the only boost to sales this year, albeit despite receiving an attractive refresh for 2018 the brand’s impressive yet slow-as-molasses-selling RLX Sport Hybrid flagship sedan will need a miracle to see it break three figures after finding just 59 buyers in 2017, although a full year with the new TLX should help the Japanese luxury brand grow its sales further.