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.

To most of us, the thought of owning a new Acura NSX is enough of a dream, but the Japanese premium brand nevertheless arrived at last month’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las…

ScienceofSpeed Dream Project makes stunning NSX supercar even more sensational

2017 Acura NSX ScienceofSpeed Dream Project
The second-gen Acura NSX “Dream Project” by ScienceofSpeed features plenty of powertrain, suspension and styling upgrades. (Photo: Acura)

To most of us, the thought of owning a new Acura NSX is enough of a dream, but the Japanese premium brand nevertheless arrived at last month’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Nevada with something even more alluring than the stock road-going supercar.

Say hello to the NSX “Dream Project,” the second ScienceofSpeed creation in as many years. The first was a gorgeous NSX GT3 racecar with hybrid parts removed, sitting atop a customized trailer that was pulled behind a modded MDX in the same decaled white livery the team uses on the track. Now the colour has changed to a deep glimmering blue and the powertrain’s hybrid guts remain intact, this dream meant for the road.

2017 Acura NSX ScienceofSpeed Dream Project
A massive CFRP pedestal wing sits atop the rear deck lid, while additional aero bits can be found all around this modded NSX. (Photo: Acura)

Acura worked together with Arizona-based ScienceofSpeed for this year’s Dream Project, this NSX GT3 more of a race replica that future owners can hopefully bring home. The result is a lighter, better handling, quicker, more potent NSX with much more downforce thanks to extensive aero upgrades.

Reference other sports cars wearing the GT3 subset and you’ll see plenty of wings and NACA ducts, all designed to benefit traction at high speed, so why should this NSX be any different. The ScienceofSpeed kit includes front side strakes, extended rocker panels with radical ducting, a supersized pedestal-style rear wing (albeit smaller than on last year’s car), and a larger, deeper rear diffuser, the latter highlighted with red painted fins.

2017 Acura NSX ScienceofSpeed Dream Project
Big Advan GT forged rims around Pirelli Trofeo R rubber frame gold powder-coated carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes. (Photo: Acura)

Speaking of colour, the grey and red side stripes with artfully scripted “Dream Project” signage below chunkier “NSX” lettering, almost go unnoticed next to the fabulous five-spoke Advan GT forged rims on Pirelli Trofeo R rubber that frame equally eye-grabbing gold powder-coated carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes.

Carbon in mind, there’s no shortage of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) elsewhere, all of the aforementioned aero add-ons wearing its glossy woven fibres proudly next to yet more red highlights, while the roof gets painted a glossy black and that beautiful blue paintwork mentioned earlier finishes off the exterior aesthetics, the latter a two-tone mix dubbed Andaro Nouvelle Blue Pearl.

2017 Acura NSX ScienceofSpeed Dream Project
Recaro Pole Position seats keep driver and passenger firmly in place while a gaugeART OLED display provides key car info. (Photo: Acura)

Inside, Recaro Pole Position seats keep driver and passenger firmly in place while a gaugeART OLED display adds ancillary information, important given the power unit gains 37 horsepower for a new max of 610, plus an additional 31 lb-ft of torque resulting in 507 foot pounds.

ScienceofSpeed shaved 7.2 kilos (16 pounds) from the NSX Dream Project’s curb weight by replacing the stock exhaust with a lightweight stainless unit, while reworked suspension geometry drops the car by an inch. Those with steep driveways or need to overcome speed bumps needn’t worry about scuffing all the added ground effects either, as an iLIFT was added to the front suspension to automatically raise the body up two inches if it senses obstacles in its path.

Acura NSX GT3 race car
This race-winning Acura NSX GT3 race car was on display as well. (Photo: Acura)

The NSX ScienceofSpeed Dream Project wasn’t the only car on Acura’s SEMA stage, the theme focused on motorsport thanks to a race-winning Acura NSX GT3, which had just completed its inaugural season with two teams competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series as well as the Pirelli World Challenge series, achieving four podiums and three victories.

Even more noticeable, the ARX-05 (Acura Racing eXperimental, generation 5) Daytona Prototype points the Japanese premium brand back to prototype racing, the first event to be the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January next year. Team Penske, legendary in motorsport circles, will campaign two cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, while a who’s who list of winning drivers includes Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castoneves, Graham Rahal, Dane Cameron, Ricky Taylor and Simon Pagenaud.

Acura Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype
It’s easy to appreciate why Acura’s ARX-05 Daytona Prototype might garner plenty of attention. (Photo: Acura)

Also on hand, the Pikes Peak Acura TLX A-Spec won its Exhibition Class at its Pikes Peak debut earlier this year, its 500 horsepower 3.5-litre V6 pushing the car up the heroic cliff-side track to its 14,115-foot summit in just 11:03.655, with Pikes Peak veteran and engineer Nick Robinson at the wheel.

If you think that was fast, newcomer Peter Cunningham set a new Open Class record at the wheel of the Pikes Peak Acura TLX GT this year, his time of 9:33.797 earning second overall as well as “Rookie of the Year” honours.

Acura TLX A Spec Pikes Peak
There was no shortage of Pikes Peak hillclimb cars on hand for the SEMA event. (Photo: Acura)

Lastly, the Pikes Peak GT3-inspired Acura NSX split the difference with a 10:03.433 time over the 21-kilometre (13-mile) course, with Acura’s in-house North American R&D powertrain development group member James Robinson placing third in the competitive Time Attack 1 class. Robinson won the class in a first-generation NSX in 2011, and has charged up Pike Peak’s death-defying 2,289 vertical metres (7,510 vertical feet) in an NSX every year since.

“Motorsports has been an integral part of the Acura brand since our founding,” said Jon Ikeda, Vice President and General Manager of Acura. “We have had some tremendous success this past year and are looking forward to our return to prototype racing with Team Penske in 2018.”