With news of the 2014 MDX Prototype heading to North American International Auto Show next month, I think it’s fitting that I feature a past iteration of the MDX for this Flashback Friday. Let’s dip into the Acura archive and take a look at a prelude to the second generation MDX.
Referred to as the MD-X Concept, the above sketch was teased ahead of its debut at the 2006 New York International Auto Show.
“The MD-X Concept is fashioned as a true driver’s SUV, with its low, wide stance and aggressive design. Its sleek surface lines are modeled after a high-powered megayacht.”
For the most part, many of the styling cues from the concept carried over to the production model 2007 MDX, including the grille. The “shield” styled grille lasted three model years on the MDX, until it was updated to the “Power Plenum” grille for 2010.
Steady sales of the second generation MDX has kept it as Acura’s top selling model in recent years.
After seventeen years and two model generations, the RL officially comes to a quiet end in 2012. Reborn as the RLX for the 2014 model year, it’s a small name change for Acura’s new flagship sedan, but it signals the beginning of some exciting new technologies that should eventually trickle down into the rest of the Acura’s future models.
In essence, Acura’s flagship sedan has always been a progressive evolution since the 1986 Acura Legend, but for nostalgic purposes, let’s take a visual look back at the last seventeen years starting with the first generation Acura 3.5RL in 1996.
For this Flashback Friday lets max out the time machine and go way back to the introduction of Acura in North America. In 1986 Honda launched Acura as the first ever Japanese automobile luxury brand with just two models, the Legend and the Integra.
In what could be one of the earliest Acura TV commercials ever created, a sporty red 3-door Integra was used to showcase what Honda claimed, “maybe the best result we’ve ever had”. Although the Integra/RSX was discontinued twenty years later in 2006, Acura lives on going into its 27th year with a lineup of seven models strong.
Check out the 1986 Acura Integra commercial in the clip below.
Pop quiz: Name all turbocharged Honda and Acura production-models that have ever been sold in North America.
Having trouble? That’s because there was only one: the Acura RDX.
The first generation Acura RDX debuted in the summer of 2006 as a 2007 model and became Acura’s first compact crossover SUV. Fitted with a 2.3L turbocharged engine pumping out 240 hp and 260 ft-lbs of torque, it was less powerful and smaller in size than its older sibling the MDX. But, when you throw in Acura’s torque vectoring SH-AWD system into the mix, it became a rare, fun-to-drive SUV that appealed to many enthusiasts.
This TV ad from 2007 tries to capture just how entertaining the SH-AWD equipped RDX can be. Because nothing says fun like riding a giant wave of asphalt!
Check out the thrilling ad from Acura in the video below.
For this Flashback Friday we won’t go too far back, just a couple of years to when Acura had two, 2-door coupes in their lineup. The year was 2004 and Acura offered a few sporty options, the NSX and the sport-compact RSX being the most obvious choices.
At four years old, the 2005 model year RSX was refreshed with improved tuning, new features and styling updates. The most distinguishable changes from the previous year were new headlights and taillights as well as a revised front bumper. The Type-S model also got a 10 hp power boost, bringing it to 210 hp.
In this TV commercial from 2004 we have two men who look to be pilots or aviation experts sitting at a coffee shop. They play a little game of “name that jet” as they hear planes zoom by overhead. Then, from a distance they hear a new machine rip through but can’t seem to match the tune to an aircraft.
No, it’s not a jet. “The Acura RSX Type-S, now with 210 horsepower. You’ll know it when you hear it.”
See the classic Acura ad below.
When the NSX debuted in 1990 it took the world by storm. With claims to over 20 industry firsts, not only did it showcase the power of Honda’s innovation and technology, it was also monumental in paving the way to Acura’s success in North America.
In Europe it forced Italian and German engineers to take notice, because all of a sudden models like the Ferrari 328 and the Porsche 911 had huge targets on their rear ends.
In this Flashback Friday we take a look at a classic ad that puts an Acura NSX in Italy. The Acura brand of course was never sold in Italy, but in the early nineties news of the Ferrari-fighting Honda NSX had started to circulate.
An Italian father sees his son’s beautiful red mid-engined sports car and naturally assumes it must be the newest stallion from Maranello. ”Ferrari?” he asks, “No papa, Acura!” his son replies.
The voice-over continues,”Welcome to new world thinking. Aluminum body, chassis and mid-ship engine. Hand crafted. The NSX, from Acura.”
See the 1991 Acura NSX commercial below.
Looking at the screen cap above, you might be wondering why a 1991 Acura commercial looks like it was made in the 1960s. One of the reasons is that the YouTube video I captured it from seems to have been converted over from an old VHS tape. The other is that the ad is actually trying to portray a vintage theme, and the new Vigor is meant to be Acura’s “latest expression of new world thinking.”
The commercial looks like it’s set in Munich, where German luxury cars rule and Acura is mainly unheard of. After a ride in a Vigor, the question is asked, “Is that a German Car?” The man looks off into the distance and responds, “Nein, Acura.” The conversations heard throughout is entirely in German, but I laugh every time I hear their pronunciation of “Acura”.
The 5-cylinder Acura Vigor was positioned between the Integra and Legend, and was produced for a short 3 year run from 1992-1994. It was eventually replaced with one of the best selling Acuras ever, the TL.
Enjoy this week’s Flashback Friday video clip below. Next week: Acura in Italy.