Acura CDX: the next frontier for the brand? [w/ poll]


As has become customary, weeks before a car premieres the first pictures have leaked onto the internet. Unusually, they are actually of decent quality, which is why I think it’s OK to post them, especially that they bring up an interesting question.

Namely, is Acura on the right track? The brand has many detractors, with the usual complaints being that the cars are too bland, or that they are just dressed-up Hondas. As many of our readers will know, I have often come to the defense of Acura – sure, the cars are not the most exciting but usually they look good in a conservative-sort-of-way, drive well, have nice interiors and have great reliability thanks to mainstream mechanicals they share with their cheaper sister company. In short, they’re much like Audi before it discovered its design mojo in the 1990s.

So, back to the CDX – right now it seems the model is destined for China only, but should the company think there is demand I don’t see why it could not bring it to the US. Early reports suggest it’s based on the Honda HR-V but closer in size to Audi Q3. That’s an interesting strategy, given how the Honda Fit-derived suspension on the HR-V has the less-sophisticated torsion beam rear suspension, rather than the independent suspension found on the CR-V, but this makes sense in the context of its target market where the dynamic bar is still considerably lower than in places such as the US or Europe. And I personally think it looks rather good, even if, like many other cars in the premium compact SUV segment, it will need larger wheels to look its best.


Ultimately, I’m curious to see what you think – let us know in the poll, or leave a comment below:

Do you think the CDX has what it takes to succeed in the US?

  • Possibly - it would do OK, but would not trouble the segment leaders (47%, 43 Votes)
  • No - it's cheaper underpinnings would be its undoing, and it would hurt the brand's image (28%, 26 Votes)
  • Absolutely - it would be a worthy competitor to the Q3 and GLA (25%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 92

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  1. This will be Acura’s first locally produced model in China, so it should easily become the brand’s best seller there. However, Acura sold just over 4.000 imported cars in China vs. almost 80.000 by Lexus, who also has no local production yet. That means its brand recognition is very low and I’d be very surprised if it came anywhere close to the 68.500 sales of the Audi Q3 or the GLA which sold at a comparable monthly rate in its first (partial) year. Let alone the Buick Encore with over 80.000 Chinese sales.
    I’d put it somewhere closer to the 15.000 sales of the DS6, so 20.000 annual sales in China would be reasonable, 25.000 would be remarkable.
    That kind of volume makes it unlikely the CDX will remain a China-only model (although the DS6 is too) and as a result, North America would make the most sense, being Acura’s biggest market. Then again, the ILX (a luxury version of the Honda Civic) also doesn’t really support Acura’s brand image, so I’m not sure the brand should go that low. There’s a reason why Lexus has vowed not to play in the sub-$30,000 category….

  2. Krzysztof, any hints on the powertrain? Hopefully it won’t be the 1.8 liter used on the HR-V. Any ideas of what its selling points are … rather than being a Small/Compact Crossover?

    1. @Jean-Philippe – as I understand it’s meant to be the same 1.5 liter turbo engine that Honda puts into the new US-market Civic, albeit with an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox, rather than the 6-speed manual / CVT you get on the Civic

  3. That’s right.
    And I’ve checked prices: the CDX is expected to start at around 150k yuan, which would be level with the Buick Encore and slightly higher than the Honda Vezel (HR-V) and XR-V, which start at just under 130k. The Europeans are much higher, starting at 194k (DS6), 220k (GLA), 260k (X1) and 285k (Q3).
    So pretty competitive!
    Then again, the slightly bigger all-new Renault Koleos is expected to have similar pricing in China.

  4. It should be fine in China; it could make the XR-V/Vezel/CDX trio probably the best selling foreign SUV platform in China. Would need better engines, but it could be good for Acura outside China.

    Also with the ILX, CDX, TLX, RDX, RLX, MDX, NSX – it almost gives Acura a full range of models comparable with Lexus or the Germans; they just need a A8/7-Series/XJ/LS/S-Class sized sedan and a full size SUV – perhaps this can be achieved with one or both of their JV partners (GAC or Dongfeng) help. Larger Trumpchis (GA9 or GA10/GS9 or GS10) or Citroens/Fengshens (a C7/8/9) for example.

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