Lexus does around three times the monthly volume as Acura in the USA, that being the largest market for each of them. And with sales recently dropping by a double-digit percentage to around 10,000 Acura vehicles a month, Volvo is now a bigger brand in North America. Can American Honda turn this situation around, or rather does it have the desire to lift volume?

In existance longer than Lexus or Infiniti

Coming up for four decades of existence – the brand was launched in March 1986 – Acura ought by any measure to be far better known and successful. Pure numbers have never really been a specific goal, however, as a small model range and number of markets continues to show.

There is no Acura in Japan, Asia-Pacific or Africa, only the smallest of presences in the Middle East, plus no longer any sales in China (the same applies to Russia and Ukraine for different reasons). The US is therefore the main market, followed by Canada. Even in these countries, ambitions remain modest and the move into EVs has been cautious.

Five models plus one to come

Today’s line-up comprises two cars, two SUVs and one large electric SUV with a further model promised for 2025, that being a smaller crossover which could attract a new generation of customers.

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Starting with the cars, the DE4 series Integra is the newer of two models, the fifth generation having arrived in 2022. Based on the same platform as the Honda Civic, the five-door hatchback/liftback is close to its mid-life update, that being expected in 2025 for the 2026 model year. Generation six should arrive in CY2028.

Acura’s other car is the larger TLX, and this has had a range of updates for model year 2025. Along with a facelift, there is now digital instrumentation and certain other minor interior changes.

New turbo engine for 25MY

The big news for the 2025 TLX is a new, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. This produces 272 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The automatic transmission has ten ratios and while entry level cars remain front-wheel drive, the A-Spec model grade adds all-wheel drive. This sports variant has its own powerplant too, that being a turbo V6 with outputs of 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. As for the next generation, that is due in CY2027.

RDX soon to be updated

The RDX is the cheaper of a pair of ICE-powered SUVs, and like the Integra, it is due for some mid-cycle updates later in 2024. A replacement looks set to arrive for the 2028 model year and this should offer electrification, perhaps even a specific EV.

For the 2025 model year, American Honda has given the larger MDX a raft of changes, the new SUV being launched only a few weeks ago. A standard 3.5-litre V6 puts out 290 hp and 267 lb-ft via either the front or both axles, a ten-speed automatic transmission being standard for both drive systems. There is also a high-performance Type S, its power and torque numbers being 355 hp and 354 lb-ft. Again, the engine is a 3.5-litre V6. As for the next MDX, it should arrive in 2027.

ZDX – the first EV

Had the market for EVs not shifted so significantly so far in 2024, the newly-launched ZDX might have made bigger waves. Nonetheless, this large crossover-SUV takes the brand into new territory via a fairly low-risk strategy. That’s because the model is part of a JV with General Motors, produced by GM on the same line as its own Cadillac Lyriq.

New as at 1 May, the (2024MY) ZDX is 5,019 mm (198 inches) long with a 3,094 mm (122) wheelbase and has a similar heft to the Cadillac – for once an Acura model which is far from light. There are 358 hp and 324 lb-ft Type A rear-wheel drive single-motor and two-motors+AWD A-Spec and Type S variants.

Much of the weight comes from a 102 kWh battery. The Type A has steel suspension whereas the all-wheel drive version is air-sprung as standard. Power and torque are 490 hp plus 437 lb-ft (AWD A-Spec) or 499 hp with 544 lb-ft (AWD Type S). The EPA-rated maximum ranges vary between 278 and 313 miles. Pricing is US$64,500-$74,500.

It will be interesting to see how long GM produces the ZDX on behalf of Acura, as well as its Honda counterpart, the equally new Prologue, which is also an electric SUV. The companies have stated that in future, they will go their own ways, at least for planned smaller electric models, contrary to what had been announced earlier in the 2020s.

Another electric Acura in 2026?

With Honda now pursuing a new global plan for electric and electrified vehicles, more Acura EVs seem likely but perhaps not until at least 2026, perhaps later. These would be self-developed in Japan and the US as well as being produced in Honda plants.

The one other additional Acura model due in the short term is coming in 2025, a new entry point for the brand. The ADX will likely be previewed before year-end, the series production version then set to debut in the first quarter of next year. Pricing-wise, indications are that American Honda will aim for a sub-US$40,000 entry point (FWD A-Spec) with an all-wheel drive Type S variant pitched closer to the fifty thousand dollars mark. This SUV will be aimed at the Audi Q3, Volvo XC40 and BMW X1.