The last time we spoke with Emile Korkor, senior manager and brand leader at Acura Canada was at the Canadian International Auto Show (CIAS) held in Toronto as the city was enveloped in inhospitable wintry weather conditions. At that time, Mr. Korkor was quite candid in his comments and observations about the company he has been a part of for almost 20 years.
“At this time, it might be fair to suggest that we are resetting ourselves,” Mr. Korkor stated.
To some, it was as if Acura had peaked. While the technology and engineering were sound and dare we say expected, the vehicle designs did not set the world on fire therein the same manner when Acura burst onto the scene in the 1980s as a much-needed breath of fresh air regarding performance and general brand perception. In 2018 Acura was not receiving the respect that its pedigree deserved.
Going forward, Mr. Korkor stated that as a company, more needed to be done with strengthening the perception of the brand, to the point that the name Acura becomes more relative to consumers looking for something different in the luxury market which fulfils economic, efficient, and aesthetic needs for interested consumers.
“By pushing the Acura Precision Crafted Performance message, which heralds back to the ‘old days’ when Acura was considered the performance alternative to Honda. We need to bring the fun back into driving—we need to (re) appeal to the driving enthusiast.”
Mr. Korkor concluded, Our Precision Crafted Performance represents our commitment to excellence in engineering and design as well as our promise to continue pushing the limits of what our vehicles can do. Now we need to develop the next chapter in our history as a performance-oriented automaker and earn, even regain the respect and confidence of the halcyon days of this unique brand so we might continue to challenge accepted norms through innovation and help drive the industry forward.”
When next we caught up with Mr. Korkor, Ontario was being beaten into submission by brutally hot and humid weather conditions—the polar (sic) opposite to almost six months earlier.
The mood at Acura HQ in Markham was decidedly upbeat and Mr. Korkor’s smile and effusive manner was obvious.
The introduction of the latest iteration of the 2019 TLX laid the groundwork for the much-publicized release of an all-new model year 2019 RDX. And the results were everything that Acura and Mr. Korkor, respectively, had plugged months before.
Today, Acura is pushing hard on the continued development of trucks (SUVs and crossovers), even toward more performance-oriented automobiles. “We believe, as does the industry generally, that the desire to own and drive a no-compromise crossover shows no sign of slowing down and Acura intends to be there. The response by consumers and specifically our dealer network has been outstanding. In fact, we are eager to hear about the introduction of the new 2019 MDX, our full-size SUV which has embraced the same look, the same attitude as the RDX, especially in the A-Spec version.”
The 2019 Acura RDX signals the start of a new era for the Acura brand by delivering design, performance, and prestige that will elevate its position in the luxury market’s fastest growing segment. “This RDX is our most extensive redesign in more than a decade, a truly ground up reimagining of the RDX around our Precision Crafted Performance brand direction.”
An additional conversation with Ricky Mak, Acura’s lead product planner as deep background before we took the MY19 RDX in A-Spec trim on the road for a week, revealed the following. The 2019 RDX sits on a new body and chassis architecture with a 2.6-inch longer wheelbase than the previous incarnation. Mr. Mak also confirmed that its rear seat cargo area has expanded 3.4-cubic feet with an additional 1.7 cubic-feet of compartmentalized under floor storage.
A new feature that Acura flaunts is a brand new True Touchpad Interface (TTI) which features a 10.2-inch centre display mounted on the dash and a centre console-mounted pad that corresponds directly with that same location on the display. In other words, just like the touchpad guidance device on your laptop.
I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of this system, especially when driving (I know). The 2019 RDX A-Spec sport appearance package is a standout in terms of—well, everything! Visually, tactile and yes, of course, from a dynamic driving standpoint. To tell it apart from a regular RDX, just look for bigger 20-inch alloy wheels, gloss black accents, bigger exhaust tips, a two-tone black and red interior, special badges, and darker headlights. On the inside, the A-Spec is fitted with sport seats with Ultrasuede and special stitching, real aluminum trim pieces, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, and a red-themed gauge cluster.
Standard safety and driver assist technology include Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS).
“With the new RDX, the newly introduced MDX and our commitment to the A-Spec aspect of Acura vehicles, we are back on track, eager and willing to re-ignite enthusiasm for the Acura brand specifically and our product lineup, generally,” stated Mr. Korkor, those words resonating as we exited the Acura building.
David Taylor is an independent automotive lifestyle writer, producer, and editor based in Barrie, Ontario who is fascinated by innovation and technology which enhance the overall driving experience. He’s also a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and is Co Chai and a Director of that organization’s Canadian Car of the Year Award. Follow him on Twitter @Omemeeozzie or on Instagram @hugoscaroftheweek.