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Detroit show: Slim chance for Honda MDX Down Under

Slippery: Honda’s American designers have wrought a new “aero sculpture design” for the MDX, shown in a teaser sketch ahead of the Detroit motor show.

Acura’s ‘aero’ MDX unlikely to make an Australian comeback for Honda

13 Dec 2012

HONDA Australia is unlikely to add the new-generation MDX large SUV to its local line-up unless another large right-hand-drive market such as Japan or Britain has a change of heart and wants it too.

The Canadian-built AWD wagon – which was discontinued in Australia in 2007 after right-hand drive production of the first generation ended – will enter its third generation next year after being revealed in “prototype” form at the Detroit motor show in January.

Honda’s North American prestige arm, Acura, last night issued a teaser sketch of the prototype that will enter production at some point in 2013 as a 2014 Acura model.

Acura has given few details of the new model, saying only that it features “aero sculpture design language affecting both form and function”, and “will feature alluring proportions with smooth, arching body lines matched to an efficient architecture”.

However, most pundits believe the new model will be powered by a new-generation 3.5-litre V6 – one of its new Earth Dream engine range – delivering more power and greater fuel economy than the 3.7-litre V6 it replaces.

But Honda’s Australian fans looking for a return of the luxury SUV to these shores are likely to be disappointed, as American Honda has no immediate plans for a right-hand drive version.

Honda Australia spokesman Lindsay Smalley told GoAuto that the prospects of an MDX revival here were “very unlikely unless another very high-volume RHD market picked it up”.

As Honda UK and Honda Japan anticipate only small demand for such a big vehicle in their markets, this is unlikely.

Currently, the medium-sized CR-V is Honda’s only SUV in Australia, where the all-new model has just gone on sale.

The Acura MDX prototype will be one of two new SUVs to be revealed by Honda at Detroit, with a smaller Urban SUV Concept – thought to be based on the new-generation Jazz – about to break cover at the America’s biggest auto expo.

The sub-CR-V wagon is a more likely contender for Australia where it would give the company a weapon in the fast-growing small SUV market.

Honda has indicated it will build an unnamed SUV based on the Jazz at a new Mexican plant that comes on stream in 2014, but as the new Jazz will also be made in Japan and Thailand, there is a chance the SUV will be made there too, opening the door for Australian to access right-hand drive variants.

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