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First look: Meet RDX, a smaller sibling for MDX

Small luxuries: RDX features Honda's latest AWD system and turbo power.

Honda unveils a smaller sibling for its MDX SUV, as a luxury alternative to CR-V

21 Apr 2006

HONDA has given birth to a smaller sibling for its seven-seater MDX. Revealed for the first time in full production trim at this month's New York motor show and soon to go on sale in the US, the five-seater RDX is described as Acura’s first "Entry Premium SUV".

RDX is a North America-only model but, if built in right-hand drive, the mini-MDX could eventually be sold here as a luxury alternative to the next-generation CR-V, which will also be based on Honda’s new global light truck platform.

The RDX was designed in California and developed in Japan and takes a leaf out of the Lexus RX styling manual by featuring a distinctive coupe-like roofline and heavily pumped guards.

It also breaks ground in a number of areas for the Acura brand by featuring the first SUV-adaptation of the forthcoming Legend sedan’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, the first inclusion of 18-inch wheels as standard and the first turbocharged engine.

Said to blend four-cylinder efficiency with six-cylinder power, its all-new 2.3-litre DOHC 16-valve inline four mates i-VTEC (variable valve and ignition timing plus valve lift control) with a new variable flow turbo (VFT).

Apart from delivering 179kW and 352Nm, the intercooled engine is claimed to produce "an unusually broad powerband with little or no lag in throttle response" plus low fuel consumption and emissions.

It will also make RDX the most powerful Acura available, and is matched with a five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode and tiller-mounted shift buttons.

Inside the RDX there is a 60/40-split rear seat, rollover sensors, innovative cabin storage areas, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control and a full complement of airbags, including dual-stage front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags.

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