Acura to Toyota
By Ron Amadon
Acura calls it the “most extensive” redesign in more than a decade – the unveiling of the 2019 RDX prototype.
It has undergone a top to bottom remake and is the first to embrace Acura’s new design language.
In addition to a stiffer and lighter body and an Acura exclusive platform, the RDX gets an all new powertrain with a 2.0-liter turbo four matched to a ten speed automatic. For 2019, there is the return of Acura’s Super-handling All Wheel Drive and four distinct drive modes; Sport, Sport+, Comfort and Snow.
It rides on a 2.5 inch longer wheelbase and is 1.2 inches wider so there is more room inside. Front seats are 16 ways adjustable, and are heated and ventilated.
The new Touchpad Interface is an Android based operating system projected on a 10.2 inch screen and an available head up display. There is also a new voice recognition system.
Sounds? An optional 710 watt audio system designed by Panasonic that uses four ultra-thin ceiling mounted speakers.
The 2019 RDX will launch in mid-year.
Also in the Motor City this morning was the global debut of the 2019 Kia Forte. It will come with Kia’s first in-house designed variable transmission and other changes that it said should deliver an estimated 35 combined mpg.
Standard equipment will include an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Overall length is up 3.2 inches to 182.7 inches with 15.1 cubic feet of cargo room. Head room is up by a half inch.
The 2.0-liter Atkinson Cycle four can be matched to either a six speed manual or the “all-new Intelligent Variable Transmission.” It is said to have a step-shift-like feel at wide open throttle.
A 320-watt Harmon Kardon sound system available.
Look for the new model to go on sale here in the U.S. later this year.
A redesigned Veloster lit up the Hyundai stand with an appealing Model N performance version sporting a 2.0-liter turbo four with up to 275 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.
And it will come with a six-speed manual tranny!
Also on board is an “electronically controlled” suspension with multiple track tuned driving modes.
Tires are of the ultra-high performance category, with standard 225/40R18 Michelin Pilot SuperSport summer tires for the 18-inch wheel design and exclusive-compound 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero summer tires for the available 19-inch alloy wheel.
As engine speed approaches redline, the N-design center cluster displays a progressive sequential shift indicator, alerting the driver of an impending shift point for maximum acceleration.
Drive Modes include Normal, Sport, N, Eco and N Custom, differentiating engine throttle response, engine speed rev-matching, exhaust note, active differential tuning, suspension damping rates, steering feel and yaw-control characteristics. N Custom mode allows comprehensive driving character preferences via customizable settings for each tunable driving attribute.
This puppy should be a blast to drive when it appears in the fourth quarter!
Over at Infiniti came the midsize Q Inspiration Concept, with an eye catching exterior and interior design that could be giving some hints about where the company’s future designs are headed.
It is powered by a four cylinder turbocharged variable compression ratio engine – one that combusts much like a diesel but runs on gasoline.
ProPILOT is said to be the next stage in vehicle autonomy that allows the driver to delegate more stressful operating tasks to the car, but to always retain ultimate control.
The cabin follows a minimalist approach, with a concise and clean interior design enveloping the driver and passengers.
“The INFINITI Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them,” said Christian Meunier, INFINITI Global Division Vice President.
Riding into the hall on its New Global Architecture, came the redesigned Toyota Avalon.
It will share many of its updates with its brother, the Camry.
Avalon firsts include an optional adaptive suspension something that might spice up handling. Like many of the new offerings displayed this morning, the Avalon underwent a bit of a growth spurt.
It sports a two inch longer wheelbase, and is just under an inch wider than the current model.
‘Git up and go comes from either a 2.5-liter hybrid four or the 3.5-liter V6 which will appear on most models. Toyota did not release any power figures. Hybrid models come with a CVT while the six mates with an eight speed automatic.
Apple CarPlay enters the picture for the first time, and Avalon will offer integration with Amazon Alexa.
It should appear on dealer lots later this year.