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Re-Defining Acura

First Japanese luxury brand struggles to stand out in a crowd.

by on Jul.29, 2009

The 2010 Acura ZDX, shown here at its debut, during this year's New York Auto Show, will be critical to building momentum for the Honda luxury brand.

The 2010 Acura ZDX, shown here at its debut, during this year's New York Auto Show, will be critical to building momentum for the Honda luxury brand.

It’s turning into a busy year for Acura, the luxury arm of Honda Motor Co.  The oldest of the Japanese brands is launching an array of all-new or updated models, from the new ZDX crossover to the V-6 version of its TSX sedan, in a bid to gain momentum in a market that’s both crowded and sluggish.

The success of the new products will be critical for Acura, which was the first of the Japanese luxury brands – but which also seemed to lose its way, in recent years.  The Honda subsidiary has been struggling to create a true brand identity that differentiates it from better-known competitors, such as Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Your inside source!

Your inside source!

Unlike those competitors, Acura has taken a generally conservative approach to its products.  It’s aimed for the lower to middle luxury market – unlike Lexus, for example, with its big LS sedans and LX sport-utes.  And Acura has opted against the V-8s, V-12s and performance-based hybrids that help define other luxury brands.

As a result, analysts contend, it has remained an also-ran in the high-line market.

(more…)

First Look: 2010 Acura TSX V-6

Two more cylinders, lots more fun.

by on Feb.11, 2009

Acura TSX V-6: "Fresh and edgier," with a new, 280-hp V-6

Acura TSX V-6: "Fresh and edgier," with a new, 280-hp V-6

Looks can be deceiving. Take the Acura TSX, which promises to deliver one wild, sporty ride. But while its inline-four engine is competent, it doesn’t quite live up to expectations.

Enter the 2010 Acura TSX V-6. Two more cylinders, lots more fun. The sporty, affordable sedan, which defines the phrase “entry luxury,” is outfitted with a 3.5-liter six-banger that makes a satisfying 280 horsepower.

The upgraded 4-door also gets bigger tires, a sportier suspension, bigger, grabbier brakes, and a variety of other standard features, such as leather seating.

Set for a summer 2009 launch, Acura also provides an array of standard safety gear, including active front headrests and traction control, while it notes the TSX V-6 will meet the toughest 5-star crash ratings.

Describing the TSX V-6 as “fresh and edgier,” than other entries in the sporty luxury coupe segment, Acura executive Jeff Konrad says the upgrade is also a sign of things to come. “We are committed, long-term, to develop a robust product line-up and move Acura into the premium luxury market.”