Acura loves to do things differently.
Thanks to its double-wishbone front suspension and new light truck platform, the new 2022 Acura MDX has sharper and sportier handling than its predecessor. Acura calls this new platform the Global Light Truck Platform, which currently only underpins the new MDX. Likewise, the new 2021 Acura TLX and current-generation Acura RDX, which was redesigned for the 2019 model year, also ride on unique platforms that aren't shared by other Acura or Honda models.
It's a stark contrast to other manufacturers like VW, which builds hatchbacks like the Golf GTI and SUVs such as the Atlas on the same MQB architecture. Toyota's TNGA platform also underpins a variety of vehicles of different shapes and sizes. Autoblog reached out to Acura to find out why the automaker is taking such a different approach.
"The definition of what constitutes a 'common platform' varies by automaker," Acura said. "For us, the most fundamental value is to maintain the same carry points throughout production and enable us to produce different vehicles in the same manufacturing environment."
The TLX and RDX, for example, use similar carry points in the chassis and are built on the same production line, but the similarities end there. A bespoke platform was created for the Type S to allow it to "meet the high dynamic targets [for the Type S], and unique powertrain [the 3.0T V6] and drivetrain applications [SH-AWD] that required a different platform from the Accord."
The RDX, on the other hand, is based on a common platform that underpins other models including the Honda CR-V, but has been extensively modified for the RDX to "fulfill the unique performance requirements set for RDX and the Acura brand."
While many Acura models are built on bespoke platforms, they share some "similar construction materials and methods" such as high strength steel, high-performance adhesive, and roller hemming for the panoramic roof. This approach also enables a stronger distinction between Acura's four core volume models: the ILX, TLX, RDX, and MDX. This doesn't mean Acura isn't going to cut costs where it can, however.
Taking a more traditional approach, Acura confirmed the Global Light Truck Platform underpinning the MDX will be utilized in future Honda models, so expect the next-generation Pilot, Passport, and Ridgeline to offer much sharper handling. While they will share the same platform, expect it to be heavily modified to ensure Acura's cars will still feel noticeably different than Hondas.