2012 Acura TL

2012 Acura TL

Apart from Lexus, Japanese automotive luxury brands still pale in comparison to their German rivals in terms of the number of models they produce and the prices they can command.

Overall image in the marketplace and status on the street have likewise proven difficult to develop.

That's why Acura is making a hard push specifically to boost its image, but in its own unique way.

While many automakers use big powerful models as attention grabbers, Acura sees fuel economy as a way to differentiate itself in what is becoming a very competitive market.

Though this may come as just more frustration for dealers, who have to deal with a limited, lackluster and aging lineup, Acura is adamant that it won’t offer big rear-drive V-8 vehicles and will instead start selling more hybrid models.

Speaking previously on the matter, Acura vice president Jeff Conrad said the brand was considering adding a smaller car positioned below the TSX to take on the likes of the BMW 1-Series, Audi A3 and Lexus CT 200h.

According to the latest reports, this new model will revive the RSX badge and will come in both sedan and coupe bodystyles. This new-generation RSX will be based on the 2012 Honda Civic’s front-wheel drive platform and will arrive on the market in the spring of 2013.

It will feature a 210 horsepower version of the Civic Si’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and may eventually be offered as a convertible.

Meanwhile, the TL mid-size sedan and MDX crossover are expected to get new hybrid options for their next-generation. Acura’s hybrid will be based on a Honda design and pair a V-6 with an electric motor for improved fuel economy.

Interestingly, the TSX may be phased out after the current model reaches the end of its product cycle, with the next-generation TL due in late 2013 expected to be downsized to fill the gap and better complement the only slightly bigger RL. The redesigned MDX is due in the fall of 2012.

[Automotive News -- sub. req.]