By Steve & Tamami Laser, reporting from Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
Sometimes we just get lucky. We were driving home today from shopping and stopped at a traffic light. Right in front of us is a fully camouflaged car. So as any journalist would do, I grabbed my better half’s iPhone and quickly switched it to record video.
What we saw was not one, but two prototypes preparing to drive up one of the steepest roads in our neck of the woods. We could tell right away by the profile of the cars that these were either Hondas or Acuras. But which models could they be? And what’s under all that camouflage?
Our video shows a quick look at two Acura prototypes that we spotted driving on the street today. (video copyright © 2017 CarNichiWa.com)
When we got home and dowloaded the videos to our laptop, we did a little detective work. The clues all pointed in the same direction. We think that we saw prototypes of the next Acura RLX (called the Honda Legend in Japan) – either 2018 or perhaps 2019 models. How can we be sure?
Well, we’re not 100 percent sure. However, when we look at the “greenhouse,” or the glass area of the cabin, it appears to match the current RLX. The shape of the side windows and chrome molding surround also seems to be the same.
We looked at the beltline, the tops of the front fenders and the recessed character lines that all seem to match the 2017 car. The main differences on these prototypes from current production models can be found in the front and rear fascias.
From the rear, the outboard taillights appear to match the current RLX. Yet the shape of the inboard lights in the decklid and the license plate pocket are different. So is the lower rear bumper area.
We had a very quick look at the grille. The uncovered portion appears to wear the “diamond pentagon” style used on the new Acura MDX. We were surprised that the front wasn’t covered by a mask, as we’ve seen on some other prototypes.
All these clues mean (we think) that these cars are pretty close to launch, perhaps later this year or early next year? While we didn’t get a look under the hood, the cars were making the familiar noises of combustion engines as they climbed up the hill.
For 2017, Acura offers the RLX with a 3.5-liter V6 sending power to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. While the top Sport Hybrid has all-wheel drive and a 7-speed DCT. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for the next RLX in the coming months. In the meantime, we always have our iPhone ready because we never know what we’ll spot next.
Note: The prototype vehicles in this story were spotted in traffic during a chance encounter on a public road.
Story, photos and video copyright © 2017 CarNichiWa.com