MARYSVILLE, Ohio -- As chief engineer of the 2007 Acura RDX, Gary Evert
did not always see eye to eye with his
, 41, was the lone American on the RDX development team that began work in the United States and shifted to Japan for two years.Evert
recalls some spirited debates with his
teammates, particularly about the sound and performance characteristics of the new turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The RDX crossover is, after all, the first Honda
or Acura model to be outfitted with a turbocharger in the United States.It goes on sale Aug. 10.Evert
, an 18-year Honda veteran, felt the team could not properly develop the turbocharged engine driving in Japan.So Evert
returned to America last year with a dozen of his
Japanese colleagues to test and tweak the engine on the streets of Los Angeles.
They spent two weeks riding around the city, usually after midnight to avoid the curious, to define the sound and characteristics of the engine.
They modified a gray Accord wagon to accommodate the new turbocharged, 2.3-liter engine complete with a huge hood scoop, Evert
That's old-school turbos," Evert
team nightly drove a specific course that took their vehicle over highways, hilly terrain, winding roads and city traffic.
Despite their attempts to go unnoticed, that didn't happen.
"The ones who noticed us most were driving the (Honda) S2000 and BMW
3 series," Evert
After the test drives, Evert
colleagues did come around to his
view on smoothing the acceleration over a broader range of RPMs.
"This is the kind of turbocharger that the younger generation wants," Evert
considered the RDX
a somewhat risky project because Acura already had the larger MDX luxury SUV with a V-6.
"But we wanted something different," he
swayed the team to move away from soft, "old luxury" and go with a harder, sportier suspension, heavier steering and some audible engine feedback in the cabin.
"My team also wanted a hood scoop.I didn't want one," he
"I was against it.I did not want a rally car.I didn't want a 'boy racer.'"Evert
, who has spent five of his
18 years with Honda
working in Japan, considers his
leadership role on the RDX a career highlight. Evert earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle.He recalls graduating on a Friday and joining Honda the next Monday.He has worked in Honda's chassis group in Japan; was body project leader for the Acura CL car in Ohio; was manager of the body group in Ohio; and was assistant project leader for the Element SUV in Ohio.
: "The RDX
was a unique experience for me, being the only American on the team, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."