Acura Drives 2023 Through Trombone Shorty Fest, New EV ZDX Model, The Integra and Plans For The Future

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While the new Acura RDX was the draw to New Orleans this past spring, the ultimate catch was seeing how the motor vehicle company supports the great hometown native jazzman, Trombone Shorty and his annual community festival. The folks at Acura brought several journalists from esteemed Black publications together to not only take a nice smooth ride in the latest iteration of the RDX, but to catch the sounds of the New Orleans jazz musician and the students that he had join him in performance.

Louisiana is forever known for a great meal and drinks, so a local jazz club was a must on the night of arrival to the “Big Easy.” The next day, the nice warm weather complemented taking the vehicle for a spin to find out what new features it had. The top of the line four-door SUV came equipped with super handling all-wheel drive, 272 horsepower, heated everything and superior ELS Studio 3D sound. After the day driving to the lake side, we headed out to the 10th annual Shorty Fest.

We arrived at the famous eatery Tipitina’s and were greeted outside by competing high school bands. Coincidentally, some of the proceeds and sponsorship dollars from Acura are used for The Trombone Shorty Foundation. The organization empowers young musicians with the support of the car company to put on shows like this one. The foundation continues traditional and modern jazz music education, instruction, mentorship, and performance in New Orleans. Some of the performers along side T.S. were Galactic featuring Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph, The Havana Funk Experience and Tank and The Bangas.

We spoke to Trombone Shorty to discuss the partnership with Acura and how The Trombone Shorty Foundation assists children to achieve their dreams.

How do you feel about the partnership with Acura as it relates to the Shorty Fest and just in general?

Our ongoing partnership with Acura has allowed the foundation to grow and reach more kids–which is what it’s all about. Acura took the time and effort to understand our work and have found cool ways to match the Acura brand with what we do.  We both believe in the concept of “precision-crafted performance” so it’s a perfect fit.

What are your thoughts on how your foundation contributes to helping kids approach their musical dreams?

I always say that music has been my passport.  I show my actual passport to the kids, with all the visas and stamps in it.  They can hold it and see that music has allowed me to travel the world and bring the sounds of New Orleans with me. I want the same for these kids.  In New Orleans, we have a tradition of passing it on. That’s what my mentors did for me growing up, so I take this responsibility seriously.  Music really can save lives.  It can.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to pursue their dreams?

First of all–practice. You have to.  There’s no getting around hard work!  But you also need help, you can’t do it alone. Listen to your teachers and mentors, and find others (in my case my band) willing to take the journey with you. It takes a community, which again is what we have here in New Orleans.  It’s why our musical culture is so strong. – Interview by Cedric “Big Ced” Thornton

Making the market take notice on new rides with improved features is tough in today’s world of ride sharing apps and rising gas prices. Yet, Acura took notice and heeded the voice of the people with the announcement of their first electric vehicle, the 2024 ZDX available early 2024.

Unveiling the future of Acura this month, a few days before Detroit Auto Week 2023, the company held an intimate gathering for select journalists in a remodeled historic former church. With their marketing and design executives speaking on the project, the ZDX is a highly anticipated vehicle with dreams of reducing energy supplies and reaching a new demo focused on quality for their money.

Some of the features of the charged up ride include an estimated 500-horsepower, an EPA range rating of 325 zero-emission miles, Google built-in, Bang & Olufsen luxury audio and a price point that starts around $60,000. “One of the benefits of EVs is how quiet it is, so your audio experience in your car should be heighted. The auto engineers for these cars will be able to take advantage of that and level up your experience like how the audio engineers want you to hear it,” says an Acura designer.

One major issue of EVs is the limited places to charge your car when away from home. Honda, the Japanese parent company to Acura, is in talks with the other big car manufacturers to build a nationwide grid that will provide charge stations while on the go. Dealing with faster charge times, night time lighting and shelter from harsh weather conditions is all being considered at these upcoming locations. This makes the likes of a curious EV car buyer more inclined to purchase and feel secure in driving for long durations. The market is on the way to meeting the demand.

Speaking of demands…when nostalgia hits, you can’t ignore it. Acura is looking to the past to push towards the future with the retro release of the newly designed 2024 Acura Interga model. This popular 1990s ride is a favorite of Gen X’ers who remember the coolness the ride provided in a small package.

The Integra has a special space in the home of Hip-Hop. It’s one of those hot boy cars from the late ’80s and early ’90s that came along with the slick Acura Vigor and baller Acura Legend. Being the little brother to both, yet it didn’t take a backseat in the name fame side. Integra’s 2024 version is hyped up with a 200-HP* VTEC® Turbo engine and sporty paddle shifters. It comes in a stick shift 6-speed manual transmission that when punched on a straight-a-way, gives neck to the headrest vibes…especially if you are in the Type S pushing 320-HP.

After a visit to Honda’s headquarters in Torrance, California we learned more about the brand’s plans. Integra’s climb back to production wasn’t easy, as it took some persuasion and number crunching to get out. The main model stopped for 16-years, but had special editions over the years. Getting it in full production was helped by Jonathon Rivers, Manager of Product Planning. He spearheaded the details to get the brand to the market and is not only amped about the performance but the sound and style. “This model has 16 speakers, 530 watts, 3D sound…it’s a thing. It took five and a half years, late 2017, early 2018 is when we started the plans,” Rivers explains.

Jonathan Rivers, Automotive Development & Business Planning Leader
Jonathan Rivers, Automotive Development & Business Planning Leader

“Hold on to your coffee, we have some speed coming up,” he commands as he hits the pedal. “It has some get up and go, but we have the Brembo brakes! It’s so fun to drive.”

The aggressive sleek look is perfect for the street or the pull up to the kids sports events. The Type S wheels, tires and wide stances works well on the sporty silhouette. The Acura badge hits on the carbon fiber spoiler, exhausts with the three ring shotgun barrels in the rear center, and the hatch back like trunk gives all the nostalgia feel you need.

Ultimately, Acura is back with so much heat from the past to present, while looking beyond. From helping inner-city creative programs, to environmental consciousness, all the way to bringing the old to the new with bells and whistles that will make their long time fans and millennial plus groups happy.

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