Spied: Acura's upcoming luxury minivan

Acura appears to be developing its own luxury minivan.

Our spy photographers have just sent us the first images of what could eventually become an Acura-badged luxury minivan.

You read that right — if these spy shots are to be believed, Acura has begun work on an up-scale version of the Honda Odyssey minivan. The prototype in question is clearly wearing Acura's signature shield grill and jewel headlights to go along with its sliding side doors and large rear hatch.

The prototype also appears to have plenty of Acura DNA inside as its cabin is very similar in design to the MDX crossover. Look closely and you'll even see what appears to be an Acura ‘A' on the center of the steering wheel.

According to our sources, Acura will differentiate its minivan from the Odyssey by including standard all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Power will be provided by a V6, while a hybrid option is a possibility. The interior of the Acura minivan will also be more luxurious than its Honda counterpart with a greater emphasis on second-row comfort.

The idea of a luxury minivan might seem a little absurd at first blush, but the notion could have legs. Top-end minivans currently list for around $50,000, so the market isn't totally adverse to spending big money on well-equipped people haulers. An Acura badge would also provide a little more exclusivity to the mass-market minivan segment.

The Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes to mind as a recently failure in the luxury MPV segment, but that vehicle was more crossover than true minivan. With its sliding doors and Odyssey underpinning, the Acura minivan would undoubtedly be positioned as a premium van.

If the Acura minivan actually does come to fruition, expect to see it by the 2016 or 2017 model year.

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