Car development takes a long time. Product planners and developers will start on the next-generation vehicle just as the paint is drying on job-one of the current generation. Of course, more and more of that is done behind the scenes on computers, but there comes a time to build a prototype and get the future car on the road. And when manufacturers finally do, you can rest assured that there is a spy photographer somewhere in the bushes.
Today’s automotive espionage comes to us from Germany, where a pair of crossovers were seen testing on the famed Nurburgring track. While it’s more common to see sports cars on the ‘Ring, it seems as if getting in a few laps is a rite of passage for virtually any car these days.
Case in point: The 2014 Acura MDX was seen around the track, sporting camouflage heavy enough to effectively obscure just about everything. What we do know though, is that the MDX will likely tone down the styling, similar to the 2013 Acura RDX. We’re also expecting V-6 power, possibly connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission. No confirmation if Acura’s signature Super Handling All-Wheel Drive will remain, if it will be dropped, or if it will get the high-tech partial-hybrid system that debuted on the NSX Concept in Detroit. However, testing at this famous racetrack bolsters the case that the MDX will have some sort of handling-enhancing technology. The scuttlebutt is that we’ll see the finalized version of the MDX in “concept” form later this year, with the production version hitting showrooms next year.
The other crossover to make its unofficial debut is an updated version of the Kia Sorento. This family-oriented crossover has been a hot seller for Kia, and the facelift that we’re seeing here looks fairly mild. Exactly why the Sorento is hitting the track is beyond us, as Kia has never marketed its family hauler as a high-performance machine. Still, it probably can’t hurt, and we’ll find out when the final version of the Sorento debuts sometime within the next year.