The Truth About Cars » Acura http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 01 Aug 2015 16:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Acura http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Accavitti Out, Ikeda Promoted Up To Acura’s Top Spot http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/accavitti-out-ikeda-promoted-up-to-acuras-top-spot/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/accavitti-out-ikeda-promoted-up-to-acuras-top-spot/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127065 Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL. Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura […]

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2013 Detroit Auto Show

Acura head honcho Michael Accavitti (left) is head honcho no more. Honda’s luxury brand will now be led by former Division Director of Auto Design at Honda R&D Americas, Jon Ikeda (right), an industrial designer responsible for the 2004 Acura TL.

Ikeda will assume the top post, Vice President and General Manager of the Acura Division, effective immediately as Accavitti is no longer with the company.

Accavitti joined Honda in 2011 as its chief marketing officer and was given his most recent title in April 2014, putting his tenure at the top of Acura at 15 months. He was also CEO of Dodge for a grand total of four months in 2009.

Ikeda has been with Honda since 1989.

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Honda Lifts Cover Off Updated Accord, Now With Apple CarPlay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125041 Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord. The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims. The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines. In addition […]

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2016 Honda Accord

Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord.

The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims.

The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines.

In addition to the new nose and updated technology, Honda says its signature sedan will offer a suite of safety features including frontal collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and a hint of correction.

According to our own Tim Cain, sales of the Accord have remained relatively steady since the ninth-generation Accord went on sale in 2013. Honda quietly killed the plug-in hybrid Accord this year, which is statistically just as rare as a Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Historic Acuras, Future BMWs Heading To Monterey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/historic-acuras-future-bmws-heading-to-monterey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/historic-acuras-future-bmws-heading-to-monterey/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 19:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119369 Acura and BMW are heading to Monterey Automotive Week with vehicular examples old and new. Both automakers will show vehicles at several events during the week, including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Gordan McCall’s Motorworks Revival, and Carmel-By-The-Sea. BMW will reveal two world premieres at its annual press conference at the […]

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Comptech Racing Spice Acura GTP Lights Race Car

Acura and BMW are heading to Monterey Automotive Week with vehicular examples old and new.

Both automakers will show vehicles at several events during the week, including The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Gordan McCall’s Motorworks Revival, and Carmel-By-The-Sea.

BMW Concept Teaser for Monterey Car Week

BMW will reveal two world premieres at its annual press conference at the BMW Villa in Pebble Beach. The unnamed vehicles will be shown to the public later at The Quail, A Motorsport Gathering, Legends of the Autobahn Concours d’Elegance, Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Acura will have a much more involved presence at this year’s events as the premier automotive sponsor for The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. At The Quail, Acura will showcase the new NSX along with examples of the first-generation supercar.

The Comptech Racing Spice Acura GTP Lights race car, pictured at top, will make its inaugural run at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Also at the event, Gil de Ferran’s 2009 Acura LMP1 race car and the new NSX will also be on display.

HondaJet will sponsor Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival, featuring the new NSX and a replica of the 2015 McLaren-Honda MP4-30 Formula 1 car.

At Carmel-By-The Sea Concours on the Avenue, Acura will be the event’s exclusive sponsor, showcasing — surprise, surprise — first- and current-generation NSXs.

The events start August 10 and run to August 16.

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American Honda Boss Knows, But Tight-Lipped, About ‘Baby NSX’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115137 American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting. Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup […]

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Mystery-Honda-Sports-Car-04

American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting.

Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup that’s decidedly missing a sports car.

When asked if there’s room for a driver’s car, Mendel responded: “Absolutely there is.”

Details on the renderings released last month are incredibly murky. The smaller car wouldn’t likely get the NSX’s twin-turbocharged V6 with three electric motors to help propel it, but it could get some assist from electrons. Honda engineers were feverishly testing electric powertrains at Pikes Peak this year, including an all-electric CR-Z in the exhibition category.

The Civic Si is the automaker’s lone performance car in the U.S. The 305-horsepower Civic Type R is destined for U.S. shores, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

Production of the two-seater S2000 ended in 2009. Production of the CR-Z continues.

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Piston Slap: What’s so Hellabad about Hellaflush? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/piston-slap-whats-hellabad-hellaflush/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100985   Casey writes: Hello Sajeev, I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said […]

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Nice, Slammed, eXtreme? (photo courtesy: www.nsxprime.com)

Casey writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I had a coworker who had an older Acura NSX that was lowered. He complained about having to buy new tires because they were worn on the inside edge (down to the belts!). He had, what I thought to be, extreme negative camber due to an improper lowering. He said it was supposed to be like that. I have seen other cars running the negative camber and I’ve seen cars that were lowered without. So question, is there a reason to run extreme negative camber or is this just a bad lowering job? 

Sajeev answers:

I agree with your assessment. Very few, if any, performance cars come from the factory aligned aggressively enough to wear tires that unevenly. I reckon that NSX was lowered, tweaked to reflect well upon the Stancenation. To live the Hellaflush lifestyle! To embrace the image of performance, without necessarily improving actual performance.

No seriously, facades are awesome like that. Because I’d be a hypocrite if I said otherwise.

New Cadillacs and Lincolns = Cooler in Houston

Now to make inferences, and foolishly justify them.

There’s always a reason for this: a subtle lowering can improve performance and stance at the same time. On an NSX? Probably not, since it isn’t a buffalo-butted, blunt nosed family sedan jacked up to the sky by the factory. I reckon the fastest NSX on a less-than-perfect track has the factory ride height with a slightly more aggressive wheel alignment. A hellaflush NSX will lose…if that was the point.

It’s totally not the point. We all have a need to look cool, even those who claim otherwise in the comments section below. To wit, I put 1.5″ front lowering springs (factory spring rate) from these guys on my Fox Cougar to both look cool with my 17×8.5″ reproduction Cobra wheels and retain factory-like ride/handling traits. The rears have a small (1/8″) spacer because of the mishmash between wheel offset and new axles from a rear disc brake conversion. All this effort for a modest lowering job is important on a suspension as half-baked as a Fox body Ford.

I avoided the “improper” or “bad lowering job” you mentioned. Well, at least I think so.

Some folks think more aggressive suspension and wheel/tire modifications add extra cool factor to their lives. Perhaps I might be one of them, even if I bristle at the sight of most Hellaflush rides. But Hellaflush riders certainly don’t give a shit about what you or I think.

So let your coworker buddy enjoy his cool looking NSX. If you can’t resist the urge to twist the knife, take him to a track day and let serious racers give him an education that he might deserve. Or not.

UPDATE: TTAC commentator “Sketch” corrected me about the NSX’s factory tire wear issues, sadly my Google-fu failed us all. My apologies. 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2016 Acura RDX AWD Review (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-acura-rdx-awd-review-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/2016-acura-rdx-awd-review-video/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1098569 Acura has been a brand of highs and lows for a while. The MDX has been a perennial best-seller while their large sedans have largely sat unsold. The RDX, meanwhile, has had an interesting history. Acura’s first attempt at a 2-row crossover was ahead of its time with a 2.3L turbocharged engine producing 240 horsepower […]

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2016 Acura RDX Exterior-005

Acura has been a brand of highs and lows for a while. The MDX has been a perennial best-seller while their large sedans have largely sat unsold. The RDX, meanwhile, has had an interesting history.

Acura’s first attempt at a 2-row crossover was ahead of its time with a 2.3L turbocharged engine producing 240 horsepower and Acura’s Super Handling AWD system capable of sending 90 percent of engine power to the rear. The ride was criticized by Motor Trend as “harsh” and folks complained about turbo lag from the segment’s only four-cylinder turbo engine.

As the segment grew, most entries used naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engines and RDX sales failed to achieve orbit. All indications were that Acura’s compact crossover was destined to be a low-volume niche player in one of the fastest growing segments. Then Acura did something unexpected.

By the 2013 model year, small displacement turbo engines had become a staple in the segment but Acura chose to buck the trend by replacing their 2.3L turbo with a 3.5L V6 during the redesign. The engine swap wasn’t the only thing that surprised Acura fans. Engineers stretched the RDX in every direction, softened the suspension, jacked up the ride height two inches, dialed down the “sport”, removed the SH-AWD system and fitted electric power steering. Proving that the compact luxury crossover shopper isn’t looking for TL Type-S on stilts, RDX sales more than doubled and remain on an upward trajectory, outselling its former BMW nemesis and besting every luxury 2-row crossover save the Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX.

2016 Acura RDX Exterior-004

Exterior
Being a refresh and not a redesign, changes to the exterior are evolutionary. 2016 brings Acura’s signature full-LED headlamps and turn signals which sport three LED projector arrays and two LED reflector arrays for the high beams. (There has been some confusion about the high beams being halogen or LED lamps. The high and low beams are both full-LED but they use different optical systems to focus the light.) In addition to the new beams, there are more creases, a restyled “beak” and some extra chrome. Out back, new LED taillamps join the party with a restyled bumper cover to make the RDX look a little more like the MDX and ILX.

Before we go further, we ought to talk about how this crossover segment boils down. In practical terms, there are three different size classes of luxury 2-row crossover. At the top end we have the Cadillac SRX, Lincoln MKX and Lexus RX, which are all 186-200 inches long. Next we have the semi-segment where the RDX plays with the likes of the GLK, MKC, Q5, NX 200t, XC60 and X3. At the small end of the scale lie the Evoque, Q3, GLA and X1. You can consider the RDX a “tweener” in some ways since it’s at the large end of the middle segment but still 6-inches shorter than a Cadillac SRX.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-003

Interior
Like many companies, Acura limits the interior color options depending on the exterior color you select. Unlike most other companies, however, the choices are more limited. In base RDX models, all colors except “Slate Silver” are tied to a single interior color. Stepping up to the $38,970 RDX with Technology Package allows one more exterior color and adds an additional interior color choice for the black and dark grey exterior. That’s a far cry from the level of customization you get in the competition, especially the Evoque, MKC and X3.

Spanning from $35,270 to $43,420, the RDX is one of the least expensive vehicles in this segment. As a result, it should not surprise you that you have to step up to the $38,940 model to get leather seats and the 8-way power adjustable passenger seat. As with the rest of the Acura lineup in the USA, real wood trim is unavailable at any price, although we now get standard rear climate vents.

Although the RDX is about the same size as the X3 on the outside, you’ll find four-inches more combined legroom in the Acura, split fairly evenly front and rear, making it easier for drivers with long legs to find an ideal driving position. Unfortunately, some taller drivers will notice the RDX has a little less front headroom than the X3. The trade-off for the roomier digs can be found behind the second row where cargo capacity comes in at 26.1 cubic feet, one cube below the X3, 20% smaller than the XC60 and 45% smaller than the cargo hold in the Lexus RX.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-005

Infotainment
Base and “AcuraWatch” models get a 7-speaker sound system with a 5-inch color LCD set high in the dashboard. USB, iDevice and Bluetooth integration are all standard, as is Sirius/XM and Pandora Radio (a smartphone is required for Pandora). Because the RDX uses the same basic dash parts for all models, the small LCD looks a little lost in the dash.

Adding the Technology Package brings the biggest change to the RDX’s interior for 2016: the AcuraLink 2-screen infotainment system. Here’s how Acura has described the split screen rationale: the 8-inch display set high in the dash is used for navigation, leaving the 7-inch touchscreen below to handle climate and audio functions. However, in reality you end up using both screens and their interaction takes some getting used to. While it’s true that you can switch between audio sources with the lower screen while simultaneously watching the navigation map on the upper screen, if you want to browse a playlist, that’s done solely with the upper screen. Entering an address for navigation can be done using either screen with the control wheel/joystick or an on-screen keyboard on the 7-inch screen. The overall design is not as well-integrated as the Infiniti InTouch system in the Q50, but it has grown on me since I first encountered it and the extensive voice command system is one of the best in the segment.

Drivetrain
Instead of starting with a 2.0L turbo engine like most of this segment’s entries, all RDX models use the same engine. 2016 brings a light revision to Acura’s 3.5L naturally aspirated V6, bumping power to 279 horsepower and torque to 252 lb-ft. Acura tweaked the segment’s only cylinder deactivation system to be more aggressive, switching to three-cylinder mode often to improve highway fuel economy. Sadly, the 2016 revision did not bring the direct-injection system found in the TLX, RLX and MDX.

Early indications were that the RDX would get the same 9-speed ZF automatic transmission as the MDX and TLX. However, for 2016 at least, the RDX continues to use the same Honda/Acura 6-speed automatic as last year. Also the same as last year is an AWD system that’s different from the SH-AWD system in the MDX and TLX. In a nut shell, the MDX can send 90% of engine power to the rear by fully locking the center coupling and over-driving the rear axle vs the front. SH-AWD also has a torque vectoring function which can send 100% of the rear axle power a single rear wheel. The RDX isn’t like that.

To cut weight and cost from the second generation RDX, Acura chose to fit a more conventional AWD system. The current AWD system is somewhat unusual in this segment because the majority of systems will fully lock a center coupling allowing power to be split more or less 50-50 front to rear. The RDX won’t send more than 40% of engine power to the rear axle, leaving 60% up front. Without the torque vectoring axle found in the SH-AWD Acuras, the RDX relies on an open differential and brake-based traction control to keep things in check on loose surfaces.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-009

Drive
The lack of SH-AWD means while the AWD MDX is a dynamic competitor to a base AWD X5, the RDX is not a dynamic competitor to the X3 in the same way. Speaking of the MDX, despite having a similar 60/40 weight balance and weighing 300 pounds more, Acura’s three-row crossover actually feels more nimble, especially on winding mountain roads when under power. That’s because the MDX’s rear axle will send more power to the outside rear wheel to help rotate the vehicle and compensate for the front heavy weight balance. That doesn’t happen in the RDX. Because the front wheels in the AWD RDX are handling the majority of the engine power, the front end feels light during hard acceleration and, depending on the surface, you’ll experience mild torque steer. The difference in feel between the XC60/MKC/NX and the RDX in this regard is not huge, but it is noticeable. I will temper that with the reality that FWD luxury crossovers are gaining sales success and the AWD RDX is still more dynamic on the track than the FWD model.

At 3,737 pounds, the base RDX is among the lightest 2-row luxury crossovers around, but adding the AWD system and all the options will push the curb weight to 3,946. If that sounds heavy, Volvo’s XC60 is up to 300 pounds heavier and Audi’s Q5 can be up to 500 pounds heavier. The light curb weight pays dividends when it comes to acceleration and braking with our tester running to 60 in 5.8 seconds and braking from 60 to 0 in a short 116 feet. When it comes to absolute grip, the light curb weight helps, but it can’t compensate for the softer suspension or the increased ride height and the RDX places in the middle of the pack in terms of grip but below average in terms of feel when at 8/10ths. On the flip side, light-weight design and cylinder deactivation system allowed the RDX to average nearly 24 MPG over a week’s driving of 800 miles. That’s better than most of the 4-cylinder entries in this segment.

2016 Acura RDX Interior-006

All RDX models get Acura’s “amplitude reactive dampers” which are a twist on a normal strut design. The strut contains two valves with different operating profiles. One remains closed unless the suspension encounters a large and fast motion – like hitting a pothole – allowing the suspension to “soak” up the large road imperfections while normally using a different valve to give the damper a “firmer” feel over small imperfections. Either way you slice it, this suspension design and the 8.1 inches of ground clearance make the RDX’s ride more Lexus RX than BMW X3. To address the cabin noise complaint from first-gen RDX buyers, Acura fits active noise cancellation to all trim levels.

At $33,100 and $34,480, the Lincoln MKC and Lexus NX 200t (respectively) both start less than the $35,270 RDX, but the Acura comes with more standard equipment and a more powerful V6 engine. Depending on your options, the RDX may come in between $1,000 and $2,000 less than a comparable Lincoln or Lexus, although both offer more customization than can be had in the Acura. As with the Acura ILX, Acura is bundling their “AcuraWatch” system (radar cruise control, collision warning, auto braking, and lane keeping) with more models than in the past, starting with a base model with AcuraWatch for $36,570. The “best value” is found in the fully-loaded AWD RDX for $43,420, which undercuts the Lincoln by $4,000, the Lexus by nearly $5,000 and the BMW by over $10,000.

2016 Acura RDX Exterior-003

Obviously, a BMW X3 comparison is fraught with problems. The X3 is rear-wheel drive by default, has a near perfect weight balance and offers luxury features and customizations not available on the Acura. However, is the improvement in dynamics and luxury worth $10,000-$12,000? That’s not so easy to answer, but perhaps it is the key to understanding Acura’s sales success. Perhaps a better question: is the Lexus RX worth $10,000-$15,000 more? The RDX is more nimble, more engaging, faster, has a hair more leg room and is significantly less expensive. The only real downside to the RDX is the loss of 15 cubic feet of cargo space.

Acura’s refreshed 2016 lineup seems to show it’s getting its mojo back. The 2013 RDX was just what the segment’s shoppers were looking for and the 2016 RDX tacks on trendy LED lamps, radar cruise control love and more LCD real estate in the cabin. I wouldn’t say that makes the RDX the best overall crossover in the segment, but, in my opinion, it is the best value hands down. One thing’s for certain: the 100,000 folks that plan on buying a Lexus RX in 2015 need to visit the Acura dealer. Acura has perfected the classic RX 350.

Acura provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.4

0-60: 5.8 

1/4 Mile: 14.6 @ 96 MPH

Fuel Economy:  23.8 MPG

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Attack Of The Orphaned Acuras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/attack-orphaned-acuras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/attack-orphaned-acuras/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 15:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1042906 My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend […]

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My friend and fellow auto journo Tyson Hugie is the ultimate Acura fanboy. He owns a 2013 Acura ILX 6-speed with the personalized plate ILX, a 1994 Legend GS Sedan 6-speed and a 1992 NSX 5-speed which just hit 100,000 miles. He was honored by American Honda for passing 500,000 miles on his 1994 Legend LS Coupe 6-speed. And he is currently searching for a Vigor 5-speed in Arcadia Green.

Hugie clearly has a case of ADHD – Acura Definite Hyperactivity Disorder.

So naturally we had to take his orphaned Acuras along with the greatest discontinued Honda ever – a S2000 roadster, my 2008 with 32,000 miles – for a run up Tucson’s twisty Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon and bemoan the demise of these late, great Honda cars. All in the name of automotive research, of course.

We were joined by the owner of a 144,000-mile 1993 NSX 5-speed and a group of Southwest auto writers credited at the bottom of this post. We tried in vain to find an example of the other great discontinued Acura, an Integra R or GSR. We recently wrote about this 1997 R in Phoenix, but it was in the process of being sold for $43,000, and every other one we spotted on Craigslist had aftermarket rear wings too tall for the low hanging trees on our drive. Apparently original 1990s Integras are as rare as original 1990s Legends.

IMG_9472

Kulikowski joked about us doing a running Le Mans start to see who could grab an NSX for first leg. I hopped in Hugie’s 1992 and was first struck by how low the car sits; I was actually looking up at the S2000. The mid-engine NSX is simply sensational to drive, with 270 horses over your shoulder, the precise Honda stick shift and near-neutral cornering. Said Jason, “The NSX was intimidating to me at first but in typical Honda tradition, the car instantly felt familiar and easy to drive. Everything feels raw and mechanical. This is a sensation you just can’t find anymore.”

Both NSXs had over 100,000 miles on their clocks but you could barely tell, a testament to Honda durability. They were rock solid with not a squeak or rattle to be heard. I doubt there are many 100K Ferraris to be found in such condition. Whether you fall into the “it can’t be an exotic because it is a Honda” camp or the “it is built by Honda so it is an exotic that will not break” group, most will agree that the NSX is one of the greatest sports car ever sold in America.

Acura Fanatic: Tyson Hugie's 4 Acuras have a combined 901,224 miles

Tyson’s Corner: Acura fanatic Hugie’s 4 Acuras have a combined 901,224 miles

I had one of the first Gen 2 Legend Coupes as a “demo” back in 1991 and I still remember what a sensation it was at the time. I doubt I will ever drive a 500,000+ mile car as strong as Hugie’s coupe. We only drove the car briefly due to a dying clutch. The suspension was also a little iffy but the silky 6-cylinder motor pulled as willingly as the sedan’s. Amazingly, this Legend has only been towed once – when its original fuel pump let go at 399,750 miles. The car has been through seven timing belts and Hugie’s goal is seven more.

IMG_9819

It is no surprise that everyone loved the S2000. I told the gang that below 6,000 RPM, the Honda is the World’s Crappiest Miata: rough-riding, loud and not much torque. At that point the VTEC kicks in (yo!) and the motor screams towards its 8,200 rpm redline. This may be Honda’s greatest engine ever: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 240 horsepower in the original AP1 version, 237 horsepower from 2.2 liters in this second-generation AP2, or 7 more than in the Legends’ engines.  All agreed the convertible was the best car for the serpentine and smooth Catalina Highway and the sunny 70 degree weather we enjoyed.

As for that lack of low-end umph: I did have a ride in high school that had less torque. I don’t remember the model but I remember it was made by Schwinn.

IMG_9384

We all agreed on the car that surprised us the most: the 147,000-mile Legend Sedan. The last flagship Acura sedan available with a manual transmission, it was quiet, quick and comfortable. Said Pawela, “The big glass greenhouse and low dash made for an excellent view out. When it came time to toss this big boy around some corners, I was amazed how composed and level the body remained.” Thanks to Acura’s designers and its stealthy Desert Mist Metallic paint, the sedan was also voted the car “Most Likely to be Ignored by the Highway Patrol.”

IMG_9598 (1)

Both Legends came standard with a cool now-discontinued feature: AN ACTUAL NAME rather than being an “Acura RTIGLX.” Stop me if you have heard this one before: if Acura had kept the name “Legend” and stuffed a V8 under its hood, the luxury car landscape would be vastly different today.

Our chase car was a new Lexus RC350 (which we all loved for its great seats alone), allowing us to put the cars in perspective. Said Lee, “Having the Lexus kind of gave a unique experience – here, you have all these cars designed to be “driving” cars; there was a certain connection between the driver and the car. As the driver you felt a sense of control; in fractions of a second you have to decide if you need more or less steer, adjust your throttle or your braking. Going between the NSX, S2000, and the Legend 4-Door and then back into the Lexus you can see a massive difference in how and what a car is suppose to do.”

NSX in Mirror

Honda and Acura still sell mainstream cars with a sporty twist, but none like these. There is a revived S2000 and NSX on the horizon but they will feature turbos and hybrids, be bluetoothed and 27 air-bagged, and probably even have power steering which two of our testers lacked. In other words: the days of basic (read manual transmission and normally aspirated) unique, fun luxury and sports cars are dwindling due to the realities of today’s auto business. Build a screaming 4-cylinder convertible that only gets 18 mpg in town today? No way due to CAFE regulations. Put a stick shift in a luxury coupe? Who would buy it? Build an exotic mid-engine sports car? Sure, that will be $150,000 please – or more like $250,000 after Acura dealers are done ADMing the new NSX.

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The greatest compliment we can pay these classic vehicles is this: go check out the soaring prices being asked for clean, unmodified examples.

We plan to do Part Two this fall and it may take that long to find decent copies of an Integra GSR, CRX Si, CRX HF, and 4th generation Prelude. Or if Honda drops the CR-Z as they did recently with the Crosstour and Hugie finds his Vigor, we will find a Honda del Sol and take all four cars on another run – the Crappy Orphaned Hondas Tour…

Thanks to Tyson Hugie, James Lee, Jason Pawela, Peter Kulikowski, Kelvin Chang and photographer Beau MacDonnell for making this event happen!

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2016 Acura ILX Review: Big Changes Make The ILX Competitive, Not A Segment Leader http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2016-acura-ilx-big-changes-make-ilx-competitive-not-segment-leader/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2016-acura-ilx-big-changes-make-ilx-competitive-not-segment-leader/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1048305 For the entry-level Acura’s fourth model year, the ILX is undergoing a complete powertrain transformation. LED headlights and trim-line changes further differentiate the refreshed 2016 ILX, but the less visible changes are the real difference makers. • U.S. Market Price As Tested: $35,810 • Horsepower: 201 @ 6800 rpm • Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 3600 […]

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2016 ACURA ILX A-Spec

For the entry-level Acura’s fourth model year, the ILX is undergoing a complete powertrain transformation. LED headlights and trim-line changes further differentiate the refreshed 2016 ILX, but the less visible changes are the real difference makers.


• U.S. Market Price As Tested: $35,810

• Horsepower: 201 @ 6800 rpm

• Torque: 180 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 29 mpg


Gone is the ILX Hybrid, the base ILX’s 2.0L four-cylinder, and Acura’s last remaining manual transmission. The sole powerplant is now a 201-horsepower 2.4L from base versions of the TLX.

The Honda Civic-based ILX therefore isn’t using the exact same engine as the range-topping Civic Si, and it’s certainly not using any of the Civic’s transmissions. Instead, the 2016 ILX is equipped with an 8-speed dual-clutch unit.

Honda figured out a way to make the DCT operate with a torque converter, and as a result, it’s a more refined dual-clutch transmission (especially at lower around-town speed) than you’ll encounter elsewhere in the dual-clutch universe, though without some of the hard-hitting edge of some competitors. There’s also an aggressive Sport mode for twisty roads and people who drive around downtown on Saturday nights, windows down, one gear too low, with revs wailing. To impress the ladies, maybe.

2016 Acura ILX A-Spec rearConsequently, compared with both the former base and up-level engines, the 2016 ILX is a significantly quicker car; the extra ponies enhancing the performance compared with the old 2.0L and the 8-speed transmission producing faster shifts compared with the outgoing 2.4L/manual combo. As you’d expect from Honda, the 2.4L revs sweetly and makes a pleasant noise.

At the very least, the ILX is now sufficiently powerful, but that’s only one element in terms of what could make an appealing entry-level luxury sports sedan. Don’t be fooled by the A-Spec package – aside from 18-inch wheels, it’s cosmetic.

2016 Acura ILX interiorThe ILX doesn’t turn-in with sports car gusto and the steering is generally lacking in feel. There’s noticeable body roll, but it’s not excessive in the real world. The car rides stiffly, especially out back, but not too stiffly. Grip and feel was likely limited during the car’s visit by the Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on this Honda Canada-supplied press car, but those tires didn’t camouflage the fact that the ILX treads middle ground between performance sedans and conventional, mainstream small sedans.

The ILX also resides in a neutral territory inside, where the interior is a mix of upmarket Acura design and lower-tier Honda materials. The plastic surround on the centre tunnel, for example, is rock hard. The climate control unit would be suitable in a Fit. But the (unintuitive) dual screens, buttons for autonomous Lane Keeping Assist and adaptive cruise control, an effective Cross Traffic monitoring system, and “lux-suede inserts” on the seats would be suitable in an MDX.

2016 Acura ILX Perhaps of greater importance is the spacious back seat and flat rear floor, which aren’t at all the norm in this category. Parents who periodically move child seats between cars won’t be happy with the location of the LATCH anchors, but the overall sensation inside is of sufficient space, not claustrophobia.

In isolation, the ILX is not a disappointing car, particularly when luxed-up and body-kitted like this loaded A-Spec car. But the overly stiff rear suspension and the way the ILX crashes over harsh pavement imperfections reminds me of just how serenely the Buick Verano Turbo makes its way down the road. The ILX’s steering is too numb and its lack of outright athleticism too apparent not to bring to mind the Audi A3’s GTI-like ride and handling balance. And while the additional standard horsepower of the 2016 model finally makes the ILX a competitive car, the 2.4L is surely no torque-monster. These aren’t the VTEC high-revvers of yesteryear – the ILX feels decently quick before it’s revving past 6000 rpm – but with only 180 lb-ft of torque, it’s down by 78 lb-ft compared with Mercedes-Benz’s CLA250, a car which never wants for instant shove. There are ways in which the ILX is better than all these cars, but the Acura’s comparative deficiencies are more obvious than its advantages.

Acura ILX collageWe’ve yet to see the impact of the refreshed ILX’s launch, as this is a 2016 model year vehicle released early in 2015. It’s undoubtedly an improved car, but will near-luxury buyers even know that it’s an updated car? The ILX first arrived three years ago and this refreshed car isn’t obviously new.

U.S. sales peaked at 20,430 units in its first full year, 2013, but the ILX fell 13% in 2014 and first-quarter volume in 2015 is off last year’s pace by 15%. Year-to-date, the ILX sells less than half as often as the Buick Verano, Mercedes-Benz CLA, and Audi A3. This least costly Acura accounts for 25% of the brand’s car volume; 14% of total Acura sales.

2016 Acura ILX interior collageIn order for Honda to move the ILX up the leaderboard and make it a more meaningful product in Acura showrooms, it would need to feel a lot more special than this. “Not special” is a vague verdict, but it can be summed up this way: our test car was a (USD) $35,810 version of a car that starts at $28,820, and it’s abundantly clear that the foundation of that car is a sedan that starts below $20K.

Humble origins aren’t a problem. The failure to adequately mask those origins, however, in a $35K+ car, in an arena controlled by Germans which are afforded special status on the basis of their badges alone, is in fact a problem.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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U.S. February Sales: Acura RLX Takes An Uppercut To Its Glass Jaw http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/u-s-february-sales-acura-rlx-takes-uppercut-glass-jaw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/u-s-february-sales-acura-rlx-takes-uppercut-glass-jaw/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:51:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030385 Acura RLX sales plunged 53% to just 173 units in February 2015, the fifth consecutive month in which U.S. sales of Acura’s flagship sedan were chopped in half, or worse. Year-over-year, RLX sales have decreased in each of the last nine months. Over these three quarters, the RLX is down 60%, a loss of 2873 […]

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Acura RLXAcura RLX sales plunged 53% to just 173 units in February 2015, the fifth consecutive month in which U.S. sales of Acura’s flagship sedan were chopped in half, or worse.

Year-over-year, RLX sales have decreased in each of the last nine months. Over these three quarters, the RLX is down 60%, a loss of 2873 sales compared to the preceding nine-month period.

Historically, the RLX (formerly known as the RL) wasn’t anything like a top-selling premium car, but it wasn’t typically this unpopular, either. In the seven years leading up to the recession, 2002 to 2008, Acura reported an annual average of more than 9000 RL sales in America.

The 5555 total sales achieved between 2009 and 2012 was explained away by the age of the existing model – the second-gen RL debuted in 2004 – as well as the low-volume nature of the car market at the time.

Acura
Feb. 2015
Feb. 2014
% Change
2 mos. 2015
2 mos. 2014
% Change
MDX
4,553 4,563 -0.2% 8,934 8,804 1.5%
RDX
3,862 2,911 32.7% 7,379 5,641 30.8%
TLX
3,419 6,311
ILX
959 1,301 -26.3% 1,951 2,458 -20.6%
RLX
173 371 -53.4% 349 791 -55.9%
TL
22 1,480 -98.5% 40 2,848 -98.6%
TSX
4 911 -99.6% 10 1,804 -99.4%
ZDX
8 -100% 22 -100%
Total
12,992
11,545 12.5% 24,974 22,368 11.7%

Indeed, sales of the new model perked up, rising to the highest level in six years and above 5000 units for the first time since 2007. Yet the dull styling of the RLX didn’t bode well, the high price has never sat well with luxury car buyers, and Acura’s less costly middle-rung cars (the TL and now the TLX) always rubbed up closely in terms of size, matched or exceeded the RLX in terms of performance, and their MSRPs have always undercut the RLX by many thousands of dollars. The RLX, especially in Sport Hybrid guise, is a very nice car, but not at the advertised price, and not with such sleepy exterior design.

Regardless, the uptick was terribly short-lived. Year-over-year volume shot forward from 2012 and early 2013 levels when there was hardly any remaining RLs available. But even in its most popular month so far, October 2013, when 830 RLXs were sold, it trailed low-volume premium players like the Audi A6, Lexus GS, and Lincoln MKS. That same month, Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class range outsold the RLX by nearly 8-to-1; the BMW 5-Series by more than 6-to-1.

From that peak, however, we’ve come a long way in a short time. RLX sales fell to a new low of just 173 units in February, the second consecutive and third month overall in which monthly RLX volume slipped below 200.

The good news for Acura? The TLX isn’t selling poorly. As a result, even with the ILX down 21% year-to-date and RLX volume down 56%, overall Acura car sales are up 10%. The TLX accounts for 6311 of the 8661 Acura cars sold so far this year. The MDX and RDX crossovers generate nearly two-thirds of the brand’s volume. With the TLX, MDX, and RDX rising, Acura sales were up 12% through the end of February.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Review: 2016 Acura ILX (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2016-acura-ilx-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2016-acura-ilx-video/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:55:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1026105 It has been two years since we last looked at the ILX, and my conclusion went like this: The 2.4L engine needs an automatic and some infotainment love, the 2.0L engine needs more grunt and the hybrid needs to be euthanized. Without changes like these, the Acura ILX will remain a sensible Civic upgrade but […]

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2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front.CR2

It has been two years since we last looked at the ILX, and my conclusion went like this:

The 2.4L engine needs an automatic and some infotainment love, the 2.0L engine needs more grunt and the hybrid needs to be euthanized. Without changes like these, the Acura ILX will remain a sensible Civic upgrade but as a competitor to Buick’s new-found mojo, Acura has some catching up to do.

2016 brings what I was expecting: a mid-cycle refresh with a new nose and new rump to keep the photos fresh. What I didn’t expect was for Acura to also address the major mechanical systems that we all complained about. Neither did I expect the ILX to be so transformed by a “simple” heart transplant. Can the ILX live up to the legendary Acura Legend? I snagged the keys to a “A-Spec Technology Plus” model to find out.

Exterior

Acura is not the kind of company that dishes out one daring design after another, especially since the Acura “beak” went over so poorly. As a result this ILX, like its predecessor, plays right to the conservatively styled heart of the traditional Acura shopper.

As has been said in the past, the ILX is related to the Honda Civic, but the relation is more third-cousin than sister. The ILX never shared sheetmetal or glass with its plebeian platform mate, and the ILX isn’t a simple re-skin either. While the wheelbase is shared with the Civic, nearly every hard point was changed from the A-pillar moved 8-inches rearward, trunk and door openings modified to the lowered roofline, the 2016 ILX shares as much with the Civic as the original Chrysler 300 shared with the Mercedes E-Class.

As expected, Acura swapped in a set of full-LED headlamps styled after the multi-beam modules we first saw in the MDX and RLX, and further massaged the front end to look more like the larger TLX. Acura’s quest to give the ILX more of a “wedge like” appearance rather than a tall hood translates to a somewhat pointy front to the side profile. Out back the changes are minimal but the A-Spec trim our tester wore gives the sedate sedan a bit more style and a tasteful chrome strip on the trunk spoiler.

2016 Acura ILX Interior Dashboard.CR2-001

Interior

Interior parts quality is right in line with the Buick Verano which, as expected, is a notch below the more expensive A3, CLA, S60, IS 250 and 320i. As you’d expect in a “near-luxury” vehicle, most of the ILX touch-points are soft plastic but you will find hard plastic lurking below the faux-metal trim and making up most of the center console. Front seat comfort is good but the lack of adjustable lumbar support is surprising. All models get an 8-way power driver’s seat, but only upper trims offer seat memory or a power passenger seat. An important side-effect of Acura’s modifications to the platform’s roof-line is limited headroom. Headroom is further limited up front by the standard sunroof, a nice value feature for sure, but at 6-feet tall my head missed touching the ceiling by millimeters. Acura will no doubt show taller shoppers the TLX.

The ILX’s rear seats are slightly less comfortable than the Verano, but a step above the mainstream compact segment with more thigh support for adults and considerably more legroom than the Mercedes CLA, Volvo S60, and despite the spec sheet saying otherwise, the A3 sedan as well. The key seems to be in combined front and rear legroom where the ILX shines. On the downside, Acura chose to share the rear seat frame with the Honda Civic giving the ILX a 100% folding bench seat that is far less practical than the more common 60/40 variety. This would be less of a problem if the trunk had grown in 2016, but it is still stuck at a smallish 12.3 cubes, smaller than the Verano, Lexus CT or Mazda3.

2016 Acura ILX Interior Shift Paddles

Speaking of the Mazda3, the small Mazda is in many ways a similar vehicle despite Mazda and Acura targeting different demographics. Interior parts quality is quite similar, although the ILX is more of a mixed bag by borrowing switchgear from both the Civic and the TLX. Where they differ notably is the steering wheel, gauge cluster and infotainment systems where the ILX shares more heavily with the more expensive Acuras while the Mazda is a little more constsient but lacks the spendy parts.

To keep things simple, Acura bundles features into packages, leaving essentially no stand-alone options. The base model comes well equipped with dual-zone climate control, 5-inch infotainment display, LED headlamps, Bluetooth/iDevice integration, backup camera, keyless entry/go and a cabin air filter for $27,900. Since the base model is rarely the volume leader, the second trim is the most interesting because the $29,200 “AcuraWatch Plus” trim adds radar adaptive cruise control, collision warning, collision mitigating autonomous braking, lane keep warning, lane keep assist, and electric pre-tensioning front seat belts. This safety system package is included in every trim above as well, making the ILX one of the least expensive vehicles with this kind of tech near-standard. (If you want all that in your TLX it will set you back $42,600.) The $29,900 Premium adds leather seating, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic detection, XM radio and a sub-woofer to the base 6-speaker system, swaps the 5-inch infotainment screen for a dual screen system featuring an 8-inch display high in the dash and a 7-inch touchscreen lower in the dash. The last jump is the $32,900 Technology package adds factory navigation to the 8-inch screen, 10 speakers, AcuraLink (Acura’s answer to OnStar), an upgraded backup cam, color LCD in the gauge cluster and GPS-reading/solar-sending to the climate control system. The only option is the $1,999 A-sped sport trim package netting the buyer 18-inch wheels, fog lamps, faux-suede inserts in the seats, a spoiler and some aluminum pedals.

2016 Acura ILX Interior Infotainment Navigation System-003

Acura’s two-screen infotainment system isn’t as polished as BMW’s iDrive but it is considerably snazzier than you’ll find in any mass-market competitor like the Mazda. The base system lags behind the Verano’s touchscreen radio, while the two-screen system tops it in elegance. Why two screens? The engineers say the concept is as follows: the lower touchscreen handles the audio, freeing the upper screen for navigation and other tasks. My opinion of the system has improved since I first encountered it on the MDX but I still think the casserole needs more time in the oven. You can skip tracks/albums using the touchscreen, but changing playlists or more detailed browsing requires the rotary/joystick lower in the dash and the 8-inch screen at the top. In my mind, this sort of kills the dual-screen sales proposition. On the positive side, the system is very responsive and the graphics are all high-resolution and attractive. Compared to the other entries in this segment, it lacks the online connectivity features found in Volvo’s Sensus Connect and Audi’s latest MMI, but offers more screen real estate and a more modern feel than either connected system.

2016 Acura ILX 2.4l EarthDreams Direct Injection Engine-001.CR2

Drivetrain

When it launched, the ILX borrowed the complete engine line-up from the Civic, including the lackluster 1.5L engine, 5-speed auto, underpowered hybrid, and the rev-happy 2.4L from the Civic Si mated only to a 6-speed manual. The 2.4L engine was the only engine worth buying, but slow manual sales meant it was a small portion of the sales pie. For 2016, Acura dropped all three engines in favor of the direct-injection 2.4L four-cylinder engine from the TLX. Closely related to the 2.4L in the Honda Accord, the  “EarthDreams” engine is tuned for slightly higher output. At 201 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of twist, this looks similar to the Civic Si’s 2.4L until you look at the power and torque curves. Thanks to the new design, and the direct-injection system, both power and torque arrive lower at RPMs and stay strong at higher revs.

Sending power to the wheels is the same 8-speed dual-clutch transmission as the bigger Acura. DCTs are nothing new, but Acura takes things a step beyond Audi and Mercedes with an 8-speed unit and a torque converter tossed in for good measure. The biggest issue with DCTs is their unrefined low-speed / hill-start performance. The torque converter solves that by allowing the clutch to completely engage first gear at low speeds.

2016 Acura ILX Interior Gauge Cluster-002

Drive

On the surface of things, the Frankenstein transmission sounds like the unholy union of all that is wrong with an automatic and a manual. Part of this is because early DCT adopters told us that torque converters were the root of all evil and DCTs were so blindingly efficient that the relatively poor 0-10  performance is compensated by brilliant 10-60 performance. In reality, the combination creates one of the finest transmissions in the world. No kidding. The Acura DCT is at the same level as ZF’s 6-speed and 8-speed automatic. Rather than hamper performance, the torque converter improves off-the-line acceleration because it can transmit more power to the gearset than a slipping clutch can. After the initial start, the converter spends most of the time “locked up” giving the drivetrain a very linear, manual-like feel. When shifting is called for, it delivers the speed of a dual-clutch transmission (slightly faster than most of ZF’s offerings) and the smoothness of an automatic because the torque converter is momentarily “unlocked” to soak up vibration during the shift. My only complaint is that Acura didn’t jam at least a low-pressure turbo on the 2.4L engine because this transmission deserves more power. Or AWD, or both.

The difference in refinement is immediately noticeable when driven back-to-back with the A3′ wet-clutch DSG and night-and-day different from the DCT in the Mercedes CLA. (The Mercedes transmission has been improving, but is still shockingly rough around the edges.) Likely largely to the new transmission, 0-60 times are a full second faster than the 2015 2.4L model and a blazing 3-seconds faster than the 2015 base model. Some of the credit goes to the new engine since the Civic Si engine has to scream like a leaf blower to deliver maximum thrust. This engine has a more luxury car appropriate torque band. In absolute terms, the 6.2 second sprint to 60 is faster than the Verano Turbo we tested, faster than the A3 2.0T, IS 250 and a just 4/10ths slower than the CLA 250 and S60 T5 Drive-e.

2016 Acura ILX Exterior Rear-001

Handling was never an issue with the ILX and that continues for 2016, despite what the folks at CR may say. The light curb weight of 3,093lbs is impressive, not just because it is 100lbs less than the lightest A3 in America and nearly 200lbs lighter than a CLA 250, but because the ILX is 6-inches longer than the German as well. With a similar weight distribution to the A3 and CLA and 225/40R18 tires (A-Spec), you’d expect the ILX to run with the sportier entries in this pack and you’d be right, with a twist. The light curb weight and wide tires provide excellent grip, but even in the A-Spec trim the ILX avoids bruised kidneys with a surprisingly refined suspension. Acura’s “dampers with two valves” allow the damping to be firm and body roll to be well controlled under most conditions while soaking up large imperfections like a sedan with a softer suspension. The system retains 95% of the Civic Si’s road holding ability while delivering a ride more composed than the turbo Verano. Similarly, the steering is a little less direct than the Si but yields better feel than the Buick. The ILX lacks the precision and astonishing grip you find in the CLA, but taken as a whole the ILX is the best balanced since it lacks the jarring ride of the CLA with the sport package but gives up little grip in the process. The CLA is a hoot and a half on your favorite winding mountain road, but the ILX is the kind of car you can also stick your mother-in-law in and she won’t think you’ve gone “all boy-racer” after turning 30. Limits are lower in the non-A-Spec trim largely due to the 215-width tires, but driving the ILX back-to-back with a Audi A3 1.8T made me question the sanity of the folks at Consumer Reports who berated the handling. Go figure.

Fuel economy was a concern of mine because of the torque converter, and indeed I averaged 2 MPG lower than the EPA combined 29 MPG, but that may have had something to do with my driving style. Treating the ILX gently it was possible to get 35 MPG out of the baby Acura on the open highway besting most of the entries in this segment and matching Volvo’s new Drive-e engines.

Despite sharing quite little with Honda’s Civic and not looking like a fancy Civic, the 2015 ILX felt like a fancy Civic. Now there’s nothing wrong with that per se (after-all the success of the Lexus ES is largely due to the fact that for many years it was little more than a fancy Camry), but that’s not the Acura that the brand’s faithful remember. This ILX however is that Acura. The drivetrain and excellent pricing scheme, more than the infotainment system or LED headlamps, are the reason. Sure the ILX has some discount plastic, but the interior on the whole feels like a TLX that’s been discounted than a Civic that’s been “tarted up.” While the old ILX could only be compared with the Verano, Mazda3 and similar vehicles with a straight face, the 2016 model is different. No, I would not call it direct competition to the 320i, IS 250, CLA 250 or S60 per se, but with pricing up to $10,000 less than those models comparably equipped, the ILX is unquestionable the value alternative. While the Acura RL may have replaced the Legend in 1995, the 2016 ILX is its true successor.

Acura provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.4 Seconds

0-60: 6.2 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.8 @ 95 MPH

Interior sound level: 72db @ 50 MPH

Average observed fuel economy: 27.1 MPH over 981 miles

 

2016 Acura ILX 2.4l EarthDreams Direct Injection Engine.CR2 2016 Acura ILX 2.4l EarthDreams Direct Injection Engine-001.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Exterior A-Spec Wheel.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front-001 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front-002 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front-003 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front-004 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Front-005 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Grille.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Headlmap Turn Signals.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Headlmap Turn Signals.CR2-001 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Headlmap Turn Signals 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Headlmap Turn Signals-001 2016 Acura ILX Exterior ILX Logo 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Rear Side 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Rear Side-001 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Rear 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Rear-001 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Rear-002 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Side 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Side-001 2016 Acura ILX Exterior Side-002 2016 Acura ILX Interior 2016 Acura ILX Interior AcuraLink Telematics 2016 Acura ILX Interior AcuraLink Telematics-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior AcuraLink touchscreen.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Interior AcuraLink touchscreen 2016 Acura ILX Interior CMBS 2016 Acura ILX Interior Dashboard.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Interior Dashboard.CR2-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Dashboard 2016 Acura ILX Interior Dashboard-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Gauge Cluster 2016 Acura ILX Interior Gauge Cluster-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Gauge Cluster-002 2016 Acura ILX Interior Gauge Cluster-003 2016 Acura ILX Interior Glove Box 2016 Acura ILX Interior Infotainment Navigation System 2016 Acura ILX Interior Infotainment Navigation System-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Infotainment Navigation System-002 2016 Acura ILX Interior Infotainment Navigation System-003 2016 Acura ILX Interior Rear Seats Folded 2016 Acura ILX Interior Rear Seats 2016 Acura ILX Interior Rear Seats-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Seat Controls 2016 Acura ILX Interior Seat Controls-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Seats 2016 Acura ILX Interior Shift Paddles 2016 Acura ILX Interior Steering Wheel Controlls.CR2 2016 Acura ILX Interior Steering Wheel Controlls.CR2-001 2016 Acura ILX Interior Steering Wheel Controlls 2016 Acura ILX Interior Steering Wheel 2016 Acura ILX Interior Trunk 2016 Acura ILX Interior Trunk-001

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Piston Slap: The German TL’s Audi 5000 Syndrome? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-german-tls-audi-5000-syndrome/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-german-tls-audi-5000-syndrome/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:08:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028585   Mark writes: Hi Sajeev, I have a 2003 Acura TL-S with 106K miles. I bought the car in 2013 with 84K and it was/is in excellent shape. I checked and made sure the car had the transmission recalls performed (I know there were a lot of issues with Honda/Acura 5 speed autos) Back in July […]

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Audi 5000 much? (photo courtesy: www.jbcarpages.com)

Mark writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have a 2003 Acura TL-S with 106K miles. I bought the car in 2013 with 84K and it was/is in excellent shape. I checked and made sure the car had the transmission recalls performed (I know there were a lot of issues with Honda/Acura 5 speed autos) Back in July I noticed on a hot and humid day it was difficult to move the gear selector from P to Drive. It seemed stiff but there were no other indicators of transmission issues. 

I went to every Acura forum I could find and most issues were related to actual transmission problems and failures. There were some suggestions that the brake light switch might be failing. I replaced that (even though the brake lights work fine) no luck. It then started giving me fits about coming out of Park. I would have to use the key to move it into Drive or Neutral. Then it stopped doing that for a few months. Now it occasionally will not go into Reverse from Drive unless I shift down to then back up. The action is still very stiff but it will go into gear. Once you are going the Transmission is fine, it shifts perfectly, there is no missed shifts, clunking or any of the usual signs of an imminent transmission failure.

I live in Germany where Acura does not exist. The local Honda dealers are clueless since they have very little experience with Automatic Transmissions. Local mechanics are the same, very little experience working on automatic transmissions. I can’t find any useful information online or any examples of this issue. Perhaps you can help?

Thanks,
Mark
Stuttgart, Germany

Sajeev answers:

Stuttgart is pretty far away from Ingolstat, and yet your German Acura’s infected with Audi 5000 syndrome?

Such an intermittent problem suggests a mechanical bind inside the shift mechanism, or perhaps electronic fault (just not the brake light).  There’s also ammunition against Honda’s neutral safety switch, or Transmission Range Switch.  The TRS can indeed interfere with the “interlock” system.

Unless you regularly spill large amounts of milky, sweet/sticky flavored coffee on your console to really screw it up, I suspect the TRS (or its wiring harness?) is at fault. To wit, this YouTube video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

What say you, Best and Brightest?

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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March Madness, Bad Car Ads And Grown Men Crying Over Games http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/march-madness-bad-car-ads-grown-men-crying-games/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/march-madness-bad-car-ads-grown-men-crying-games/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 22:50:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025553 I have a hard time being invested in televised sports. I could put it in my own words, but the best explanation comes from this essay, which likened it to being in an abusive relationship. Imagine a girl. Very pretty, a joy to be around, and a nice person that is kind to animals and people alike. […]

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I have a hard time being invested in televised sports. I could put it in my own words, but the best explanation comes from this essay, which likened it to being in an abusive relationship.

Imagine a girl. Very pretty, a joy to be around, and a nice person that is kind to animals and people alike. She’s a good person, and deserves a good boyfriend, someone who is nice and kind to her.

She has a boyfriend. But he sucks. He makes her pay for everything. When they do something, he tells her what they’re going to do, never asks what she want to do, and never makes any accommodations to her wishes. He only pays attention to her when he wants something out of her, but when she needs something, he is totally unresponsive. He relentlessly lies to her, and is transparently dismissive of their relationship and her as a person. He makes important decisions that impact her without asking her, or consulting her or even considering what she wants. He takes her completely for granted, and almost seems like he holds her in contempt. In essence, he treats her like garbage. Yet, she worships him and supports him no matter what.

What would you tell her? You’d say what any reasonable person would say: What the hell is wrong with you? Why are accepting this? You can do better. He’s not worth it, there are so many other great guys out there who won’t treat you so badly, stop putting up with this.

Now, think about this: If you are a devoted fan of a pro sports team, you have the exact same relationship…with that team.

You are the girlfriend, the team is the boyfriend, and they don’t give a shit about you, and you love them anyway.

Now, with college sports, I get that there’s a connection to a school based on geography, or alumni status or something else. But it’s still an entity that does not give a damn about you, and you are staking your happiness on the performance of people who are, in many cases, not old enough to legally crack a bottle of celebratory champagne. And if you didn’t go to that school? Well, Bark M has words for you.

But what’s worse than all of that is Acura’s campaign to create “memeness” for March Madness. I can’t remember I’ve seen anything so nakedly attempting to be hip or pandering to the “digital native”. It is undignified for any brand, especially for one like Acura that is trying to be taken seriously in the premium space (as the digital marketers would probably call it).

The most recent ad, with a strings version of The Pixies “Where Is My Mind” was pretty great. This campaign sucks. Like everything else Acura has done since they switched to alphanumeric names, it’s two steps forward, one step back.

H/T Damon Lavrinc

 

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Review: 2015 Acura TLX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-acura-tlx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-acura-tlx/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023361 Some time ago the Acura brand has lost its ways. The recent regroup of the brand’s car lineup resulted in the small ILX, midsized TLX, and top-dog RLX in a tried and true same-sausage-in-three-lengths setup. I recently had a chance to sample both the entry-level 4-cylinder TLX, as well as the loaded V6 all-wheel-drive version. […]

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Some time ago the Acura brand has lost its ways. The recent regroup of the brand’s car lineup resulted in the small ILX, midsized TLX, and top-dog RLX in a tried and true same-sausage-in-three-lengths setup. I recently had a chance to sample both the entry-level 4-cylinder TLX, as well as the loaded V6 all-wheel-drive version.

Acura TLX headlight led

The TLX is a combination of the TSX and TL models, which only makes sense because those two cars were so similar. The new vehicle retains the wheelbase of the old TL but gets a few inches chopped off its front and rear overhangs. Increased use of high strength steel and aluminum results in a stiffer chassis and a slight reduction of weight. Style wise, the TLX adopts the brand’s design language seen in the ILX and the RLX, with the much disliked beaked slimmed and trimmed. The headlights, too, get the brand treatment first seen on the MDX, with five bright LEDs per side.

The displacement of each engine remains the same but both get upgraded to direct-injection for the TLX duty. The result is a very slight bump in power to 206hp and a flatter torque curve with a peak of 182 lb-ft at 4500rpm for the four-cylinder. The V6 gains power over the whole rev range but only a small peak gain of 10hp, for a total of 290hp at 6200rpm and 267 lb-ft of torque at 4500rpm. Fuel economy ranges from 24mpg city/35mpg highway for the four-cylinder to 21mpg city/31mpg highway for the AWD V6.

Acura TLX shifter engine wheels

Honda seems to have gone all out on its new transmissions. The I4 is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch, which cleverly uses a torque-converter for smoother take offs and low speed maneuvering, with typical DCT action afterwards. In daily driving it works great, as all the side effects of a typical DCT are gone, but when the vehicle is really pushed the paddle-shifter requested shifts were not as fast as some of the competitors’ DCTs. This combination is available only in front-wheel-drive.

Often criticized by auto-journalists, and frankly no one else, for its lack of gears, the V6 ditches the 6-speed automatic now gets hooked up to a new 9-speed automatic, probably for no other reason than to shut those guys up. Honda says that the shifts are now five times faster and the gearbox is over sixty pounds lighter than the 6-speed it replaces. The V6 also gets start/stop and an odd, unnecessary in my opinion, push-button and toggle switch shifter which is somehow supposed to inspire performance as it will also be featured on the upcoming NSX. The V6 can be had in front-wheel-drive or in the torque-vectoring Super Handling all-wheel-drive configurations, last of which gets its share of updates.

2015 acura tlx side

Both cars feature adjustable driving modes; Econ, Normal, Sport, and Sport+ modes. The Econ mode must be evil so I didn’t even attempt to drive in it. The Normal mode is good for people who use cars as appliances and are never in the hurry. The Sport was my preferred street mode with liberal shift points and a quicker throttle response. The Sport+ turns each transmission into full manual mode. The four-cylinder is not much faster than my stock ’95 Integra GS-R but on the street I never found it to be really short on power. I would say that the four is more fun to drive than the V6 because it requires more focus from its driver. The V6 is smooth and quiet at highway speeds, but even with its flat torque curve, the 9-speed transmission is forced to kick down a few gears during passing maneuvers.

The front-wheel-drive TLX models feature a four-wheel-steering system cutely named P-AWS. The system supposedly provides better low speed agility and increased high speed stability. Between this and the fancy Super Handling AWD system, these new Acuras should out-handle anything with an M badge on it. But they don’t. The suspension is set for comfort and does a phenomenal job of absorbing road imperfections. Further, Honda took all this fantastic suspension and steering technology and innovation, and topped it off with highway touring tires that belong on a minivan.

2015 acura tlx dash interior

Acura played it safe with the interior, with a focus on function. Front and center are two gauges with a small display in between. On the center pod is a control wheel with function buttons around it, and four climate controls buttons with two toggle switches below the primary touch-screen button. Seats are comfortable, heated, heated and ventilated on the top model, and each occupant has plenty of head and leg room. There is a nifty cubby for cell phones, two cup-holders, big center and glove compartments, deep door pockets with space for bottles, and a sunglass holder. The rear seat has an armrest with cup-holders and the seat 60:40 split seat back folds down.

I have experienced Honda’s new two-screen infotainment center before and found it frustrating. This time I set aside thirty minutes to set everything up; radio presets, phone configuration, Pandora, “favorites”, and such. Then I took my time to learn the basic soft-key placement on the main screen and subsequent menu pop-ups. Even then, even when utilizing the steering wheel controls to the max, there were functions that required me to take eyes off the road for too long to look for something on one of the two screens. The system can also be controlled by voice commands, but I have not tried that. This is a system of great capabilities, but like the similar two-screen system in the Infiniti Q50, it is just too complicated and most buyers will only utilize a fraction of it.

2015 acura tlx interior details

The TLX is a better vehicle than both the TSX and the TL it replaces. It is roomy and comfortable but not big. It is very quiet and it has an amazing audio system. It is a vehicle full of wonderful technology that will never be appreciated. Both engines have good power and fuel economy. On the road the TLX is so reserved that deep thoughts will start going through your mind as if you are Matthew McConaughey, but it is nowhere as dreary as the Lexus ES. For those reasons, the TLX will keep the vast majority of returning TSX and TL buyers very happy. It is the people who are expecting a sport sedan that Acura says this is who will be disappointed.

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. He owns a mint and rather original Acura Integra GS-R. He hauls his two kids around in an Acura MDX.

American Honda provided vehicles for the purpose of this review.

2015 acura tlx profile side rear

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Forget Air-Cooled Porsches, This Is The Next Classic Car Goldmine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/forget-air-cooled-porsches-next-classic-car-goldmine/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/forget-air-cooled-porsches-next-classic-car-goldmine/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:30:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023337 If you’re looking to make money in classic cars, the air-cooled Porsche 911s are what finance types would call a “crowded trade”. Everyone and their mother wants one, no matter how awful or over-priced. Time to turn your attention towards something not so overvalued. At just over $28,000, this Acura Integra Type-R is a steal. It’s […]

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If you’re looking to make money in classic cars, the air-cooled Porsche 911s are what finance types would call a “crowded trade”. Everyone and their mother wants one, no matter how awful or over-priced. Time to turn your attention towards something not so overvalued.

At just over $28,000, this Acura Integra Type-R is a steal. It’s nearly new, in bone stock condition (hard to find, since most have been crashed, stolen or chopped for parts) and in the most desirable color. Only a handful of real Type-Rs ever came to America and they represent the pinnacle of the golden age of front-drive Hondas. Think of it like buying a Shelby GT350 in the late 1970’s. You know what they’re worth now.

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Question Of The Day: Has Acura Fooled Us All? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-acura-fooled-us/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-acura-fooled-us/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:57:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004850 If you ask any automotive enthusiast about Acura, you’re likely to get approximately the same response. “Oh, ACURA?” they’ll say, with a look of disgust, as if they were just informed their flight is experiencing mechanical issues and will be stopping in Des Moines. “Acura used to be so cool. And now…” And then they […]

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If you ask any automotive enthusiast about Acura, you’re likely to get approximately the same response. “Oh, ACURA?” they’ll say, with a look of disgust, as if they were just informed their flight is experiencing mechanical issues and will be stopping in Des Moines. “Acura used to be so cool. And now…”

And then they dazzle you with all the ways that Acura used to be cool. The Integra. The RSX. The NSX. The Vigor. The Legend Coupe with that cool 6-speed manual transmission and those oversized alloy wheels. Then they tell you about how Acura was so cool that you couldn’t leave an Integra Type-R outside the grocery store for five minutes without some car theft ring stealing it and dumping the stripped shell in a ditch in a part of town where train tracks outnumber living trees.

But now?

Acura is BORING, car enthusiasts say. They’ve lost their direction, their purpose, their progress. Acura is the automotive equivalent to that time Robert Downey, Jr. told his agent that yes, it does seem like a good idea to do that Shaggy Dog movie where I play an evil geneticist who kidnaps a sacred, shape-shifting dog from a Tibetan monastery.

And car enthusiasts may have a point, because Acura is hardly as exciting as it once was Think about it: a brand formerly consumed by manual transmissions and sharp handling has now given way to the torque converter, the ventilated seat, and a dual infotainment setup with more total screen inches than my parents’ living room. So where the hell did they go wrong?

Or… did they?

I say this because I recently discovered that Acura’s two SUVs – inexplicably named the RDX and MDX – are two of today’s best-selling luxury crossovers. And this is no easy feat: in today’s world, everybody sells a luxury SUV. BMW has five of them. So does Mercedes. Lexus is going to create twenty-six luxury SUVs, one for every letter of the alphabet (followed by the letter “X”), each uglier than the last, until finally they come out with the ZX 350, which looks like a desktop fax machine on wheels.

And leading the charge through all this is… Acura? The brand that forgot enthusiasts? The brand that gave up on the fun car?

It isn’t just SUVs where Acura seems to be making a killing. Take, for example, the Acura TL, which is a midsize sedan known for its transmission problems (1999-2003), good looks (2004-2008), and scary-looking beak nose (2009-2013). Well, guess what? The TL is also insanely popular. Seriously: you cannot drive through an HOA-controlled condo complex in the Los Angeles suburbs without seeing at least a dozen TLs, all in various nondescript colors that Acura calls something like Pearl Stormcloud Metallic.

Admittedly, the TL is now dead; replaced instead by a new model called the TLX. But guess what? It has an expanded engine lineup, a wider variety of features, lower pricing, and a normal front end that doesn’t make it look like an automotive killing machine. I’m guessing this won’t lead to fewer sales.

Now, I’m not to say Acura is without faults. We all know about the bizarre ZDX, which cost like fifty grand and had a backseat designed for a headless turtle. And then there’s the ILX, which is little more than a cynical Honda Civic clone with an unfortunate markup. And of course, there’s also the RLX, which is still on sale in the same way that John Glenn is still alive: you have to check the Wikipedia page every few months just to make sure.

But what I’ve noticed is that Acura actually does pretty damn well for being a company that “turned its back” on automotive enthusiasts, and “lost its direction.” So well, in fact, that you have to wonder if “losing its direction” happened precisely on purpose. In fact, you kind of have to wonder if Acura’s direction isn’t really lost at all.

So what do you think? Am I wrong? Is Acura a directionless, formless blob of a luxury car company? Or, by ignoring automotive enthusiasts, have they found a better direction?

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Look Out For An Acura Crossover Based On The Honda HR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/look-acura-crossover-based-honda-hr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/look-acura-crossover-based-honda-hr-v/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:17:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004306 Roughly a year ago, Acura previewed a small crossover for the Chinese market, dubbed the SUV-X, that sparked rumors of an HR-V based crossover for Honda’s luxury brand. According to Autoguide.com, Honda has trademarked the “CDX” nameplate for automobiles, which suggests that the vehicle is one step closer to reality. Aside from China, the United States […]

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Roughly a year ago, Acura previewed a small crossover for the Chinese market, dubbed the SUV-X, that sparked rumors of an HR-V based crossover for Honda’s luxury brand. According to Autoguide.com, Honda has trademarked the “CDX” nameplate for automobiles, which suggests that the vehicle is one step closer to reality.

Aside from China, the United States is an obvious market for such a car, where Acura already enjoys a successful two-crossover lineup. A CDX could serve as a companion to the ILX and TLX, while allowing Honda to make fat margins off the Fit/HR-V platform. Aside from the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, the Buick Encore also represents a natural target for the CDX.

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Chicago 2015: 2016 Acura RDX Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-acura-rdx-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-acura-rdx-debuts/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:08:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998114 An hour after Honda debuted its new Pilot, the refreshed 2016 Acura RDX took to the ramp at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. Much like the Pilot, the RDX gains a nine-speed automatic to direct power to the front or all corners. Said power comes from an updated 3.5-liter V6 generating 279 horsepower and 252 […]

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An hour after Honda debuted its new Pilot, the refreshed 2016 Acura RDX took to the ramp at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show.

Much like the Pilot, the RDX gains a nine-speed automatic to direct power to the front or all corners. Said power comes from an updated 3.5-liter V6 generating 279 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, with cylinder deactivation adding 1 mpg on the highway for both FWD and AWD models; the most efficient highway star garners 29 mpg.

Other features on the premium crossover include: LED projector headlamps; AcuraWatch safety system; heated front seats; remote start; front/rear parking sensors; and second-row air vents. The 2016 Acura RDX is due in showrooms this spring, hoping to continue where the crossover left off in 2014, when 45,000 units took to the highways of the United States.

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Acura Mulling Sub-RDX Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/acura-mulling-sub-rdx-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/acura-mulling-sub-rdx-crossover/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 15:25:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994042 While Acura is making a renewed push on the passenger car side, with the TLX and a thoroughly refreshed ILX, the brand’s crossovers are arguably its strongest offerings. But there’s little room for growth above the three-row MDX, meaning Acura has only one way to go if they want to expand their offerings. Speaking to Ward’s […]

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2016 Honda HR-V

While Acura is making a renewed push on the passenger car side, with the TLX and a thoroughly refreshed ILX, the brand’s crossovers are arguably its strongest offerings. But there’s little room for growth above the three-row MDX, meaning Acura has only one way to go if they want to expand their offerings.

Speaking to Ward’s Auto, American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel said that Acura was currently studying a version of Honda’s new HR-V crossover, which is the same size as vehicles like the Buick Encore and BMW X1.

Aside from a new offering in the North American market, the addition of a small crossover would be a big boost for the brand in markets like China and Russia, where CUVs, particularly small ones, are all the rage. Presumably, the business case for such a vehicle isn’t so tough to make. Finding production capacity might be a different matter. While the HR-V is built in Honda’s all-new plant in Mexico, the HR-V is destined to be a hot seller. An Acura version will bring higher profit margins, but could also put a crimp on volume.

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2016 Acura MDX Hits Showrooms With Nine-Speed Auto, Safety Tech Suite http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-acura-mdx-hits-showrooms-nine-speed-auto-safety-tech-suite/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-acura-mdx-hits-showrooms-nine-speed-auto-safety-tech-suite/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 12:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=993562 Starting today, the 2016 Acura MDX will hit U.S. showrooms with an assortment of power and technological upgrades. Power for the new premium crossover comes from its 3.5-liter, 24-valve, direct-injection i-VTEC V6, which now paired with a nine-speed automatic with Acura’s Sequential SportShift. The new transmission not only replaces the former six-speed auto, but weighs […]

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2016 Acura MDX 02

Starting today, the 2016 Acura MDX will hit U.S. showrooms with an assortment of power and technological upgrades.

Power for the new premium crossover comes from its 3.5-liter, 24-valve, direct-injection i-VTEC V6, which now paired with a nine-speed automatic with Acura’s Sequential SportShift. The new transmission not only replaces the former six-speed auto, but weighs 66 pounds less than said unit. Colin Chapman’s philosophy is also applied to the MDX’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system, where its rear differential is now 19 pounds lighter than the previous part.

The other major upgrade for the MDX is the AcuraWatch package, which comes by itself on all MDX, and is standard when part of the Advance Package. The suite includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, lane departure/lane keeping/road departure, blind-spot information with rear cross-traffic monitor, and multi-view rear camera.

Other features include: Siri Eyes Free voice recognition; easy-entry/exit driver’s seat that moves 35 mm back when the door is opened; bi-directional remote engine starter; start-stop; and a tire-pressure monitor that alerts when tires are inflated to the correct pressure.

Price of admission begins at $42,865 for the base MDX, $57,080 for the top-end MDX SH-AWD with Advance, Entertainment and AcuraWatch Plus packages on-board. Fuel economy for most AWD models amounts to 18 city/26 highway/21 combined, with start-stop adding 1 mpg to the city and combined figures. FWD models do slightly better at 19/27/22, 20/27/23 with start-stop.

2016 Acura MDX 02 2016 Acura MDX 01

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Capsule Review: 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/capsule-review-2015-acura-rlx-sport-hybrid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/capsule-review-2015-acura-rlx-sport-hybrid/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 13:20:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=991370 Everything you see here is painfully normal. Much of what you can’t see is charmingly whimsical. Turning the easily forgotten and forgettable Acura RLX into an RLX Sport Hybrid involves the employment of a cooperative seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a front-mounted electric motor, and an unorthodox all-wheel-drive system that takes advantage of two more electric motors, […]

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2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid frontEverything you see here is painfully normal. Much of what you can’t see is charmingly whimsical.

Turning the easily forgotten and forgettable Acura RLX into an RLX Sport Hybrid involves the employment of a cooperative seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a front-mounted electric motor, and an unorthodox all-wheel-drive system that takes advantage of two more electric motors, one at each rear wheel.


• USD As-Tested Price: $66,870

• Total System Horsepower: 377 @ 6400 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 21.8 mpg


It’s unlikely that you’re entranced by the RLX’s conservative exterior or in love with its dual-screen infotainment unit or in favour of the way it slowly engages reverse or thrilled with its shrunken trunk and cramped middle seating position.

But the RLX Sport Hybrid showcases Honda engineering prowess, and it does so in a way that’s not emulated by any other Honda product. The RLX Sport Hybrid doesn’t feature the new eight and nine-speed transmissions from the TLX, this is not a de-tuned 2016 NSX powertrain, and it’s not hiding the unique transmission-less hybrid kit fitted to the latest Accord Hybrid. This is a whole ‘nuther thing. This is Honda being Honda.

Unfortunately, the 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid is not a big sports sedan, it’s not very good at serving big car duties, and it fell far short of our fuel economy expectations. The RLX Sport Hybrid is strangely fun, strangely disappointing, and strangely unpopular. Maybe the RLX Sport Hybrid is simply strange. In and of itself, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid rearHowever, it’s clear that from a marketplace perspective, this just isn’t the way to do business. See, to make a point, we’re prone to saying things that don’t remotely correspond to reality: “There ain’t nobody buying Dodge Darts.” Well, actually, there are 7000 Dart buyers in America every month. In the case of the RLX lineup, the same statement lands much closer to the truth. Chronically unpopular, the RLX’s 32.5% year-over-year U.S. sales decline translated to fewer than 300 monthly sales in 2014. Those are Porsche Cayman-like numbers from a car which competes in a category where even mid-pack cars like the Audi A6 generate 2000 sales per month.

Of course, it could be argued that the RLX Sport Hybrid’s exclusivity adds a cool factor to the equation. It’s a rare version of a rejected car that observers won’t understand. (Or likely even notice.)

The rear electric motors add power to an already swift car and provide a form of four-wheel steering that causes the RLX to be tossed understeer-free into a corner with immediacy. All-wheel-drive cars which suffer from torque steer, like this Sport Hybrid, engender a measure of uneasiness in my RWD-loving soul – torque steer is for Saturn Ion Red Lines, not refined luxury sedans – and the sensation is worsened because the RLX isn’t a bastion of total traction in the snow. Nevertheless, with judicious use of heavy throttle, the RLX Sport Hybrid reveals itself to be a capable back-road burner, allowing a surprising degree of extra throttle application as it makes its way through a corner, feeling more and more like a much smaller car than it is.

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid sideBrake feel isn’t as predictable as you’d like, something we’ve come to expect in most hybrids. And in the RLX Sport Hybrid, the lifeless steering is the usual tell-tale sign that, regardless of its tricks, you are still driving a 4354-pound car. Yet viewed as a large car with sporting credentials, the RLX offers quite a bit of fun when called upon to do so, just not the level of aggression one would encounter in, for example, the latest Cadillac CTS Vsport.

From a refinement perspective, the RLX is disarmingly quiet but not as serene on rough roads as you assumed a heavy car with a 112-inch wheelbase would be. Perhaps the low-profile Michelin X-Ice (245/40R19) winter rubber is to blame for the marginal loss of tranquility.

Compared with the TLX we reviewed at Christmastime, there’s greater tranquility inside the car, as the heated seats are controlled by a conventional button just ahead of the different-for-the-sake-of-difference shifter. Rather than operating the frustrating screens – the lower one with fingers; the higher one with controls mounted below the lower screen – to call up basic controls, the RLX allowed me to turn on the cold car and press a button with no waiting period for a computer to come to life. Ah, winter’s pleasures.

2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid interiorEven the driver who forgives the RLX its modern Acura dashboard layout won’t enjoy the benefits of big-car living. At 196.1 inches long, the RLX is only five inches shorter than a Chevrolet Impala; it’s six inches longer than Acura’s own TLX. But the rear seat is built for two, as the centre floor hump is nearly as high as the seat cushion itself, and the middle seat cushion is perched up too high above the outboard positions for any kind of comfort. Window seat occupants are blessed with bountiful space, but the Sport Hybrid feels like a four-seater. The trunk, meanwhile, has been chopped down from the regular RLX’s decent 14.9 cubic feet to a tiny 11.6 cubic feet, 6% less than the capacity in the trunk of Acura’s small ILX sedan. Cross-country journey for five? No way. For four? Perhaps, but don’t pack too many extra pairs of underwear.

Of less importance to the well-heeled buyer of Acura’s most expensive current car (but surely of some interest to hybrid buyers?) was the disappointing mileage returned by our RLX Sport Hybrid tester over its week-long stay. The car, supplied to us by Honda Canada, is rated by the EPA at 28 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway. With bitterly cold weather, winter tires, and a mix of city/highway driving, we measured 21.8 mpg. Not bad for a genuinely quick car, but well below expectations.

Acura RLX backup cameraWith Acura’s disdain for actually designing its flagship sedan with some semblance of style being the worst of the RLX Sport Hybrid’s drawbacks, I progressively enjoyed driving the car more and more as the week wore on. But with supremely comfortable seats, 377 horsepower, keen turn-in inspired by the Integra Type-R, high equipment levels, and no questions from nosey neighbours who surely didn’t even notice the car parked in our driveway, why wouldn’t I?

Then again, I didn’t pay the USD $66,870 asking price, which is surely too much for a wallflower in a class full of attention grabbers. Acura needs to allow its designers to exercise their artistic talent the same way their R&D staff is permitted to concoct powertrain compositions. Marry the best of those two departments, especially if the car is truly capable of producing this much power with the stated fuel efficiency ratings, and they’d sell far more than a handful each month.

As it stands, there ain’t nobody buying this thing right now.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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If You Could Choose Only One: Ferrari 430 or Acura NSX? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/if-you-could-choose-only-one-ferrari-360-or-acura-nsx/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/if-you-could-choose-only-one-ferrari-360-or-acura-nsx/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:34:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860697 I try to find what I think are interesting backgrounds to use when taking photos of cars that I review. Last summer, because of the Independence Day weekend, I was able to keep a Scion FR-S for a couple extra days and, procrastinator that I am, I put off taking some pics until the last moment. Baker’s […]

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Full gallery here

Full gallery here

I try to find what I think are interesting backgrounds to use when taking photos of cars that I review. Last summer, because of the Independence Day weekend, I was able to keep a Scion FR-S for a couple extra days and, procrastinator that I am, I put off taking some pics until the last moment. Baker’s of Milford, a restaurant and banquet hall located not surprisingly in Milford, Michigan, home of the famed General Motors Proving Grounds, hosts one of the oldest and biggest weekly cruise-in car shows in the country every Sunday afternoon. There are some great two lane roads in that part of Oakland County, including those that circle the Proving Grounds, roads exactly of the sort for which the Toyobaru sports car was designed, so I headed out to Bakers. It was late, they were giving out the raffle prizes, but there were still lots of cars, enough to make a nice backdrop for the photos.

Since a lot of car enthusiasts like to drive something enthusiastic to car shows they attend, when I attend a show I always try to check out the parking lot. There’s almost always something cool or unique, a car or truck worth seeing and this show was no different. I didn’t have to look for very long, because as I pulled into the parking lot I noticed three fairly interesting cars parked together, a Honda S2000 was parked right behind a red and black Acura NSX, which itself was parked next to an even redder Ferrari 360. My immediate car guy question was: so if I had the choice between the two mid-engine supercars for an extended drive, but I could only choose one, which would I choose?

I’ve never driven a Ferrari, which is undoubtedly on the list for every car guy and gal. I’m a car guy. It’s a Ferrari. Capice? On the other hand, I’ve never driven the all aluminum mid-engine Acura and I know how significant the NSX is and what a great car it is, perhaps an even better car than the 360. When it was new, the buff books sang the 360’s praises, but after the next generation Ferrari, the 430, came out, those familiar with the marque said that it was a much better car than then 360 and since the 458 variant of the 430 has been released, the high volume Ferrari of its day, the 360, tends not to get mentioned much these days. The original NSX, though, is the stuff of automotive legend.

That might not be completely fair comparison since the 360 came along relatively late in the NSX’s production run. Perhaps a more appropriate choice might be between the Acura and the Ferrari models immediately previous to the 360, the 348 and the 355. Many Ferrari 360 owners hold the belief that the folks in Maranello benchmarked that car against the NSX because the Ferrari folks in Maranello knew that Honda’s supercar was in fact superior to the 348.

In any case, it’s still an interesting thought experiment. If you could only choose one, which would it be? It is a good question, but since everyone seems to still come up with the same answer (what car guy, after all, is going to turn down driving a Ferrari supercar of any vintage?), in addition to the straight up choice between the Ferrari 430 and the Acura NSX, I’ll offer up another couple of questions to the Best & Brightest. Since we all want to drive a Ferrari, how about if you could drive both of them, which would you drive first? That way you can check the Ferrari off of your bucket list and still get to experience what is supposed to be one of the best driving cars ever, the original NSX.

Finally, though we all want to drive a Ferrari, we also know that exotics are not typically suitable for daily use. My last question is if you had to own one for a year, without having to consider purchase price, depreciation or possible profits, but you would have to be financially responsible for any repairs, maintenance and wear and tear, which one would you pick?

Since there are many fans of the NSX among our readers (not to mention that it’s the favorite car of our Managing Editor), I’ve also included some shots of a couple of other NSXs that were at Bakers that Sunday. A red one was in the show, and a late model gold NSX was parked not far from where the Ferrari, Honda S2000 and NSX were. Yes, the early ones with the hidden headlights look much better than the later versions of the original NSX and I’m probably not the only person who thinks they also look better than the production 2016 NSX, just revealed at the Detroit auto show.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Piston Slap: Smart Key Fob or The $30,000 Brick? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-smart-key-fob-30000-brick/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-smart-key-fob-30000-brick/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:49:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985026   Clueless about Keyless writes: Dear Sajeev, I recently bought a 2014 Acura TL and am having trouble coming to terms with keyless entry. It goes like this: You get exactly 2 pre-programmed key fobs, labelled #1 and #2. You can never have more than two active key fobs. You can buy a third, but […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

 

Clueless about Keyless writes:

Dear Sajeev,

I recently bought a 2014 Acura TL and am having trouble coming to terms with keyless entry. It goes like this:

You get exactly 2 pre-programmed key fobs, labelled #1 and #2. You can never have more than two active key fobs. You can buy a third, but it once it is programmed to be fob #1 or fob #2, the original fob #1 or #2 will no longer work. There is no back up normal key that will start the car. You will either have one of these two fobs, or your car is a $30K brick.

The keyless systems proximity sensors work well. You never have to take the key out of your pocket. When you are near the door, simply touching the handle unlocks it and once in, the ignition button starts the car. You cannot lock your keys in the car or the trunk, which is nice. But it also means I can’t hide the second key somewhere on the vehicle without enabling pretty much anyone to walk right up and open the door as if they had the key in their pocket.

So here’s my problem. Suppose I am hundreds of miles away from home on a road trip and I lose my key. What can I do? I used to carry a spare key in my wallet for just such situations (the fobs are big and fat and won’t fit in my wallet). Given that a replacement fob has to be ordered from the dealer and the car has to be present to program it, it seems the only strategy for me would be to have the vehicle towed to the nearest Acura dealer. WTF? Am I forced to keep two big fat key fobs with me, in separate pockets at all times, just in case?

So I’m wondering, do you or any of the B&B have a good idea for a makeshift back up plan? Also, is this the way all keyless systems work? It seems to me Acura didn’t put a lot of thought into this.

Sincerely,
Clueless about Keyless

Sajeev answers:

Hmm!

You should slap Velcro on the spare fob and an easily accessible location under the car (inside the rear bumper, for example), locking them together after slipping the battery into your wallet. But if someone steals your wallet, or even worse, get rear-ended HARD and then they grab your wallet and keys…ZOMG TEH HORRORZ!!1!

I’m only kind of joking.  While Acura insists that you can still start the vehicle with a “dead” keyfob battery, that won’t help if you lose the fob.  And if they don’t have it yet, the aftermarket will re-pop an alternative to the factory part: find a trusted locksmith in your area and give ’em a call.

I’m liking the “fob with no battery inside the rear bumper” idea more.  If you lose the battery you’ll get another from a local parts store, or drug store with a quick (acura key fob battery 2014) Google search on someone’s phone.

Punt! Best of luck with this one, oh fantastic B&B.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX To See Limited Annual Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:05:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982401 Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line. According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s […]

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2016-Acura-NSX-1

Were you hoping to take a 2016 Acura NSX home when the hybrid supercar leaves Ohio this fall? You may need to get in line.

According to AutoGuide, NSX project chief Ted Klaus says production will be on terms of “demand minus one,” with no plans to add more manpower or shifts to the car’s annual production. No word thus far on how many will leave Marysville per year.

Right now, the NSX is undergoing final validation prior to production, but Acura announced that the exotic’s twin-turbo hybrid V6 system is expected to deliver at least 550 horsepower. As far as price of admission goes, nothing firm has been confirmed, though one insider says the brand is shooting for a target of $150,000.

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NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX Revealed At Last http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-revealed-last/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-revealed-last/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:30:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=978529 Two years after the concept bowed — and 25 years after the original — the production-ready 2016 Acura NSX has finally arrived [Live photos now available – CA]. Power for the hybrid exotic comes from a twin-turbo DOHC V6 paired with the three-motor Sport Hybrid system, two of which power the front axle while the […]

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2016-Acura-NSX-8

Two years after the concept bowed — and 25 years after the original — the production-ready 2016 Acura NSX has finally arrived [Live photos now available – CA].

Power for the hybrid exotic comes from a twin-turbo DOHC V6 paired with the three-motor Sport Hybrid system, two of which power the front axle while the third is located between the V6 and its nine-speed dual-clutch automatic, and aids in acceleration, braking and shifting. Alas, horsepower and torque were not mentioned at this time.

The body is composed of carbon fiber, ultra-high strength steel and aluminum, and is covered by panels made of aluminum and sheet molding composite.

Inside, the driver is greeted by Acura’s Human Support Cockpit, aimed at making driving easier while maintaining the performance expected out of the NSX. The system includes a dynamic TFT instrument cluster display, intuitive controls, and improved ergonomics.

Price of admission will be announced at a later date. Acura will begin accepting orders this summer, with deliveries to commence later this year. The NSX will be assembled by 100 employees at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio.

2016-Acura-NSX-1 2016-Acura-NSX-17 2016-Acura-NSX-13 2016-Acura-NSX-18 2016-Acura-NSX-21 2016-Acura-NSX-22 2016-Acura-NSX-8 2016-Acura-NSX-10 2016-Acura-NSX-11 2016-Acura-NSX-12 2016-Acura-NSX-5 2016-Acura-NSX-2 2016-Acura-NSX-4 2016-Acura-NSX-above 2016-Acura-NSX-angle 2016-Acura-NSX-back 2016-Acura-NSX-engine 2016-Acura-NSX-front 2016-Acura-NSX-low-rear 2016-Acura-NSX-side 2016-Acura-NSX-wheel 2016-Acura-NSX-seats 2016-Acura-NSX-interior 2016-Acura-NSX-powertrain-above 2016-Acura-NSX-powertrain

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Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 13:22:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=975809   TTAC Commentator Calgarytek writes: Hey Sajeev, I enjoy reading your posts on TTAC. This one is a chassis related question and concerns rear quarter panel rust issues on old school Hondas. I’ve got a 2000 Civic SiR and I’ve poked around the rear wheel wells to figure out why that may be. It seems […]

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rusty quarter panel

(photo courtesy: www.tamparacing.com)

TTAC Commentator Calgarytek writes:

Hey Sajeev,

I enjoy reading your posts on TTAC. This one is a chassis related question and concerns rear quarter panel rust issues on old school Hondas.

I’ve got a 2000 Civic SiR and I’ve poked around the rear wheel wells to figure out why that may be. It seems that Honda didn’t seal the rear quarters well enough. There is no sealant present on the inner skin of the outer portion of wheel well. The outer skin just tends to ‘fold’ into the inner well and just ‘sit there’ as exposed metal.

The question is – would applying seam sealer to the above mentioned locations protect the quarters? If so, can you recommend a brand?

If you’re wondering, I’m helping my younger cousin buy a non-rust-belt-based 2000 Acura EL. We’re planning to winterize the vehicle during the summer time when he eventually gets it.

Sajeev answers:

Thank you for your note, and for reminding us Americans that cooler Hondas are available outside of our borders.

Before answering, one point of clarification: what you see isn’t “exposed metal” waiting to rust.  As part of the assembly line process (all?) manufacturers dunk their cars into a rustproofing bath to minimize corrosion.  Peep this vid:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Also note how BMW’s machine applies seam sealer after the rustproof dunk. But in the case of Honda rear wheel arches…well, I wonder if any manufacturer uses seam sealer there. It’s gotta be a messy proposition.

On to your question: if you are positive you’re applying seam sealer to a rust free, dirt free, dry and solid meeting of two panels, by all means go ahead! My big concern is trapping dirt, water or anything else that can cause the panel to rust under the seam sealer.  Hence why the rustproofing “dunk” at the factory is so cool.

A company called POR-15 makes a host of products for the pre-seal, I do not know of an alternative that works as well. OTOH, seam sealer is available from a host of manufacturers sold by even more vendors. Not being a body man by hobby or trade, I’m offering this as a guide instead of making a recommendation.

There you go, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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