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, 28 Mar 2015 13:00:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Acura http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com 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 […]

The post Review: 2016 Acura ILX (With Video) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post Review: 2016 Acura ILX (With Video) appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2016-acura-ilx-video/feed/ 84
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 […]

The post Piston Slap: The German TL’s Audi 5000 Syndrome? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

2003_acura_tl_picture (12)

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.

The post Piston Slap: The German TL’s Audi 5000 Syndrome? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/piston-slap-german-tls-audi-5000-syndrome/feed/ 14
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. […]

The post March Madness, Bad Car Ads And Grown Men Crying Over Games appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
CAfmnjqU0AA7Tnm

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

 

The post March Madness, Bad Car Ads And Grown Men Crying Over Games appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/march-madness-bad-car-ads-grown-men-crying-games/feed/ 30
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. […]

The post Review: 2015 Acura TLX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 acura tlx profile side

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

The post Review: 2015 Acura TLX appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-acura-tlx/feed/ 138
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 […]

The post Forget Air-Cooled Porsches, This Is The Next Classic Car Goldmine appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Acura_Integra_Type_R_eBay_1426492742

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.

The post Forget Air-Cooled Porsches, This Is The Next Classic Car Goldmine appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/forget-air-cooled-porsches-next-classic-car-goldmine/feed/ 68
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 […]

The post Question Of The Day: Has Acura Fooled Us All? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016-Acura-RDX-2

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?

The post Question Of The Day: Has Acura Fooled Us All? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/question-day-acura-fooled-us/feed/ 116
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 […]

The post Look Out For An Acura Crossover Based On The Honda HR-V appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
suvx-450x278

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.

The post Look Out For An Acura Crossover Based On The Honda HR-V appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/look-acura-crossover-based-honda-hr-v/feed/ 44
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 […]

The post Chicago 2015: 2016 Acura RDX Debuts appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016-Acura-RDX-2

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.

2016-Acura-RDX-2 2016-Acura-RDX-4 2016-Acura-RDX-5 2016-Acura-RDX-7 2016-Acura-RDX-9

The post Chicago 2015: 2016 Acura RDX Debuts appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicago-2015-2016-acura-rdx-debuts/feed/ 22
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 […]

The post Acura Mulling Sub-RDX Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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.

The post Acura Mulling Sub-RDX Crossover appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/acura-mulling-sub-rdx-crossover/feed/ 60
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 […]

The post 2016 Acura MDX Hits Showrooms With Nine-Speed Auto, Safety Tech Suite appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post 2016 Acura MDX Hits Showrooms With Nine-Speed Auto, Safety Tech Suite appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/2016-acura-mdx-hits-showrooms-nine-speed-auto-safety-tech-suite/feed/ 20
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, […]

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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.

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/capsule-review-2015-acura-rlx-sport-hybrid/feed/ 53
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 […]

The post If You Could Choose Only One: Ferrari 430 or Acura NSX? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post If You Could Choose Only One: Ferrari 430 or Acura NSX? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/if-you-could-choose-only-one-ferrari-360-or-acura-nsx/feed/ 107
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 […]

The post Piston Slap: Smart Key Fob or The $30,000 Brick? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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.

The post Piston Slap: Smart Key Fob or The $30,000 Brick? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-smart-key-fob-30000-brick/feed/ 125
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 […]

The post NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX To See Limited Annual Production appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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.

The post NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX To See Limited Annual Production appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-see-limited-annual-production/feed/ 14
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 […]

The post NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX Revealed At Last appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
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

The post NAIAS 2015: 2016 Acura NSX Revealed At Last appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2016-acura-nsx-revealed-last/feed/ 68
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 […]

The post Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
 

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.

The post Piston Slap: Feelin’ Rotten sans Seam Sealer? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-feelin-rotten-sans-seam-sealer/feed/ 57
Honda Heritage Center Captures Triumphs, Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-heritage-center-captures-triumphs-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-heritage-center-captures-triumphs-challenges/#comments Sat, 10 Jan 2015 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974505 Honda’s brand-new, $35 million dollar Heritage Center opened across the street from its Marysville auto factory on January 5th. A recent return to Ohio let me reunite with my mentor, a man recently known for his acquisition of an Accord Coupe, to test Honda’s curatorial abilities. How many company rarities and wall placards filled with […]

The post Honda Heritage Center Captures Triumphs, Challenges appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
HondaMuseum 046 (Large) (2)

Honda’s brand-new, $35 million dollar Heritage Center opened across the street from its Marysville auto factory on January 5th. A recent return to Ohio let me reunite with my mentor, a man recently known for his acquisition of an Accord Coupe, to test Honda’s curatorial abilities. How many company rarities and wall placards filled with corporate agitprop can one get for eight figures these days? Hit the jump to find out.

HondaMuseum 009 (Large)

            We had an appropriate steed for this jaunt, still rock solid after 18,000 miles in ten months. That layer of salt didn’t do it any favors, but it still looked appropriately aero-modern next to the Heritage Center’s steel and glass façade. The building itself isn’t terribly adventurous in its design, but it is eminently practical. The gallery area is flooded with natural light, thus avoiding one of my biggest pet peeves as a historian: dimly lit museums. I’d venture so far as to say that it captures a little bit of the design ethos of the company that funded it.

HondaMuseum 018 (Large)

            The Center is free to attend, but currently requires that you phone ahead and make a reservation. Exactly why is unclear. On the phone, the company rep indicated that we could take a guided tour at nine or noon, so I signed us up for a noon timeslot. Upon arrival, however, we were told to show ourselves around. I asked the polite front-desk worker if there were brochures available, and was informed that there weren’t any yet. No matter, as everything in the museum is presented alongside an abundance of information.

HondaMuseum 016 (Large)

            Before entering the gallery proper, you can peruse a couple landmark bikes and cars. There’s an example of the scooters that first brought the Honda corporate name to the States, as well as one of the dirt bikes that became the first Honda product manufactured in America. The two cars in the forecourt echo the same idea: the diminutive N600, followed by the historic 1983 Accord. The first provided the consumer beachhead, and the other put Marysville on the map as the new headquarters of American automotive manufacturing excellence.

HondaMuseum 019 (Large)

            That Accord is worth ruminating over a little more; that unassuming, three box sedan that changed everything. This was the make-it-or-break-it product for Honda’s American manufacturing operation. If the U.S.-built Accord had tanked, Marysville would have gone the way of Volkswagen Westmoreland. To that end, it’s easy to understand why Honda played it safe with the exterior. Accord customers in 1983 got a few straight-line body creases, and that’s it. The lack of embellishment one-ups even the unrelenting blandness of the Fox platform Ford sedans of the era. But the blandness was part of the sublime genius of it. It was an economy car in a positive sense: it was economical in size and weight, economical in consumption, economical in price (minus the dealer mark-ups) and economical in style. The second-generation Accord wouldn’t make sense in today’s market, but it was the right product at the right time in a way that few other models have matched.

HondaMuseum 043 (Large)

            The main gallery area is a big, airy room centered on an engine display. In the middle, there’s an exploded V6 of the type found in Jack’s Accord. Other powertrains can be found in a ring around the edge of the exhibit, including many built in Anna. The rest of the exhibits are organized in a loose chronological format. There’s a copious display dedicated to bikes, as well as a memorial to the end of motorcycle production in 2009. Sadly, there was no Rune on display- my favorite 2-wheeled Marysville product. Even so, there was plenty for Honda motorcycle enthusiasts to appreciate, with a lot of handy background information included.

HondaMuseum 038 (Large)

            The car selection is eclectic, with a number of Marysville-built products on display. There’s an ’88 Accord Coupe, the milestone car that became the first Honda product exported from the United States to Japan. There’s a gift to wagon fans, in the form of a fifth-generation Accord AeroDeck in right-hand-drive with a manual transmission. Other highlights include a CRX Si, a Civic CVCC, a first-generation Legend, a first-generation CL, the One Lap of America Odyssey, and NSX Rolex Cup car, and the new NSX prototype. Those hoping for oodles of rare Hondas are going to be disappointed; there’s the single first-generation NSX and no Type R’s or other factory specials. The large display on Hondajet is a reminder that ambition is not always an asset. There’s an exhibit with an Asimo robot prototype that is supposed to be able to mimic human movements, but he was broken when we visited. In general, the historical parts of the exhibit are far more interesting than the contemporary ones; those feel more like platitudinous corporate sloganeering than the promise of a great tomorrow.

HondaMuseum 028 (Large)

            It’s not a large space, and one gets the feel that it’s meant to be more of an educational experience than a warehouse of exotic treasures. In the end, that’s what this museum does best: provide a nice narrative of the Honda story in America, with some neat cars and interactive exhibits thrown in for good measure. It’s certainly worth a visit, if not  necessarily a pilgrimage. As it stands, the Heritage Center is just fine for its intended purpose; much like that ’83 Accord in the forecourt.

The post Honda Heritage Center Captures Triumphs, Challenges appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/honda-heritage-center-captures-triumphs-challenges/feed/ 82
BMW Takes US Luxury Sales Crown Back From Mercedes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-takes-us-luxury-sales-crown-back-mercedes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-takes-us-luxury-sales-crown-back-mercedes/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972809 After a year-long battle for the top position on the U.S. luxury sales podium, BMW takes back the crown Mercedes-Benz won in 2013. Reuters reports the Bavarians moved over 9,000 more units by the end of 2014 over the wonder boys back in Stuttgart, coming out to a total of 339,738 for BMW, 330,391 for […]

The post BMW Takes US Luxury Sales Crown Back From Mercedes appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
bmw-4-series-m-sport

After a year-long battle for the top position on the U.S. luxury sales podium, BMW takes back the crown Mercedes-Benz won in 2013.

Reuters reports the Bavarians moved over 9,000 more units by the end of 2014 over the wonder boys back in Stuttgart, coming out to a total of 339,738 for BMW, 330,391 for Mercedes. Both automakers also experienced growth in U.S. sales during the last year, though BMW’s 9.8 percent boost over 2013’s numbers raced past Mercedes’ 5.7 percent increase.

Taking third on the podium was Lexus with 311,389 units sold in 2014, though its rate of growth bested the top two finishers at 13.7 percent over 2013.

Rounding out the rest of the U.S. mainstream luxury pack, Audi took fourth from Cadillac, the latter to be the only make to see a decline in growth in 2014, falling 6.5 percent to 170,750 units; Audi sold 182,011 over the same period, 15.2 percent more than it did in 2013.

Acura and Infiniti took sixth and seventh respectively, with 167,843 to 117,300 units moved. Both also experienced the lowest rates of growth in sales in the outgoing year: 1.5 percent in Acura’s favor, 0.8 percent for Infiniti.

Lincoln finished dead last with 94,474 units sold, but had the biggest rate of growth out of its fellow competitors compared to 2013 at 15.6 percent.

The post BMW Takes US Luxury Sales Crown Back From Mercedes appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-takes-us-luxury-sales-crown-back-mercedes/feed/ 12
Capsule Review: 2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-acura-tlx-v6-sh-awd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-acura-tlx-v6-sh-awd/#comments Sat, 03 Jan 2015 12:52:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=970361 Japanese Automobile History In America 101: The Accord-based Acura Vigor became the Acura TL. The third-generation of that car joined the first Euro Accord-based TSX in Acura showrooms. Both were eventually replaced by less attractive, less desirable sedans, cars which were so much less successful than their predecessors that a new sedan strategy was required […]

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWDJapanese Automobile History In America 101: The Accord-based Acura Vigor became the Acura TL. The third-generation of that car joined the first Euro Accord-based TSX in Acura showrooms. Both were eventually replaced by less attractive, less desirable sedans, cars which were so much less successful than their predecessors that a new sedan strategy was required for the Acura brand. The fourth-generation TL and second-generation TSX are now extinct.

Alone, the 2015 Acura TLX is stepping in to fill a two-car void.

Bumper to bumper, the 2015 TLX is four inches shorter than the departed TL with which it shares a wheelbase and almost five inches longer than the expired TSX. Official specs tell a different story, but the TLX feels like the roomiest of the bunch. The TLX’s trunk, though not ideally shaped, is more capacious than the cargo holds in the two defunct Acura sedans. The 2015 TLX is about one foot longer than the Civic-based Acura ILX and nearly a half-foot shorter than the roomier Acura RLX.

2015 Acura TLX V6 frontHaving written extensively about the TLX’s early success, I was naturally looking forward to spending time with the car. The 2015 Acura TLX supplied by Honda Canada arrived in our driveway just in time for Christmas. We crisscrossed our city numerous times, drove across much of Nova Scotia for an annual pilgrimage to the House Of The Great-Grandmother (and her homemade doughnuts), and attempted to arrive at some TLX-related conclusions.

The car we tested is the most expensive TLX you can buy, a Canadian-trim SH-AWD V6 Elite at $49,485. In the United States, TLX pricing ranges from $31,915 (four-cylinder, 8-speed dual-clutch auto) to $36,140 (base V6), $42,370 (V6 AWD), and $45,620 (fully baked). Acura also offers an array of body work and optional wheels to drive the price upward.

Initially, the CAD $49,485 price jarred. Yet with 290 horsepower from a 3.5L V6, a 9-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive, navigation, ELS audio, myriad safety abbreviations and acronyms, perforated leather, remote start, cooled seats, and a very roomy cabin, it’s a lot of car for under $50K. The TLX’s interior craftsmanship doesn’t contradict the luxury price tag, matte black plastic shift paddles and marginally excessive wind noise aside.

2015 Acura TLX interiorMore importantly, equipping one of the European contenders – with their greater sporting credentials and smaller interiors – to match the TLX’s spec sheet would generate a startling MSRP.

Unlike some of those potential rivals, the TLX is a very comfortable, very nicely equipped, very capable car with an injection of sports sedan intentions, not the other way around. The spec chart says the TLX V6 AWD weighs 3785 pounds. It feels like 4000-plus. It’s sufficiently quick, but without the artificially aspirated torque of six-cylinder powertrains from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, it doesn’t produce awe-inspiring off-the-line acceleration.

With Acura’s IDS set in Econ or Normal, the transmission’s reluctance to come out and play is all too noticeable. Sport brightens the picture; Sport+ is too aggressive for your morning commute. Never does the 9-speed feel as though Acura finished the programming. It periodically clunks into a higher gear, doesn’t favour paddle participation, and even with eight others to choose from it’s typically not keen on changing into a higher or lower gear. The transmission doesn’t ruin the experience, but it’s a step back from the ZF 8-speed found in many premium cars. Observed fuel economy of 25 mpg, however, was better than the 23.5 mpg we saw in the Audi S4 and the 22.6 mpg in Mercedes-Benz’s new C400.

2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD sideRide and handling are nicely balanced for the real world. It’s not the thrill ride promised by Acura, but the TLX is all the better for it. Our TLX wore Michelin X-Ice winter tires, but a conventionally shod TLX SH-AWD V6 (225/50R18s) likewise won’t be sold with aggressive rubber. This limits the car’s ability to tackle a twisty road at nine or ten-tenths, as does the overall sensation of heft.

But if you’re late for your daughter’s soccer game, driving the Acura with a modest degree of haste but not so much urgency as to attract authoritative attention, the TLX shines. Ride quality remains king, body roll is limited, power is present, it’s never flustered, and the steering is nicely weighted. (Indeed, I suspect the front-wheel-drive 2.4L-powered TLX would be the superior car to drive quickly despite its 84-horsepower deficit, featuring all the comfort-mindedness of this V6 SH-AWD with greater agility.) Not once did the suspension manifest the crashiness intermittently exhibited by many entry-level luxury sedans. And on a highway cruise, a top-end TLX can dramatically reduce driver fatigue by semi-autonomously steering itself with Lane Keeping Assist.

2015 Acura TLX shifterWhile the TLX’s on-road behaviour is largely in keeping with our real world desires (and not actually in keeping with Acura’s marketing statements), the TLX’s complicated interior is a letdown. There are quick access buttons to help the driver find key menus, but Honda/Acura persists with the dual-screen format. Counterintuitively, the controls below the lower screen operate the upper screen. To make matters worse, the system is also consistently slow to react to inputs.

Parallel parking? There’s a slim rectangular button for park, a button pulled back for reverse, a larger rectangle for neutral, and then a circle to depress for drive. Did shifters need to be reinvented? If so, rotary knobs did it better.

2015 Acura TLX gauge clusterStill, the TLX is (thankfully) normal in most ways. This is a FWD-based sedan with a high-tech AWD system. There are no on/off turbos here, just a smooth Honda V6. Its exterior styling will cause TLXs to disappear in parking lots full of ostentatious luxury sedans. It’s very reasonably priced. Visibility? Better than average. Sportiness? Neither emphasized nor absent.

The Acura TLX, regardless of engine and trim, will appeal to premium car buyers who don’t need their car to declare to the world the enormity of their year-end promotion. LinkedIn does a better job of that anyway. For the TLX to appeal to me personally, I would need Acura to simplify the interior and finish refining the transmission. Then I could forget about manual-shift first-gen TSXs and handsomely proportioned third-gen TLs in order to enjoy this car for what it is: a tasteful, powerful, efficient, value-conscious, family sedan. And with optional self-steering, I could enjoy more of Grammie’s doughnuts, too.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Along with Acura, he recommends you hold on to the steering wheel. You should also limit your intake of doughnuts.

The post Capsule Review: 2015 Acura TLX V6 SH-AWD appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/capsule-review-2015-acura-tlx-v6-sh-awd/feed/ 146
Chart Of The Day: How Important Is The TLX In Acura Showrooms? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-important-tlx-acura-showrooms/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-important-tlx-acura-showrooms/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962514 Even in the Acura TLX’s best sales month, the brand’s MDX and RDX crossovers still accounted for 55% of Acura sales in the United States. With the TLX now consistently generating around three out of every ten Acura sales in America, it’s safe to say that Acura’s passenger car division is, for the moment, in […]

The post Chart Of The Day: How Important Is The TLX In Acura Showrooms? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Acura sales chart TLXEven in the Acura TLX’s best sales month, the brand’s MDX and RDX crossovers still accounted for 55% of Acura sales in the United States.

With the TLX now consistently generating around three out of every ten Acura sales in America, it’s safe to say that Acura’s passenger car division is, for the moment, in safer hands than it was with the TL and TSX last year. Together, they generated 25% of Acura’s total volume in calendar year 2013, down from 40% in 2012 and 50% in 2011. 

2015 Acura TLXIt’s also safe to say that Acura continues to be a moderately successful upmarket brand thanks to its high-volume utility vehicles. Acura sold 15,293 TLX sedans between August and November 2014. The MDX produced 21,805 sales during the same period; the RDX another 13,828.

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

The post Chart Of The Day: How Important Is The TLX In Acura Showrooms? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chart-day-important-tlx-acura-showrooms/feed/ 45
Acura: Next NSX Debuting At Detroit – We Promise http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/acura-next-nsx-debuting-detroit-promise/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/acura-next-nsx-debuting-detroit-promise/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:02:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962154 Acura is apparently serious about the next NSX making its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. A series of teaser shots of their latest supercar have been released, and Acura appears to be upholding their longstanding tradition of making their “concepts” fairly faithful to the production […]

The post Acura: Next NSX Debuting At Detroit – We Promise appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
29732_nsx_teaser_image_

Acura is apparently serious about the next NSX making its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

A series of teaser shots of their latest supercar have been released, and Acura appears to be upholding their longstanding tradition of making their “concepts” fairly faithful to the production model. On the other hand, any cues that pay homage to the design of the original car seem to be absent.

29734_nsx_teaser_image_ 29732_nsx_teaser_image_ 29733_nsx_teaser_image_ 29735_nsx_teaser_image_

The post Acura: Next NSX Debuting At Detroit – We Promise appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/acura-next-nsx-debuting-detroit-promise/feed/ 31
Editorial: The Last Of The Manual Acuras http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-last-manual-acuras/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-last-manual-acuras/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:49:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951625 As part of Acura’s plans to “rationalize” (as the b-school buzzword goes) the ILX’s powertrains, the 6-speed stick shift is dead, replaced by an all-new 8-speed dual clutch gearbox. It also marks the end of an era for the brand. Acura has slowly killed off the manual in successive product lines. The now-dead TL and […]

The post Editorial: The Last Of The Manual Acuras appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016 Acura ILX

As part of Acura’s plans to “rationalize” (as the b-school buzzword goes) the ILX’s powertrains, the 6-speed stick shift is dead, replaced by an all-new 8-speed dual clutch gearbox. It also marks the end of an era for the brand.

Acura has slowly killed off the manual in successive product lines. The now-dead TL and TSX were notable for offering manual gearboxes that represented the best of what Honda had to offer: crisp-shifting stick shifts that were the benchmark for modern day manuals. They were easily as good as any Miata gearbox, and it’s still hard to believe that such amazing manual transmissions were created for a front-drive transverse application. In my mind, they’ve never been equaled.

I wish I could say it was a surprising development, but this is how things are shaking out. Lexus is devoid of manuals, and the only Infiniti with three-pedals is the Q60 Coupe – a model set to be replaced next year. There’s a very good chance it will return sans a stick shift. If you want one of Honda’s world famous manuals, you still have some options: the Fit, Civic and Accord can be had that way. There will even be an HR-V that lets you row your own. But we’re all acutely aware that it’s not the same thing.

The post Editorial: The Last Of The Manual Acuras appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/editorial-last-manual-acuras/feed/ 132
Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Acura ILX Fully Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:30:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=948753 To the soothing strains of The Sex Pistols, Acura fully revealed the second-gen ILX at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show [UPDATE – 12:05 p.m. Pacific, 11/20/2014: Live photos now available – CA]. The entry-level luxury sedan’s powertrain is a standard 2.4-liter four sending 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch […]

The post Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Acura ILX Fully Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2016 Acura ILX

To the soothing strains of The Sex Pistols, Acura fully revealed the second-gen ILX at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show [UPDATE – 12:05 p.m. Pacific, 11/20/2014: Live photos now available – CA].

The entry-level luxury sedan’s powertrain is a standard 2.4-liter four sending 201 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission — with torque converter for smooth launches to the office park — to the front wheels. A retuned suspension and added sound-deadening help keep things quiet and stable.

Trim levels are also doubled for the 2016 model, with six to select from the catalog. Additionally, one can select the A-SPEC package — which can be combined with the Premium and Technology packages for maximum luxury — to bestow upon the ILX a trunk spoiler, front fog lights, 18-inch alloys, red instrument illumination et al.

Technology-wise, ILX shoppers can use the sedan’s AcuraLink nav system to connect their smartphone to the car for mapping out the best routes to Applebee’s, while AcuraWatch keeps all safe with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, lane departure and collision mitigation.

2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016 Acura ILX 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-1 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-2 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-5 2016-Acura-ILX-LA-Auto-Show-7

The post Los Angeles 2014: 2016 Acura ILX Fully Revealed appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/los-angeles-2014-2016-acura-ilx-fully-revealed/feed/ 111
Now Is The Acura TLX A Hit? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/now-acura-tlx-hit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/now-acura-tlx-hit/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:59:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944073 In September we asked if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. In October, we realized that by Acura standards, the TLX could quickly end up as a hit. And now in November, with October 2014 U.S. sales results in hand, the Acura TLX is a hit. We could apply all manner of qualifying statements: […]

The post Now Is The Acura TLX A Hit? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
2015 Acura TLX silverIn September we asked if the TLX could restore Acura’s car business. In October, we realized that by Acura standards, the TLX could quickly end up as a hit. And now in November, with October 2014 U.S. sales results in hand, the Acura TLX is a hit.

We could apply all manner of qualifying statements: it’s early; other cars are transitioning to a new model year as Acura ramps up the TLX; year-over-year comparisons only highlight the dire straits which were afflicting the TLX’s predecessors; the TLX is relatively inexpensive and thus obviously a more justifiable proposition for buyers moving up to “luxury” cars.

Or, the TLX is exactly what potential Acura customers had been desirous of for years. Not too big, not too small. A choice between an efficient four-cylinder or a similarly efficient but far more powerful V6. Front or all-wheel-drive. Transmissions which, at least in terms of ratios, leapfrog the competition. Somewhat subdued but not unattractive styling. And an advertised base price below $31,000.

The result? Only four premium brand cars – 3-Series/4-Series, C-Class, ES, 5-Series – and only six premium brand vehicles – RX and MDX included – outsold the TLX in October 2014.

4890 TLXs were sold in October, a 95% year-over-year increase compared with the combined total of the TL and TSX in October 2013, a 26% increase compared with the TLX’s own total from September of this year. During a month in which brand-wide Acura sales rose 8%, the TLX accounted for 31.7% of all Acura sales. These were tremendously useful figures for Acura last month, as the ILX, RLX, TL, TSX, MDX, RDX, and ZDX all posted year-over-year decreases.

Non-TLX sales were down 26%.

What of the TLX’s competitors? The vast 3-Series/4-Series range is virtually a brand unto itself, with more permutations than Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS put together. As a result, the 3-Series/4-Series lineup (up 16% to 13,621) sells in brand-like numbers, with more October sales than Cadillac, Infiniti, or Lincoln; more than Volvo, Posche, Land Rover, and Jaguar combined. Mercedes-Benz sold 7412 copies of its new C-Class in October – no one would deny the C-Class is a long-time success.


Lexus’s ES, meanwhile, was down 1% to 5932 units. (The IS was up 6% to 3771 October sales.) Nissan sold 4188 Maximas; Buick sold 4071 LaCrosses; Infiniti reported 2964 Q50 sales. Audi and Cadillac both reported fewer than 2700 total A4 and ATS sales, respectively. Mercedes-Benz CLA sales were down to 2596, a 47% drop compared with its peak month of October 2013.

It will take more than a year, at least, to see if the TLX has the long-lasting appeal of venerable German nameplates or even Lexus’s more comfort-oriented ES. If we can judge cars based on three months of results – admittedly, it’s early – the TLX is an undeniably potent force for American Honda. Moreover, on the subject of premature heralding, any suggestion that these strong results are symptomatic of pent-up demand for a long-awaited car only serves to point out that Acura may possess a larger, more fervent fan base than we would have believed; that the TLX has been deemed by many to be a car worth waiting for.

The post Now Is The Acura TLX A Hit? appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/now-acura-tlx-hit/feed/ 160
Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943465 The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall. Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an […]

The post Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
Honda Integra Type R DC2

The last time one could buy an Acura Integra/RSX new off the showroom floor was in the mid-2000s. That time could come again soon to help the upcoming NSX, and the brand overall.

Car & Driver reports Acura’s chief designer, Dave Marek, said a performance brand such as his employer “needs a flagship and… an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car.” While the flagship — the NSX — is set to leave Ohio beginning next year, the reincarnated Integra/RSX would likely begin its return to the showroom floor in 2017 at the earliest.

Though Marek couldn’t be more specific regarding the supporting actor, he did acknowledge that Honda went the wrong way in making Acura too upscale, not at all helped by the Great Recession that turned what would have been the next NSX into a non-homologated Super GT combatant.

Meanwhile, Acura will debut a refreshed ILX next week at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, which he says is a harbinger of things to come:

There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming. It’s not what our direction is going to be, but it’s a step in that direction. There are lots of resources and activity going into making Acura back into what it was.

The post Acura May Unleash New Integra As Early As 2017 appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

]]>
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/acura-may-unleash-new-integra-early-2017/feed/ 65