By on November 16, 2006

05rsxpr-02.jpgDearly beloved, we are gathered here to honor the Acura RSX, whose life was cut short by overlapping products and muddled brand identity. Since 2002, this, the US version of the fourth generation Honda Integra, has enjoyed strong consumer support and numerous awards from erstwhile auto critics, including two consecutive year’s on Car and Driver’s 10Best list. But we are not here to debate the value of ad-sponsored gongs or mourn the passing of a beloved automobile. We are here to celebrate a life well lived.

Until it ceased production this summer, the Acura RSX was an upgraded seventh generation Civic coupe. To differentiate the two models, Acura’s brandgineers gave the RSX a lower and wider stance than its Honda counterpart. It also blessed the RSX’ snout with a vertical crease, bisecting the model’s nose from bumper to windshield, forming an aerodynamic point. The model’s steeply raked windshield starts an arc that terminates down the rear of the steeply raked rear window. The lift back design reveals the RSX for what it is: a longish three-door hatchback. Overall, the RSX’ clean and uncluttered looks lacked both brand identity and charisma, a lethal combination (ipso facto).

rsxtypes05_inter2.jpgOnce inside, Steve Jobs himself would applaud the RSX’ no-brainer ergonomics. The car’s curved dash pod is blissfully, elegantly Spartan; free from the infestation of dials and buttons, bells and whistles that clutter most new cars. You get three Playskool knobs for your climate control, a few glove-friendly radio buttons for your BOSE blaster, a hazard switch and that’s all she wrote. Also delightfully absent: in-dash GPS, car phone, onboard computer and all the other electronic tchotchkes that distract enthusiasts from the art of driving.

The top of the RSX’ dash is lined with a substance of uncertain origin called “textured titanium.” While the dashboard’s clothing isn’t particularly attractive or sporty-looking, props to Acura for deploying a material that hasn't [apparently] been pumped from beneath Saudi sand or peeled off the butt of a dead cow. The front seats hug driver and passenger. The rear chairs are inescapable invitations to experiment with yoga; anyone taller than five feet will find themselves craning for comfort. I can’t imagine that many RSX buyers are overly concerned about cargo, but with seats up, the Acura can stash more stuff than a Mitsubishi Eclipse or Scion tC.

05rsxpr-08.jpgA suave demeanor and a thick Russian accent masked the enthusiasm of my Acura guide, Serguei. But his love for the coupe became evident the moment he hurled the RSX through a cloverleaf interchange. (He may not have many RSX left to sell, but sell them he does.) Once we made the changeover, the RSX’ thick steering wheel inspired immediate confidence. The variable power assist rack-and-pinion steering is razor sharp, delivering precise information on the front hoops, and outstanding control of same.

The coupe’s light curb weight (2734 pounds) and sport-tuned suspension (McPherson struts in front, double wishbone at the back) give the RSX superb flickabilty. The car stays flat through the corners, yielding moderate and predictable understeer when pushed. Yet the progressive-rate rear shocks float over small bumps without harshness, with the all-season 16’s delivering daily driver compliant comfort.

That said, there is no question whatsoever that this is the high-strung member of the Acura family. To wit, the RSX’ 2.0-liter engine produces 155hp @ 6500rpm. That may be as nothing to the Type-S’ sky-high 8100rpm redline, but caning the RSX involves regular forays to the iVTEC powerplant’s penthouse. Meanwhile, torque steer is virtually non-existent; there’s not enough torque to pull the helm sideways. In other respects, the RSX' smooth-spinning mill is impressive in the typical Honda fashion, achieving Low-Emissions Vehicle (LEV-2) standards while traveling 27 miles per gallon in the city and 34mpg on the highway.

05rsxpr-04.jpgThe RSX’ brakes are its biggest disappointment. The four-wheel disk ABS-controlled binders tell the right story on paper. In practice, they struggle to get the job done. Under emergency stops, the left and right ABS channels do not appear to be synchronized, creating a disconcerting Jitterbug vibration. Pistonheads would be well advised to factor-in the price of a major brake upgrade when considering an RSX.

As is, the RSX is the perfect car for a driver that wants a sports car without a lot of horsepower (e.g. unmarried people that gravitate to careers that involve chalk and erasers, white shoes or telephone headsets). Rumor has it that the RSX may not be the last Acura to dabble in the sub-$30k segment. Although nothing has been officially announced, only a couple of model years are likely pass before Acura produces another small coupe. Acura is sure to festoon any new model with a raft of techno-baubles that blight the TL, which were artfully absent in the RSX. Until then, RSX RIP.

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53 Comments on “Acura RSX Review...”

  • avatar
    Brian E

    RSX RIP indeed.

    I unfortunately have to take issue with a few points in this review. First, I don’t think the RSX lacked brand identity; on the contrary, I think it (and the Integra before it) defined Acura for a generation. The design, while simplistic by Bangle standards, is evidence of the clean, uncluttered aerodynamics that defined Acuras until they screwed it up with the bulbous RL.

    Secondly, on the techno-gadgetry: while I couldn’t care less about GPS, some of those gadgets steered me away from the RSX and into the TSX. The lack of an iPod input is pretty much unacceptable in a luxury-branded car in 2006. The Bose stereo is marginally acceptable, which says something about the unbranded stereo in the base model. And speaking as someone who has to commute on the icy days in mid-December as well as the sunny days in mid-June, stability and traction control would have helped a lot.

    So, RSX RIP. But the TSX coupe will be awesome.

  • avatar

    I liked the RSX, possibly more than any other Honda product besides the NSX. It’s up there with the Miata on “go-kart factor,” since the bizarro twin of no-replacement-for-displacement is no-replacement-for-light-weight.

    I do agree that it was a little odd for Acura to offer it (even though they did sell the Integra before) because it’s just not really in line with competition to sell a sporty, underappointed car under its brand umbrella–at least in the US. I know Canada gets a 4-door Acura based on the Civic, which if brought here could maybe justify this 2-door. I only assume Honda is killing it in favor of an expanded Civic line and the TSX coupe. I like the TSX, but I still only see the Accord when I look at it. Which, to the rest of the world, it is. I’m looking forward to Honda bringing their emission-redesigned diesel version over here late next year–it’s been a hit in Europe.

  • avatar

    I loved my RSX. The car was reliable, fun to drive, relatively cheap, has good after market part availability, and (unlike many of my ClubRSX compadres) I often availed myself of it’s hatch-back carrying capacity.

    I’m with you in celebrating the life of this last US generation Honda Integra. It was my own second Honda Integra and the third one I’d driven full time, and if I wanted to own a car right now, I can’t imagine what new car could replace the Integra in my heart.

    Admittedly, this last generation went away from the sleek lines of the previous generation Integras toward a more bubbly shape, but the overall spirit of the vehicle was still there.

  • avatar

    I spent a lot of time in one. I agree with the brakes comment completely. Especially in winter the car was tricky to manage. Another flaw I have realized is the tire roar is very loud.

    Otherwise a very nice ride for 21k. If you factor in the unbelievable acura service and customer care and reliability then the car stands out even more.

    Wish they would send the power to the back and put in ESP.

  • avatar

    RIP – fun loving high revving hatchbacks. Replaced by a confident and well balanced Civic Si but it’s a coupe and just can’t muster a hole big enough to make it easy to load. Why must Honda now say – fun and sport can only have 2 or 4 doors (not 3 or 5?). The 3 door hatchback Civic Si was a good car, had a great suspension (same as the Civic Type R in Europe), and was not to bad looking. But Honda fell way short in offering mediocre all season economy tires and wheels, an average engine (for the Si moniker), and no LSD.

  • avatar

    I can see why that are stopping production on it, makes perfect sense. It’s still a nice car but I’m sure they will replace it with something better. I really like the TSX along better but as with all things Acura they are FWD except for their range topper which 90% of the time is FWD. Acura needs to build an AWD (since they won’t do RWD) sport compact to compete with the 3 series, IS350, and G35. The TSX sure doesn’t cut it.

  • avatar

    When I heard that this was going to be the last year, I went and bought the RSX type-S. I picked it over a Boxster and an RX8.

    To me, it was as if someone had asked me about what I wanted in a car, and then built it. This side of a TVR, anyway.

    Once inside, Steve Jobs himself would applaud the RSX’ no-brainer ergonomics. The car’s curved dash pod is blissfully, elegantly Spartan

    Yes. I love the interior. IMHO, that, combined with the reliability and the milage the car gets, makes it a better choice than the 3-series (another option I rejected, perhaps unwisely).

    I drive approximately 3,000 miles per month, at least half of which are recreational (GA/TN mountains make my day). I frankly couldn’t be happier with my purchase, and renew my enthusiasm every time I get in the cockpit and “put on” my car — it really does feel like I’m wearing it.

    If it hadn’t been it’s last year, I may never have bought it. RIP, RSX. I’m glad I got you while I could.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    RIP Integra/RSX…definately the first car Acura had that was actually in my price range right out of college…I really loved those things. On my last oil change with my Acura, a saleman asked if I wanted to give the RSX-type S a spin…I said, “Hell yeah!”. What a fun 10 minute drive…high spirited, amazingly quick, and fun as well. They had a beautiful RSX-type S in blue while I was car shopping. I was very tempted to get it…but I really wanted All-Wheel-Drive.

  • avatar

    I still drive a 96 integra and it is quite fun to drive. I understand completely why they dropped this from their lineup. It’s too close to the new si in performance, except the si has the limited slip dif. and since all the reviews said the new si is the better choice, there’s no reason to offer this anymore. I never was much of a fan of the restyling – the old teg still looks way better than the rsx, and in a odd way less dated even though it’s older. the interior of the rsx is really really nice though. I’ve sat in one and it feels like a more expensive car than it is.

  • avatar

    The RSX is (was?) one of the few genuine sporty drives remaining that are affordable. A truer sports car than any GTi, Scion tC, Eclipse or… what else is left?

    That being said, it was *way* overdue to get it out of the Acura lineup. Branding-wise, you could almost say it hurt the Acura brand as they tried to move upscale.

    I still think Honda/Acura should come out with the next-gen RSX… and sell it as the new Honda Prelude.


  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Brian E: I don’t think the RSX lacked brand identity; on the contrary, I think it (and the Integra before it) defined Acura for a generation.

    That is the problem. Acura wants to be defined as an up-market luxury manufacturer, not the purveyor of fancy Civics. Apparently, they determined that they needed to kill the Integra (in more than name only) to be taken seriously as a prestige brand.

  • avatar

    No NSX, no RSX, but instead a turbo-charged SUV. Or SAV. Or “urban linebacker.”

    Makes sense, I suppose, with the S2000 and the Civic Si in the hondasport camp, but it was a pretty little thing.

  • avatar
    Anar Seyf

    The 3 door hatchback Civic Si was a good car, had a great suspension (same as the Civic Type R in Europe), and was not to bad looking. But Honda fell way short in offering mediocre all season economy tires and wheels, an average engine (for the Si moniker), and no LSD.

    jaje, this is very true. And even with upgraded tires, springs, and slightly tweaked alignment, the Si is just not that much fun… sure, you can take a steady-state turn at the limit and then tap the brake with your left foot, and get some fun oversteer. But most of the time the inherent understeer makes for too dull an experience.
    I suspect it is a similar story with the RSX.

  • avatar

    Seldom Awake: “When I heard that this was going to be the last year, I went and bought the RSX type-S. I picked it over a Boxster and an RX8”

    -The RSX is a kool car for the dough but come on… Over a Boxster? Gimme a break.

  • avatar

    I’m 6’2″ and I can sit fairly comfortably in the back of my brother’s 2005 RSX Type-S. It’s not as bad as it looks.

    I will miss you RSX.

  • avatar

    Even though the new Civic Si signalled the end of the RSX, I’m still very disappointed to see it go. As the present owner of 2 Integra’s, and 5 in my lifetime, the car fits my lifestyle perfectly.

    I love the fact I can have the Honda reliability in a car with a quieter ride, more power, and a better interior with more room than the typical Civic. I can’t even imagine all the times I’ve folded the back seats down and used all the room in the hatch.

    Plus, at least where I live, the resale values for a Civic and an Integra of the same year are identical.

    Even with Acura going ‘upscale’, I still don’t understand why they don’t see the market for an entry-level coupe. Even a badge-engineered Civic that’s competitive in price, for those of us (me included) who would love a new Si, but hate the looks.

  • avatar

    I like the RSX…but by all means, bring on a turbo TSX coupe. I love the current TSX sedan (which is why I own one), and it would definitely make a nice coupe…

    I can’t disagree more about the looks of both the RSX and TSX – I don’t think they’re bland, I think they’re classy interpretations. They’re understated, which with all the brash looking small cars and completely rounded edges, looks fantastic.

  • avatar
    Infamous Dr. X

    Ronin 317. Haven’t seen you around in awhile!

    I’ve known a number of integras, but never had a chance to rock an RSX, more’s the pity. I liked the integra quite a bit, seemed like one hell of a deal for the dough, and when the RSX came out, I was intrigued….then my other personality took over and dragged me down to the jeep dealership and bought a wrangler. TSX is definitely on my short list for next purchase though, despite the outright Accord-ness of it…I’ve heard too many good things about it to not try it.

  • avatar

    Having tested one of the last Type S RSXs a couple of years ago there were some noticeable flaws. While the interior design had held up well it was still stuck in the late 1990s. The car was not rigid. When you read about rigidity you don’t really notice it when testing until you get into something like the RSX where you can hear it stressing from enthusiastic maneuvers.

    That paired with the fact that the new Si blows it away for a few grand less and you have the reason for the blindfold and cigarette. And frankly I don’t really miss it at all.

    The fact that luxury coupes (not sports cars) aren’t selling well doesn’t help and it probably won’t come back but you never know.

    Kman, the new GTI and Mitsubishi Eclipse GT are both far superior performers in every way and fit those hatchback wants. I would pick the GTI over the Eclipse but the Civic SI is so nice looking in coupe form I would be happy with that. Of course it would be nice to have a leather option.

  • avatar

    I bought a 2006 Type S last December and I love it. IMO the new civic is just plain ugly. So unless Acura comes out with a viable alternative(TSX coupe?), Honda may have just lost a repeat buyer.

    To the engineers at Acura, if you decide to come out with a new sub-30k coupe/hatchback:


    Keep the great, user friendly ergonomics. I love the simple dials and large easy to reach buttons. Keep out all that electronic BS, or at least keep it out of any “Type S” models. I want to enjoy driving the car. I don’t want to push a button 5 times to change the temp by 5 degrees. Twisting a dial is much easier. Nor do I want computers, or GPS. Paper maps will do just fine thank you. If you must include any ESC, or TC please give me the option of turning it off and leaving it on or off at my discretion.

    Please do include a limited slip differential, it has been sorely lacking in the RSX. Keep the free revving iVTEC engine. I just love that 8100 rpm redline! If you can keep the weight down, how about a AWD, version. With a re-tuned 2.4 turbo from the RDX? Might be a nice option for
    the TSX too.

    Last but not least, keep the boy racer body doodads off. If
    I want to see a huge rear wing in my RVM I’ll buy a Cobalt or Impreza. This was a major selling point for me. I’m 33, not 18! Besides when I was 18 I couldn’t afford to lay out 25-30 on a car. Now that I can I don’t want to be forced into a car with “wings” just so I can have a small, good handling, 2 door, sporty car.

    That’s it I’ll shut up now.

  • avatar

    Reverend Dave: Are you serious about the Mitsubishi Eclipse? That car is a torque steer monster. I mean, you can easily put an eye out with that thing. Now the GTI, well… one hopes the reliability probs are sorted. And I would MUCH rather have the old R32 than anything short of a Boxster. Which is, let's face it, the used car bargain of our time.

  • avatar

    I was in the market for this car. I was coming from a 1997 Prelude SH, which I loved but it was getting old and high mileage. I test drove an RSX-S and loved it. Great car. But then I noticed that 350Zs were selling for *less* dough. It’s just a more capable car, although arguably a worse daily driver. The RSX-S is much more “tossable” because of the light weight, but with RWD, 87 more horses and almost twice the torque, I knew which one I wanted. If they would have sold this car at the same price as the Civic Si (wasn’t for sale when I was shopping) I would have gotten it instead. The Z was just too good of a deal to pass up.

  • avatar

    Still driving a 97 Integra that has 188k miles, and that thing is literally indestructable reliable, more than a corolla or a camry that I have the honor (obligation) to maintain. The only things that I have ever needed to replace is a burst AC condenser pipe (probably due to corrossion or hitting a sharp object on the road), and the car still sound and shift like it was a 3 year old car.

    IMO the reason Acura kill RSX is not only because it is watering down Acura’s brand, but they are also not competing well in performance/handling against the new coming like WRX and Evo, or in terms of look like Z4, or price like tC, Civic, etc. Many also dislike the change from double wishbone front to McPherson), the car got heavier, and it looks bloated.

    IMO it is still the best bang for quality/handling buck, but instead of killing it, they should move it back to Honda and brand it as Integra (rather than Civic Si).

  • avatar

    T’hanks for this proper send-off. I drive the Type-S quite a lot and own an Si, so I am definetely in love with the chassis and the K20 engine. The Civic interior, however, is much larger than the RSX’s, though neither is cramped and I am 6’5″, 215 lbs.

  • avatar

    Honda: how about a 2 door liftback coupe with a high revving K24, LSD, 6 speed… and sell it in the US as… A HONDA INTEGRA?

    Good god, that wouldn’t sell well at all would it.

  • avatar

    Farago: And I would MUCH rather have the old R32 than anything short of a Boxster. Which is, let’s face it, the used car bargain of our time.

    Hmm, we didn’t even get those here in Canada, plus I read this little blurb about them from Wikipedia:

    “It also has a surprisingly high resale and used-car value; the Kelley Blue Book used car retail price (the price an individual might expect to pay for one from a dealer) for a model in excellent condition with low mileage actually exceeds the original retail price of the car in many cases, making it one of a few recent cars that have actually approached an increase in value over time.”

    When I was checking the MSRP’s here in Canada (when I heard it was cancelled), the new Si listed at $26,080, and the RSX Type-S listed at $34,680, a difference of a whopping $8600.

    However, I still maintain that if Acura put out a new K20-powered ‘Integra’, based on the new Civic platform, it would sell well. A great entry-level option into the Acura brand, plus the ability to be price competitive since it’s built on the same chassis. As noted from the press release annoucing the cancellation:

    “The RSX is the successor to the Integra, an Acura mainstay in the past. In 1995, for instance, the Integra posted U.S. sales of 61,316.

    The Integra outsold the Acura Legend by more than 3-to-1 and accounted for 63.1 percent of Acura sales.”

  • avatar

    I looked at this car before I bought my 07′ Accord V6 coupe. While I do prefer the Acura styling, panache and dealer service over Honda, in the end I couldn’t justify not getting nav and a 240hp V6 for about the same price.

  • avatar

    dmosbach: Yes, over the Boxster. Oh, I should mention, I was looking at a 2006 Boxster S.

    Frankly, I can’t explain it too well. Some cars just fit like a glove.

    Continuing the “I can’t explain it too well” theme: The Boxster is easy to drive, if you want it to be. It’s comfortable.

    I didn’t want a comfortable, easy-to-drive car. I wanted something razor-sharp, something that would punish even the small(est) mistakes, somthing that would keep me awake and focused. I plan on following up this purchase with an Elise.

    It actually does make sense, I promise, but it would take a fairly long conversation to convey the reasoning behind that statement.

  • avatar

    All integras hold their value quite well and most go easily into the 200k+ mileage range with very few problems. The only ones that appreciate in value are the type-r and type-s due to their extreme rarity. They have become collector cars. I really can’t see picking one over a boxster except for practicality (you can’t take 2 dogs and your girlfriend on a roadtrip, or get 2-months supplies at costco to fit in the back of a boxster).

    • 0 avatar

      ultimately an integra or RSX don’t offer much in terms of practicality. Was seconds away from taking home an 06’RSX premium but then I remembered I have 2 big dogs and a gf who has alot of junk with her at all times. would need a bloody escalade ESV car trailing me in the RSX. I digress, moral of the story, RSX is a beauty. Integra as well. unfortunately life gets in the way

  • avatar

    What’s with all the comparing of the TSX to the Accord?
    I recently drove both, and although the shapes may be similar, the Accord is a much larger car, and carries very little of the fun to drive factor that characterized the Accords of the late 80’s.
    The TSX is much more lively, much more agile.

    I do agree that it’s a shame they won’t continue to fill the niche catered to by the RSX – i.e. relatively upscale, high value for the money, reasonably practical coupe.


  • avatar

    Because the TSX is an Accord in other markets.

  • avatar

    Although they are not striking like the chariots of my youth, the Acuras are about the only good-looking cars on the road anymore, and they alone are good looking among the wedges. I wish they’d had a 4-door RSX, with a back seat that at least a dog could climb comfortably in and out of. And the last time I drove one, I found that going over bumps made my fillings shake. Nonetheless, a lovely car.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Acura had so much street cred with the Integra (esp the Type R) and they threw it all away with the RSX. I still liked this car, and am saddened to see another sleek 2-door bite the dust in the wake of another Crossover-utility.

    Its a damn shame.

  • avatar

    I miss the RSX, ive owned two of them. What they lacked in torque they made up with their crazy redline (especially in the type S). Very well put together car, all it needed was the Type R’s limited slip and its all set. The Si is a fair replacement i guess.

  • avatar

    I can’t quite understand all these hosanas for the RSX.

    I owned one for 8 months; a Type S version. It was a good car in many ways: smooth, zingy engine that felt more torquey than the numbers appear on paper, throughtfully laid out interior, long list of standard features and obviously better than average reliability.

    But it had deficits that in the long run outshone the positives. The stereo sounded abysmal, the stock tires were horrible for a supposedly sporty car, the leather wore more noticeably in those 8 months than my Mini’s has in almost two years, and the shape of the car didn’t have any real hidden depths to it. You thought, “oh that’s nice”, but never anything stronger.

    Worst, it was tedious to drive. I made the mistake of buying the car the same day I test drove it (mea maxima culpa) on a fairly undemanding stretch that didn’t ask the car to go beyond 6/10. When asked to perform on a ragged surface with odd camber, or traverse potholes, or even do more than one thing at a time, the chassis just falls apart. It didn’t inspire confidence, much less passion.

    Granted, I had a 2002 model (I’m told the 2005 upgrade sorted out a lot of the handling shortcomings), but by that point I’d long since moved on to a superior driving experience.

  • avatar

    I love the simple 3 button climate control. Last weekend I was riding with a friend in his new Audi A3 – great car, but even after both of us took a look at the manual, we were still pretty baffled by the HVAC system. I was longing for the simplicity of my Civic Si’s controls.

  • avatar
    Jeb Hoge

    I became disillusioned with Acura when I realized two things. First, changing the name from Integra (of which I owned a 1st and 2nd gen) was a mistake…the three letters just didn’t carry the charisma and didn’t roll off the tongue. Second, Honda can’t do brakes for crap. I warped and replaced front discs on each of mine at least twice, and every review of any Civic or RSX I’ve read since comments on overlong braking distances and/or disc warping. The binders on all three Ford Contours that we’ve owned since I sold my last Integra have been far superior, with shorter stopping distances and no unusual wear. I was especially sick about selling my ’92 Integra, but I wouldn’t go back now if I had the chance.

  • avatar

    Since my 91 Honda CRX i haven’t had a car that excites me to get behind the wheel as my 02 RSX! In my profession I get to drive just about every car under the sun, and few have the awesome feel of the RSX. It’s a car that will surely be missed… guess I’ll just have to take extra care of mine to make it last. :)

  • avatar

    # William C Montgomery:

    Brian E: I don’t think the RSX lacked brand identity; on the contrary, I think it (and the Integra before it) defined Acura for a generation.

    That is the problem. Acura wants to be defined as an up-market luxury manufacturer, not the purveyor of fancy Civics. Apparently, they determined that they needed to kill the Integra (in more than name only) to be taken seriously as a prestige brand.

    Acura has pissed away brand identity by removing the
    luxury Legend name, then the street cred Integra name.

    In Canada, they sell (sold ?) a Civic four door sedan, but
    the top trip level (like EX in the US) is badged as an Acura

    In most markets, there is demand for a premium small car,
    with better design and quality. In the US, premium or luxury have too meant more gadgets or bigger, but
    rarely better design, better quality or refinement.

    I hope Acura returns to the fold, and continues to
    offer a step up from the cost engineered Civics.
    And bring back camber friendly wishbone suspensions, too.

    ps Toyota-Yamaha Celica, RIP.

  • avatar

    I really like Acura as a company, but unless Acura gets their act together, we may as well be saying, “RIP Acura”.

    Consider this:

    – All Acuras today are low on power AND relatively poor in fuel economy compared to the primary competition.

    – All Acuras today are either fwd or awd. There is no rwd in the lineup

    – All Acuras today are either sedans or tall fat wagons (call them SUVs if you must).

    – Acura, though having a strong “family styling” presence, has not had a single home-run styling hit in over a decade. Nobody even sees them on the road, let alone at the auto shows. The most excitement that was generated this year was the pent-up demand for a new NSX. When the thing was revealed, all I saw was people walking away shaking their heads in disbelief. How could a car like the NSX be “replaced” by something so uninspiring?

    I really want to see Acura do well. But in order to do that, they need to inject some originality and passion into their products. Acura must regularly renew the successes they did have. The NSX wilted on the vine. The Integra/RSX wilted on the vine. Nobody really cares about the RL or TL because only the occasional accountant might drive one. Acura’s foray into the world of fat tall 4wds has been met with a collective shrug.

    I say it’s overdue for Acura to bring out something hot, new, and fresh. Something innovative that doesn’t compete in an overcrowded segment. How about this: a mid-sized rwd hybrid hatchback. Think RSX performance, a touch more space inside for passengers and luggage, and a state-of-the-art running gear. Pit it against the BMW 1-series and Acura might just steal Munich’s thunder.

    Continue building Japanese Buicks — beautifully engineered cars for people who don’t have much automotive passion — and Acura will continue to lose market share to Lexus and the Euro makers who are now coming out with some exciting, innovative hardware.

  • avatar
    jd arms

    I own an ’03 RSX-S (at least for another week or so until the buyer comes to get it) and I must say that I am extremely happy with the car. For under $23K I got an economical, reliable, exciting enough little commuter vehicle. While I am sad to see the car discontinued, selling my own RSX has shown me what I suspected all along: Acura doesn’t need/want saggy pants, sideways baseball hat guy clogging up their showrooms and service waiting areas, or diluting their modest “luxury” nameplate reputation. The assortment of knuckleheads that expressed interest in my car was astounding….while I will miss the car, I won’t miss being associated with the “pimp my ride” tuner boys. On a more positive note, at least my fellow 30ish professional associates will now have to stop asking me if I am going “drifting” this weekend or if I’ve seen “the Fast and the Furious 2” or if I’m going to get some “tight new rims?”

    All I wanted was a sound, simple, ergonomically simple commuter/2nd car that offered some fun and light luxury, and I pretty much got it with the RSX.

    If Acura ever builds a rwd TSX coupe with the turbocharged 4 they have in the RDX, I might come back – they have to price it high enough to weed out the morons though. Let those guys stick with Honda.

  • avatar

    I have an 06 Type S. I’ll compare it to a 5G Prelude I also had. RSX is more fun to throw around, steering is beefier but a tad artificial. Way too much self-centering but then the Lude had none. Strange. Love not being able to see the hood from the drivers seat. The Prelude had an embarrassingly large hood like a 72 Chrysler. Prelude had much better brake feel and linearity. Prelude had a tighter structure with no rattles. the RSX has been rattling since 600 miles. Stereo in RSX is inferior as well, radio reception is an abomination. Shifter on both cars superb but will grind if you rush them. Prelude motor sounded much better, smoother, and had old-school VTEC punch. The RSX motor sounds like a dentists drill, the shifter used as a noise reducer. The 6 speeds are ridiculous. Too much shifting, and need to drop down 2 gears to pass instead of just one in the Lude. RSX has superior seats, driving position, headroom, pedals and wheel. Both cars have an impressive lack of body roll. Clutch on RSX is perfection.

    Problems/shortcomings common to both: Road noise, wind noise, lack of torque, crappy headlights, tires, distortion in rearview mirror, gear grinding, wheel hop, crap stereos, no sat rad, no LSD.

  • avatar
    Mr. Gray

    I think this car is sold in Japan as the Honda Integra, and like previous Integras, it carries the curse of being inexpensive and good looking. Thusly, it has been subjected to the same rediculously overstyled pimp-izing of dumb teenage kids whose rich parents bought it for them.

    People should not be allowed to buy Hondas if their definition of modification is 20 inch chrome wheels and huge, drag-inducing body kits.

    Respect the H!

  • avatar

    While I generally find most Acura’s (or Hondas) to be rather ugly looking cars, the RSX was one easily one of the best looking cars ever — that is at least until people throw a 6 foot (often wooden) spoiler and an obnoxious oversized exhaust in which the tailpipe is commonly a large coffee can.

    There’s nothing too distinct or flashy or outstanding looking about it, it’s just basic and plain and nicely done! The interior, at least when colored black could look a little too back-to-the-futureish, but it’s still not bad either.

    I don’t fit in these cars at all and certainly could not drive one, but if I was a bit shorter I would definitly consider one of these. Acura had the right idea back then — small cars that get good gas mileage with sporty handling. It was unique in the luxury car market — most small cars that get good gas mileage are piles of junk that are ready for the crusher when you drive them off the lot, which I hope I am never forced to drive.

    Now they are trying to compete with the larger, heavier cars with larger engines and worse gas mileage such as Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Jaguar, etc.

  • avatar

    I got my 06 RSX-S in 09 and I love it!! Of course, I had the “unfortunate” luck of the previous owner leaving his BuddyClub N+ Spex fully adjustable suspension on it. I don’t know about the stock suspension, but my car rides like its on rails. I added a CAI, and short shifter and now when the iVTEC kicks in this car screams!!!

    I’ll agree that it shouldve had an LSD which is why I bought an OE Type R unit and will be installing it when I replace the clutch.

    I wish the RSX/Integra would return to the line-up.

  • avatar

    I’ve had 3 cars so far, my first car at 18 a 1991 Integra GS with 120k miles. The car was in great condition inside and out. I put another 150k on it for 10 years. I did all the repairs and maintenance myself. I put my blood, sweat and tears into that car. I still have it parked in my mothers backyard.
    I purchased a 2001 Infiniti QX4 with 90K. I enjoyed the power and comfort of my newly used truck for 9 years and put another 100k with no problems. I always had plans on restoring the 91 Acura that hasn’t been started in over 6 years. Until earlier this year when everything on the QX4 seem to go bad one after the other. It was a great truck but it was time to get another car.
    I purchased a 2005 RSX base with 40k. I looked everywhere for a Type S but I couldn’t find the miles and price i liked. I’m still excited about my RSX and everything I plan on doing to it. I can agree about the LSD and braking being an issue but everything else about the RSX is upside.
    Its a rare street sports car!

  • avatar

    I own a 2006 Acura RSX Type S love it!
    I don’t particularly want to sell this car to get a truck for pulling an Airstream I can settle on a small light model of airstream if it is possible to pull it with my RSX Type S.

    Wondering who knows what the possibilities are, of this car pulling an 4000 lb 19 ft Airstream trailer?

    Thank you kindly

  • avatar
    North Country

    Late to the article, just stumbled upon—couple months ago I was in the market for a new car and rather than going newer than my Subaru decided I best pick up an RSX, a car I’d long admired and a car it’s getting tough to find decent miles, not modded, Canada here so not rusted out as well.

    Take what you can find—low mileage Premium (three model variants were released in Canada), auto, gotta say first impressions are what I’d hoped for: crisp fantastic handling, decent acceleration, Acura quality finish, and as someone else said here, it fits, sliding into the car it’s like you’re putting it on. Love the simplicity of the interior, knobs! no touchscreen thank you, my bare min mod cons are present with heated seats and mirrors (again, Canada) and sunroof. Stock stereo was swapped out by previous owner, is decent. Gas mileage to me after years of AWD only is phenomenal.

    We’ve had some wickedly cold winter days this year, car has sat for 2-3 at a time, starts right off (winter tires otherwise it was pretty useless in any snow). I love the shape and I love smaller cars, wish Acura would do another, it’s remarkable this car at 17 years old still garners looks. Haven’t had it for too long but after having the RSX on my ‘some day’ shortlist for a very long time I’m glad I found one, it’s a great sporty hatch (I love a hatch). It does carry higher insurance rates however.

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