Category Archives: Acura

2016 Acura ILX Review

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Once upon a time, there was a little sedan and coupe pairing called the Acura Integra that was born in 1986. When Acura debuted in the U.S as a brand, the Legend, a midsize luxury sedan, and the Integra, an upscale entry level compact comprised its lineup. As Acura was Honda’s luxury division with its models based off Honda’s existing models, the Integra was nothing more than a luxurious and pricier Civic. But the strange thing is that despite this, the Integra was vastly popular. With sporty handling, typical Japanese reliability, and value for the money, not to mention its huge aftermarket support, the Integra brought performance credibility to the Acura brand. The Integra was so popular with the tuning crowd that it is hard to find an Integra manual version that is not modded or “riced”. Then in 2001, the Integra coupe became the RSX coupe and the sedan was replaced by the TSX sedan in 2004.The TSX was never the direct replacement for the Integra sedan, but since it occupied the Integra sedan’s former place as the entry level compact, many have dubbed the TSX as the Integra sedan’s replacement. While the RSX and TSX did their fair share of upping the performance credibility of the Acura brand, they could not match the fame that the Integra garnered in the 1990s. The RSX was discontinued in 2006, and the TSX was redesigned for the 2009 model year. As it grew bigger in size, Acura saw fit to introduce a smaller entry level sedan to take the place of the first generation TSX and the Integra. This model would be called the ILX, based off the ninth generation Honda Civic. The ILX debuted in 2012 as a 2013 model. I reviewed a 2013 ILX 2.4 which comes with the Honda Civic’s Si high revving engine and a six speed manual transmission. While that was not a true Integra replacement, much to Acura enthusiasts’ dismay, I found that the ILX delivered a decent driving experience and fuel efficiency in a nice size. I will say this though, that particular ILX stickered around 35k. Thirty five thousand dollars. Granted it had about five grand in options, but that is a lot of money for a gussied up Civic. As much as I like Honda/Acura, the ILX simply is not worth that much money, and even the basic models such as the 2.0 and the Hybrid are upwards of $25,000 with slightly nicer interiors and slightly more updated equipment lists. Apparently, consumers felt the same way as sales of the ILX never really took off. For the 2016 model year, Acura extensively refreshed the ILX, giving it a new 2.4 liter four cylinder combined with a fancy eight speed dual clutch transmission standard across the lineup. Unfortunately, the manual transmission was ditched for the refresh, but the 2016 ILX is claimed to be more like a luxury sedan and less like a Honda Civic. For this review, we have my friend’s aforementioned Acura ILX 2.4 6 speed on hand in addition to the 2016 ILX, so it is not like there was any bias towards the manual model or anything (sarcasm). Seriously though, the question remains: Is the ILX now a proper luxury car? Continue reading

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2010 Acura ZDX Advance Review

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Traditionally, Acura and its parent company, Honda, have always been conservative and staid automotive manufacturers. That changed in around 2009 when Acura decided to debut its new grille design, the so called “beak” which consists of a very pronounced chrome design. This new grille design sparked a new design revolution at Acura. All of sudden, its cars were designed to be less angular and more curvy, yet more futuristic looking. This new design strategy also led to the ZDX. Designed by Christine Michelesen and based off Acura’s MDX, the ZDX is meant to blur the lines of a coupe and an SUV, akin to the BMW X6. Breaking from the Acura’s norm of producing conventionally styled vehicles, the ZDX was all about design and not function. When it debuted in 2009, Acura was thought to have gone off the deep end. Here is a vehicle that is based on the MDX SUV, yet it is less impractical, can only carry five people, and commands about 10 grand more. Sadly, these flaws counted against it, and it never really sold enough to become a common sight on streets. In its last year of production, the ZDX sold only 362 units (according to Wikipedia.com) in 2013, truly making it a rare sight in America. The owner of this car (check out his blog) was able to get this car in the fully loaded Advance version for a fraction of the price to buy as brand new. Naturally, I wanted to review a ZDX and see what the SUV/coupe/SUV-ish coupe/coupe-ish SUV was all about.  Continue reading

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1994 Acura Legend LS Coupe and GS Sedan Review

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Rewind to the 1980s when Honda was making inroads in the mainstream car market with its Accord and Civic models. Honda sought to provide a reliable and affordable alternative to the German luxury marques. In 1986, Honda launched its luxury division, Acura in North America. The first generation Legend was actually a joint effort of Honda and Austin Rover (a British car company). Rover had a reputation for making luxury cars in the UK, but wanted to sell luxury cars in North America whereas Honda sought to produce a luxury car that catered to the tastes of North American, European, and Japanese buyers. The partnership produced the Legend and the Sterling 800 Series (sold as a Rover in the UK). Even though the Acura Legend looked similar to a 1986 Honda Accord, it appealed to Honda buyers with its luxury features and prestige and reliability while it also appealed to buyers who wouldn’t consider a Honda as a luxury car. The combination of affordability, luxury, and reliability was a winner as the Acura Legend became the best selling luxury import in the U.S by 1988. The Legend’s success proved to Toyota and Nissan that there was a market for Japanese luxury brands in the U.S, which resulted in the creation of Lexus and Infiniti. The second generation Legend debuted in late 1990 as a 1991 model. With the arrival of the smaller Vigor sedan, the Legend increased in size and power as to position it in line with competing large luxury sedans. For 1994, Acura refreshed the Legend, and for the sedan, a top of the line GS version was added. The coupe was sold in L and LS trims, while the sedan was sold in Base (dropped in 1994), L, LS, SE (added in 1995), and the GS (added in 1994). Do you rememeber the Acura ILX and the NSX that I reviewed? These two Legends belong to the same person as the ILX and NSX. How often do I get to review two cars that are the same year, both top of the line versions, same color, and same engine and transmission? The only differences are in the number of doors and mileage. The Legend sedan has around 147,000 miles which isn’t too bad, but here’s the kicker. The Legend coupe has…over 530,000 miles, and on the original engine, transmission, and clutch. Unfortunately because the coupe is on its original clutch i.e. barely hanging on for life, I drove the sedan. Fortunately, the owner, Tyson tells me there is no difference in the sedan and coupe’s driving dynamics. So how does a 20 year old Acura measure up?

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2008 Acura TSX Review

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In the 1990s, the Acura Integra fulfilled the role as Acura’s entry level sedan. With its blend of good reliability, handling, and fuel efficiency, the Integra was a success. It soldiered on to the 2000s before being replaced by the TSX. With the demise of the four door Integra in Acura’s lineup, Honda’s luxury division, Acura saw fit to introduce the TSX  (Touring Sportscar eXperimental) in 2004. What most people don’t know is that the TSX is actually sold as the Honda Accord in other countries. In Europe, the TSX is sold as the Accord and is marketed as Honda’s family sedan instead of the much larger model we get in America.  Acura positioned the TSX as a cheaper and sportier alternative to the bigger and pricier TL. Even though I favor the TL, I have always liked the TSX. The 2004-2008 TL is my realistic dream car (by realistic, I mean affordable and non exotic), but I usually favor smaller cars, so I was keen to see if I would like the TSX better than the TL, especially if it delivered in the driving dynamics department. Continue reading

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1992 Acura NSX Review

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Even though the Honda NSX (Acura is Honda’s luxury division, and the NSX was sold as an Acura in North America) debuted in 1990, Honda actually started development in 1984, and the NSX was codenamed the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Xperimental). Honda gave its engineers a task: create a mid-engined supercar that rivals Ferraris and Lamborghinis while providing the comfort and refinement expected of a Honda. Pininfarina, a famous automotive design firm recognized for the design of many Ferraris and Lamborghinis, was tasked to come up with the design for the HP-X. The name changed from HP-X to NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental). Throughout development, Honda enlisted legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Sienna as the test driver for the NSX. Sienna drove the NSX on Honda’s Suzuka Circuit in Japan, and relayed feedback to Honda’s engineers regarding the handling. The NSX was also the first production car to feature an all aluminum body which aided acceleration and handling. Sadly, the NSX ceased production in 2005, but it is regarded as one of the most famous supercars of all time. Continue reading

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2013 Acura ILX 2.4 Review

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As Acura came to the US marketplace in 1986, its first two models included the Legend and the Integra. The Integra, based off the Civic’s platform, aimed to provide a more reliable and affordable rival to the BMW 3-Series. However, it was not regarded as a direct rival, but it did achieve success. It garnered record sales due to its blend of engaging handling, typical Japanese reliability, and affordability. Third successful generations would follow, as well as a name change to RSX. Then in 2006, as Acura was repositioning itself as a true luxury company, the RSX was dropped as it did not fit within this new strategy. The ILX is not an official replacement for the Integra/RSX, but it shares the title of Acura’s entry level car, a role that the Integra/RSX fulfilled. The ILX’s purpose is similar to that of the Integra: to provide reliability, comfort, some degree of luxury, in a fun to drive package.

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2005 Acura TL Review

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Before 2004, the Acura TL wasn’t considered a genuine rival to the BMW 3 series and Mercedes C class, which could be attributed to its image and dullness. The 2004 redesign changed that. Combining modern styling, sharp performance, affordability, and comfort, the TL surprised it’s German rivals with its competence. The fact it was available in Type S trim and with a manual transmission didn’t hurt either.The original TL (TL stands for ‘Touring Luxury’) was introduced in 1996 to replace the Vigor. The TL did not concern the Europeans as it had dull styling and underwhelming performance. Same thing applies to the second generation TL which debuted in 1999. It wasn’t till 2004 that Acura gave a car the Europeans were afraid of. It became the second best selling luxury sedan behind the BMW 3-Series in the U.S following 2004. Continue reading

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2007 Acura RL Review

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No, your eyes do not deceive you. What you see here is an Acura RL. With 379 of the RLs sold in 2012, it is rare. I told the owner of this car this fact, and she said, “Hmm, then I guess my car is a collectible!”.  The RL’s genealogy can be traced back to the Legend. in 1986, Honda created a luxury division with the Mid size Legend and the compact sporty Integra. Replacing the successful and popular Legend that jump started the Acura brand, the 1996 RL attempted to provide a comfortable and reliable alternative to the BMW 5 series and Mercedes E-Class. It barely made a dent on the sales chart, as the Acura with its front wheel drive layout and 200 horsepower V6 could not match the superior dynamics and power of its European rivals, and also it lacked prestige. The Acura RL was redesigned in 2005, and for the first time, all-wheel drive was standard. In 2014, the RL is succeeded by the RLX. Continue reading

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