Tag 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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The Windy City: Chicago Auto Show ’15

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Chicago Auto Show. This was my third time, and as expected, nothing compares to seeing a showroom full of cars. Prior to this car show, I was really anxious for the reveal of the third generation 2016 Pilot. My first car was a 2004 Honda Pilot (my sister is currently driving it), and I love it, so as a Pilot owner, I was curious to see whether Honda would continue the blocky styling or go the “mommy SUV” route. And my reaction was…unexpected. Seeing all these wonderful cars in one place, I went into overload with excitement, and all of sudden I could not have the capacity to restrain myself, and as such, I irritated my family because I could not stop talking about cars. Oh well.  Please forgive the quality of my pictures as these were taken from an iPhone.   Continue reading

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2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder Review

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Despite all the attention on Toyota’s plain Jane but reliable Corolla and Camry sedans, Toyota did actually have a reputation for making affordable sports cars. Reputable examples of this are the Supra, Celica, and the MR2. In 1976, Toyota came up with a proposal for a vehicle that placed an emphasis on driving dynamics while providing typical Toyota virtues such as reliability, affordability, and fuel efficiency. Akio Yashida, the man behind the original MR2 decided on a mid-engine configuration for optimal handling balance. A company known for its practical and ordinary cars, the  1984 MR2 proved that Toyota could make fun and affordable sports cars. Even though it was powered by small engines, the MR2’s sub 2,500 pounds curb weight gave it unbeatable balance and go kart reflexes. Combine the legendary handling with typically Toyota quality and reliability as well as affordability, and the first generation MR2 would become one of Toyota’s greatest cars ever made. My friend’s mom who currently drives a Mercedes C250 Coupe told me her first car was a supercharged 1988 MR2 five speed. Even though she has had some sweet cars over the years as well as four Mercedes-Benzes, she still claims the MR2 was the best car she ever had, and would buy another one if Toyota still produced them. The MR2 was redesigned in 1989 (North America got the second MR2 in late 1990 as a 1991 model year car). In contrast to the first generation’s angular styling, the second featured curvier and shapely styling. The second MR2 also gained weight significantly and horsepower was increased. While it was commercially successful, MR2 purists did not like it as much as the first due to the loss of delicate handling as an effect of the increased curb weight. In 1999, Toyota redesigned the MR2, bringing it closer to the weight of the first generation, and coined its moniker, MR2 Spyder. Sadly, Toyota discontinued the MR2 Spyder in 2007 (2005 in North America).  Continue reading

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2004 Honda Pilot EX-L Review (My Car)

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Most people ask me that if I have all this knowledge about cars, I must be driving something interesting and a car that only car enthusiasts would drive. Well, the truth of the matter is that I drive a Honda Pilot. That’s right, a 2004 Honda Pilot EX-L in Sage Bush Metallic. Yep, it’s an automatic SUV, which makes me out to be a hypocrite, especially since I preach manual transmissions, and since I say that SUVs are my least favorite type of cars. Let me tell you about the story behind this car, who by the way I named Neela (after the girl in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift who drives a Mazda RX-8). At the time, we had a 1995 Honda Odyssey LX and a 2002 Toyota Camry. While it was a great car, the Odyssey was getting old, and a family member really needed a car, so we gave the car to her. It had 140,000 miles, and my family and I never really considered it a minivan due to the lack of sliding doors which helped my mom avoid the “soccer-mom” mentality. Anyways, this was in 2004, when SUVs were becoming the norm for family cars, and as you guessed, my parents jumped on the bandwagon. My family loves Hondas, but we wanted to go upmarket, so we looked at the Acura MDX (Acura is Honda’s luxury division). My mom loved the MDX, but my father, the cost conscious buyer, was keen on the MDX’s sibling, the Honda Pilot. It had launched a year ago, and we had many friends with Pilots, and everybody loved theirs. We went to the Honda dealership, and we looked at the Pilot.  Naturally, being a young kid, I was bored by all the technical talk, so my sister and I played around in the showroom cars. We test drove a red Pilot with a tan interior, and we were all amazed at how roomy and comfortable it was. We went to the Honda dealership a lot more after that. Then one night, my family went to the dealer without telling me and left me at home with the babysitter. The next day, we went to the dealership, and my sister (who loved to brag and tease me) told me, “Ha-Ha, Mom and Dad took me to the dealer, and not you, and I got to pick out the color! They like me better than you.” I pretended not to believe her, so I asked her, “Oh yeah? Where is our car? Huh? Huh?” And she pointed outside, and there was our Pilot. It was a Friday morning on May 28, 2004. It was a sunny afternoon, and our Pilot was so shiny it sparkled. That weekend, we embarked on a family trip in our brand new car to Ohio. We stopped at a farm, where we got to ride horses. My horse’s name was Diablo, and I remember this because at the time, my favorite Lamborghini was the Diablo. Before we knew it, we were driving this car everywhere. This car has been all over the country. We drove the Pilot many times to Canada, and Mexico two times, and it has been to both coasts of the country. Before I knew it, high school came. When I got my permit, I was supposed to drive our 2002 Toyota Camry, but as being a typical car guy, I said, “heck no!” I wanted a Ford Mustang so badly for my first car, and I was dismayed to find out my first car would be handed down to me. At first, I felt sad, because out of my friends, I had the boring car (my friends had a 2011 Ford Mustang, 2012 Dodge Challenger, Chargers, you name it). But after three years of driving this car, I cannot wish for a better first car. Since this blog just turned a year old, I thought it would be cool to do a review of my own car. I have been thinking about doing this for a long time, and I have been pressured to do so. Ever since I started this blog, I have had impromptu photo shoots of Neela. If I’m driving, and I see a location that I like, I’ll pull over for some pictures. I have accumulated quite a lot of pictures over time, and it is interesting to see how the car has changed in the past year. I actually posted a photo shoot of Neela and another Honda Pilot way back in Decemeber. I just never had the opportunity to do an actual review because I was always writing a review of another car. Now, the perfect opportunity presented itself. Just know that this review will be really long, because this isn’t a review of a random car. I’ve known this car for 10 years, which is a lot to summarize in a typical review, so brace yourself. Hope you guys enjoy it!

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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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