From a prototype to a full-blown FWD hatchback coupe, the Acura RSX had offered its users with accessible performance and a unique sporty style. As a “groundbreaking sports car” according to Dick Colliver, Acura’s Executive VP, the RSX promised to deliver “a true race-bred driving experience”. Throughout its lifespan, the RSX had appealed to consumers with its high level of refinement, unmatched reliability, and a well-deserved resale value.
2001 – 2002: Gaining ground
Launched by Honda at the 2001 New York Auto Show, the first Acura RSX was available as a front-wheel-drive hatchback coupe. A 160 hp four-cylinder engine came with the base model two-door coupe, while its performance-focused model, the Type-S edition, offered its users with 40 hp more. Aside from strong engine choices, the 2002 RSX was the first to use Acura’s “intelligent” valve-control system, which enhanced performance and efficiency.
A five-speed manual transmission came standard with the base model, while a five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic was offered as an option. However, Type-S models only had a standard, close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox. The first RSX base models possessed most of Acura’s convenience features such as an automatic climate control, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, and a moonroof. Standard safety features included side-impact airbags, and three-channel, all-disc antilock brakes.
2003 – 2004: Developing gradually
The second model of the RSX came with minor updates. The Type-S had crisper handling with its taut suspension, while the base model had an eager performance with its Sequential SportShift automatic transmission. Power options were retained and the interior was slightly changed. Base models still ran on regular gas and Type-S versions were still powered by premium fuel.
Grade Logic Control feature was offered, giving users the ease of mind when it comes to shifting gears. This feature is capable of holding the proper gear and avoiding unnecessary shifting on steep grades.
2005 – 2006: Concluding years
The RSX remained available in two trim levels, the base model and the Type-S. The Acura RSX’s fourth and fifth versions received a number of performance and styling enhancements. This included a lower final drive ratio with the six-speed manual gearbox available in the Type-S, resulting in quicker acceleration.
In 2006, the base RSX, which initially produced 160 hp, was re-rated to 155 due to new SAE horsepower ratings. A stronger four-cylinder engine was offered in the Type-S, now producing 210 hp at 7,800 rpm and 143 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm. In terms of design, the 2006 RSX came with compound-curved window glass to improve visibility. The steering wheel was also revamped with a new leather wrap, and the seats were given a more supportive bolstering.