Acura RSX Type S Road Test Review – Sport Compact Car Magazine

3 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Acura RSX Type S Road Test Review – Sport Compact Car Magazine

The Integra’s successor is worthy of the name. even though the name has changed

Get your head around this: The car on these pages is, to car nuts like us, the new Integra. To Japan, Europe, Australia and the rest of the world, this is the new Integra. To the rest of the American public and our friends in Canada, this is the all-new Acura RSX.

Got that?

The reason for the confusion is simple. In Europe and Japan, the Integra has always been a Honda, and everyone has been happy. Here in Acura-land, however, the Integra has seemed a little out of place in the Acura line.

While the TL, RL and CL oozed calm, comforting luxury from every stitch of their leather-lined cabins, the Integra has been a screaming, pavement clawing terror. Like a wild child in a retirement home, it just seemed like it belonged somewhere else. Naturally, that’s exactly why we liked it.

Getting the Integra, or its successor, more in line with the rest of Acura’s cars meant changes from both sides. The introduction of the CL Type S and, more recently, the TL Type S, has shot some adrenaline into the sedate end of the Acura line; now it’s time for the wild child to grow up.

Grown up, mature and refined are the standard euphemisms for big, heavy and boring, so it was with some trepidation that I first settled into the driver’s seat of the new RSX. The PR spin is that the RSX is both more luxurious and a better performer than the Integra, but that sounds suspiciously too good to be true. Luxury means heavy, performance means light; luxury means quiet, performance means loud; you get the picture.

But then again, this is Honda Motor Company, the same company that made a 9000 rpm, 120-hp/liter Low Emissions Vehicle. Compared with the S2000, an all-around better Integra should be a cakewalk.

Sure enough, by the fourth turn of Honda’s spectacular Twin Ring Motegi road course, it was pretty obvious Honda had done it again. Turn four is a slightly deceiving off-camber right, the third of an exhilarating four-turn series that you must string together just right to come out fast.

I didn’t, of course, and by turn four, I was headed toward the grass at 8000 rpm. This is where a driver’s car shows its stuff. I dropped off the throttle momentarily and gave the wheel the tiniest jab to the right. At this point, your mom’s car would hold its line and simply slow down and squeal. The less sorted performance car might tuck in and go right, then snap back to the left when you try to get back on the right line.

The RSX, on the other hand, responded perfectly. With a quick bark from all four tires, the nose tucked in, the tail slid wide just a bit and the car went right where I wanted. Very few cars seem so predictable and so balanced the first time you drive them, but the RSX was obviously developed with the wild child in mind.

As with most high-performance Hondas, it’s the drivetrain that shines brightest when you’re behind the wheel. All the gory details about this all-new powerplant are in the Nerd’s Eye View elsewhere in this story, but if the details don’t interest you, here’s the short version: It’s a screamer! Power delivery is fantanstic, with healthy torque and a gearbox that lets you stay up in the meat of the powerband the whole time.

More luxurious and sportier? You bet. In the end, the RSX ends up bigger and more comfortable on the inside and faster on the outside. But will it be the aftermarket king its predecessor has been?

The competition is certainly stiffer this time around, but I’d put money on the RSX doing just fine.

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