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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
February 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview Entering its fourth season in Acura's lineup, the compact RSX sport coupe gets significant performance and styling enhancements this season.
In base form, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder generates 160 horsepower. The performance-focused Type-S edition gets a boost from 200 to 210 hp for 2005, courtesy of high-performance camshafts, a larger intake duct and a larger-diameter exhaust pipe. A lower final drive ratio with the six-speed-manual gearbox in the 2005 Type-S should deliver quicker acceleration.
Both front-wheel-drive hatchback models use track-tuned suspensions that have been enhanced for 2005 with reduced ride height, retuned bushings and thicker stabilizer bars. To produce handling traits that complement its increased engine output, the Type-S features firmer springs and dampers and a larger front stabilizer.
Exterior Designed with a particularly curvaceous profile, the RSX coupe has a new pentagonal grille that resembles other Acura models. Tri-beam headlights, body-colored side sills and lower, rectangular air ducts are used on 2005 models.
The body displays chiseled accent lines and features short front and rear overhangs. Compound-curved window glass complements thin A- and B-pillars to improve visibility.
P205/55R16 tires on the base model are mounted on five-spoke alloy wheels. The Type-S rides on P215/45R17 tires. A power moonroof is standard. The Type-S gets a deck-lid spoiler.
Interior Four people fit inside the RSX, which features two front bucket seats and a 50/50-split folding rear seat. Base-model upholstery is fabric, but the Type-S gets perforated leather. Large gauges are grouped in a pod that's angled toward the driver. The seats have more-supportive bolstering for 2005. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is installed, and a seven-speaker Bose stereo system with an in-dash six-CD changer goes into the Type-S. Cargo volume totals 16 cubic feet.
Under the Hood A 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 160 hp powers the base RSX. The Type-S gets a stronger four-cylinder that now generates 210 hp at 7,800 rpm and 143 pounds-feet of torque at 7,000 rpm; it requires premium fuel.
A five-speed-manual transmission is standard in the base model. The optional five-speed automatic has a manual-shift provision and incorporates Grade Logic Control, which holds the proper gear on steep grades and minimizes unnecessary shifting. The Type-S comes only with a close-ratio six-speed-manual gearbox.
Safety Standard equipment includes all-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags, occupant-position and height sensors for the front passenger, front seat belt pretensioners and a LATCH system for child-safety seats.
Driving Impressions Acura took an impressive leap forward with the defiantly sporty, exceptionally spirited RSX. Both versions behave in a manner comparable to its alluring style.
Crisper handling is a big bonus with the tautly suspended Type-S, which exacts little penalty in ride comfort. The base model rides even more pleasantly.
Base-model performance is eager with the automatic transmission, but the 160-hp engine emits a fair amount of blare when pushed to high rpm levels. Type-S acceleration scores as all-out energetic, and its richer exhaust note is especially satisfying. The easy-action close-ratio gearbox in the Type-S is one of the best around.