2003 Acura RSX

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Key Specs

of the 2003 Acura RSX. Base trim shown.

2003 Acura RSX Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
For its second season in Acura’s lineup, little has changed for the compact RSX sport coupe, which replaced the long-lived Integra. Unlike the Integra, which came in coupe and sedan forms, the RSX is built only as a front-wheel-drive hatchback coupe. Dick Colliver, Acura executive vice president, promises “a true race-bred driving experience.”

In base form, the four-cylinder engine generates 160 horsepower. The performance-focused Type-S edition spits out 40 hp more and features firmer springs and dampers and a larger front stabilizer bar. The RSX is the first Acura equipped with an intelligent valve-control system, which is intended to enhance performance and efficiency.

Exterior
The RSX is curvaceous in profile; it has a grille that provides a family resemblance to other Acura models. Large multireflector headlights and a beveled chin spoiler accompany the grille. Displaying chiseled accent lines, the body features short front and rear overhangs. Compound-curved window glass complement thin A- and B-pillars to improve visibility. The RSX rides a 101.2-inch wheelbase and measures 172.2 inches long overall.

Michelin P205/55R16 tires are mounted on five-spoke alloy wheels. Variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering is installed. The suspension consists of Control-Link MacPherson struts up front and double wishbones in the rear. A power moonroof is standard.

Interior
Four people fit in the RSX, with two front bucket seats and a 50/50-split, foldin...
Vehicle Overview
For its second season in Acura’s lineup, little has changed for the compact RSX sport coupe, which replaced the long-lived Integra. Unlike the Integra, which came in coupe and sedan forms, the RSX is built only as a front-wheel-drive hatchback coupe. Dick Colliver, Acura executive vice president, promises “a true race-bred driving experience.”

In base form, the four-cylinder engine generates 160 horsepower. The performance-focused Type-S edition spits out 40 hp more and features firmer springs and dampers and a larger front stabilizer bar. The RSX is the first Acura equipped with an intelligent valve-control system, which is intended to enhance performance and efficiency.

Exterior
The RSX is curvaceous in profile; it has a grille that provides a family resemblance to other Acura models. Large multireflector headlights and a beveled chin spoiler accompany the grille. Displaying chiseled accent lines, the body features short front and rear overhangs. Compound-curved window glass complement thin A- and B-pillars to improve visibility. The RSX rides a 101.2-inch wheelbase and measures 172.2 inches long overall.

Michelin P205/55R16 tires are mounted on five-spoke alloy wheels. Variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering is installed. The suspension consists of Control-Link MacPherson struts up front and double wishbones in the rear. A power moonroof is standard.

Interior
Four people fit in the RSX, with two front bucket seats and a 50/50-split, folding rear seat. The upholstery is a blend of regular and suede-look fabric in the base coupe, while the Type-S gets perforated leather; leather is optional in the base model. Large, metallic-faced gauges are grouped in a pod that’s angled toward the driver, who clutches a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A seven-speaker Bose stereo system with an in-dash CD changer goes into the Type-S edition. Cargo volume totals 17.8 cubic feet.

Under the Hood
A 2.0-liter, 16-valve i-VTEC four-cylinder engine powers the base RSX, which produces 160 hp and 141 pounds-feet of torque. The Type-S gets a stronger four-cylinder that generates 200 hp and 142 pounds-feet; it requires premium fuel.

A five-speed-manual transmission is standard in the base model. An optional five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic unit incorporates Grade Logic Control, which holds the proper gear and decreases unnecessary shifting on steep grades. Type-S coupes come 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 RSX, which ranks as exceptional. In both the base and Type-S versions, the coupe behaves 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, if subtle, with the Sequential SportShift automatic transmission, but the 160-hp engine emits a fair amount of blare when pushed to high rpm levels. Type-S acceleration ranks as all-out energetic, and its richer exhaust note is particularly satisfying. The close-ratio gearbox in the Type-S is one of the best around.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
Posted on 3/26/03

Latest 2003 RSX Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Fun to Drive and reliable

by bensanford from Falls Church on July 17, 2018

This car has met all of my needs for 15 years. The RSX Type-S has the extra performance over the base model, and is still a very reliable car. I have seen RSX's approaching 200,000 miles. It also gets ... Read full review

(5.0)

Fun Car for Cheap

by JonathanmFranklin from Frederick, MD on July 4, 2018

I loved owning this car. It's the absolutely best money for performance you can buy. With only a few upgrades, it looks fantastic and performs amazingly. On top of this, the rear trunk space and ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2003 Acura RSX currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Acura RSX has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The RSX received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker