This guide offers buying advice about the Acura RSX, a sport hatchback that debuted in 2002.
The Acura RSX is a two-door sport hatchback. Replacing the Integra coupe, the RSX served as Acura's entry-level car from 2002 until 2006, when the brand decided to move itself more upscale and the car no longer fit into the company's scheme. Nevertheless, as a used car, both versions of the RSX should appeal to consumers desiring a reasonably affordable car that offers sporty coupe-like styling and accessible performance. Like most Acura vehicles, the RSX boasts a high level of refinement as well as a reputation for above-average reliability, competitive pricing and strong resale value.
In road tests, our editors found the RSX's main performance strengths to be nimble handling and responsive steering. The Type-S was particularly rewarding to drive. Throughout its production run, the Acura RSX was one of our favorite sport hatchbacks, but toward the end, several new and redesigned competitors of both versions usurped our favor.
Most Recent Acura RSX
Nearly every feature on the Acura RSX was standard, which makes finding a preferably equipped vehicle easy. Throughout its lifespan, there were two trim levels available: base and Type-S. The base model should work well for consumers interested in having a fun-to-drive car that's comfortable for daily commuting. The RSX Type-S has mechanical upgrades that increase the car's performance potential.
The base RSX came standard with the majority of convenience features expected for this class of car. Highlights included automatic climate control, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, a CD player and a moonroof. A smooth-revving four-cylinder was standard, and it came mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The base RSX initially produced 160 horsepower, but new SAE horsepower ratings in 2006 changed the number to 155. Leather seating was the only option.
The RSX Type-S added an in-dash six-CD changer, standard leather seating, 17-inch wheels, a more firmly tuned suspension and more powerful brakes. The Type-S also had a four-cylinder engine tuned to produce extra horsepower (200 hp, later increased to 201). A six-speed manual was the only choice for a transmission.
Because of its four-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive layout, the Acura RSX boasts better fuel economy than many other sport hatchbacks and coupes. Front-seat occupants will be comfortable, but adults sitting in back will find headroom lacking. The rear seat is split 60/40 and can be lowered to increase cargo capacity. So configured, the RSX boasts nearly 18 cubic feet of luggage space.
Consumers interested in a used or pre-owned RSX should not have a problem finding one that matches their desires. Only minor changes were made after the car's debut. The most significant of these occurred on the 2005 RSX model, when Acura revised the suspension and steering for better feel and response, updated the exterior styling and slightly increased the Type-S's horsepower output to 201.
Past Acura RSX Models
The RSX replaced the Acura Integra. Shoppers interested in a used Acura sport hatchback previous to '02 will want to research this model.