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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK, so my 02 TL-S is in the service dept. at Superior Acura (getting my mud guard damage repaired--read it here). For a loaner they gave me a 5000-mile EBP RSX 5-speed automatic with Sportshift. At last, this was my chance! I had wanted to drive and RSX ever since it was in production.

From the outside, the RSX was quite visibly a giant leap forward from the Integra. Gone were the Teg's curvaceous appearance and double headlights, replaced by a distinctively wedgy shape and an aggressive fascia.

Even at first glance, the interior was obviously very well made. I especially liked the brushed-aluminum accents on the dash and the instrument cluster with the downward-pointing needles. Every button and knob had a very smooth and precise feel to it--every dentent and button push gave a reassuringly positive tactile feedback. I didn't like the orange digital readouts at first, but it soon grew on me.

Especially fun was the smallish steering wheel. It has a comfortable nook where I could hook my thumbs, and a nicely-placed grip for cranking through turns. Even though the seats were cloth-lined, the steering wheel was still leather wrapped.

The door closed with a surprisingly solid thump. I cranked the engine and moved the metal-trimmed shift knob into Drive--whoa, that's one smooth feeling shifter. It had a very short throw for an automatic, and it really felt like I was moving some very well-synchronized gears under there, instead of just closing circuits.

The car handled especially well, especially in the curves. Its relatively short wheelbase made it a cinch to maneuver, and the stiff suspension was a blast to test around corners.

Pick up a little speed, and the base RSX's engine starts to show its shortcomings. It was out of breath in the low RPMs, only developing decent torque at 3500 RPM, so that's where I kept it most of the time. With a throaty growl I tilled my way through the five Sportshift gears, accelerating down the highway onramp with the engine roaring in my ears. Fortunately for the RSX, its fourth gear doesn't feel nearly as tall as the TL's, so acceleration was available well into highway speeds without downshifting.

The shifting action in Sportshift mode was wonderful! First of all the RSX didn't automatically upshift into 2nd gear like the TL or CL, and the shifts seemed to occur almost instantaneously. It's like having a professional shifter do the work for you all the time.

As I cruised down the highway, some flaws began to show. The A-pillar developed an incessant and annoying wind-induced whistle. The steering had a very jittery nature about it--somehow the car is difficult to keep in a straight line when the road is anything less than perfectly smooth. Maybe this particular car had an alignment problem, uneven tire wear or badly inflated tires. Who knows? And the engine definitely needed more oomph for passing in the fourth and fifth gears.

Road noise was noticeably lower compared to the Integra, but it was still there nonetheless.

Changing lanes presented a serious problem--the rear windows were absurdly small! The pair of tiny triangular viewports created enormous blind spots on either side of the car.

As I cruised down the state highway, it was obvious to me that this wasn't a touring vehicle. The ride was very firm, which is fun for a little while, but it'll wear you out if you travel very much; plus the steering demanded a moderate level of continuous attention, or the car will drift out of the lane at the sight of the first expansion joint.

As I pulled in to park at my destination, I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed my first ride. This was indeed a great car for the price--and a worthwhile successor to the Integra. It felt solid and worthy of the Acura badge, and had just enough funness to it to make each drive memorable.

Summary

Likes: Looks great. Feels solid. Nice firm seats and suspension that invite spirited driving. Dashboard controls had a crisp, precise feel. Good standard wheel size. Nice big hatch opening.

Dislikes: Lackluster engine (shoulda tried the Type S). Wind noise. Tiny rear side windows made lane changes hard. Wipers seemed cheap and cheesy, especially the back window wiper. When hatch door is wide open there is nothing to grab onto on its underside to pull it closed if you're a short person.

Overall: Great ride, great value for money. If you like a good ride on a small budget, this is the car for you.

I've also posted this review at epinions.com
 

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Oracle11iGuru
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Tom Strongman is retiring you should take over the Automotive KC star review on Wednesdays and Saturdays :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2001TL4KCdude said:
Tom Strongman is retiring you should take over the Automotive KC star review on Wednesdays and Saturdays :)
 

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Bling_Bling INSPIRE 32V
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I would go up to the dealer and test drive it for myself....but I don't have time for it! :(
 
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