2003 RSX New Car Test Drive
Acura RSX is a sport coupe for drivers who want performance and sophistication. That sophistication extends from the well-appointed cockpit to the superb driving dynamics.
Honda's powerful twin-cam engines, well-tuned sports suspensions, and four-wheel disc brakes make the RSX an exciting ride. Supportive, contoured seats, excellent visibility, and all the conveniences make it a comfortable ride. RSX is also practical, with a useable back seat and expandable cargo space accessible through its rear hatch.
With its powerful, high-revving engine, Type-S is a terrific car for the single, upwardly mobile driving enthusiast. The standard RSX is appointed well, but may be a bit firm for buyers who suffer a grinding daily commute.
RSX is unchanged for 2003, but a new performance kit is available for the Type-S.
RSX breaks from Acura's CL, TL, RL nomenclature. The X in RSX means this is one of Acura's specialty models, like the NSX and the new TSX. RSX is only available as a two-door coupe. Though called a coupe, it is a hatchback in practical use.
Two engines are available. The base RSX ($19,975) is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 160 horsepower. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission, or optional five-speed automatic with SportShift ($20,875). Cloth is standard. Perforated leather upholstery ($1075) is optional.
RSX Type-S ($23,270) gets a 200-horsepower version of the same 2.0-liter inline-4. Type-S comes exclusively with a six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox. Leather is standard. Also standard is a Bose AM/FM/cassette/six-disc in-dash CD changer with seven speakers, including a big woofer.
Otherwise, there aren't any options. So you only need to make two major choices: whether you want cloth or leather, and if you want leather, whether you want the more powerful engine and related sports equipment. There's no need for options because the base RSX models come standard with all of the convenience features of the more powerful Type-S: automatic climate control, cruise control, power windows and locks, power moonroof, antilock brakes, and 16-inch alloy wheels. RSX also comes standard with a premium six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo.
Acura is offering a performance package for RSX Type-S, which is installed at dealerships ($4,800 plus installation). The package includes high-performance, track-tuned shocks and springs, slotted brake rotors and performance brake pads, lightweight 17x7.5-inch alloy wheels, high-performance tires (225/45VR17), a factory rear wing, underbody spoiler kit, and special interior trim. This is the first time Acura has offered a comprehensive high-performance kit to be installed by dealers and covered under a factory warranty.