The Acura RSX: Lift-back queen from the mid-2000s

Among one of the coolest cars from the mid-2000s was the Acura RSX. After the car's discontinuation in 2006, this elite car has been around with the people who know what it is to have a good car. Back in the day, these machines were cool.

Table of Contents

Acura RSX from front

Among one of the coolest cars from the mid-2000s was the Acura RSX. After the car’s discontinuation in 2006, this elite car has been around with the people who know what it is to have a good car. Back in the day, these machines were cool. The RSX, as the replacement for the Integra, had a much better value.

Acura RSX from back

Even though the car debuted twenty years ago, the design never seems outdated. From cool designs to a look that is a head turner. Acura RSX has been a fan of petrolheads since its production.

The Evolution of Acura NSX:

Acura RSX 1st gen

The year was 1985 when Honda debuted the Honda Quint Integra in Japan. The vehicle was later sold in America under the name Acura.

The first generation car had around 84 horsepower. The 1.6-litre DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder (D16A1) engine that powered the first-generation Acura Integra was updated mid-cycle. Due to the color of their valve covers, the 86–87 engine is called the “Browntop,” whereas the 88–89 engine is nicknamed the “Blacktop.” Lightweight rods that domed pistons for a little better compression ratio and an electronic advance distributor were among the ‘tarmac’ engine’s upgrades. For 118 hp, the overall performance increase was around five hp.

Acura RSX 2nd gens

In 1989, an entirely new Integra was released. The hatchback coupe version of the second-generation Integra was still offered, but a new 4-door notchback was substituted for the 5-door hatchback.

Compared to the first generation, the subsequent generation Integra coupe is 1.8 in (46 mm) wider and 4.2 in (107 mm) longer overall. The new 1.8-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engine with 130 HP as standard. The GS model came equipped with anti-lock brakes, and all cars sold in the US featured motorized front shoulder belts; those sold in Canada had mechanical front shoulder belts.

Acura RSX 3rd gen

The third-generation Honda vehicle made its debut in Japan in 1993. Honda released its Integra Type R to the native Japanese market in 1995. A factory-tuned version of the B18C engine with 197 horsepower was standard equipment on the Japanese specification Type R. Power output varies slightly depending on the market, with USDM vehicles producing 195 horsepower. The Integra Type R greatly outperformed the GS-R/Si/SiR-G Integra in terms of performance and handling because of its close-ratio 5-speed manual gearbox and helical-type limited-slip differential.

Acura RSX generations 1st, 2nd and 3rd

2001, the year of RSX. The name changed from Integra to Acura RSX. The firm changed its name to improve its reputation as a premium automobile maker. Acura’s Marketing experts believe that brands like Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz use alphanumeric names for their automobiles, so should they. And with that, Integra becomes RSX, wiping away the last trace of previous Acura designations.

This 4th generation debuted from 2001 to 2006 under the name Acura RSX. It was discontinued after that when the company sold 300 cars.

Acura RSX 5th gen

Today, the 5th Generation Acura Integra is in the market. The 2022 model has got it all.

The trims for Acura RSX

The Acura came in 2 different trim options.

Although the base model of the Acura RSX looked similar, it had the interior change of a sports seat with a cloth trim interior. It had dual trip meters. Power moonroof. Cruise control and remote key entry system. 16-inch alloy wheels.

Acura RSX automatic gear

The Type-S included sportier accessories. Sports seats but with leather trim. Had a titanium-finished gear knob. A rich bass woofer system.  17-inch alloy wheels. Body-colored spoiler and sport-tuned suspension. The exhaust outlet was Billet type.

Slamming the Accelerator on Acura RSX

Acura RSX engine

Looking closer under the hood, we see the reprofiled cams, the 11 percent bigger intake pipe, the 10 percent larger tailpipe, and the 10 percent freer-flowing catalytic converter. As a result, horsepower increases to 210 from 200 and torque to 143 pound-feet. Although it wouldn’t be enough to alter performance on its own noticeably, the engineers additionally decreased the final-drive ratio somewhat to speed up the Acura RSX.

The adjustments do result in observable outcomes. The 2005 Type-S accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds as opposed to the previous year’s car in 6.3 seconds, and it completes the quarter-mile distance in 14.9 seconds at 95 mph as opposed to 15.0 at 94 mph. These are decent figures, but we thought they would be slightly more so. Could a 68-pound curb weight increase caused by a stiffened body shell and more sound insulation slow down progress? It might.

Acura RSX from front

The 2005 model decreases the stopping distance by 15 feet and increases skidpad performance to 0.86 g, although 181 feet is still far from ideal. The revised vehicle attacks corners with greater enthusiasm and probably a bit less body roll, and steering reaction and feel are noticeably better.

Since 2001, the automobile has significantly improved. Each digit, while being little, has an effect.

The lush Acura RSX inside out.

The Acura RSX exterior looks lush, considering it is now a 20-year-old car. The side skirt looks fantastic. Every single RSX has been modified from its life since the debuted car launch, but looking at it stock gives you the feeling of euphoria. It looks like this beautiful compact sports car.

Acura RSX alloy wheels

The exterior differences among the trim levels are difficult to notice, but some things to notice are the ground effects and the 17-inch alloy wheels that look amazing. These wheels are only on the Type-S, but they are just beautiful to look at.

The body-colored side skirt has its vibe mid-2000 vibe to it. On the back is a very mild-looking decklid Spoiler that gives you a little hint about the performance but isn’t overly showy.

Acura RSX interior

The interior of the car is really special. Starting with the bucket seats, the leather held up well even today. The seats are comfortable, and there’s surprisingly supportive.

Acura RSX guages

The dashboard is quite driver-centric. The iconic Type-S white gauges look just amazing. The steering wheel is just perfectly blustered.

The stereo fits in the dashboard beautifully. The plastic controls are on the steering wheel. The whole car has a clean, simple layout, which is hard to find nowadays.

Acura RSX trunk
Acura RSX back seats

Being a hatchback, the Acura RSX is also super practical. The car can fit a ton of cargo. The backseats are foldable, which makes the cargo area even bigger.

Can the Acura RSX take on corners?

Acura RSX speeding on a corner

For being a hatchback front drive, the Acura RSX drives just like you imagine it to be. The shifts are crisps. The steering is tight. The suspension feels super tight, and this thing feels accurate. The car feels understated. The front-wheel drive doesn’t let back on you for being a daily driver. The ride is surprisingly quiet. The road noise is less. The engine requires input and wants you to rev it all the way, being a car that was meant to do so, but as a daily driver, the car will do all it can to give you the best out of it.

How safe is the Acura RSX?

Acura RSX safety

The safety systems of the car included:

  • The front driver/passenger airbags
  • frontal airbags with occupant position detection on the passenger’s side
  • child restraint structure lower anchors and top tether brackets
  • front and rear crumple zones, side-impact floor/door supports.
  • collapsible steering columns
  • impact-absorbing interior surfaces
  • four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system
  • all standard on both Acura RSX trims.


Acura RSX badge

The Acura RSX still makes it clear that it is a front-drive vehicle. Understeer is still its distinguishing characteristic. Similar to the original, a limited-slip diff would alleviate this and improve corner exits—likely more so than all the chassis modifications combined.

But that’s more of a footnote for a track day. The Acura RSX is difficult to beat as an all-purpose vehicle or an “everyday sports car,” as Acura calls it. It is quiet, cozy, well constructed, attractive to look at, quick enough to analyze traffic, and agile enough to be enjoyable on your preferred backroad. The Type-S was already the class leader. It moves even further ahead of the competition with the updated edition. When the throttle is slammed and the rpm soars, it changes from a relatively frugal, useful small to a “boy-racer” instantly. If you look for “pocket rocket” in the dictionary, a 2005 RSX Type S will be seen there. “Fun, easy, safe, and stable,” Hyato said.

Attributes of the Acura RSX:

Resale Values:


Awards for the car:

  • Car and Driver’s 10 Best lists for 2002 and 2003.
  • John Lingenfelter Memorial Trophy
  • Won the “Cheap Speed” comparison in Car & Driver against the Dodge SRT-4 ACR, Subaru Impreza WRX, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, and the Saturn ION Redline.
  • Spike TV’s “Autorox” car award for tastiest tuner.
  • Listed as one of Spike TV’s top 52 cars of all time.
  • 2001-2002 Sport Coupe Comparison Test, First Place.


Was the Acura RSX a leap for Acura?

Absolutely! It’s like Acura’s rebellious teenager—shedding the Integra name, embracing sportiness, and proving hatchbacks can be cool.

How does the RSX stack up against its mid-2000s competitors?

It’s the cool kid on the block. With its sleek design and agile performance, it outshone rivals and claimed its spot among the driving elite.

Is the Acura RSX reliable?

Like a trusty sidekick. It won awards, tackled daily drives effortlessly, and held its value. Acura RSX—a companion for the long haul.

Written by: TAZ

Your comprehensive website, your one-stop destination for a vast collection of articles and information about every car brand in existence.

More Goodreads from Motorcardata

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.