1997 Acura 1.6 EL Sport 1.6L from North America


Precise handling and reliability


Wiring short due to theft attempt. Both horns and security/hood switch had to be replaced at a cost of $550.00 Canadian funds.

General Comments:

I've had this vehicle since new and have never had to visit the dealership for unscheduled maintenance other than damage caused by an attempted theft. 7 years later and 160 000 km, and the 1.6EL runs the same as the day I bought it.

The handling on this car is its most appealing feature. The engine is adequate, but not overly powerful. You need to be willing to drive this car at high rpm to extract any performance from it.

Braking is excellent and so is the brake wear. I replaced my first set of brakes at 120 000 km.

A separate set of snow/winter tires are highly recommended.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th July, 2004

17th Apr 2006, 20:46

Definitely fun for those occasional bursts of speed when passing.

21st Jun 2009, 10:50

My dad bought this car at new in 1996 for a business car. he drove it all around Ontario, and racked up around 345 000 KM before handing it to me. Nothing very major is wrong with it, except the crankshaft key way, holding on the power steering and alternator pulley, is worn out so if the bolt loosens the whole pulley falls off. This has only happened twice and I guess is an easy fix to replace the pulley, but requires a rebuild to fix the crankshaft. Also one of the metal brake lines burst and lost all brake power going 100km on a highway. Luckily it is a 5 speed so I was able to use engine braking to get to my friends house.

Nothing apart from regular maintenance has gone seriously wrong. The whole transmission is original for the 350 000 KM, and still works perfectly. The engine is a little underpowered, but it's incredibly fuel efficient (500km on about 35 Liters of gas, and that's not conservative driving!) and still powerful enough for it's lifetime. A little bit of rust is forming around the wheel wells because this is our beater car now and my parents don't want to undercoat a 350 000KM car anymore... which is kind of silly in my opinion because it is still a perfect runner with very few things wrong.

On the inside of the car, 3 of the 4 automatic locking doors stopped working, so you have to manually unlock them, and the A/C has something wrong with it, but yet again my parents don't want to spend the money to get it fixed. The radio and stereo system is still original and pumps the tunes just fine, except the volume knob needs a little encouragement to respond at times. But all in all this car is still a really good runner with unbeatable Honda dependency, and for 350 000KM is amazingly reliable and still running strong, and hopefully for many more kilometers!

1997 Acura 1.6 EL Sport 1.6L from North America


An underpowered city driver


Transmission was replaced one year after purchase, on warranty.

OEM tires performance was horrible since the day the car was bought - winter performance horrible, I bought winter tires immediately.

Headlight filled up with water within one year - replaced under warranty.

After installing the Acura Gold Trim (emblems) - they peeled after warranty expired.

At 90,000 km the side mirror heater switch broke - had to pay for it, since warranty expired.

At 95,000 km the passenger side motor, which blows air from the AC/heater started to make noise - has to be replaced now - dealer quoted me $300 (approx.)

At 97,000 km Glove Box could not be opened, with my house keys inside - I had to pry it open and one week later paid $80 to replace & install a new hatch.

At 104,000 km the car noises from under the body got really loud - had to replace both rear Stabilizer Links for $220.

General Comments:

The car handles much better on NEW tires, the OEM Michelin XGT V4 tires were poor, in summer and especially in winter.

The interior noise is almost unbearable.

The car is ideal for city driving and is not very comfortable for long trips.

The interior light - for viewing map is worthless and I have gotten in the habit of carrying batteries and a flashlight.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th August, 2003

22nd Jul 2004, 19:07

You had all these problems and yet STILL kept it till well over 100K? What does that say?

3rd Feb 2009, 23:07

I was thinking of buying a 1997 model but now I am thinking twice. If the transmission went out this is not good at all.

I hope people are leaving honest comments I really do as this could ruin the purchase for someone else.

How is the engine though? Head gasket, oil leakage and stuff?


27th Aug 2009, 01:41

The engine seems fine, but the transmission on this car, which is the same as the Civic, tends to fail early. Google for civic transmission failure, slippage, you'll see it's common. Changing the ATF regularly will help to extend its life.

1997 Acura 1.6 EL 1.6 from North America


Great deal at the time


The car was fine until the transmission failed 4 months after the warranty expired. After complaining to Honda Canada we got a goodwill replacement. The dealer initially wanted to charge $4500 for a new transmission.

It's starting to develop lots of annoying noises.

General Comments:

It is a great car to drive in the city.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th July, 2003

9th Oct 2005, 20:42

Sorry to hear about your transmission problem, the 5 speeds are practically bulletproof.