1998 Acura CL Premium 3.0 from North America


A smooth-driving reliable A to B runner that has plenty of power when I need it


Power steering line leak - The high pressure line was leaking slightly when I bought the car. Was a pain to replace, but I managed to do it myself. The part was $60 (the fluid leak would drip on the belts, causing a dash warning for a bad alternator as the belt would slip a little).

Replaced 2 tires.

Occasional weirdness with warning lights (not CEL) - brake lamp out light will come on even though all brake lamps work fine, back left blinker quits working sometimes and magically comes back on its own. I think there's a bad ground somewhere, but haven't bothered to try to hunt it down yet.

General Comments:

I needed a reliable vehicle quick and cheap to mostly just get to and from work. I picked this CL up on Craigslist for $1600. Normally I wouldn't bother with something with this kind of mileage - 255k - but the seller had receipts for a recent trans replacement (the trans can be an issue with the CL), and other than that, the car checked out great.

The car handles fine, feels like a bigger car than it looks, and this 3.0L has the speed when and if I need it. Cruises smooth on the highway. Has been decent on gas, not much more expensive to run than my old little 4 cylinder.

I'm not a fan of its looks, 2 doors can be a pain sometimes, trunk space is huge.

Overall a smooth-driving reliable A to B runner that has plenty of power when I need it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2016

1998 Acura CL 2.3 from North America


The Ultimate Underdog!


80k miles - Had to replace the radiator after a few months of ownership (upgraded to metal from the default plastic). Never had any follow-up issues with it.

Nothing else.

General Comments:

I felt I needed to write a tribute to this amazing vehicle - so here it is:


This is the ultimate underdog. No one wanted this car in Los Angeles when I bought it. I picked it up at the same price as a Civic that would have had twice the mileage and none of the options.


It is extremely reliable. I drove 20k miles per year, drove aggressively, did 2 multi-thousand mile journeys, and this car didn't have a single problem, other than the radiator cracking in the first few months (but the plastic radiator is something you will see with all cars of this era). I did not bring it to the dealer/mechanic even once. The trick was to change the oil regularly and to use full-synthetic (and learn to do the basic maintenance). By the way, I sold this car to my friend after having driven 50k miles, and he is still driving it happily.

Driving the car:

This car has phenomenal visibility. No car can compare to this. There are virtually no blind spots. This makes driving this car very safe.

This car has bad acceleration (only 150 ft-lbs torque) but excellent handling. Bear in mind this is no M3, but the good cornering saved my life twice - so don't underestimate it. Handling is the only real difference between the CL and the Accord.

The car rides comfortably at 90mph, and doesn't rattle too much at 110-120mph (but it is clearly not built for it). If you like driving at 90+ mph, don't look at Honda's - get a BMW.

It is not quiet (but isn't loud either) - but this may be largely attributed to the tires I used (they lasted more than 50k miles). At both low and high speeds, you can hear the 4 cylinder engine (which can be tiring). The wind noise for a car of this era is not very high.

The mileage is okay, but it has a huge fuel tank - I have done 450 miles on one refill on multiple occasions. In LA driving conditions, I would get about 25 mpg (stuck in traffic), and 32-33 on long trips (approx. 75-80mph). If you start driving faster, at 90-100 mph, the mileage drops below city.

The turning radius is awful due to the handling modifications. But hey - it makes you a better driver.


Upholstery/leather, moon/sunroof, (auto) AC, electric seats and other features were all good, but nothing stood out to be amazing or bad.

Room in the back seats is surprisingly okay for a coupe, but 3 in the back is too many.

The back seats don't fold! But this has to do with the handling improvements, as it adds rigidity to the vehicle.

The trunk is very large for a coupe (same as any sedan).


Excellent paint (no issues, but I lived in a warm climate).

I think the styling is good, but that is extremely subjective, since most people didn't like it. I think the car was simply ahead of its time, since cars have more similar features nowadays.

Note: The '97 model was the first Honda ever built in the United States, and suffered from huge problems (many cars would crash at 60+ mph due to common manufacturing faults). This destroyed this car's reputation - but Honda fixed all the problems in the next production line (i.e. 1998). Also, FYI, this car is based on the fully-loaded Honda Accord of the same year, but has upgraded handling and no foldaway back seats. Incidentally, a basic Accord was 30% more expensive than this CL.

Conclusion: I highly recommend this car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th July, 2011

23rd Jul 2011, 20:02

Nice review. I have a 98 3.0, which I've left a review and just updated.

Hands down the best car I've ever owned - had it 7 years. My last repair was over 4 years ago! The car still looks and drives great. Turning radius is a joke, don't really think about it too much. Just give myself a lot of room!

Too bad they didn't make the 3.0 with a stick, but oh well.