1991 Acura Legend L 3.2L V6 from North America
Best car ever
Cracked radiator was replaced at 130000 miles and again when the problem developed at 205000 miles.
Leaky brake master cylinder at 150000 miles.
Power antenna jammed at 175000 miles.
Driver's leather seat is torn badly and some cracks have developed on the other seats, especially on the rear headrests and at the top of the parcel shelf where there is significant sun damage beginning around 180000 miles.
Transmission shifts more jerkily until fully warmed up beginning around 185000 miles (NOTE: This is likely due to use of generic ATF as Hondas/Acuras perform MUCH better with factory fluid in the tranny and is NOT a design flaw as in the Accord/Odyssey/TL/MDX cars).
CV joints worn at 200000 miles.
Left rear speaker housing loose and produces rattling at higher volume and over uneven pavement surfaces at 204000 miles.
A/C compressor went bad at 206000 miles.
Radio LED display will randomly turn off/on starting at 206000 miles.
Rear toe adjusting bars (this has to do with wheel alignment) froze at 207000 miles.
This car has been in my family since new (March 1991) and has recently become my daily driver after seeing its tour of duty within the family. I inherited it after 16 years and 199000 miles of use. I have added 10000 miles to the record, and there is nothing but praise for this car. The car still has the original engine AND transmission and DOES NOT exhibit the bad head gasket problems of many Legends despite the mileage.
Performance gets an 8 simply because it isn't the most economical car out there. Otherwise it would easily be 9 or 10. My former car was a Corolla, so forgive me for having high expectations there. Putting out 200 hp from an early '90's V6 is highly impressive, and still putting out that much power nearly two decades down the road is equally impressive. You can easily put lots of "riced out" Civics and Accords to shame, and even the occasional V6 Mustang. Excellent pull from the engine, though it's a bit soft in 3rd gear with the automatic. Drop it to 2nd or from a standstill and you'll chirp the wheels. Acceleration is buttery smooth at any RPM with characteristic Honda growl. Current MPG averages around 23 in mixed driving (bad days it's down to 21 and on good days I can push 24-25).
Interior room is excellent and the leather seats are extremely comfortable despite wear (vinyl or leatherette is so much better for longevity and is equally comfortable in my opinion). The driver seat has 10 way power adjustment so finding a good position is not hard. The steering wheel only telescopes in early models so I sometimes have a fit with the height of the wheel, but they also tilt in later model Legends. The center armrest is a nice touch that makes up for it. 5 can be a crowd because headroom is slim in the middle rear seat, but 4 will ride in uber luxury. I've crammed up to 9 people in the car just for fun and we all lived.
Reliability is easily a 10. As you can see, nothing major has gone wrong with the car. Most of the items gone bad are simply due to age and have nothing to due with the reliability or design of the car. The two things that MIGHT be included are the transmission and required use of Honda ATF-Z over generic Dexron ATF. The shifting is dramatically different. A DIY flush and refill with the Honda fluid will remove the jerky shifts almost instantly. The other thing is the cracked radiator, which I've heard is due to the throttle cable being secured to it. No idea why Acura would decide to do that. No other maintenance has been done to the car other than the replacements of components that have aged and the routine preventive maintenance like oil changes and tune ups. I had to seriously nitpick to make that list up there. This car is ROCK SOLID. I drive it hundreds of miles out of state on a regular basis with confidence. All you have to do is read up on other reviews/forums and TSB's and you'll know what, if anything, is coming.
Dealer service gets a 7 because you pay for Acura service and you get Acura service. Paying for Acura service means it's ridiculously expensive. I might be able to pay over $100/hour in labor for a new TL or RL, but I can't do that on a 16 year old car. However, the service is impeccable. Acura service reps are friendly, knowledgeable, and Acura corporate calls you after every major dealer service (it can get annoying) to survey how your visit went.
Running costs are smack in the middle at 5. Yes, Acura parts to do get expensive even if you buy aftermarket. The aftermarket for this car is huge because it's popular in the tuner community. Do a little shopping around and you will get great deals. The good news is that this car is a GREAT DIY car. I do maybe 95% of the work myself, including almost all the repairs listed above. When I don't, it's because I don't have the tools or the time, never because it's truly impossible. The recent repairs have made a bigger dent in my wallet, but given it's 16 year running history, we've barely spent anything on it so this balances out. The car does run on premium gas, though. With today's gas prices, it costs around $40-50 per tank. I fill up with premium because this is my baby, but I hear you can run regular with a minor dip in performance and no major harm to the vehicle.
I see other cars from 1991 on the road and you KNOW they are from 1991. They have 1991 technology, 1991 looks, and 1991 quality. The Legend on the other hand is full of high tech features (power memory seats, steering wheel audio controls, power moonroof, 4 wheel disc ABS, traction control, Bose CD stereo, etc.) and is years beyond its time in looks and quality. The Legend wears its age extremely well.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th October, 2007