2002 Acura RSX Type S 2.0 K20A from North America
The best FWD sports car you will ever drive
Clutch replacement at 84k.
Nothing short of amazing. This is the kind of car you feel confident to get into and drive anywhere. For me, reliability and performance have to meet a fine balance. After all, what good is HP if the car destroys itself during full throttle. I have tried plenty of other brands. I don't have any particular allegiance to European, Asian, or American. I love all cars, and can easily find strengths in any auto.
That being said, I was drawn to the RSX because I wanted Honda's legendary reliability, but also wanted something that kept my blood pumping and had room for infinite expandability. That left only one option, and that was the Type S. I love the fact that I can spend less money on upkeep and repairs, and more money on upgrades and keeping the car beautiful.
This car is not a muscle car. It doesn't screech off the line, and it won't blow you back into your seat with torque. You cannot avoid the fact that this is a naturally aspirated 4 cyl engine that demands to be revved in order to go fast. This is in fact the basis of a race car. Either keep it stock and enjoy the Civic like lifespan of this fantastic car, or modify it with one of the most dedicated tuner markets available. 200 HP stock will be plenty to keep a smile on the daily driver's face.
The car's biggest strength is in its ability to start off a well rounded, good fuel economy point A to point B car. With the simple push of the pedal, the car climbs past the 6K RPM, and you are greeted with the familiar strength of VTEC. Flying through gears at 9K with the engine screaming is exhilarating, and as quickly as it throws through the gears, it winds back down into its original refined form, as if it never broke a sweat.
For those who want more out of the car, the sky is the limit. To this date I have installed a K&N short ram intake. When I rev the engine, I can now hear it like a banshee. When the car activates VTEC, the engine makes a noticeable growl like the devil clearing his throat. This is an easy 10 HP gain, because the car has less restrictive airflow directly into the engine.
My clutch gave out recently, but this is of course inherent to the way the car is driven. The previous owner most likely dropped the clutch quite a bit, which lead to the early failure of the disc and flywheel. Routine maintenance is nothing that upsets me, so instead I was excited when it failed. I have now put in a stage 3 racing clutch, and the tranny grips like a gator bite, and doesn't let go. I have also installed a DC racing header and Greddy exhaust system for about another 10 HP gain, and a heavenly sound during open throttle. Instead of a turbo, most owners should invest in a safer alternative called K-pro, which is professional ECU upgrade that gives you full reins of every aspect of the car, just like a F1 race car.
The RSX does fine in the winter. FWD can be a bit tricky when it comes to wheel spin, but a good set of snow tires should do the trick.
In terms of fuel economy, I have a scan gauge that monitors fuel consumption to a tee. The car will get around 33 highway at best, but realistically with mixed performance you can expect 31.
The gearbox and tranny are silky smooth. No notch here. This is hands down the best shifting car you will ever drive.
The car has a well made and simple interior. This is a welcome addition to most of the recent autos, with audacious amounts of cheap plastic interiors, and too many lights and fancy gauge configurations. This is a driver oriented car with nothing excessive. It has a minimal approach, which for suits me perfectly. For others who are looking for tons of features and luxury characteristics, you will be sorely disappointed. No motorized heated seats *sans Canada*. No OnStar or steering wheel CD controls. No on board computer with nav and temperature information. No iPod connectivity or multi colored displays. Honda has literally given the motorist a car that cuts out everything that is not needed, and puts everything where it needs to be.
Overall, I have never been more happy with a car, and would not hesitate to buy it again or recommend it to a friend. There are bigger, faster and more expensive cars, but I can easily say that nothing will hold a candle to all of the strengths this car has.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd October, 2011