Acura CL
Acura Integra

In 1986, Honda launched the Acura brand to create a separate luxury brand to appeal to upmarket buyers. Its first model, the Acura Integra, was a sporty hatchback that emphasized Acura's focus on engineering excellence and build quality. The Integra's balance of reliability and performance made it an instant hit, especially for those buyers looking for a cheaper alternative to German imports.
Through the years, the Integra developed a large following of consumers. Some were interested in a basic commuter car while others were looking for a solid base for modification with performance parts. The Integra was able to satisfy all. Using its knowledge gained from Formula 1 racing to innovate new technologies for its passenger cars, Acura introduced its VTEC variable valve timing system to the Integra in the early '90s. The Integra was the first car after the exotic NSX to receive it, and the system helped the car squeeze every drop of power out of its small 4-cylinder engine while maintaining an admirable amount of fuel efficiency.
More importantly, the Integra showed that Acura (and the Japanese manufacturers as a whole, for that matter) was able to compete with the global luxury car manufacturers in terms of design, quality and creature comforts inside the cabin. As Acura solidified its place in the near-luxury market, however, the company altered its marketing strategies. It did away with model names, opting for alphanumeric designations instead. In 2001, Acura renamed its entry model the RSX, effectively killing the Integra in America.
Most Recent Acura Integra
The third and final generation of the Acura Integra spanned from 1994 through 2001. It was one of the best front-wheel-drive cars in its class as it was exciting to drive and had a sporty silhouette that seemed designed to cut through the wind.
Acura offered two body styles, a two-door hatchback and a four-door sedan, across all trim levels, including the GS-R performance trim. At first, Acura offered two lower trims, the base RS and LS. Through the years, Acura updated the lineup by adding a GS trim in 1998 and removing the RS in 2000. Except for the GS-R, no matter which Integra you got, it came with the same 142-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard. A four-speed automatic was optional.
The performance-oriented GS-R featured a 170-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that was equipped with VTEC. The GS-R came exclusively with a special close-ratio five-speed manual. In road tests of the '98 Acura Integra GS-R, our editors found it to be well balanced in terms of being fun to drive and easy to use on a daily basis.
In 1997, the limited-edition Acura Integra Type R debuted. Available only as a coupe and in a single color (Championship White), the Type R focused purely on performance and featured a high-revving 195-hp version of the 1.8-liter engine. Lighter parts and body panels lowered the Type R's weight by nearly 100 pounds. It came with a tuned suspension system, better brakes, a limited-slip differential and a specially designed close-ratio five-speed manual transmission. In order to further reduce the vehicle's weight, Acura even made the air-conditioning system optional.
Acura produced the Type R in 1998 and again in 2000. The final time around, the Type R wasn't nearly as exclusive and raw. Weight reduction was limited to 33 pounds and this time, Acura provided two colors, yellow and black.
In 2001, the Acura Integra Type R won an Edmunds.com Editors' Most WantedSM award for Best Sports Coupe (FWD/AWD) Under $30,000. Today, these-third generation Integras are still highly regarded as used vehicles. Though certainly reliable, they have become quite popular with young enthusiasts wanting to modify their cars with aftermarket parts. As such, finding an unmolested car, particularly in GS-R trim, can be somewhat of a challenge.
Past Acura Integra Models
The original and first-generation Acura Integra debuted in 1986 and came as a two-door or four-door hatchback. Both styles were available in a base RS or more luxurious LS trim and were powered by a 113-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, and a four-speed automatic was available as an option. In 1988, Acura increased engine output to 118 hp, but most of its power was still too high in the rev band to match the lower torque curves of its sports coupe competition.
In 1990, Acura remedied the problem when it released the second-generation Integra. Again offered in two body styles (this time with a four-door sedan), this Integra was more sophisticated and was powered by a new 1.8-liter four-cylinder that made 130 hp. In addition to the RS and LS trims, Acura added a GS trim. It was a "top of the line" trim with added standard equipment, such as antilock brakes and an upgraded interior. All models came standard with a five-speed manual, with a four-speed automatic being optional.
In 1992, Acura bumped power output up to 140 hp. That same year, Acura introduced the Integra GS-R, a performance-oriented trim that was powered by an all-new 1.7-liter four-cylinder engine making 160 hp. It also was the first time Acura applied its variable valve timing system (VTEC) in a car other than the NSX. The GS-R was designated a pure driver's car and came exclusively with a close ratio five-speed manual transmission. It was also equipped with a good deal of standard equipment, such as antilock brakes, a moonroof and power locks and windows.

Acura Legend

It takes confidence to name a car the Legend. If it had been forgettable with nothing legendary about it, Acura could have found itself derided for the irony. It would have forever become the butt of automotive jokes, or worse, part of an Alanis Morissette song. Luckily for Honda's luxury division, its bravado paid off with the Acura Legend, a car that's still held in high regard years after it bowed out in favor of an ironically forgettable replacement.
The Acura Legend was launched in 1986 alongside the Integra sport hatchback to create the Acura brand in North America. Actually co-developed with British automaker Rover (which named its version of the car the Sterling 825), the Legend -- available in sedan and coupe body styles -- was immediately a hit among consumers and reviewers alike.
Through its fledgling Acura brand, Honda successfully blended its penchant for reliability and engine expertise with luxury features previously unavailable in a car wearing the H badge. The second-generation Legend raised the bar even further and its introduction for 1991 saw the debut of Acura's own insignia -- a flipped Honda H with the top pinched to make an A -- that solidified the brand as more of a stand-alone entity.
When Acura discontinued the Legend name in favor of a new alphanumeric naming scheme for its latest luxury sedan, it unfortunately coincided with a drop in style and driving passion that had made the Legend such a success. The Legend's replacement, the RL, was certainly more luxurious and just as reliable, but hardly exciting.
As such, the Legend represents a '90s-era high point of Acura luxury sedan and coupe design. For used-vehicle shoppers, most Legends are getting up there in terms of miles but are still very viable choices.
Most Recent Acura Legend
The second-generation Acura Legend was produced from 1991-'95. The sedan was initially offered in base, L and LS trim levels, while the coupe stuck with L and LS throughout its run. The Legend's core engine was a 3.2-liter V6 making 200 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. In 1993, coupes jumped to 230 hp and upgraded their manual transmission to a six-speed, while all Legends gained dual airbags.
In 1994 a new top-of-the-line GS sedan debuted with the stronger engine and larger 16-inch wheels. The base sedan was dropped, and all Legends added a new grille, bumpers and a power steering wheel that could finally tilt as well as telescope. Its final year, 1995, saw the addition of a limited-production SE sedan with slight cosmetic distinctions.
As with all Acuras, options were limited. An automatic transmission, CD changer and an upgraded Bose stereo were the rare à la carte choices, with leather an option on lower trim levels. Standard equipment included dual front airbags, antilock brakes, alloy wheels, full power accessories, a power driver seat with memory, a sunroof and steering-wheel audio controls. Traction control, keyless entry, heated seats, a power passenger seat and two-tone paint were among the standard items on the upper trim levels.
The Legend was not only good-looking and well-equipped, but rewarding to drive as well. Performance was strong, particularly with the more powerful V6 found on some of the later models. The interior was well-constructed and attractive, toeing the line between luxury and sport. However, headroom was iffy for taller drivers, and the backseat was a little skimpy on legroom due to the Legend's rare longitudinal engine layout. The coupe's rear quarters were even more cramped, though that's typical for two-doors.
Although most Acura Legends on the road now have high mileage, its reputation for consistently strong reliability makes well-maintained examples an excellent choice.
Past Acura Legend models
The original, slightly smaller Acura Legend was produced from 1986-'90 and available in coupe and sedan body styles. These cars set the precedent for future Acuras with high feature content, quality engineering and impeccable reliability.

Acura RSX

The Acura RSX is a two-door sport hatchback. Replacing the Integra coupe, the RSX served as Acura's entry-level car from 2002 until 2006, when the brand decided to move itself more upscale and the car no longer fit into the company's scheme. Nevertheless, as a used car, both versions of the RSX should appeal to consumers desiring a reasonably affordable car that offers sporty coupe-like styling and accessible performance. Like most Acura vehicles, the RSX boasts a high level of refinement as well as a reputation for above-average reliability, competitive pricing and strong resale value.
In road tests, our editors found the RSX's main performance strengths to be nimble handling and responsive steering. The Type-S was particularly rewarding to drive. Throughout its production run, the Acura RSX was one of our favorite sport hatchbacks, but toward the end, several new and redesigned competitors of both versions usurped our favor.
Most Recent Acura RSX
Nearly every feature on the Acura RSX was standard, which makes finding a preferably equipped vehicle easy. Throughout its lifespan, there were two trim levels available: base and Type-S. The base model should work well for consumers interested in having a fun-to-drive car that's comfortable for daily commuting. The RSX Type-S has mechanical upgrades that increase the car's performance potential.
The base RSX came standard with the majority of convenience features expected for this class of car. Highlights included automatic climate control, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, a CD player and a moonroof. A smooth-revving four-cylinder was standard, and it came mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The base RSX initially produced 160 horsepower, but new SAE horsepower ratings in 2006 changed the number to 155. Leather seating was the only option.
The RSX Type-S added an in-dash six-CD changer, standard leather seating, 17-inch wheels, a more firmly tuned suspension and more powerful brakes. The Type-S also had a four-cylinder engine tuned to produce extra horsepower (200 hp, later increased to 201). A six-speed manual was the only choice for a transmission.
Because of its four-cylinder engine and front-wheel-drive layout, the Acura RSX boasts better fuel economy than many other sport hatchbacks and coupes. Front-seat occupants will be comfortable, but adults sitting in back will find headroom lacking. The rear seat is split 60/40 and can be lowered to increase cargo capacity. So configured, the RSX boasts nearly 18 cubic feet of luggage space.
Consumers interested in a used or pre-owned RSX should not have a problem finding one that matches their desires. Only minor changes were made after the car's debut. The most significant of these occurred on the 2005 RSX model, when Acura revised the suspension and steering for better feel and response, updated the exterior styling and slightly increased the Type-S's horsepower output to 201.
Past Acura RSX Models
The RSX replaced the Acura Integra. Shoppers interested in a used Acura sport hatchback previous to '02 will want to research this model.

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