A used Acura RSX can be a good buy for the sports car enthusiast looking for a humbler, more fuel-efficient alternative to hulking, 15-mpg muscle cars. A used Acura RSX can fit that bill nicely with its decent power and its reputation for reliability. The successor to the Acura Integra coupe, it is more refined and up-market than its predecessor, yet still has an approachable price point. But what should you look for in purchasing one? Here are some tips:
Choosing the Type S or Base Model
The first thing to decide on is which model you want. The Type S is the higher-performing variant, with a 2.0-liter 200 horsepower engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The base model has a 160 horsepower engine and comes either with a 5-speed automatic or 5-speed manual. With slightly better fuel economy and needing only regular 87-octane fuel, the base model is the more commuter-friendly trim. On the other hand, the Type S comes with leather seating and a more sporting character. Pick which ever best-suits your needs.
Be Mindful of Potential Mechanical Issues
The obvious criterion is mileage on the Acura RSX – the lower the better. But more importantly, you want to know how it accrued those miles. Has a boy-racer been thrashing the car for thousands of miles with reckless abandon? Or, has it been meticulously kept and conservatively driven? You can’t always tell, but ask the previous owner (if available) as many questions as you can with regards to its history. An accident-record resource such as CARFAX is also helpful in this regard. Also, always test drive, and if it’s a six-speed manual then pay close attention to the gearbox; Some Honda’s have had a reputation for relatively weak syncromeshes that quickly wear under abuse or hard driving (the same applies to the Acura TSX manual).
Pick the Right Model Year
In general, changes and updates that happen during the lifespan of a vehicle tend to be minor. That said, the changes in handling, ride comfort and aesthetics from 2004 to 2005 are major enough in the RSX that you’d want to test drive at least one from before 2005 and another from the 2005 model year before deciding.