1991 Acura NSX: The Vegas Road Trip
October 18, 2011
Our jokey pre-trip post on Friday was entitled "Fear, Loathing and Racing in Las Vegas," but sadly we got more fear than racing. The above photo was taken at the beginning of our day at Vegas Speedway, and our Straightline post this morning should describe the rest of our experience.
But this blog is about the NSX. Exotic sports cars, especially older ones, are not renowned for their road tripping ability. They are traditionally uncomfortable, have no trunk, get poor gas mileage, make a ton of noise, have a rough ride, have confusing controls and things often don't work. The Acura NSX was created to counter all that, but does it still fulfill that promise 20 years later?
For a Japanese sports car from 1991, it's a pleasant surprise that 6-foot-3 me not only fits comfortably in the NSX, but the driving position is just about spot on. The passenger footwell is much smaller thanks to the aftermarket subwoofer (didn't know about that when I wrote the intro), so legroom isn't so great over there but I don't think it was as big of a deal for Mark.
As the photo above shows, we were able to fit a weekend's worth of luggage inside the trunk along with books of CDs (Riswick) and tapes (Takahashi). We would've had room for our computers, but why on Earth would we have needed those? Oh right. As for that pesky leaky trunk issue, stayed tuned for a second blog later.
Poor gas mileage? Well, we got 24.5 mpg, which is better than the EPA's modern calculation of 22 mpg. Actually, it's better than the old school 1991 calculation of 24 as well. Just imagine the fuel economy a sixth gear in the box could achieve, not to mention mitigating noise. Sure, the engine wasn't nearly as noisy as we figured it would be, but there'd be a big difference between cruising at 75 mph with 3,000 rpm and 2,000 rpm.
The ride was probably the most surprising. Even over the crappiest of Interstate 10's crappy pavement, the NSX was never punishing or tiresome. Actually, it's downright comfortable and rides better than a whole ton of modern cars -- sports or otherwise.
Confusing controls? Nope. We had to figure out that the "Prog" button shown in the stereo screen is how you cycle through the CDs in the changer, but otherwise, this is classic Honda at its best.
Things don't work? Well, we need to get the oxygen sensor fixed and I'm getting tired of propping up the trunk with my head. Also, the A/C was a little flummoxed at times to pump out cold air to both sides of the car, while at others pumping out too much cold air. So there's work to be done, but nothing that really hurt our enjoyment of the trip. Furthermore, it's 20 years old.
In total, the NSX is a wonderful car and I'm looking forward to taking many other trips in it. Promise fulfilled.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 47,209 miles