What's New for 2002
The sporty RSX is an all-new replacement for the Acura Integra. Highlights include more powerful engines, higher levels of standard equipment and enhanced driving dynamics.
If you're not familiar with the RSX name, don't fret. RSX is the new name for the redesigned Acura Integra. The name change is a result of the company's desire to polish its luxury vehicle manufacturer image. Since Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz use alphanumeric names for their cars, Acura marketing wonks think they should, as well. And with that -- poof! -- Integra becomes RSX and the last remnant of old Acura names has been swept away.
Dimensionally, the RSX is similar to the Integra coupe, but bigger changes lie underneath the edgy new exterior. Acura says the RSX's body structure exhibits 35 percent higher bending rigidity and stiffness and a 116 percent improvement in torsional rigidity compared with the Integra. The increase in rigidity, as well as new front and rear suspension designs, help to improve handling response and ride quality.
For 2002, there is just one model and two trims -- the RSX and the RSX Type-S. A four-door model will not be offered, and the race-bred Type R version has been put on hiatus (expect a return in 2003 or 2004). The RSX effectively takes the place of the Integra LS and GS, while the sportier Type-S (a trim level also found on the Acura CL and TL) fills in for the Integra GS-R.
Both the RSX and RSX Type-S feature new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. Like most Honda and Acura engines, they are amazingly smooth and high-revving. The RSX puts out 160 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 141 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. This is 20 hp and 17 lb-ft of torque more than the Integra LS. For the Type-S, Acura tunes the engine to bring horsepower up to 200 (at 7,400 rpm) and torque to 142 lb-ft (at 6,000 rpm). The 200 horsepower figure is certainly impressive, though V6-equipped sport coupes like the Eclipse GT and Volkswagen GTI GLX produce significantly more torque.
The RSX comes equipped with either a five-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic transmission. The automatic features Acura's Sequential SportShift, a special mode that allows the driver to select individual gears quickly by moving the transmission lever into a special gate. For the real deal, however, there's the Type-S and its exclusive six-speed manual.
Drivers wanting to relax after strafing twisty roads should enjoy the RSX's interior. It's an improvement over the Integra's stale design, with a driver-oriented cockpit, contemporary materials, easy-to-use controls and large metallic-faced gauges. Items like automatic climate control, sculpted sport seats, a power moonroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an in-glass radio antenna are all gratis. RSX Type-S cars get leather seating materials and a premium Bose audio system. More upscale items like traction control, stability control, heated seats or 17-inch wheels aren't on the options list, however.
If you are interested those upscale features, you should consider the Acura CL. The RSX is the more athletic and dynamic car. If you want to get a buzz from your morning commute without using coffee, Acura's latest sport coupe should suit you well.