What's New for 2006
There are no significant changes to the 2006 Acura RSX, although new SAE testing procedures have resulted in slightly lower horsepower ratings.
When Acura came to be in 1986, it had two cars for sale: the Integra hatchback and Legend sedan. The Integra quickly became a favorite of driving enthusiasts and commuters alike; it was responsive and energetic while also being practical and relatively inexpensive.
Though the Acura car lineup has grown since then -- there are now six different models -- the sport hatchback lineage continues on with the RSX. True to form, this is one of the best sport hatchbacks currently available.
The base RSX serves quite adequately as a daily driver. It's easy to pilot and the large cargo area adds utility. In Type-S form, this Acura car is considerably more fun, though its exclusive six-speed manual transmission will put off potential buyers who are unwilling to shift gears themselves. Regardless of trim, the RSX is a front-drive sport hatchback you'll want to consider. Like other Honda and Acura products, it expertly blends performance, comfort and features into a package that costs less than most of the competition. If you're looking for a car that can do it all, the 2006 Acura RSX aims to please.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Acura RSX two-door sport hatchback comes in two trim levels: base and Type-S. Both are well-equipped. With the base RSX, you get standard features such as 16-inch alloy wheels; automatic climate control; power windows, locks and mirrors; cruise control; a power moonroof; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; and a CD player. These items, plus 17-inch wheels, stronger brakes, firmer suspension tuning, a rear spoiler and an in-dash six-disc CD changer come on the Type-S. Leather seats are also standard on the Type-S, and you can upgrade the base car's cloth with leather if you so desire.
Powertrains and Performance
Both the RSX and RSX Type-S feature 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines. Like most Acura engines, they are smooth and high-revving. The base RSX puts out 155 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 139 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. For the Type-S, Acura tunes the engine to bring horsepower up to 201 (at 7,800 rpm) and 140 lb-ft of torque (at a lofty 7,000 rpm). Coupes like the Mustang and Tiburon GT provide considerably more low-end torque and, as such, are more tractable for city driving than the RSX, but both will have you paying more at the fuel pump. The base 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. The Type-S has an exclusive six-speed manual.
The Acura RSX comes with standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes and side airbags for front occupants. In government crash tests, the RSX received five out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. In side-impact tests, it received four stars for front-occupant protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
Drivers wanting to relax after strafing twisty roads should enjoy the RSX's driver-oriented cockpit, contemporary materials, easy-to-use automatic climate controls and large metallic-faced gauges. Front-seat occupants will be comfortable, but adults sitting in back will find headroom is lacking. The Acura RSX has 17.8 cubic feet of luggage space.
Neither engine offers an abundance of torque, and the Type-S motor, in particular, needs to be revved quite high in order to achieve maximum acceleration. The six-speed shifter, however, is quite exemplary in its feel and quickness. On curvy roads, the Type-S feels secure and buttoned down, though the base Acura car is still pretty sporty. The Acura's ride quality is a little on the stiff side compared to softer coupes like the Hyundai Tiburon and Scion tC, but those looking to add a dose of sport to their daily commute will not be disappointed. Bear in mind, though, that Honda's new Civic Si coupe can deliver comparable performance for a few thousand dollars less than the Acura RSX Type-S.