Used 2003 Acura CL

2003 Acura CL
MSRP Range
$28,200 - $32,700

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 engines, lavish standard features list, comfortable cabin, great value.
  • Average interior materials, lacks the panache of some competing luxury coupes.
Acura CL years

Edmunds' Expert Review

If you are looking for a luxury coupe for about $30,000, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything better.

Vehicle overview

Introduction: Acura's target market for the 3.2CL is aging baby boomers that are experiencing life without children for the first time in decades. No longer needing that silly SUV or monstrous minivan, these empty-nesters are supposed to rediscover the joys of coupe life... preferably in a CL.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: There are two trim levels to pick from; the base CL and the high-performance CL Type-S. Both CLs offer near-luxury equipment without a hefty price, and you get more than just air conditioning and a smattering of leather on the seats. You snag lots of standard equipment, including a power sunroof, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, heated front seats, two-position memory system for driver seat and mirrors, steering-wheel audio controls, rear heat/air vents, a micron air-filtration system and high-intensity discharge lights. A super-simple DVD-based navigation system with a smudge-free touchscreen is the only option, and this year it also comes with OnStar, the vehicle communications service. In addition to these items, the CL Type-S comes with a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels and minor cabin trim upgrades.

Powertrains and Performance: The base CL engine is a peppy 3.2-liter V6 that utilizes VTEC technology to produce 225 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of torque, while still getting 19/29 mpg in city/highway driving. The V6 remains strong in every gear, and it can scoot from 0 to 60 in under 8 seconds. A standard five-speed automatic transmission directs power to the front wheels. It's quite user-friendly, thanks to a shift gate located close to the driver and an intuitive shift pattern for the SportShift sequential-shift manual function. Most people should be satisfied with this configuration, but for those who aren't, there's the Type-S. Thanks to special engine modifications, such as a dual-stage induction system, increased compression and performance-oriented camshafts and valves, the 3.2-liter V6 in the Type-S makes 260 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. While the five-speed automatic is also standard on this car, a six-speed manual is newly available. This close-ratio transmission includes a short-throw shifter and a limited-slip front differential. This piece of hardware is designed to allow a driver to apply throttle sooner through turns, thereby improving handling balance and steering feel.

Safety: The CL is equipped with side airbags; the front passenger seat has a system to prevent the side airbag from deploying if a small child or adult leans into the deployment path. Antilock brakes are standard, and other safety items include traction control and a stability control system. Traction control and stability control are standard except on cars with manual transmissions. Neither NHTSA nor IIHS has crash-tested the CL.

Interior Design and Special Features: Inside, standard leather covers the comfortable front seats. Type-S cars also have deeply bolstered, perforated leather seats; a Type-S shift knob and a metallic face instrument cluster. Though certainly functional, the CL's interior isn't as opulent as other cars in this class. As Acura calls the CL a 2+2, it should come as no surprise that backseat passengers will feel a bit pinched if they are more than average height.

Driving Impressions: Both the CL and CL Type-S are satisfying to drive. The Type-S, in particular, is entertaining thanks to its prodigious horsepower and available six-speed manual. However, being a front-drive car has its disadvantages: The CL's handling isn't as dynamic as that of other rear-drive cars in this class.

2003 Highlights

Acura has made a number of changes on its already highly competent luxury sport coupe. The biggest news is the availability of a six-speed manual transmission on the Type-S trim. If that doesn't interest you, there's certainly more. On the outside, the CL gains new wheels, updated headlights and taillights, a revised grille and new exhaust tips. Inside, Acura has added LATCH child safety seat attachments, a dual-stage and dual-threshold driver's front airbag and an auto-up driver's window. Cars with the optional navigation system also gain OnStar, the vehicle communications service.


Overallundefined / 5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Acura CL.

5 star reviews: 80%
4 star reviews: 14%
3 star reviews: 5%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 1%
Average user rating: 4.7 stars based on 162 total reviews

Trending topics in reviews

  • transmission
  • interior
  • comfort
  • appearance
  • handling & steering
  • value
  • engine
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • driving experience
  • fuel efficiency
  • maintenance & parts
  • acceleration
  • sound system
  • road noise
  • seats
  • ride quality
  • spaciousness
  • dashboard
  • doors
  • climate control
  • infotainment system
  • lights
  • wheels & tires
  • safety
  • brakes
  • cup holders
  • warranty
  • visibility
  • emission system
  • steering wheel
  • oil
  • electrical system

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.625 out of 5 stars, Great blend of touring comfort and performance in a mid priced coupe

Bought the car new after having had Honda Acuras and Preludes for a decade, and I wanted to move up. Was struck immediately by its spirited performance, good handling and comfort for long drives. The styling is refined and understated, but clearly not head turning. Interior is well finished, and mechanically the car has been excellent. Straight line acceleration is faster than it feels, and it's a blast to drive in the curves. The manual six speed is smooth, and perfectly matched to the engine and car... RECOMMENDED!

5 out of 5 stars, Love this car
Kane Jones,
3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A)

Bought a 2003 acura 3.2 cl 2 years ago from a friend of mine who owns a mechanic shop, and I must say that this car is an amazing car, the engine sounds great and at times I would just turn the radio off just to listen to the engine purr as it has a distinct sound to it that sounds so good, the only issue I've had so far is with the power steering making a whining noise which turns out to be the power steering pump, but otherwise this is a great car, I updated the deck to a double din screen, hooked up a back up camera to it and installed an amplifier with an 18 inch sub woofer and now my wife is driving in style lol....I will buy another cl for myself.

5 out of 5 stars, 11 years and counting

My CD player just died and I had to consider whether to pat $400 to have it fixed or possibly getting a new car and going with getting the CD fixed. After 11 years and 150,000 miles, it's showing its age externally, but it still drives great. I just had the manual transmission fluid changed for the first time. With no radio for a couple of weeks I could appreciate how great the engine purrs. If you can find a used one with a manual, I would recommend it. It sounds like it should be good for another 100,000 miles and only an Audi or a BMW might seem like an improvement.

4.875 out of 5 stars, Great Car
Happy Driver,

Bought this car new. After 140K I still love it. One repair (about a month ago) other than normal maintenance. Fast (enough), quiet, comfortable, reasonable mileage for this type of car. Build quality is excellant. Styling still looks good. If they still made them I'd buy another in a skinny minute. I do NOT like the newest generation TL even though the mechanicals are pretty much the same. If you're looking for a great used car, the CL-S should be on your list. You'll have to get another one though, I'm keeping mine!

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Features & Specs

3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe features & specs
3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe
3.2L 6cyl 5A
MPG 17 city / 27 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed shiftable automatic
260 hp @ 6100 rpm

3.2 2dr Coupe features & specs
3.2 2dr Coupe
3.2L 6cyl 5A
MPG 17 city / 27 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed shiftable automatic
225 hp @ 5600 rpm

3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe features & specs
3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe
3.2L 6cyl 6M
MPG 17 city / 26 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
260 hp @ 6100 rpm

3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation features & specs
3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation
3.2L 6cyl 5A
MPG N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 4
5-speed shiftable automatic
260 hp @ 6100 rpm

See all Used 2003 Acura CL features & specs
Is the Acura CL a good car?
The Edmunds experts tested the 2003 CL both on the road and at the track. Edmunds’ consumer reviews show that the 2003 CL gets an average rating of 5 stars out of 5 (based on 162 reviews) You probably care about Acura CL fuel economy, so it's important to know that the CL gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg to 21 mpg, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the CL has 13.6 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Acura CL. Learn more
Is the Acura CL reliable?
To determine whether the Acura CL is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the CL. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the CL's 5-star average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more
Is the 2003 Acura CL a good car?
There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2003 Acura CL is a good car. Our consumer reviews show that the 2003 CL gets an average rating of 5 stars out of 5 (based on 162 reviews). Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2003 CL is a good car for you. Learn more
How much should I pay for a 2003 Acura CL?

The least-expensive 2003 Acura CL is the 2003 Acura CL 3.2 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $28,200.

Other versions include:

  • 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $30,550
  • 3.2 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $28,200
  • 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M) which starts at $30,550
  • 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $32,700
  • 3.2 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $30,350
  • 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 6M) which starts at $32,700
Learn more
What are the different models of Acura CL?
If you're interested in the Acura CL, the next question is, which CL model is right for you? CL variants include 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A), 3.2 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A), 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M), and 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A). For a full list of CL models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2003 Acura CL

Used 2003 Acura CL Overview

The Used 2003 Acura CL is offered in the following submodels: CL 3.2 Type-S, CL Coupe. Available styles include 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A), 3.2 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 5A), 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe (3.2L 6cyl 6M), 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A), 3.2 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 5A), and 3.2 Type-S 2dr Coupe w/Navigation (3.2L 6cyl 6M).

What do people think of the 2003 Acura CL?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2003 Acura CL and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2003 CL 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2003 CL.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2003 Acura CL and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2003 CL featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2003 Acura CL?
Which 2003 Acura CLS are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Acura CL for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2003 Acura CL.

Can't find a new 2003 Acura CLs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Acura CL for sale - 8 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $21,556.

Find a new Acura for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $20,798.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2003 Acura CL?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Acura lease specials