Used 1998 Acura CL
Edmunds' Expert Review
The Legend is gone. The Vigor is replaced. The Integra will be departing soon. Acura is in the midst of an image makeover of a scale that hasn't been seen since Chrysler was resuscitated after its near-fatal plunge into mediocrity. Yes, Acura is a new company. Oh sure, the traditional Acura quality is still there, as are first rate ergonomics and design. The change occurs with the model lineup and the type of cars Acura is offering.
Acura feels that splitting their models into distinct, function-oriented categories might be what is needed to breathe life into their sales charts. The new CL fits into this scheme by offering performance and luxury that is a step up from the Integra coupes, without the frumpiness of a larger sedan. The CL's target market is aging boomers who are experiencing life without children. No longer needing that five-door wagon or monstrous minivan, these empty nesters are supposed to rediscover the joys of coupe life.
Well, there are worse places to go for a mid-life crisis. Acura's 2.3CL offers spirited performance with its 150-horsepower VTEC engine and double-wishbone suspension. The 16-inch wheels and antilock brakes provide sure footing when pushed to the limit, and the variable-assist rack-and-pinion steering is communicative without being harsh. The unit-body construction used in the CL, combined with the rear-wheel arch extenders and strut tower bar, creates a car with little flex and twisting over most surfaces.
Unlike American personal coupes that are often overly flashy with blinking gewgaws and too many buttons, or German coupes, which are Spartan to the point of monasticism, the CL's interior effectively blends efficiency with luxury. Niceties such as a standard CD-player and remote keyless entry are well appreciated. There is adequate seating for four, although back seat passengers will feel a bit pinched in the legroom department if they are over average height.
This puts interesting cars such as the Mercury Cougar, Honda Prelude and Honda Accord Coupe within spitting distance of this rather bland Acura. Each offers distinctive styling and good performance at a reasonable price. We think that Acura should offer the same.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Driving the Acura CL immediately after spending a week in an Integra provided a great opportunity to compare these two coupes from Honda's A-division. With less than $5,000 separating these models on the showroom floor, it would be easy to dismiss the CL as an overpriced Integra with heated seats. That view, however, would be like calling a Ferrari 355 "a fancy Fiat."
The CL's real appeal comes not from its attractive shape or long list of standard options (the majority of which can be ordered on the less expensive Honda Accord Coupe), but rather from the effective marriage of luxury and performance that Acura has blended into the CL. If any aspect of the long successful Integra has been retained in the CL, it's the smaller coupe's trademark road manners, which border on magic. The CL will never threaten a Porsche in absolute handling, but it may surprise drivers who think that automatic climate control and canyon carving are mutually exclusive. We've heard that the four-cylinder engine, found in the CL 2.2, is lighter and thus offers a more responsive turn-in, but we felt completely satisfied with the 3.0's point-and-shoot potential; at least as far as personal luxury coupes are concerned. Highway manners are also excellent, with a comfortable ride that provides plenty of feedback. The steering is neither too light nor too heavy, which means you can sense what's going on beneath the front wheels without being distracted by it.
Balancing out the coupe's responsive road feel is a powerful drivetrain capped by a smooth, torquey 3.0-liter V6. Unlike the smaller Integra's raucous 1.8-liter inline four, with a VTEC valvetrain that tends to wake the neighbors when started on early mornings, the CL fires quietly and stays smooth right up to its 6,300 rpm redline where only a hint of engine roar can be heard or felt from within the well-insulated cabin. The CL's standard 2.2-liter inline four would no doubt offer less power and more vibration, pulling the stately coupe closer to the aforementioned "over-priced Integra" classification. The extra investment required to purchase the V6 is more than made up for in performance and refinement dividends.
Refinement isn't found only under the CL's hood. Spend some quality time behind the wheel and you'll quickly discover why Honda decided to use the Acura nameplate on its highline models. This is the same company that makes Civics? Maybe, but if the Acura symbol and wood-trimmed interior helps you forget that little fact, Honda won't mind.
Seating for two is excellent. Supple leather, support in all the right places and an almost infinite number of power adjustments should satisfy even the most demanding luxury buyers. Rear seating, at least for smaller adults or children, is passable. The official word from my 5-foot-4-inch wife, after a four-hour drive, was "These rear seats are very comfortable. Legroom is, well, adequate." Of course, she was sitting behind my 6-foot frame with the front seat adjusted for maximum comfort. By the way, the front passenger seat was available, but she wanted to sit close to our six-week-old son who was also riding in back.
Speaking of babies, we were able to load all of the baby paraphernalia that new parents typically bring with them when leaving home for more than 20 minutes (200 diapers, 15 outfits, baby carriage, collapsible crib, etc.) into the CL's sizable trunk.
During our extended highway jaunt under a hot August sun the CL kept things cool with an effective climate control system. We also enjoyed the sounds coming from the Bose stereo system with in-dash CD player and much-appreciated steering wheel controls. A multi-disc changer mounted in the trunk would have been nice but might have compromised crib storage. Additional niceties included heated seats and mirrors and a memory system that electrically slides the driver's seat back into position after rear-passenger entry/egress.
Exterior styling drew universal praise from friends and relatives. The CL is more attractive than its fraternal twin, the two-door Accord ... but not by much. On looks alone the price difference between these two coupes would not be justified. Our test unit was painted an interesting shade of Cardiff Blue-Green that contributed to its regal appearance. However, of all the CL's unique styling cues, it's the rounded rear-end and angled taillights that I find most intriguing. They look cool going down the road while still offering plenty of warning to drivers approaching from behind.
While we've come to expect nothing short of perfect build quality from Acura, this particular CL did surprise us with a strange rattle from just behind the steering wheel immediately after it was picked up. It was impossible for me to confirm exactly where the high pitched creaking was coming from, but it seemed like the steering column/gauge cluster area was the likely culprit. Sure enough, within two days of picking up our CL, a strange "clink" sound from behind the gauge cluster managed to drop a small Phillips screw out from behind the dash and onto my left foot. Once the screw came out, the initial creaking stopped and no other problems or noise occurred for the remainder of our CL test period. In defense of Acura, I happen to know that this particular car had received airbag service just before we took possession. Is it possible that somebody missed a screw during the reassembly process?
As the first Acura designed, engineered, and manufactured almost entirely in the U.S., the car definitely "feels" quite American. From its high-end accouterments to its sporty road manners, the CL takes personal luxury to a level not commonly found on vehicles in this price range. It's also the only Acura, other than the NSX, to be offered solely as a two-door model. In the coming months it will face additional competition from Toyota's new Solara and, eventually, the Thunderbird when it returns sometime after the year 2000.
A glorified Integra? No way! A fancy Accord Coupe? Well, maybe, but those rear taillights are pretty cool.
Used 1998 Acura CL Overview
The Used 1998 Acura CL is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include 2.3 2dr Coupe, 3.0 2dr Coupe, 2.3 Premium 2dr Coupe, and 3.0 Premium 2dr Coupe.
What's a good price on a Used 1998 Acura CL?
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 1998 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) 1998 Acura CL for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1998 Acura CL.