Used 2005 Acura NSX Coupe Review

A 15-year-old exotic that offers competitive performance. Overpriced for what you get, though. Buy a used one and get virtually the same car with less depreciation.




what's new

The 2005 Acura NSX continues unchanged.

vehicle overview

It's hard to believe, but the NSX has been around for 15 years now. Well, that alone isn't hard to believe -- after all, Porsche's 911 has been around for more than four decades. But when you consider that the NSX has made it through those 15 years without a major update or redesign, and that the Civic has been redone three times in the same period, it is a bit of an eye-opener. Except for a horsepower increase and upgrading from a five-speed to a six-speed transmission in 1997, and some styling changes in 2002, the 2005 Acura NSX is essentially the same as the one offered to exotic-car buyers back when the first Bush was president. As such, newer rivals outclass it in horsepower (a Dodge Viper makes 210 hp more), and it lacks typical luxury features like a stability control system or a navigation system. Even the cabin has a dated '80s look. So, is this a bad thing? Er, well, yes. But this is still an exotic that turns heads everywhere it goes. All-aluminum unibody construction and lightweight aluminum suspension components give the car a nimble feel, despite its large dimensions, and the electrically assisted power steering provides sublime feedback. In terms of handling, the 2005 Acura NSX can run with just about anything. And don't forget that the NSX is part of the Acura (Honda) family, which means it will spend most of its time in your garage instead of the dealer's repair bay. But overall, we don't see much of a reason to purchase a new NSX. For the same money, there are simply better choices, from the Chevrolet Corvette to the Porsche 911. And really, if you desire an NSX, buying a '97-up car will satisfy just as much and save you thousands in the process.

trim levels & features

The two-door 2005 Acura NSX sports car is Acura's most expensive model, but a lack of updates leaves it without the kind of modern amenities you would expect for a car in this price range. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, a removable aluminum roof panel, HID headlights, remote keyless entry, automatic climate control, a 165-watt Bose stereo with a CD changer and leather seating.

performance & mpg

The 3.2-liter V6 engine makes 290 horsepower and 224 pound-feet of torque. It's coupled to a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic is also available, but equipping the car as such mandates a smaller 3.0-liter V6 and drops the horsepower rating down to 252. With the six-speed, the NSX can accelerate to 60 mph in about 5 seconds and has a top speed of 175 mph.

safety

The NSX lacks some of the more current safety features, such as side airbags or a stability control system. It does have traction control and antilock brakes. Crash testing has not been performed by the NHTSA or the IIHS.

driving

Around turns, the 2005 Acura NSX still has the goods to hang with just about any other car sold today. Well-balanced, perfectly poised, easy to drive, powerful, graceful -- the NSX is a precision instrument that is forgiving enough to make drivers of varying skill feel like pros. The midengine design provides excellent weight distribution, keeping the wheels securely planted around turns. Braking and steering are also NSX strong points. There could definitely be more horsepower, though. Spending nearly $90,000 to get 290 hp doesn't seem quite right.

interior

The NSX's cabin is comfortable and refined, and one might even call its styling '80s retro, though we don't think that has anything to do with Acura trying to be hip. All controls are logically placed, the seating position is nothing short of perfect, the targa top is easily stored and visibility is certainly acceptable for a midengine sports car. Optional high-impact interior colors like Vivid Blue and Targa Silver are available to capture the flavor of many aftermarket kits.

edmunds expert 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.