2017 Acura NSX Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Easily accessible handling for both novice and experienced drivers
- Hybrid engine/electric motor combination provides strong acceleration and high fuel economy
- Comfortable ride and great forward visibility makes it easy to live with on a daily basis
- Lacks the flair and personality typically associated with this type of car
- Very little cargo space
- Many of the latest advanced safety features aren't available
- Technology interface isn't as user-friendly as some rivals
This is a precise, fast car that drives smaller and lighter than its curb weight suggests. The NSX is also a car that flatters its driver, whether a neophyte or an experienced shoe. Its tenacious traction as you power out of a corner as almost as surprising as the resolute faithfulness with which the NSX's nose follows the driver's steering input. In other words, the NSX goes exactly where you point it, and it exits corners as though attached to a centrifuge.
Forward visibility is outstanding. The NSX's low cowl and slim pillars help make it a terrific fast-road companion, since the driver can easily place the car on the road. And although the suspension delivers exemplary control, the damping is supple such that the ride quality is really quite comfortable even on bumpy pavement. Even the brake feel, which is commonly grabby and hard to modulate among hybrids, is so natural that you don't even think about it. This car could easily be driven daily despite its eye-opening pace on a back road.
Acceleration is comparatively anticlimactic. It's certainly a rapid car, but the sense of speed is deceptively muted by the flat torque curve. High speeds don't fluster the NSX, as it feels planted and secure. Shifts from the nine-speed transmission are terrifically quick and smooth.
But as technically accomplished as it is, the NSX lacks a sense of occasion. For starters, it sounds uninspiring in the cabin. Yes, a sound tube connected to the engine's intake directs the V6's sound directly into the driver's left and passenger's right ear. But a V6's sound is not as inherently captivating as what you might hear from a V8 or Porsche flat-6. We're glad Acura's engineers allowed a bit of the turbocharged personality to shine through (the turbo's bypass valves chuff audibly when you lift off the throttle) but the incessant hiss and synthetic bellow of the intake on a fast drive grows tiresome.
After you operate the fiddly little lever of a door handle, a wide sill extension is presented to the driver before you drop into the very low seat -- on the road, normal sized sedans tower above the NSX like Star Wars AT-ATs. There's no provision for seat height, only fore/aft, the seatback angle and lumbar adjustment, which is just the same since headroom is snug for drivers taller than 6 feet. On the plus side, they're exceptionally comfortable seats for hard driving or long stints behind the wheel.
A large, centrally located knob toggles among the NSX's four preset configurations: Quiet, Sport, Sport Plus and Track. Each mode offers increasing levels of aggression among the engine and transmission, dampers, steering, all-wheel-drive system and stability control. Quiet mode extends its electric-only operation, allowing one to stealthily trundle around at low speeds.
The interior trim is a mix of soft leather, dramatic swoops and Acura parts-bin switchgear. The shift paddles feel and sound cheap, and have too much travel when you pull on them, in our opinion.
The cabin is not especially spacious. Storage consists of a small glovebox, a cute cubby between the seatbacks and two tiny scallops in the top of the central tunnel, aft of the push-button transmission selector. That's it. There are no door pockets despite the very wide armrests. On the plus side, the leather feels nice and the driver footwell is amply sized. Cargo volume is limited to a small rear trunk (4.,4 cubic feet) that really heats up because of its location to the engine.