/img/research/mi/printable/printable-atc-logo.png http://images.autotrader.com/scaler/600/450/pictures/model_info/Images_Fleet_US_EN/All/2281.jpg

2003 Acura RSX Hatchback

3dr Sport Cpe Type S

Starting at | Starting at 24 MPG City - 31 MPG Highway

/img/research/mi/printable/rating-0.png 0

Avg. consumer rating

Rate & Review
Find It Near You

Prices & Offers

Please enter your ZIP code to see local prices, special offers and listings near you.

  • Average Retail is not available
  • $23,270 original MSRP
Printable Version

2003 Acura RSX Hatchback

Printable Version

2003 Acura RSX Hatchback

Display:
Select:

2003 Acura RSX

Source: New Car Test Drive

Introduction

Acura RSX is a sport coupe for drivers who want performance and sophistication. That sophistication extends from the well-appointed cockpit to the superb driving dynamics.

Honda's powerful twin-cam engines, well-tuned sports suspensions, and four-wheel disc brakes make the RSX an exciting ride. Supportive, contoured seats, excellent visibility, and all the conveniences make it a comfortable ride. RSX is also practical, with a useable back seat and expandable cargo space accessible through its rear hatch.

With its powerful, high-revving engine, Type-S is a terrific car for the single, upwardly mobile driving enthusiast. The standard RSX is appointed well, but may be a bit firm for buyers who suffer a grinding daily commute.

RSX is unchanged for 2003, but a new performance kit is available for the Type-S.

Model Lineup

RSX breaks from Acura's CL, TL, RL nomenclature. The X in RSX means this is one of Acura's specialty models, like the NSX and the new TSX. RSX is only available as a two-door coupe. Though called a coupe, it is a hatchback in practical use.

Two engines are available. The base RSX ($19,975) is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 160 horsepower. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission, or optional five-speed automatic with SportShift ($20,875). Cloth is standard. Perforated leather upholstery ($1075) is optional.

RSX Type-S ($23,270) gets a 200-horsepower version of the same 2.0-liter inline-4. Type-S comes exclusively with a six-speed close-ratio manual gearbox. Leather is standard. Also standard is a Bose AM/FM/cassette/six-disc in-dash CD changer with seven speakers, including a big woofer.

Otherwise, there aren't any options. So you only need to make two major choices: whether you want cloth or leather, and if you want leather, whether you want the more powerful engine and related sports equipment. There's no need for options because the base RSX models come standard with all of the convenience features of the more powerful Type-S: automatic climate control, cruise control, power windows and locks, power moonroof, antilock brakes, and 16-inch alloy wheels. RSX also comes standard with a premium six-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo.

Acura is offering a performance package for RSX Type-S, which is installed at dealerships ($4,800 plus installation). The package includes high-performance, track-tuned shocks and springs, slotted brake rotors and performance brake pads, lightweight 17x7.5-inch alloy wheels, high-performance tires (225/45VR17), a factory rear wing, underbody spoiler kit, and special interior trim. This is the first time Acura has offered a comprehensive high-performance kit to be installed by dealers and covered under a factory warranty.

Walkaround

Sleek, clean, almost elegant, Acura RSX is designed to exude performance. Its lines are understated. It doesn't look boy-racer, though it is less conservatively styled than most Acuras. It looks contemporary and aggressive, with short front and rear overhangs and a cabin-forward silhouette.

It almost looks as if it were carved out of a solid block. The expansive rear glass sweeps fastback-style toward a high rear deck. A smoothly integrated liftgate raises easily to reveal a spacious cargo hold. Acura design cues can be seen in the grille, in the cutouts under the cylindrical tail lamps, and in the headlamp design. The front end looks bland to our eyes, however, resembling some kind of Honda Civic when seen in the rear-view mirror.

Acura's attention to detail can be seen in the precise exterior fit and finish. Not visible, but just as important is the extensive sound insulation, including melt sheets added to the floor to reduce interior noise.

Interior Features

Acura RSX features a driver-oriented cockpit. Visibility is excellent out front, while large mirrors provide good visibility rearward. Seats are deeply sculpted with side bolstering, and supportive when cornering hard, with thigh, lumbar, and shoulder adjustments on the driver's side. Optional perforated leather upholstery is nice, though unremarkable.

A wide instrument pod covered in a perforated material surrounds the driver. Large analog gauges with metallic faces are easy to read. The thick, leather-wrapped, small-diameter steering wheel with three spokes feels like it came from a race car. The shifter feels good, also; a leather-wrapped gearshift knob comes standard, while the Type S gets a special perforated leather knob.

The rear seats are surprisingly comfortable for a sport coupe. But this isn't a sedan; space for rear passengers' heads is under the rear window. The rear seats fold flat for cargo. An acoustically transparent cargo cover snaps into and out of place to hide valuables. A Bose subwoofer goes inside the temporary spare, a clever use of space, and it can be moved around for tailgate parties.

Acura's luxury features, standard on every RSX, include the automatic climate control system with micron air filtration, illuminated power window switches, and lighting in the glove box. But this car is clearly designed as a sport coupe rather than a luxury sedan. The perforated material around the instrument panel and center console, the roof liner, the white-gold plastic trim, the vents, and the radio controls lack the high-quality, upscale look and feel of a premium brand.

A clever combination tray and cup holder offers a good place to stash a wallet, as it provides a semi-secret compartment. The dual cup holders work well as long as the container isn't much taller than a grande Frappuccino. A small fold-out above the rear seat on the driver's side works okay for hanging a couple of shirts, but not a full load of dry cleaning.

Driving Impressions

Driving the Acura RSX is a lot of fun. The Type-S boasts quick acceleration, crisp, predictable handling, and excellent brakes. Steering is very sharp, with no play at center, no slop. This car feels controlled and very stable at high speeds.

RSX and RSX Type-S differ in several key areas. Type-S gets a more powerful engine, firmer suspension damping front and rear, stiffer rear springs, and larger front brakes. But otherwise, the two models are nearly identical, including their 17-inch alloy wheels with high-performance Michelin tires.

Ride quality is firm on both models. It feels great on smooth roads, but can feel jouncy on bumpy roads. The base RSX felt a little too firm when we drove it in Richmond, Virginia. We could hear expansion joints on the highway, possibly due to the high-performance Michelin MXM4 all-season tires, and we could feel the uneven pavement on old city streets.

Handling is fun, predictable and precise. While turning laps in a Type-S at Georgia's Roebling Road, we found the RSX is an easy car to control at the limit. You can really drive this front-wheel-drive coupe: A lift of the throttle before turning into a corner reduces understeer and helps rotate the car into the turn. It's also easy to control when braking and turning at the same time, a driving faux pas that can cause a spin many other cars. The Michelin tires offer excellent grip and predictable handling.

Brakes are excellent, four-wheel discs, ventilated in front. The first time we used them they were cold and we found they demanded a bit of foot pressure, like they needed a little more power assist. That's typical of high-performance brake pads, which require a little more pedal pressure and work best once they have a little heat in them. We quickly adjusted to them on the street, and they felt perfect out on the race track, resisting the tendency to fade under hard use.

Both RSX models come with sophisticated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. These all-aluminum 16-valve engines use Honda's i-VTEC system, with variable-phase camshaft timing (VTC for variable timing control) along with the proven Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC). The result is impressive horsepower and high torque with outstanding fuel economy and low exhaust emissions. The engine is mounted transversely, but opposite the normal direction, bringing the exhaust manifold closer to the catalyst for improved light-off and reduced emissions at startup.

The engine that comes in the base RSX delivers adequate acceleration performance, but lacks the sporty response of the Type-S. The base engine develops 160 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 141 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. That's the same amount of torque developed by the Type-S engine except at much lower rpm, making the base RSX feel quite responsive around town. One benefit of the 160-hp engine: the RSX earns an EPA City/Highway rating of 27/33 mpg (24/33 with the automatic), while the Type-S gets 24/31 mpg. Also, the 200-hp Type-S engine needs 91 octane, while the 160-hp RSX engine can get by with 87 octane, though Acura recommends premium for optimum performance.

The standard transmission in the base RSX is a five-speed manual, and it's the best match for the base 160-hp engine.

The five-speed automatic transmission features Acura's Sequential SportShift system that allows the driver to shift gears semi-manually, without the need for a clutch pedal. In SportShift mode the driver has full control; unlike other semi-manual transmissions, the RSX transmission will not shift up or down unless directed to do so by the driver. It gives the driver more control than leaving it in Drive. Or you can simply put it in Drive and let it do its thing. Do that and you'll benefit from its Grade Logic Control, which reduces the tendency for it to hunt between gears when driving on steep hills. The serpentine shift gate makes going from Park to Drive and back again a bit clunky.

The Type-S engine is much more fun, however. It revs to 7900 rpm and it needs to be wound up to extract all of its performance: it ultimately develops 200 horsepower at 7400 rpm and 142 pounds-feet of torque at a heady 6000 rpm. The engine is smooth. It hums. Acceleration is linear, without the surge of the old 1.8-liter VTEC engine in the Integra Type R. Compared with old Integra Type R, the RSX Type-S engine boasts a wider torque band. It's also lighter and more compact. The Type-S engine is fitted with a fixed intake manifold in place of the 160-hp RSX's dual-stage intake manifold, which boosts horsepower at high rpm. Acura says 0-60 mph in about 6.7 seconds for the Type-S. That's quick.

RSX Type-S comes exclusively with a new short-throw six-speed manual transmission with close ratios. It's been engineered to provide the lightning-quick shift action of a race car transmission. It shifts smoothly, a benefit of triple-cone synchronizers on first and second gears, and double-cone synchros on third through sixth.

The RSX is based on Honda's new Civic platform, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Gone is the trademark Honda/Acura double-wishbone front suspension, replaced by conventional, cheaper-to-build MacPherson struts. That's not a fatal flaw in a car with the RSX's sporting intent, because even with the struts, proper suspension tuning can still deliver impressive handling and steering response. And suspension tuning on the RSX is different from that on the Civic.

Remarkably, both RSX engines meet stringent Low Emissions Vehicle-II (LEV-2) standards and are designed to run for 110,000 miles before the first scheduled tune-up.

Summary

Acura's RSX offers more sophistication than other sporty coupes. It delivers luxury-channel levels of refinement and quality. It looks nice, it's comfortable, and it features all the conveniences of an entry-level luxury car. Handling is excellent, making it easy and fun to drive. Driven hard, this car will do just about anything you ask it to do within the basic laws of physics.

And it's quick, especially when equipped with the high-revving Type-S engine.

Most drivers, however, will opt for the standard 160-horsepower engine. They will be making an excellent choice. Smooth and powerful, this engine is designed to deliver responsive performance around town and crisp acceleration when needed to merge onto busy freeways during morning rush hour.


Model Line Overview

Model lineup: RSX 5-speed ($19,975); automatic ($20,875); Type-S ($23,270)
Engines: 160-hp 2.0-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4; 200-hp 2.0-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4
Transmissions: 5-speed manual; 5-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
Safety equipment (standard): ABS, front airbags, side-impact airbags
Safety equipment (optional): none
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Sayama, Japan

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Acura RSX Type-S ($23,270)
Standard equipment: automatic climate control with micron air-filtration system, steering wheel-mounted cruise control, tilt steering wheel, intermittent wipers, power moonroof, power windows with driver automatic up/down window and auto-reverse, overhead map lights, driver's and passenger's visor vanity mirrors, two 12-volt power outlets, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power mirrors, driver's adjustable lumbar support, 50/50 split fold-down rear seats; Type-S adds leather interior, Bose AM/FM/cassette/six-disc in-dash CD changer 7-speaker system with Bose Rich bass woofer
Options as tested (MSRP): none
Destination charge: ($500)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $23,770
Layout: front-wheel drive
Engine: 2.0-liter dohc 16-valve inline-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 200 @ 7400
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 142 @ 6000
Transmission: 6-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 24/31 mpg
Wheelbase: 101.2 in.
Length/width/height: 172.2/67.9/54.7 in.
Track, f/r: 58.4/58.4 in.
Turning circle: 38.1 ft.
Seating capacity: 4
Head/hip/leg room, f: 37.8/51.1/43.1 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 30.1/46.7/29.2 in.
Trunk volume: 17.8 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: independent
Ground clearance: 5.9 in.
Curb weight: 2778 lbs.
Tires: P205/55R16
Brakes, f/r: ventilated disc/solid disc, with ABS
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gal.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of January 27, 2003.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.

N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-TO-ACURA - www.acura.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2003 Acura RSX Hatchback

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
/img/research/mi/printable/rating-0.png

No consumer rating

Rate & Review
Passenger Crash Grade
/img/research/mi/printable/rating-0.png

No consumer rating

Rate & Review
Rollover Resistance
/img/research/mi/printable/rating-0.png

No consumer rating

Rate & Review
Side Impact Crash Test - Front
/img/research/mi/printable/rating-0.png

No consumer rating

Rate & Review
Side Impact Crash Test - Rear n/a

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2003 Acura RSX Hatchback

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Acura Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12 months/12,000 miles limited warranty from purchased date or expiration of new car warranty date. Additional 7 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty from in-service date.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 years / 80,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 150
Return/Exchange Program 3 day exchange
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2003 Acura RSX Hatchback

Data on this page may have come in part, or entirely, from one or more of the following providers.

Sell or Trade In Your Old Car For a New One

My Hotlist

Check up to 4 to Compare

Currently Viewing

Similar Models to Consider

Check up to 4 to Compare

Change your ZIP code: