Here’s something you probably didn’t know unless you’re a massive, ridiculous, embarrassing car nerd like me: For several years, Acura sold a luxury version of the Honda Civic in Canada. It was initially called the EL for two generations, then they changed the name to CSX. Now, they also sell it in the United States, and they call it the ILX.
But while the ILX has a lot of differences from the normal Civic — powertrain changes and dramatically different styling, for instance — the CSX and the EL really didn’t. They had different wheels, a slightly different grille, some updated taillights and a nicer interior. That was it. Naturally, because they were never sold in the United States, I want one very much. See the Honda Civic models for sale near you
A little history: The EL first debuted in 1997, offered only as a sedan and featuring slight cosmetic changes compared to the Civic. It used the same engine as the Civic EX — a 127-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with VTEC — and was badged as the 1.6 EL, as was Acura’s custom at the time. (Remember, for instance, the 3.2 TL?)
When the Civic was redesigned in 2001, so was the EL — now Acura’s most popular model in Canada thanks to its low entry price. Once again, it used the VTEC 4-cylinder from the Civic EX, though it was now a 1.7-liter unit, so the name was changed to 1.7 EL (until 2004, when Acura abandoned the engine-size thing and just called it the EL). This time, front-end styling included more obvious differences from the Civic, while the EL once again wore unique wheels — though the U.S.-model Civic later adopted them on the Civic SE.
In 2006, the EL was replaced with the Acura CSX, now based on the 2006-2010 Honda Civic. Differences from the Civic were a little more subtle — though a new front end, different taillights and updated wheels remained. And the CSX once again used the Civic EX’s VTEC engine, now making 155 hp from 2.0 liters. Fun fact: There was even a CSX Type-S, based on the U.S.-market Civic Si, which offered 197 hp and came only with a 6-speed manual transmission.
After the CSX’s run, Acura debuted the ILX, and the U.S. and Canadian Acura markets were once again in sync. But every so often, you see an EL or a CSX running around with plates from Ontario, Quebec or British Columbia, and you smile and give it a knowing nod. They will never be able to register it in the U.S. Find a Honda Civic for sale
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