Established in 1986, Acura is the luxury division of Japanese automotive giant Honda. The first Japanese luxury car brand, Acura took the automotive world by storm, thanks to innovative models like the Legend and Integra. Acura’s success inspired rivals Toyota and Nissan to make their own luxury marquis, and helped usher in a new era of Japanese automotive innovation. Today, Acura prides itself on producing reliable, tech-savvy cars that offer premium accommodations for comparatively less than its European counterparts.
This list will oversee all of Acura’s models, then take a look at their company as a whole, and assess their image in the eyes of consumers.
10 ILX ($25,900)
Acura’s entry-level sedan, the ILX is the company’s least-expensive car. A sports sedan with quite a curb presence, the ILX is an attractive option for people looking to break into the luxury market. Equipped with a 201 hp i-VTEC engine, the car is quick when it needs to be. In addition, the ILX features an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, ensuring that it’s up to par with other current-gen sports models.
9 TLX ($33,000)
A little beefier than the ILX, the TLX offers a little more bang for the buck. With an optional 290 hp V6 engine with available AWD, the TLX doesn’t fail to impress. Its all-wheel-drive interface is called Super Handling AWD, which uses sensors in addition to the standard drivetrain to deliver more precise handling.
The TLX also touts a flashy, upscale interior, with available red leather and ambient lighting that helps to drive home the sporty vibes.
8 RLX ($54,900)
Acura’s most expensive four-door sedan, the RLX is touted as the company’s premium offering. At $54k, it’s significantly cheaper than most other sedans in its class. For example, one of the RLX’s closest rivals, the Audi A7, starts at $68k. But while the RLX may lack the refinement of some of its European rivals, it doesn’t mean that Acura skimmed on quality. The RLX has a fantastic interior, with beautiful leather and accents that looks like it could belong in something much more expensive. The sedan comes standard with all-wheel-drive, with either a 310 hp V6 or a 377 hp hybrid engine. Acura’s also quick to tout the legroom in the back, which they claim is more than most of its European competitors.
7 RDX ($37,600)
One of two SUVs Acura makes, the RDX is the smaller and least expensive of the two. Called a compact luxury crossover, the RDX features a standard turbocharged engine and loads of tech features. It features a 272 hp turbocharged engine and, like most other Acuras, available AWD. The RDX gets really good MPG for a vehicle in its class, with a combined city/highway rating of 24 miles. The RDX is highly decorated and recently came in second in US News and World Report’s list of the best luxury compact SUVs. As of this writing, it is the highest-rated Acura model on the website.
6 MDX ($44,400)
First released in 2001, the MDX is Acura’s first commercially successful SUV, and also one of its best sellers. The company claims that it’s the best-selling luxury midsize crossover ever, though this number is contested by Lexus and their RX. The company’s most visible vehicle, the MDX has gone through a number of facelifts over the years, accompanied by a rise in price. Despite this, though, the MDX remains an important vehicle in the company’s lineup.
The current MDX features either a 290 or 321 hp engine, with standard three rows of seating, and the option for Acura’s Super Handling AWD. Drivers can opt for Acura’s in-house navigational system, along with a ten-speaker audio system to enhance the driving experience.
5 NSX ($157,500)
First released in Japan in the ‘90s, the NSX is one of the most iconic supercars from that era. A rear-engine sports car, it features a 500 hp V6, with the option to upgrade to an even more powerful 573 hp hybrid sports engine. It features a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission, does 0-60 in 2.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 191 mph, plus 476 pound-feet of torque.
It’s a powerhouse for sure, one that puts it in direct competition with offerings from AMG and other performance lines. It’s also the most expensive car in Acura’s lineup, one that is uncharacteristically more than many of its rivals. Though that wouldn’t matter much to those who yearned for the day when the NSX would return, and who won’t be deterred by the price of admission.
Three of Acura’s models, the RLX, MDX, and the NSX, come with optional sport hybrid transmissions. Yet it’s not all about fuel economy, as these transmissions are actually more powerful than their combustion counterparts. In addition, all hybrid models come standard with all-wheel-drive, which, as we’ve mentioned before, carries Acura’s agile handling technology.
Back in August, Acura previewed its next-generation Type S line, a return to the brand’s former performance division that came and went in the 2000s. The TLX will be the first vehicle in the company’s lineup to get a Type S trim, and it is expected to release sometime in the next few years. The return of the Type S is part of Acura’s long-term strategy to revitalize its image as a maker of performance vehicles, an effort that can already be seen with the new NSX and the company’s line of sport hybrids.
Acura loves to toot its own horn when it comes to safety. Their cars get stellar test results from the NTSHA, and the company recently included it’s Acura Watch Collison Mitigation System as a standard feature on the RDX and MDX. The system is also optional on all other Acura models, and it is part of Acura’s vision to create what it calls a ‘Zero Collision Society.’ It may be a tall order, but at least the company is doing its part. Acura also insists that its Advance Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body frames are some of the safest in the industry, offering protection for both occupants and pedestrians.
1 Company Reputation
In recent years, Acura’s reputation has been divisive among auto enthusiasts and regular car buyers. While customers love their MDX and RDX SUVs, the company has faced criticism for abandoning its performance roots. Models like the Integra, RSX, and EL used to be Acura’s bread and butter, but over the last two decades, the company slowly shifted its focus away from performance and more towards suburban SUVs. A common complaint is that Acura’s cars are just ritzy Hondas. In fact, many of Acura’s models, like the MDX, are actually re-skinned versions of Hondas that are only sold in Japan.
Thankfully, Acura has been trying to re-capture its former spark. The re-release of the NSX, the launch of the TLX, and the coming revival of the Type S line shows that the company making an effort to win back auto enthusiasts. Whether or not this strategy will work remains to be seen, but this progress is a step in the right direction.