The luxury brand of Honda, Acura is a Japanese marque that could be called the opposite of a JDM. In that, the Acura is not available in Japan, though it is a subdivision of Honda. Acura cars, to a limit, are available in Japan as rebadged Honda cars – but the popularity of the Acura has to be attributed to its sales in the US, China and other parts of the world.
Known for luxury married with performance, the Acura brand stands for elegance, comfort, and precision. It makes cars that tell the world you have made it, and are as fun to drive as they are comfortable. These are the best Acuras of the last decade.
10 2010 Acura TSX: A Safe Midsize Sedan
While the Acura TSX has been in the US since 2004, it was the second generation that was lauded for being one of the safest sedans in the world. The IIHS found that the deaths per million rate of the TSX, was the second-lowest of midsize four-door cars. Its single-vehicle crash and the rollover death rate was also zero.
A little sportier than convention, the 2010 Acura TSX packs decent speed – going 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds in a body that looks good. While the TSX ended production in 2014 after being replaced by the TLX, it was a good car while it lasted and won plenty of awards.
9 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: Spun-Off Into The RDX
The Acura TSX Sport Wagon came in for just a year but it managed to spin off its very own line as the Acura RDX later. Mechanically, the Acura TSX Sport Wagon was the same as the TSX – with a 200-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four engine that ran with automatic transmission.
Also technically, it was a badge-engineered Honda Tourer Station Wagon. More popular in Europe than America, the TSX Sport Wagon competed with the BMW 3 Series Touring since most other station wagons had been withdrawn from the market. Feature-loaded, it was a nifty drive though an airbag recall did affect reliability ratings.
8 2012 Acura RL: A Luxurious Sleeper
The Acura RL existed from 1995 to 2012, and we list the 2012 model as the best, simply because it was the last. It came to be replaced by the Acura RLX in 2014. While the car looks a bit modest and unassuming, the 3.7-liter V6 manages a cool 300 horses, which makes it one fast if simple looking car.
Truthfully, you could dub it understated luxury. 2010 seemed like a bad year with some recalls with the braking, but it bounded back to health in 2011. The 0-60mph sprint of 6.1 seconds makes the RL the quintessential luxury sleeper car: Unassuming on the outside but power-packed on the inside.
7 2013 Acura ILX: One Smooth Drive
The Acura ILX stepped into the replace the discontinued RSX and the Acura Integra as a compact executive car and has received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. 2013 was the highest-selling year of this model, with over 20,000 sold in the US. Post that sales have been dwindling, though not alarmingly.
Initial models had teething troubles with the door latch, but the car soon won over these minor irritations. The engine options have been added over the years. Initially, the best options were the 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter inline-four engines mated to five-speed auto or six-speed manual, at outputs of 150 and 201 horses respectively. Well-designed interiors and premium looks made it a continuing success.
6 2014 Acura MDX: Roomy And Powerful
The MDX was Acura’s replacement of the SLX, which was reviled because of a Consumer Reports article that trashed the Isuzu Trooper. The SLX was a rebadged Trooper and sales went down – though later the article was found fraudulent. That said, Acura cut its losses with the SLX and moved forward with the MDX in 2001. We talk about the 2014 model here, which was the launch of the third generation of the MDX.
A 3.5-liter V6 power mill jetted 290 horses and 267 ft-lb torque on direct injection. And despite being one roomy car, the MDX could zoom 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds – and the nameplate is still going strong today. At 65,600 examples sold, 2014 was the highest-selling year for the MDX.
5 2015 Acura RLX: The Sleek Sedan
The Acura RLX is a full-size luxury sedan that replaced the Acura RL – and other than luxury, the RLX is also renowned for its speed. Despite its big size, the Acura RLX can go 0-60mph with its 3.5-liter V6 engine that jets out an incredible 310 horses. The six-speed automatic transmission is equipped with shift paddles for the driver to have even more fun with the car, and have a little control over the gears.
The front-wheel-drive has Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) while the hybrid variant features the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). The latter is Acura’s flagship and this is the car most would recommend you to go for.
4 2016 Acura RDX: A Stylish Crossover
The RDX is Acura’s first compact crossover SUV and has become the entry-level model now. Despite the luxurious Acura marque, the RDX has always had an affordable tag. The 2016 upgrade made it even better than its previous models. The engine was now a 3.5-liter SOHC V6 that jetted 279 horses and 252 ft-lb torque.
Plus the new model was able to send 50% of this torque to the rear wheels on wet roads, as opposed to 25% of the previous model. LED headlamps and taillamps added both style quotient, as well as bettered night driving. The AccuraWatch driving assist system was also a definite plus-plus.
3 2017 Acura NSX: An Incomparable Supercar
2017 proved to be the magic year for the Acura NSX, with it selling 581 examples in the US. This may seem like a very small number to us, but for a car with a six-figure price tag, it works beautifully. The NSX is undeniably good-looking and brims with power and technology. Its hybrid powertrain with a mid-mounted 3.5-liter V6 turbocharged engine is a class apart, as are those 573 horses.
The all-wheel-drive and the nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission makes it a street-legal supercar that just blew the JDM market to smithereens. Then there are those interiors, and they may just want you to make the NSX your home.
2 2018 Acura TLX: The Perfect Executive Sedan
The Acura TLX replaced the Acura TL and TSX cars and was launched in 2015 as a compact executive car. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder power mill can be mated to a dual-clutch transmission (P-AWS) with direct injection for an output of 206 horses. There is the option of the 3.5-liter V6 on SH-AWD or P-AWS on a nine-speed automatic, at 290 horsepower.
Sales have in the range of 40,000-50,000 a year for this car and 2018 revamps may just add more numbers. With a more stylized front fascia and new infotainment features, the TLX also features a new A-Spec performance trim that promises to blow everyone’s mind.
1 2019 Acura RDX: More Luxury, More Power
The 2019 Acura RDX blew in with an A-spec trim with bold body modification, metal paddle shifter, OTT rims, and an optional red leather interior that may tempt you to stay in the car forever. A 360-degree surround-view exterior camera, a panoramic glass moonroof as well as an acoustic front door glass take the RDX to unseen levels of luxury, as does the 16-way power front seats.
Luxury can be so relaxing. The 2.0-liter turbocharged power mill makes 272 horses and 280 ft-lb torque, mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. Wheel-mounted metallic paddle shifter adds more driving fun, as does the SH-AWD system.