The Acura RSX is a 2-door coupe with a performance pedigree offered between 2002 and 2006 in the U.S. and Canada only. Other major global markets got to enjoy its splendor too, but elsewhere, the RSX was badged as the Honda Integra DC5.
From a visual standpoint, the Acura and Honda versions barely differed at all, but slight performance and equipment discrepancies clearly made a distinction. Regardless of a badge, the compact coupe proved itself as a capable racing car winning several racing series championships all across the globe. More on that later.
Acura RSX History
Initially introduced in Japan during April of 2001, the Integra DC5 remained in production until mid-year 2006 alongside its Acura RSX stablemate. The RSX replaced the immensely popular Acura Integra whose JDM Type R iteration from 1995 (Honda Integra DC2 Type R) is still widely considered as one of the best-performing and best-handling FWD cars of the nineties.
Thanks to its no-nonsense, clean design, and impeccable performance characteristics, the RSX quickly caught the imagination of North American buyers. The new model boasted a much stiffer body structure which contributed to an increase in weight by some 100 pounds, but this was offset by a corresponding increase in power.
The Acura RSX itself first appeared during the model year 2002 in the U.S. It remained in production until July of 2006 with the very last model finding its owner in 2008. During that run, as many as 130,852 of them have been sold in the United States alone. At least another 8,000 units were sold in Canada but the final figure is certainly larger since there are no data available for 2002 and 2003.
Although selling in lower numbers than its predecessors, the Acura RSX wasn’t considered a failure due to then-impending natural shrinkage of its segment. After all, its predecessors were available as either 3-door hatchbacks or 4-door sedans which played an immense role in raising their appeal to a broader selection of buyers. While the Acura RSX, and especially Acura RSX Type S were considered some of the best cars of their generation, the Japanese carmaker decided to ax the model as of 2006. A 2-door compact sports coupe simply didn’t fit their strategy of focusing on comfort rather than performance.
Acura RSX Specs
Both the North American market Acura RSX and overseas Honda Integra DC5’s were available with a similar selection of powertrains.
While the base versions came with a 160-horsepower A3 version of Honda’s 2.0L inline-four K-engine (K20A3) regardless of a market, things were slightly more colorful at the top of the range. The most potent Honda Integra Type R to date was exclusively available as a Japanese Domestic Market model. It boasted 217 horsepower and 152 lb-ft of torque with a redline set at 8,400 rpm – courtesy of the K20A version of the aforementioned powerplant.
Meanwhile, the most powerful U.S.-spec model was badged as the Acura RSX Type S and drew 200 horsepower from the K20A2 mill between 2002 and 2004. For the last two years of its life cycle, the Japanese carmaker had upgraded the RSX Type S with a 210-horsepower K20Z1 engine. However, the new engine’s ratings were changed for 2006 due to SAE hp calculation revision. The ultimate year model’s horsepower ratings were thus stuck at 201 hp.
See also: Acura RSX repair manuals
The entry-level models were available with either a standard 5-speed manual or an optional 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift and Grade Logic Control. The most potent Type R and Type S iterations, on the other hand, came exclusively with a proper 6-speed shift stick with short throws. The latter was one of the main reasons For the RSX Type S’ appeal among performance enthusiasts as it provided a linear power curve.
The suspension consisted of a MacPherson-strut in the front and a double-wishbone rear setup which helped improve the new model’s cornering ability and overall balance.
To summarize, the Acura RSX horsepower ratings ranged mostly between 160 hp and 200 hp throughout its run. The only exceptions are the RSX Type S with 210 hp in 2005 which was rated at 201 hp the following year and base models whose 160 hp fell to 155 hp in 2006 after the SAE net revision.
Acura RSX Equipment
The U.S.-market Acura RSX was better-equipped with both safety and convenience features than its corresponding overseas Honda Integra counterparts. The former included a 4-wheel ABS and cruise control as standard, while the latter included power windows, micron air-filtration air conditioning, and a power moonroof. Atop of that, the Type S models came with a leather interior from the get-go.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has rated the RSX with five stars in the frontal driver and passenger crash tests, and with four stars in the side driver impact and rollover tests.
Both the base and Type S models were initially offered with the same all-season P205/55R16 Michelin Pilot tires wrapped around 16-inch 5-spoke cast alloy wheels. After the 2005 refresh, the entry-level RSX models had received new 12-spoke Enkei alloy wheels, while the performance Type S models benefited from new standard 17-inch 5-spoke Enkei/Asahi wheels and Michelin HX MXM4 215/45R-17 tires.
It’s also worth noting an expensive A-Spec aftermarket upgrade available for the Acura RSX Type S as of 2004. Apart from providing stiffer suspension which lowered the car by a full inch, the A-Spec also added dual 5-spoke 17-inch alloys wrapped in Yokohama AVS ES100 225/45R-17 tires, a wing spoiler from the Type R, and a body kit virtually identical to the JDM-exclusive Honda Modulo.
Acura RSX Legacy
Like most Japanese performance-oriented compacts, the Acura RSX is still drawing attention long after its discontinuation. Mostly coveted by the younger generations, many RSX’s have subsequently been modded but finding one in original shape still shouldn’t pose an issue.
The RSX has won numerous awards during its run, including appearing in Car and Driver’s 10 Best List in 2002 and 2003.
On a more tangible level, the Acura RSX has helped the brand on a way to winning the Manufacturers’ Championship of the SCCA World Challenge Touring Car class in 2006. Meanwhile, the Honda Integra iteration had won the British Touring Car Championship in 2005 and 2006 with Matt Neal behind the wheel.
How Much is an RSX Worth?
Naturally, used Acura RSX’s price is determined by numerous factors including production year, total mileage, overall condition of a car, etc. As it is the case with most Japanese performance cars, the Acura RSX didn’t depreciate in value in the same manner as more conventional commuters or other family cars. Its prices are still comparably higher than the prices of most run-of-the-mill cars of similar age.
An Acura RSX used usually goes for anything between $2,000 and $15,000. The average prices range between a little over $4,500 for the 2002 models. It’s a little closer to $7,000 for the 2006 models. It’s worth noting that they exhibit a slow but steady depreciation tendency due to the fact they aren’t getting any younger. It’s also worth noting that the Type S models often command prices around two times higher than those of base models. Here’s a more detailed rundown of the Acura RSX prices taken during mid-2020.
2002 Acura RSX
- Low: $2,000
- High: $7,500
2005 Acura RSX
- Low: $2,000
- High: $11,000
2003 Acura RSX
- Low: $2,000
- High: $8,500
2006 Acura RSX
- Low: $2,000
- High: $15,000
2004 Acura RSX
- Low: $2,000
- High: $10,000
Upkeep for an Acura RSX
Despite being between 15 and 20 years old right now, the Acura RSX’s are still immensely popular. The main reason behind this is probably their extremely slow depreciation curve. Maintenance of an Acura RSX isn’t too complex, and the most extensive repairs can be conducted in your own garage.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Maintenance
DIY maintenance might sound like it requires a lot of know-how but that doesn’t have to be the case. Especially when it comes to basic maintenance and repairs. With help from an Acura RSX service manual, everyone can exhibit his or her’s inner mechanic without too much effort.
The Acura RSX is a reliable compact performance car that’s managed to retain its value over the years. To keep it trouble-free and retain its value for foreseeable future, proper maintenance is of the essence. Every preventive maintenance starts with reading a manual and you can find your Acura RSX manual right here. It covers everything from battery check and fluid replacements to more complex fixes. Your RSX will be thankful if you provide it with adequate care.