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Where is Honda taking Acura?



  • tizertizer Posts: 23
    What has happened to Acura? They have totally lost their Marketing brand identity and direction. Big Beaks on all their cars that look terrible. I currently own an 06 RL that has been a superb car. With 60,000 trouble free miles. Have not even replaced the front brakes yet. Sure the technolgy is now out of date, a better nav, bluetooth, hard drive music storage and push button start would be on my wish list. The ZDX is hideous, have only ever seen one on the road, and I think it was someone on a test drive. Acura needs a coupe (awd) in their lineup and the RL has so much potential. I'd buy another with the up dates I mentioned sin "the beak", Maybe a hybrid version could be offered. Right now my next car choice would be an Infiniti M37X or the new GS when it comes out next year.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    I currently own an 06 RL that has been a superb car....Sure the technolgy is now out of date, a better nav, bluetooth, hard drive music storage and push button start would be on my wish list.

    This is exactly why throwing "high tech" consumer electronics on the inside of the car is a really bad tack for Acura to take - it will ALWAYS be outdated in a couple of years. Then you have a whole dashboard full of 8-track tape players in a $40K car. The high tech needs to be under the hood and in the chassis, something SORELY lacking in Acura cars in the last 5-7 years. And there's no indication there will be any change in direction any time soon. :sick:

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    I read that Honda management is in the process of figuring out where they want to take Acura. In terms of positioning in the marketplace, they don't want to compete in the top tier luxury market, but, rather, a step below that. How to do it is what's being decided.

    For me, as the owner of an older TL, Acura has lost its luster.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    isn't that the same "near luxury" arena that they have always competed in (along with Infiniti)?

    Where they really need to take the product is back into the design studio, because if they don't rediscover good design, they won't have enough sales to survive!

    In the last decade, the 1999-2003 era TL was by far the most popular car, along with the MDX, so to me that pretty much screams of glorified Honda/near luxury.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    I'm not saying Acura products are bad. They's just no longer special. The competition has caught up, in terms of value for the money, performance, and driving fun. You didn't have to justify why you bought a TL, for example. Now you do, becuase the styling is offbeat, and the feature content dosn't stand out from the competiion. Acura needs to make its vehicles, starting with its cars, special again.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Best package of styling/performance was 04-07. Wife likes new Acura every 3-4 years, but will hang onto her 07 TL for awhile and see if Acura somehow straigtens out its TL line. Current TL is fat and ugly.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    I agree with your assessment of the current TL.

    If I can make a minor correction, the previous TL platform was produced for 5 model years, '04-'08, and the one before that, '99-'03. If Acura continues on a 5 year cycle, the next all new TL will be introduced in the fall of '13, as a '14 model. That's quite a wait.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    edited February 2011
    Acura unveiled a refreshed TL at the Chicago Auto Show, but it's a yawner. This once very popular near-luxury, value packed, aspirational Acura model, the lynchpin for the brand, has been slumping. The latest platform, introduced for the '09 model year, has failed to inspire. Sales have languished.

    Realizing that something needed to be done, Acura cleaned up the front-end some, toning down the beak effect, and shortening the front-end overhang by 1 1 /2". It also made some minor cosmetic changes in back. Mechanically, the TL now has a new 6-speed automatic, which replaces the 5-speed. This enhancement is said to improve gas mileage of the FWD vervion by 3 mpg. These are all positive changes, but it seems that the automotive press barely noticed. Did Acura not go far enough with these changes, does it have a PR problem, or some of each. Would the press have made more of these changes if it had been BMW or Hyundai?

    As a TL owner and one who respects the brand, despite recent disappointments, maybe I was expecting too much, too soon. Maybe the freshened TL will yet become popular with buyers. If I were to guess, it looks like we have to look beyond this generation, to the next all-new platform. That'll probably be introduced for model year '14. That's a long wait!
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited February 2011
    What is a TL anyway?

    Seriously, I don't pay a lot of attention to sedans, but I had to go look it up. If they called it a Jetta, at least I'd have an idea of what it was. MDXs I've figured out from reading the SUVs boards.

    A 3 mpg improvement is pretty significant.

    Inside Line covered it and the story over there got ~40 comments, so some people noticed.

    Not many of the comments are complimentary though.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    I think some of the change made to the MMC will help improve sales a little bit, especially the grill change, but not that much of a difference. I think will have to wait for the 5G to come out. Except for the TSX wagon, nothing new is coming out this year. Will have to wait till 2012 to see any major redesigns and/or new models.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    edited February 2011
    A three mpg improvement is indeed significant. However, I think Acura has taken a wrong turn in recent years with styling (personal, I know). Just as importantly, it's not as compelling from a value standpoint as it was a few years ago. Taken together, add the fact that many people find it harder to define the brand, and Acura is significantly less aspiratioal than it used to be. That's too bad. because of the Asian brands, I think Honda has the best engineering talent for unseating BMW in the luxury market. Unfortunately, it lacks the management and marketing leadership to do it. Consequently, Infiniti does a better job of competing with BMW than Acura.

    A luxury brand must be aspirational, to justify the premium pricing over its mass market counterparts.

    I think Honda's biggest mistake was to not convert its Acura models to RWD, as Infiniti has done. SW-AWD isn't enough, since it still lacks the near 50-50 front/rear weight distribution that RWD would provide. The decision to not offer a V8 is less critical, given the times, in my opinion.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    Honestly, since BMW and Infiniti and Mercedes all have those confusing alpha-numberic names, Acura could immediately distinguish themselves by renaming their cars to something catchy.

    How many people refer to the renamed MX-5 as a Miata? All of them?

    Like stylings, that's my personal irritation. Occupational hazard around here for me too. :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    I agree with you on this, but drive configuration is still a higher priority for me, for a sporty car. Would you choose FWD Miata or a RWD MX-5, hypothetically?

    To be clear, I think FWD is preferable to RWD for most applications. Hondas perform beautifully with FWD, for their intended purpose. Acuras, for the most part, would fare better with RWD.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited February 2011
    Wrong guy to ask. I could probably drive a FWD roadster year round up here. Can't justify having one that sits in the garage for six months. :shades:

    Knowing me, if I could find a hot deal on an old BRG one with a tan top, I'd go buy Blizzaks for it and take my chances. :D

    The TSX wagon does look pretty good from some angles. Don't care for the fender bumps much.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    I am amazed Acura sells any cars these days. They went from a lineup of exciting desirable cars to a bunch of boring same-looking crap in ten short years. Lay down 30-35 large for an Acura with all the other good stuff in that price range these days? What, are you kidding me??

    But oh wait, now they have a TSX WAGON (4-cylinder, automatic ONLY) - yeah, that will solve their problems (not).....

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,119
    Yeah, snow tires can compensate for a significant percentage of the traction advantage of FWD, and maybe all of it when going uphill, since there's a weight transfer from front to rear when when climbing.

    I generally like the TSX, sedan and wagon, but the designers must have had small feet. Ever check how little foot room there is between the door and the seat cushion of the rear seat? If you haven't, and are considering a TSX, do yourself a favor and climb in and out of the back. My shoes are no more than average length for a guy, and I find entry and exit to be very skimpy for a car this size. An Acura salesman acknowledged that others have also commented about this. A mid-size 4-door, especially a near-luxury one, shouldn't have this limitation. I think for the U.S. market the wagon should have been the U.S. Accord.

    As with the TL, I'd take a pass on this generation TSX. because I think it's just okay, rather than special, the way Acuras used to be. Maybe the next generation Acuras will get their mojo back.
  • gs42gs42 Posts: 54
    The TL was once at the top of the wish list for me. Sometimes Japanese styling loses its way and goes off course. Admitting it and fixing it is not a strong point of the companies and saving face seems more important than the fix. The newer TL is hideous at some angles with a clown face and a bulbous rear. I think it is still a great car in all other respects and could be back in the game with a sheet metal makeover. The TL was once the most understated and classy street sleeper of the time. Acura is fading fast and needs to wake up soon.
  • car_dudecar_dude Posts: 14
    edited February 2011
    I can talk from the experience - our family owned two TL cars - 2002 and 2008 (both were leased).

    I loved TL styling from beginning of 2000's - it was large car with good presence, with nice set of features and attractive design. I am a tall guy and I felt comfortable in that TL, it was sufficiently tall and wide for me. I felt sad when I turned my 02 TL in.

    Then came redesigned mid 2000's mode - smaller body, less room for my height and more expensive. I didn't like TL getting smaller, but high-tech features and handling improvements were exciting. Those features came with the price, all of the sudden mid-$300 leases were nowhere to be found. Eventually we got reasonable deal on 08 TL, as a larger car and easier on the budget replacement to BMW 3-series.

    In the end - it's not in the same league as BMW, the handling is no match, the only advantage is hi-tech gadgets and more spacious interior. Entire 3 yrs we had 08 TL - we wished we had something else...

    And them came the current ugly design of TL. Now TL is so un-attractive, we didn't even consider it and went back to BMW 3-series (we are paying only $55 more for 335i over TL) and could not be happier.

    We also considered Acura MDX as a second car, but went with a German SUV product instead - it was actually cheaper to lease than MDX.

    To summarize, Acura brand is on a decline - they are loosing on both design and on pricing. They still have the reliability and low maintenance going for them (as with all Honda products) - we had ZERO mechanical issues with one Honda and two Acura vehicles we owned. But overall appeal of the brand is fading, it's sad to see Acura going from innovator to what it is today.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    I am actually backward from you on the TL. I have a MY 2000, and it still looks sharp to me (maybe a tad dated, but it is 11 years old!). It was also a fantastic value when it came out (that versin). I almost bought one in 2001, but actually found it to not have enough head room (I have a long torso and proportionally short legs for my height). Just could not get comfy in it, as I like to sit upright, not all leaned back.

    The one I have was inherited from my sister, and is my sons car.

    But, the 2005 redesign, I loved that one. I fit great in it, and thought the styling (and the interior improvements) made it a vastly better car. I would consider a used one at some point, except I won't buy another Honda V6/AT in my life.

    the new one actually doesn't bother me too much, though the beak should go (you can replace that I think), in the right color. A neighbor had one for a few days visiting in a dark navy blue, and it looked really, really sharp.

    a little to big though for my current tastes. The TSX is a nice size though, and just needs a beak job to look fine. Drives really well too.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • I still have my 2003 TL, which was the last year for that body style. Each new body style Acura has brought our for the TL has lower gas mileage and a higher price. I also had the 2000 TL and the 2003 had all the bugs fixed. If they would take that 2003 TL with a similar body style and bring more technology and a bit better mileage it would be the perfect car. The newer versions are bigger engines but not better cars. I drive the new TL and TSX each year when I have my regular service performed at the dealer as a free loaner. But, I am never loving the new car more than my own.

    I would love all the new navigation and bluetooth features along with similar engine performance and better mileage that new technology should bring. But, I just don't see it.

    We also have a 2005 Pilot, which is a extremely useful vehicle. It gets decent mileage and has great room. We have looked at the MDX every year. But, it has poor rear visibility compared with our Pilot, lower gas mileage and is super expensive. Now, the new Pilot is huge and has lower gas mileage. The older version was better.

    The TSX is based on the Civic versus the Accord for the TL and does not compare well for me. The Acura TL was once the best value in luxury cars on the market. It really dominated here in the Boulder, Colorado area with Flatirons Acura right here in town which makes service a breeze.

    More and more cars have very similar styling which makes them look the same. I assuming the shape is more aerodynamic but the gas mileage is not getting better than the 20-24 mpg I get in town/hwy combined for a decent sized sedan V6. The 2004 Acura was okay but the newest version with that crazy front grill is just odd looking.

    I hope Acura reads these comments because it was once just a great line of cars.
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