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Acura RSX vs Honda Civic - Driving Impressions



  • The SI is my daily driver. I tried to love the RSX but like I said the driving position is deeper than the SI. That might be preferable to some people .. but not to me. Otherwise it's hard to fault the car ... I just wouldn't buy one. But I can see why others would.
  • Glad Honda brought back the hatchback; the SI is a bonus. Just bought a 2002 with side air bags for what appears others are now paying plus the cost of the bags; these SIs were in scarce supply. Not concerned about the second place finish in all the comparison tests. Tests confirmed I didn't want a street racer anyway. Definitely don't fit the demographic for the SI, but it is a blast for my wife and I to drive.
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927
    "160 horses is more than enough especially for a hatchback"


  • 160HP is more than enough for a hatchback. Think about it, 12 years ago the Camry 4 cylinder had 115HP and that was a family sedan, 10 years ago the top Accord had 140HP, 9 years ago, the Acura Vigor only had 174HP, etc. The automotive world is turning into a HP war even when most of us don't need more than a Civic/Accord LX to get around comfortably.
  • beowulf7beowulf7 Posts: 290
    Just b/c you have a subpar requirement when it comes to engine performance doesn't mean the rest of us should have restrict ourselves to it. :)

    As long as fuel efficiency (gas mileage) is not being sacrificed too much, there's no such thing as too much HP. Once your gas mileage suffers beyond what you desire, then you've discovered your performance bounds.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Off topic comments about any of our Town Hall hosts are not appropriate in these discussions, and are subject to automatic deletion. Feel free to email me if you have any questions regarding this matter. Thanks!

    And now back to the subject of the Acura RSX vs. Honda Civic Si - driving impression.


    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927
    why "especially for hatchback" when power is though to be enough?
  • I think what preludexl was trying to say is that for the size/weight of the car, traffic congestion, speed limits, insurance and all those other real world factors 160 hp is sufficient for this type of car. I think front wheel drive cars all suffer some amount of torque steer so there are engineering limitations also. Other automotive icons like the Miata get by with even less horsepower and are considered true sports cars. The reason for this being that the literal hp rating is not the equivalent of the subjective "fun" rating.

    One more point is that one of the greatest attributes of "hot hatches" is that they are as practical as they are fun. This means that you should me able to store your stuff while not going broke at the gas pump.
  • bluong1bluong1 Posts: 1,927
    Thanks for the clarification.

    There are also RWD Hatchback cars: Audi sales them in europe and also the BMW 3 exists widely there in its hatchback configuration. Torque steer effect depends more on the low-end torque than hp. The sport version of the engine of the Matrix for instant produced respectable hp without giving any substantial torque, and it's not fun to drive at all.

  • Most people don't need more than 160HP or the Accord LX wouldn't be the highest selling version of the Accord, the LE wouldn't be the most popular Camry, and the LX wouldn't be the most popular Civic. 5 years ago the most HP you could get in a Civic was 127 and they sold like hotcakes. I generally have a heavy foot and I've never felt that the SI "needed" more power. Sure I always "want" more power but the power I have is sufficient. You can go after the car with the most HP and you would end up with a new Neon SRT or a WRX. But does the HP really matter when all you do is drive it to and from the dealer or does HP really matter when you have a car that's interior is worse than a Neon's?
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    coz' the average buyers of those cars are financially sensible. The top priorities for them are 1)Reliability 2)Comfort. Horsepower comes last coz' for most parents, they are not racing. Even a 127HP Civic can go 80mph. on the highway w/o any problems. They do not see the need to spend a few thousand more just to get more power. These are the same people who don't mind buying a Highlander over an RX300 or a Pilot over MDX. The very same people who buy an SI over RSX and a base RSX over the RSX-S. They do not care what people think of them.

    If HP doesn't matter, we should all be driving eco-friendly hybrid cars instead of buying an SI or RSX. Be truthful to yourself. 160HP is barely enough when most car makers are selling cars bet. 170-210HP. It won't be long before the SI gets more power.
  • I never said HP wasn't important. My only statement was that 160HP is more than enough for the Civic to get out of it's own way. Considering that people buying regular Civics get a max of 127HP, Corollas get 130HP (even the S), etc.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Check out the December issue. They do a test of both of these cars, back to back.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    are other manuf. other than Honda and Toyota that I know of. Maybe I caught in a time portal. I wonder what happened to the Neons, Proteges, Focuses, Tiburons, Sentras, Cavaliers, Saturns etc.

    By saying 160 is enough when compared to 127 or 130 is just plain.. err you know....
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    "someone". Someone seem to think that 160HP is enough for "most people" just coz' it is enough for her.

    "fb reh eb ot etah dluow i"
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Everyone should find a Toyota Echo fine. Inexpensive, reliable, and can also get to 80 on the freeway.

    I guess that is the debate that goes on between people who think of their cars as strictly utility and people who consider their cars an extension of themselves.

    For me, the more power the better. It is great when you can step on the pedal and feel the thrust of machinery and the precision of pin-point steering. That is why I enjoy more power and a sports-type machinery.

    As just a transportation device, I would agree with anonymousposts, and that is why Camrys, Civics, and Accords are so popular (that and they offer creature comforts, reliability, and room for a relatively small price when compared to other automobiles).
  • So what kind of car are you driving this week hammie? First it was an Escort, then a SI, then a A4 .. I guess by now you have probably graduated to a BMW 540 huh?

    Yb het ayw ym fb si eryv appyh.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    No.. it is still an A4 :) I never had an Escort. I made that up. I still have the A4. It will be sold tomorrow. My gf. and I are car pooling now. So, I'm driving her 00 3.2TL. If you had paid attention to my postings, you'll know I hate Bummer drivers. So full of themselfs. At least those that I know. I'll never drive a Bummer for that reason.

    "em dlot eh tahw ton si taht"
  • beowulf7beowulf7 Posts: 290
    ?siht ekil gnipyt ew era yhW
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 370
    wow, at that rate, I suspect you have racked up more miles on an 02 Si than most. Is yours consuming any oil? What kind of mpg are you getting on your commnute?
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    20-21k for 200 hp, some sweet recaro's and suspension setup? What would be a better deal than that? The neon SRT? I am skeptical. I don't know why people get so hung up on small differences in hp. 5-10 hp or .3 seconds diff in 0-60 is not enough of a difference to rule out one model over another. If that was the case we all would have bought a Camaro. Is it just the desire to have a car that you can say is "better" than someone else's?
  • Well, Automobile is claiming 5.4 0-60 for the SRT. If that number is true, that's a little more than a ".3 second diff in 0-60," which I agree people shouldn't get too worked up on. That number is in Mustang GT, 350Z, S2000, WRX territory, more than slightly ahead of a lot of its sport compact competition.

    About the horsepower stuff, generally if there's enough there to get a car to 60 in 8.X seconds, it's more than enough for worry-free merging, passing power, etc. I'm pretty sure a 160hp Accord, even an Echo, will satisfy that. That's all someone "needs." Past that, it's "want," no?

  • Has anyone checked out temple of vtec lately? They have a nice concept SI as well as photos of the Honda FP package available for the SI, Accord. One of them has a GReddy turbo which puts the SI at 220HP. Sweet.

    But I do agree that the auto world is becoming all about HP and who can have more of it. I used to want to have the fastest car but now at 23 I have matured. Now I only want to be faster than most.
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    I agree. I too desire more power. But it doesn't always make for a sportier car. For example the new Accord has 240 hp but I bet you would have much more fun driving aggressively in a 160 hp Civic Si.

    Acceleration can be fun, but it is only so rewarding. A balanced chassis, good steering feedback and great brakes are just as, if not more, important to spirited driving. Also some cars go 0-100 in 7 seconds, but where am I going to use that without going to the track. I am all about what is the most fun while driving (reletively) responsibly. Someday, when I can buy a track car, I will worry about track performance.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    The SEMA SIs sure looked good. I got to admit the red looks stunning though I'm not a fan of red or black.

    But from the side view, it sure looks like a Foci! Even Temple of Vtec posters agree. But who cares if it looks like a Foci? The Hyundai XG looks like a certain Jag. Mazda Protege and a Hyundai (don't remember which model) looks like B5 Audi A4.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    to some of you to please stick to the subject of this discussion.

    Also, don't mean to spoil the fun, but let's please write in a manner that's easily understandable for all the participants here. Please note: any further messages that are disruptive to the flow of this discussion will be subject to deletion.

    And now back to the subject of the Acura RSX vs Honda Civic Si. Thanks for your participation!


    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host

  • I drove both cars and the most glaring thing in my mind was the noise. I drove the SiR (badged this way in Canada) first and found everything to be very comfortable, from the driving position, to the clutch and shift action, to the visibility and the ride.

    The following week I headed over to the Acura dealer and strapped myself into the RSX base. The first thing I noticed was how much lower you FELT like you were in the car. The floor seemed so much closer to the seats than in the SiR. The next thing I noticed was it was just that...a feeling of sitting low. I found myself looking out over the dash and hood and felt like I was in the Vibe. Once on the road though, I noticed how LOUD the engine seemed. I knew both the SiR and the RSX have identical engines but why was the RSX so much noisier? It wasn't an exhaust tuning thing, it was the engine or the soundproofing material (or lack thereof) in the car.

    What's the deal? The SiR revved much more smoothly and quietly than the RSX...any ideas why that might be the case?

    I also found the clutch and shifter in the SiR much smoother and easier to use than the RSX which felt a little notchy and the clutch pedal a little firm. This might be due to the sporting intentions of the RSX, but the SiR is sport oriented too, isn't it? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • golfboy: I felt the same way when I drove the RSX. I'm not a big fan of feeling like I am in a bucket and that's how I felt in the RSX. I liked the interior design, just not the driving position.

    One thing that probably contributes to the SI's smoother-feeling engine is that is has balance shafts and the RSX does not. And if I am not mistaken the SI has some modifications to the gearbox to make it smoother as well.

    Overall the RSX is a nice car but the driving position, the seats, and the price make the SI way more attractive to me.
  • beowulf7beowulf7 Posts: 290
    Sports cars are very low to the ground. The RSX is almost a sports car (technically a sports coupe, fastback, whatever you want to call it), so it will also be low to the ground.

    For those who want a less bouncy and more floaty ride, test drive an SUV. Or a GM boat. :)
  • I don't have a problem with the RSX's ride. I like a firmer ride. I just don't like the low driving position. It makes me feel like I am in a KFC bucket of chicken. If I went off of performance alone though it would've been:

    1. RSX-S
    2. SI
    3. base RSX

    For me the SI was the best overall balance, especially for $16,300.
This discussion has been closed.