Comfort and utility are unexpected side benefits of a sporty coupe; what matters more is that the car is fun to drive. To extract maximum performance from the Acura RSX’s engine, you’ve got to wind it up pretty tight. Power peaks very high in the rev range, and all-day road trips keep the tach pegged near four grand for highway cruising.
Gratefully, you don’t have to drive the RSX hard to enjoy it. In routine highway driving, the ride is quiet and smooth. The steering is responsive with virtually no play, so you grip the sporty leather-wrapped wheel without making constant course corrections. And while you may think that shifting through six gears in traffic may be tedious, we were pleased to find that the revised final-drive ratio in the Type-S allows you to stay in the higher gears even at lower speeds. Rolling along in sixth at 45 mph may seem odd, but it works just fine in the 2005 Acura RSX Type-S. The shift knob is a good size, and moves through the gears with very little effort. The same can be said for the clutch – it is very easy to depress and modulate, so the chances of getting a sore calf muscle or stalling are minimized. Disc brakes, solid in the rear and vented in the front to dissipate heat, are also easy to modulate and didn’t exhibit any fade during our testing. Although the C-pillar is fairly thick, visibility is decent for a hatchback, provided you make use of rearview mirrors.
For days not devoted to commuting or grocery shopping, pushing the RSX to its limits is entertaining, too. In fact, that’s when this car is the most fun. On the isolated mountain roads north of Los Angeles, we exercised the Type-S to see what it could do. Blazing up and down twisty roads, diving hard into the corners, jumping on the brakes – nothing we did could ruffle this bird’s feathers. Through fast turns, the steering provided excellent feedback, body roll was almost non-existent and the grippy 17-inch Michelin tires didn’t make a sound. By keeping the revs up, the engine’s 210 horses are always ready to play and those beefy seat bolsters keep drivers firmly planted. Impressively, despite the flogging in the mountains, our test RSX Type-S returned an average of 25.8 mpg during the week we drove the car.