Acura launched in 1986 as Honda’s luxury car division. It was the first time a Japanese automaker had developed a local luxury brand. The Integra and the Legend were the first Acura models in America. Since then, Honda has let Acura double down its luxury focus, strengthening its reputation as a high-end Japanese brand.
Entry-level example: ILX
Though drivers know Acura as a luxury brand, not all of the automaker’s cars break the bank.
As an entry-level, the ILX competes against sophisticated European cars while maintaining an enticing gateway price. The ILX checks the price box easily, and Acura offers plenty of features to help it compare against newer European cars. This year’s ILX reaches 60 miles per hour in seven seconds, which is on par with its segment.
High-end example: NSX
On the other end of the spectrum is the Acura NSX, fetching a six-digit price. It’s also one of the few supercars in the world that offers a hybrid powertrain. The American-built NSX engine comes with a roaring 573-horsepower hybrid powertrain and shifts its weight toward the rear like a sports car. The base trim comes with a wealth of features, and there are still packages to add.
How well an Acura holds its value depends on the specific model. Many Acura models do not hold their value well, but some do. On average, you can expect a 2017 Acura to keep 75% of its original value.
The Acura TLX is one model that retains its value well. It has a loyal customer following, meaning drivers like to buy them, allowing TLXs to stay valuable over time. According to Edmunds, a TLX depreciates about $18,069 over five years.
Acura has a reputation for reliability and value, especially since the brand comes from the similarly reputed Honda. However, some models struggle to compete with their rivals as proven by average satisfaction ratings.
For example, Acura recently overhauled the RLX, introducing new exterior styling and adding a 10-speed auto transmission. Nonetheless, some drivers felt its features fell short for what a luxury sedan should have.
The family-friendly MDX, on the other hand, has rave reviews. It’s a quick, quiet, and reliable SUV that can seat seven across three rows.
Acura produces luxury sedans and SUVs at various price points.
There are few changes to the 2020 ILX since Acura overhauled it last year. This year, you can add Acura’s Premium package to bring the ILX more up to speed to other Acura models. It doesn’t include the navigation system found in the higher-end Technology package, but it does come with Android and Apple smartphone integration that lets you use your phone’s apps anyway.
The NSX is undeniably fast on the highway, and its electric motors make it useful even in city traffic. The twin-turbo V-6 engine helps give the twin electric motors the juice necessary to soar down winding roads. Acura doesn’t split the NSX into different trims like its other vehicles, allowing you to customize a single model to your desire. By default, the NSX comes with a thirsty V-6 engine capable of producing a staggering 573 horses. One engine transmits power to the rear wheels, and the electric motors drive the front wheels independently; the result is effectively an all-wheel drive.
The base RLX trim lacks Android and Apple CarPlay connectivity, but it does contain many other standard features. The engine is reasonably powerful and returns decent fuel economy numbers. However, Acura chose to discontinue the RLX after 2020.
This midsized luxury sedan comes with a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine capable of generating 206 horsepower. However, you can upgrade to a beefier 3.5-liter V-6 engine, producing up to 290 horsepower. The TLX transmits its power to the front wheels by default, but the V-6 engine comes with the option of an all-wheel drive.
At first glance, the MDX looks unassuming. However, it’s a surprisingly efficient crossover SUV that can serve many needs for families. The MDX tows up to 5,000 pounds and can seat up to seven, making it versatile for adventures of all flavors. The Sport Hybrid trim adds $8,500 to the final cost, but it enhances the driving experience by adding an all-wheel drive and the Technology package.
Acura car owners can expect to pay an average of $501 per year on maintenance and repair costs, according to RepairPal.
New Acura vehicles come with the automaker’s Maintenance Minder, designed to inform drivers when it’s time for oil changes and other routine maintenance appointments. The owner’s manual will recommend when you should tune-up your car.
Acura commits to reducing its environmental impact through its Environmental Leadership Program. Through this program, Acura encourages dealers to move toward sustainability by offering three tiers of awards.
Silver-level dealers reduced 10% of their energy consumption. Gold-level dealers reduced energy consumption by 30%. Finally, Platinum-level dealers cut as much as half of their annual energy usage.
Acura vehicles come with many of the same features that luxury car owners expect in their purchases. However, one brand-specific feature available on all Acura vehicles is AcuraWatch. It’s a suite of driver-assistive safety features designed to help drivers stay safe behind the wheel. These safety features include road departure mitigation, Acura’s collision mitigation braking system, and lane-keeping assistance.
Acura vehicles also come with Jewel Eye® LED headlights, adding longer-lasting, brighter visibility at night.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Acura RDX as a top safety pick. A car must score high in the headlight, crash avoidance, and crashworthiness tests to qualify for this award.
Acura vehicles come with several active safety features to help them perform optimally. These features include vehicle stability assist, which provides traction control on slippery roads. Additionally, automatic brake hold and an electric parking brake help Acura vehicles stop more rapidly.
Each Acura vehicle also comes with a list of additional passive safety features beyond the usual seat belts. Passive safety features are unsung heroes that many drivers overlook when they’re looking at lists of options and packages to add. These characteristics include a front-knee, front-side, side-curtain, and an advanced-front air bag.
What’s Next/Future Products
So far, there’s little news on the horizon for future Acura products. One thing Acura did announce was that the RLX would not return after this year. However, the company did also announce the upcoming TLX.
The 2021 Acura TLX is an aggressive sedan designed to add a touch of excitement to the Japanese company’s lineup. Most models will come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine, but the Type S comes with a more robust 3.0-liter V-6 turbo engine. Unless you opt for an all-wheel-drive system, the 2021 TLX sends its power through a 10-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.