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An offshoot of the Honda Motor Company, Acura has been synonymous with luxury car since the 1980’s. Having enjoyed great success with their Civic line, Honda had a strong reputation for producing reliable, attractive cars that were affordable. The problem was, as middle class Americans flourished financially during the ‘80’s, they wanted to spend this disposable income on a luxury car. While European manufacturers were feeding the market with vehicles like the BMW, Mercedes and Audi, theJapanese car producers had yet to enter this market.
Honda had been planning on introducing a new, larger sedan at this time. It was expected to be bigger than the accord with a powerful V-6 engine. The original idea was to sell it as an economically friendly vehicle, but with the changing market, Honda decided to switch gears and spruce it up. Thus the Acura was born.
With a public who did not readily associate Honda with luxury, marketing was going to be difficult. At a price tag that was almost double the base price of an Accord, Honda felt like its new luxury line would not fare well in showrooms next to their budget friendly sister cars. They decided instead to market it as a completely new division, along with their own dealerships.
Not wanting to introduce a new brand with only one vehicle, Honda re-designed its Japanese Quint-Integra to be a smaller version of its new luxury line. In addition, they were making plans to enter the exotic sports car arena.
In early 1986 the first 60 Acura dealerships opened with heavy doubts from the media and Acura competitors. Over 52,000 Acuras were sold in that first year and more than double that number in 1987. In just two short years, Acura had surpassed every European luxury car in the US, including the highly acclaimed Volvo.
The Acura Legend and Integra made every top 10 car list of 1987 including Road and Tracks 10 best cars in the world list. This was a big win for a little car company who up until that point had only been successful with economy cars.
Acura was ready to release its first exotic sports car, the NSX, in 1990. This time there were no doubts, the first NSX released was proclaimed to be the best sports car ever built by automotive periodical Motor Trend. At the same time, the Acura badge began to appear on their vehicles. It was clear, Honda had successfully entered the luxury car world and was there to stay.
Despite troubles with the economy, Acura prospered during the 1990’s. By manufacturing cars within the US, introducing the Vigor and breaking into the popular SUV market with its luxurious SLX, the Acura brand thrived during this turbulent time.
The new millennium has been good the Acura brand. Just over 25 years old, it has received more accolades than any other manufacturer in the same class. Always one step ahead of the competition in both style and technology, consumers look for Acura to give them the standards in their automobile that the other luxury car companies simply cannot match.
ILX – This is the least expensive of the Acura line, built for those who want luxury at a Honda price tag. A four door sedan, the standard model is equipped with a 150 horsepower four cylinder engine. The ILX is also offered as a hybrid, although without the option to run in total electric mode.
MDX – For a crossover vehicle expect incredible fuel mileage and maneuverability from Acura’s most popular vehicle. Over 50,000 of these cars were sold in 2012 and the numbers keep growing as Acura continues to improve on its design and features.
RDX – This crossover is powered by a 3.5, 6 cylinder engine that gives you some bang with its luxurious sport feel. Even so, you still get an efficient 20 MPG in the city and 28 MPG in the country, making it one of the most environmentally friendly cars in its class. RL – Acuras first sedan is often overlooked in todays market as bigger and seemingly better models capture the eye of the consumer. Don’t discount this as your Grandpa’s Acura just yet, the RL still continues to shine in the luxury car league. RLX – An offshoot of the lagging RL, the RLX has a more contemporary design and a tech friendly interior. Its powerful V-6 engine is surprisingly efficient with 20 MPG city driving and 31 on the highway. That’s better than most with a 310 horse power engine.
TL – Acura’s sportier luxury car is quickly approaching the end of its lifespan. While its standard still is equipped with all of your favorite gadgets, expect the next generation TL to surpass that.
TSX – There is a high probability that 2014 will be the demise of this luxury vehicle as it merges its style with the also aging TL to create an exhilarating TLX in the future.
ZDX – The ZDX has a hard time deciding if it wants to be a crossover or a sports car. With its aerodynamic front end raked roofline, this Acura is able to get from 0 to 60 in 6.5 without breaking a sweat.
These days it is difficult to tell that the luxurious Acura has its roots based in Honda. With a sleek style and an engine that rivals an Indy sports car, Acura entered the luxury car market and raised the bar about 6 feet.