Premium sporty/performance car; Built in Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • transverse mid-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $12,000 – $46,000*


2000 Acura NSX


1997 Acura NSX


2000 Acura NSX interior


1997 Acura NSX


2001 Acura NSX

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Build quality
  • Exterior finish
  • Interior materials
  • Standard traction control
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Cargo room
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy
  • Price
  • Rear visibility
  • Ride

Although early models were selling new for as much as $100,000 (or even higher), demand eased after a year or two, sending transaction prices below MSRP. Secondhand too, an NSX is a lot more expensive than a Corvette or a Porsche 911, yet it lacks the pedigree of similarly priced Ferraris. Still, it’s almost worth that high dollar figure because of its blend of refinement, performance, and appealing ergonomics.

Overview

What some observers considered to be Acura’s “Ferrari-fighter” went on sale in summer 1990, accompanied by considerable fanfare. Part of that fanfare had to do with price, because this new entrant from Honda’s luxury division was the most expensive Japanese-brand car on the U.S. market. Because of its instant popularity,too, dealers began to sell them for more than sticker price.

An all-out midengine sports car, the new NSX 2-passenger coupe had a body and suspension made of aluminum. Transversely mounted in the middle, between the seats and ahead of the rear axle, was an aluminum 3.0-liter V6 engine, with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing.

All of the initial NSX coupes had 5-speed manual transmissions, and the V6 produced 270 horsepower. When a 4-speed automatic transmission arrived a few months later, the engine in that model dipped to 252 horsepower. An NSX could accelerate to 60 mph in a swift 5.6 seconds, according to its maker, and run a quarter-mile in 13.9 seconds. Acura intended to offer no more than 3000 cars per year in the U.S. market.

Chassis features included a fully independent suspension, antilock all-disc brakes, traction control, Yokohama A-022 tires (205/50ZR15 in front and 225/50ZR16 out back) on forged aluminum wheels. Acura claimed to be the first manufacturer to offer electrically driven power steering, but it was available only on models with the automatic transmission. Standard equipment included a driver’s airbag, leather upholstery, air conditioning, 4 speaker Acura/Bose stereo system power windows, power locks, a tilt steering wheel, and automatic climate control.

Yearly Updates

1992 NSX
Little was new for Acura’s sports car in its second season.
1993 NSX
Except for a new passenger-side airbag and seatbelt pretensioners, not much change was evident for 1993. The center console was redesigned, with an integral cupholder.
1994 NSX
Few changes occurred this season, other than tires that grew in size. Up front were 215/45ZR15 tires on new 7-inch forged alloy wheels. At the rear, 8.5 inch wheels held 245/40ZR17 rubber. Power steering remained unavailable with manual shift. Standard leather upholstery now was available in tan color, as well as black or white.
1995 NSX
The ’95 models went on sale late in the season, and only in NSX-T form. That meant a removable roof panel, which could be stored in a compartment behind the seats without cutting into cargo volume. Acura also turned to structural reinforcement, upgrading to meet the 1997 Federal side-impact standards. A new “drive-by-wire” throttle system was installed. Electrical power steering, previously available only with an automatic transmission, could now be installed with manual shift as well. The automatic transmission gained a SportShift feature, controlled by flipping a lever on the steering column.
1996 NSX
Both regular and Targa-roofed (NSX-T) coupes went on sale in 1996, without significant change.
1997 NSX
A bigger engine went into the 1997 NSX, and a new 6-speed manual transmission edged aside the 5-speed unit. The new 3.2-liter all-aluminum V6 produced 290 horsepower. Brakes were enlarged, and the NSX again came in regular coupe or targa-roofed (NSX-T) form.
1998 NSX
Following adoption of a larger engine and 6-speed in 1997, little change was evident for ’98.
1999 NSX
Alterations to Acura’s sports car were minimal for 1999. Both the fixed-roof coupe and the NSX-T, with removable center roof panel, remained available. Model choices include the base coupe, T (Targa) coupe, and special Alex Zanardi Edition.
2000 NSX
For its 10th year on the market, the 2-seater got revised upholstery. Leather trim on seats, door panels, steering wheel, and hand-brake handle now was perforated. Acura also claimed improved manual-shift action.
2001 NSX
For 2001, an emergency opener was added inside the trunk which is behind the engine. No-cost carpeted floormats were the only other change for this model year.
2002 NSX
NSX got its first noticeable appearance changes. The previous fixed-roof model was gone, leaving only the NSX-T with lift-off roof panel. New were Xenon headlamps, larger exhaust ports, wider rear tires, and revised suspension. A 4-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift feature became available.
2003 NSX
No changes for ’03.
2004 NSX
Keyless entry and a trunk-mounted CD changer were added for 2004.
2005 NSX
NSX continued unchanged for 2005, which would prove to be its final year in this form.

Engines

transverse mid-engine/rear-wheel drive

Two versions of the same engine were available in the early NSX, depending on the transmission choice. With an automatic transmission, the car got a 3.0-liter V6, rated at 252 horsepower. With 5-speed manual shift, the V6 developed 270 horsepower. With a 6-speed manual gearbox, available since 1997, the powerplant has been a 3.2-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower. Available in 2002 models by special order was a 4-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift feature.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/181
Engine HP 252-270
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 210
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
18/24
18/24
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/194
Engine HP 290
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 224
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

17/24

22.0

Road Test

Honda’s luxury division basically broke the sports-car rules with the NSX. For a high performance “exotic,” the NSX is extremely refined, reliable, and at least modestly practical. Acura’s sports car offers a unique combination of race-car engineering, performance, and looks, along with its pragmatic virtues. Not only is this 2-seater extremely fast, but it’s also smooth, surprisingly quiet, and easier to drive than most high-performance cars.

Despite smallish engines, acceleration rivals that of the V8 Corvette and the late-’90s Porsche 911. Our tests bore out Acura’s performance claim, with 0-60 mph acceleration in 5.8 seconds. Even economy is impressive. A late-model 6-speed NSX averaged a relatively frugal 22 mpg. Sure, some folks might crave more raw power, but an NSX offers most of the rewards of a true exotic with almost none of the usual drawbacks–except for its high price. The well-behaved automatic transmission is only slightly less rewarding than the 5- or 6-speed stick.

Handling ranks among the world’s best. Steering is precise, though heavy for parking if not equipped with power assist. Cornering is flat and stable, braking short and true, noise levels acceptable. The ride is firm, but supple enough for such a high level of performance. Standard traction control enhances wet-road safety, but can be switched off when not needed. On the down side, the low nose demands some caution around dips, parking-lot barriers, and certain speed bumps.

Despite road-hugging styling and a midengine layout, an NSX affords easier entry/exit than most sports cars, including the Corvette, plus the best visibility of any exotic automobile. Over-the-shoulder views are poor, however, and the top of the dashboard reflects in the windshield. Strong sunlight can wash out the electronic climate and audio displays, too.

There’s enough cockpit space for husky 6-footers, and the dashboard is as user friendly as a Legend’s. Seating is low-slung but comfortable. Luggage space is sparse.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Acura NSX T

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 9
90%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 2
20%
Steering/Handling - 10
100%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 0
00%
Cargo Room - 1
10%

Other

Value - 2
20%

Total: 46

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.6 174.2 71.3 46.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
5.0 18.5 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.3 44.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: Water can get into the transmission and cause damage because the original breather tube was too short and improperly positioned. (1991-92)
Brakes
Description: The ABS quits working because of a leaking modulator solenoid. (1991-92)
Doors
Description: The door for the gas cap may not open when the release lever is pulled, requiring replacement of the cable and hinge spring. (1991-96)
Doors
Description: The door lock knobs can fall off if they are not screwed down onto the rod, which causes the rod to drop down inside the door. (1995-97)
Oil leak
Description: If oil pressure gauge reads low at idle, a new oil pressure sending unit and/or gauge should be installed. (1991)
Audio system
Description: Arcing between the ignition coils and spark plugs, which can be heard as radio interference, requires replacing the ignition coil(s). (1995-97)
Audio system
Description: The in-trunk CD magazine may not eject if it is the old style. To check for its replacement, look for the Honda logo on a label on the side of the changer. (1991-93)
Steering problems
Description: Unless the recalled control unit has been replaced, the electronic power steering will fail at ignition if the wheel is moved. (1997)

Recall History

1991
Description: Seatbelt buckle release buttons can break, and pieces can fall into buckle assembly, causing improper operation.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.