Why even wait for a new Civic Si when the RSX is so good?
We like to think that we have made a lot of progress in the last decade, and for the most part, we have. Cars have far better technology than they did back in 2006, improving usability, drivability, safety, and comfort. However, in some unique cases, this progress really hasn't been perfect. We have looked at a few cases like the M3 and ZL1 Camaro where the new model was certainly improved, but not enough to justify the price difference of a used one. Now we will take a look at a car company that commits this offense to the extreme, Acura.
Back in 2006, Acura discontinued the RSX, which we believe was one of the biggest mistakes the company has ever made. Even when you look at Acura's lineup today, there isn't much that would make you say "wow, that is a world beater!" The RSX had some stiff competition back in 2006, including the Volkswagen GTI, Subaru WRX, and even its corporate cousin the Civic Si. All of these cars lived on, yet the RSX was killed off. So, was this a good decision? Back in 2006, an RSX Type-S came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder V-Tech engine producing 201 horsepower. Today, the RSX's descendant, the 2015 Civic Si, comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder V-Tech engine producing 205 horsepower. What a difference a decade makes!
Nine years later and Honda was only able squeeze another four horsepower out of an even bigger engine. Yes, we know that the 2.4-liter K24 engine has a little more torque than the old K20 engine, but it also doesn't rev as high (7,000 rpm compared to 8,000 rpm) and it doesn't have the same soul. Even fuel economy is only marginally improved. When you look at the Civic's $22,890 price tag, a used RSX Type-S seems like a serious bargain. You can spend even more money on a 2016 Acura ILX, which has the same K24 engine as the Si with the same power. However, this combination will set you back almost $28 grand, and that is before options! All for what is still not as good as a ten-year-old hatchback.
Sure, in the ILX you can get a fancy dual-screen display and passive entry with push-button start, but loading the car up with options will set you back over $30,000. You can find a 2006 RSX Type-S with less than 50,000 miles for less than $12,000. You won't get Bluetooth and app support, but buy a $600 head unit that has these features and laugh at the people who spend $30,000 on a car with four extra horsepower. And, since the RSX is about 200 pounds lighter than an ILX, and available with a manual transmission, we bet it is probably just as fast as the new car. It is even more practical too! Yes, the ILX and Civic can be had with four doors, but neither comes with the enormous hatch of the RSX.
The RSX is a seriously good first car or college ride. It can sit four people with plenty of comfort and you will have no problem moving yourself and all of your crap without renting an SUV. With prices hovering around $10,000 to $12,000 for a nice example, we have to wonder, why would you ever buy an ILX or Civic Si?