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Pros: The engine provides great fuel economy.
Cons: The driving experience is noisy, harsh and tiresome.
Advice: Play your music loud to drown out the noise.The RSX Type S drives more like a Honda than an Acura. Although it is light-weight and nimble, it does not feel like a luxury car. There is plenty of road noise and very little sound insulation. The engine is very weak off-the-line, but makes up for it between 5,000 - 8,000 RPM. Think of it as a four seat motorcycle with airbags. Although it is in the same price range as the Mercedes Benz C230 Kompressor and the Mustang GT, it provides neither the luxury nor performance of either vehicle, respectively. In a nutshell, it is a better looking, faster Honda Civic.
Pros: Fuel stingy and smooth engine
Cons: Cheap rear speakers (my thumbnail is bigger than the magnet!)
Advice: If you need to carry rear passengers frequently, get a 4 door TSX. If you don't like a firm yet compliant ride, buy a TL or RL. If you want a great small sporty car, buy the RSXExcellent handling, nice gas mileage and the standard 160 HP engine is just as quick in acceleration than my old Mazda MX-6 LS V-6 with 164 HP. I've driven from Seattle, WA to Salem, OR and back on almost a full tank of gas. (The fuel light came on about 50 miles from Seattle.) That's about 37 mpg with an automatic and going 70+ at times. The hatchback provides a lot of utility and it really looks good considering the large expanse of glass. The standard Michelin Pilot tires are just fine for most purposes. It does well in snow too. If you are on a track, then change tires, but for everyday use (who does 95 mph during rush hour?)the tires are smooth and responsive. The quality is first rate. I've owned a '80, '82, '85 and '90 Accord, '87 Prelude and my wife had a '91 Civic and currently a 'O1 CRV. After eight years with two Mazdas, it nice to get back to Honda quality. I'm 54 and I do like this car. It is not just for the younger crowd. The car is not the best around -- only the best value for the money.
Pros: iVTEC and the transmission is a dream.
Cons: The stock tires compeletely suck. Look to buy a new set soon after buying the car.
Advice: Understand your driving style before you choose between the base and the Type-S.Actually, I bought the 2003 RSX Type-S, not a 2004. But the 2004 is a carryover from 2003. I love my car. It's so much fun! Interior: The all leather interior is pretty nice. It's a year old now and still has the new car/leather smell to it. I like the bucket seats. Originally, I thought that side-walls of the seats were too small to hold you in on really sharp turns and you'd have to use your arms, but actually your back gets nestled right in the groove and it holds you in really well. Depending on how tall you are, the steering wheel might cover the upper part of the gauges. but that's only a problem if you drive faster than 80mph. You can still see the tach redline so you're okay there. The stereo completely meets my needs. You can turn it all the way up without going deaf, but there is still a good chunk of pain with the volume that high. I typically leave it at the 1/3 volume setting. It comes with a funny looking sub-woofer that sits on top of the spare tire. Personally, this gives me just enough bass. It doesn't have the bazooka-like sound, but it meets my needs. I can still open the windows and get angry looks. Driving: Acceleration is pretty nice. Not M3 nice, not turbo-charged nice, but just nice. Much better than any other 4 cylinder car I've ever driven. Problem is that the stock tires completely suck. (They don't sell cars based on what tires they put on the car, so I think Acura skimped here.) In first gear, it's so easy to peel out with the stock tires. I've had numerous occasions when the guy next to me on the line thought I was racing cause I chirped the tires when the light turned green. I think this car is probably the limit as far as front-wheel cars go. If I were to buy a car with any more torque than this, I'd go with a rear-wheel drive car. Shifting this car is a dream. The shifter is so completely smooth that you just need to flick your wrist around to get it into gear. No complaints about the clutch, it engages in an expected area a few cm off the floor. It is a bit softer than other cars though. That's not a complaint, just an observation. The brakes rock! Be careful and don't let guys drive too close behind you or they might rear end you when you step on the brakes. It almost happened to me several times. On the track, I've found very little brake fade, and I usually wind up hitting the tire's traction ability before I hit the braking limit. I'm sure there is some more braking ability left in the car. I'll find out when I eventually change the awful stock tires. The suspension is stiffer than most cars. Personally, I think it could be stiffer. Then again, nobody else might want to ride in the car with me. It handles very well. The car defintely feels bigger and heavier than a Miata or a CRX, but it feels much more nimble than a more comparable car like a Mazda3 or a Mazda6. Don't even bother comparing it Cavalier, you won't even think it's in the same class. Strange thing is that I've been able to both understeer and oversteer it. Which is odd for a front wheel drive car. I've had several instances when the back-end came loose in a turn. Okay, granted I was going like 60mph through the turn and I lifted off the throttle, but it's still odd. (For reference, that's only happened at the track, or in the rain, and never,ever, on the freeway.) There is absolutely zero play in the steering wheel. The iVTEC is cool. It gives you a flat torque curve from about 6k to redline. It doesn't fall off much at all even at redline. One thing to watch out for though is there isn't that much torque at low RPM. You need to get it above 4k to be any fun. And you'll feel a nice boost when you get it to ~6k. I'm very happy with my purchase. I was mainly choosing between the RSX-S and the WRX. I went with the RSX-S because it seemed to have a larger bang for the buck when comparing all the features. The WRX seemed like they put all the money into the engine and drive-train and not much into anything else. I also preferred to stay away from the turbo for reliability reasons. I also needed the big trunk. The WRX doesn't have fold-down rear seats, so you can't put furniture in the trunk, but you can put a lot of stuff in the RSX's trunk. I never even considered the base RSX. I figured if I got the base, I wouldn't be very happy with it, and I'd always be looking at what I could have gotten instead. One thing to be aware of, is that the base RSX engine has slightly more lower end torque, so for city driving, it might feel like the base RSX engine is better than the Type-S engine. Don't believe it. You need to get the Type-S engine up in to the 6k-redline range to see the difference between the two. But if you never drive up there, why bother getting the Type-S? So, I completely recommend this car to anyone looking to buy one. I personally think it's the best in it's price range. But if you're willing to go for a larger price range, the RSX looks less appealing. If you can move up to $30k-$35k, I'd look to something other than the RSX.