Strengths and weaknesses:
- standard features
- chintzy interior
- takes premium gasoline
CSX acts very Civic-ized
At what point does entry-level luxury become too much ‘entry-level’ and not enough ‘luxury’?
The Acura CSX is a model that’s exclusive to the Canadian market, and shares more than just a passing resemblance to Honda’s big-selling Civic. The CSX is the very definition of an entry-level luxury vehicle - a low-cost car with a luxury badge on the front - that exists to get customers in the seats of said automaker’s products in the hopes that said customer will move up to more expensive vehicles in that automaker’s line-up as he or she ages and earns more money.
Anyone who truly pines for the chance to drive a vehicle with a luxury badge on the front can have a CSX - even a souped-up performance-minded Type-S version like our tester - for under $30,000.
That’s all fine and well, but just like the Type-S we drove when it debuted in 2007, the 2010 version shares just a little too much with the Civic Si. It’s a perfectly acceptable vehicle, but being an entry-level luxury car doesn’t mean it can skimp on the extras.
Compare the Type-S and Si side-by-side on a sheet of paper and there’s not a whole lot setting them apart. They use the same engine and transmission and have almost identical dimensions, along with things like a limited-slip differential, low-key rear spoiler and two-tier instrument panel.
For around $4,000 more, the Type-S offers - among other things - leather seating surfaces, a premium sound system with satellite radio, a grille that features the chrome bar found on all new Acuras, HID headlights, navigation system, brake assist and a security system.
This doesn’t always feel like a luxury car though. Considering this is the performance trim of the CSX, the front seats have very little extra bolstering. That, exacerbated by the leather seating surfaces, means you’ll be slipping and sliding around even tame twists and turns.
With nav systems becoming more and more eye-pleasing and user-friendly, the one used in the CSX has graphics that look akin to a computer game from the ‘80s. Being forced to use a tiny joystick and buttons in place of a touch screen makes it difficult to use, too.
The Type-S is admittedly tailor-made for those drivers who love a car with a small, high-revving engine. The naturally-aspirated “four” under the hood of this CSX doesn’t have earth-shattering power numbers, but it’s fun moving the needle right up to the 8,000 rpm redline (the peak 200-horsepower comes at 7,800 rpm). It’s a pretty tame vehicle in any gear over fourth, and even then, third gear is the sweet spot if you really want to get the most out of it when you’re anywhere but the highway.
Despite being touted as a ‘short throw’ (not the most accurate description) the six-speed manual handles itself well and there’s very little torque steer from the front wheels.
The CSX Type-S doubles as a decent daily driver; and well it should, considering how much it shares with the Honda Civic, which happens to be one of the ultimate A-to-B cars.
Simply having four doors instead of two makes it easier for up to five passengers to get in and out. Room up front is very good, with the standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel helping the driver out a lot. Room in the rear is fine for two average size adults and trunk space is also generous, with split-folding 60/40 rear seats allowing for added cargo when the need arises.
The Acura CXS is a decent value, but if what you’re most interested in is performance, you’d be smart to consider the Civic Si.