- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2001

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure what a car or any vehicle, for that matter is all about. But there are some things that indicate where the 2002 Acura RSX Type S hatchback is coming from and where it's going:

Its predecessor, the illustrious Integra, can be seen racing around in the film "The Fast and the Furious." Both the Integra and the Type S, although available in docile trim, are an aftermarket junkie or street racer's dream. Think serious pocket rocket.

Although some Integra aficionados may be reluctant to say so, the RSX, which is not available as a four-door, is more refined in terms of driveability, performance and comfort. The 200-horsepower rating for its high-revving, 2-liter, four-cylinder engine is five more than the 2000 Type R had, and the price spread for various models slightly undercuts that of the Integra. The loaded-up test Type S totaled $23,650. It had no options.

What it did have were some impressive features, starting with its drivetrain and suspension.

Take a drive and you'll understand why Automobile magazine, which sets high standards for anything claiming to be a performance car, says, "The RSX makes you a better driver than you are."

The test Type S begged to be driven in gear. Why else would the easily read tachometer, positioned at the top of the dial where the eye first settles, show 6,000 rpm (redline is at 7,900 rpm)? It can zip from a standing start to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

As those numbers and its computer-limited top speed of 130 mph indicate, the Type S is not a car for inexperienced or rash drivers.

But when it's treated with respect and driven the way performance cars should be, the Type S' rewards include a feeling of security because of its solid feel and handling characteristics. The test Type S never seemed inclined to wander, to lug its engine or cause the ride to become uncomfortable. The compromise between a smooth ride and staying in touch with the road is a balanced one.

It is not alone, of course. There are a number of highly competent coupes around, but the Type S has everything it needs to be in the top echelon. The Integra can go quietly and be proud of its progeny.

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