For those who don’t know, Acura is the luxury brand from Japanese car maker Honda. Acura sales in the U.S. began in 1986, well ahead of rival luxury brands from Japan, such as Infiniti and Lexus. Sales had slumped by the mid-to-late 90s, but spiked again after 2000 with some dramatically redesigned models that are included on this list. Acura has been a pioneer in auto design every since, managing to capture the concepts of luxury European sports cars in a more affordable Japanese automobile.
They’ve produced a number of cars, but there are 10 that stand out as special to Acura enthusiasts that were produced between the years 2000-2010.
2008 Acura TL
This sedan was seen as a bit of an oddball when it appeared. It was virtually identical to the 2007 on the outside, except for some new paint choices and the new immobilizer security system. But powered up under the hood, the 2008 TL boasted a strong 258-hp 3.2 liter V-6 or a 286-hp 3.5 liter engine in the Type-S model- very impressive for a front-wheel drive sedan. By 2009 the exterior had changed as well, leaving the 2008 as one of the more desirable versions.
* MSRP: $33,725 – $38,425
2004 Acura TSX
Somewhat bland in styling, the 2004 TSX has no V-6 option, but provided a respectable 200-hp from its i-VTEC 4 cylinder engine. What it lacked in styling, it more than made up for in quality. Some owners reported driving their 2004 TSX for years with no more maintenance costs than oil changes and wiper blades. Although lacking in flash, this TSX was a sporty little car with enough pep for most drivers, great handling, good gas mileage, and a reputation for reliability that only grew over the years. It was favorably compared with the BMW 320, and for thousands less.
* MSRP: $26,490 – $28,490
2007 Acura RL
The RL sedan was then considered one of the world’s most exciting luxury sedans, considering all that was packed into it. Acura’s “Super Handling All-Wheel Drive” distributed torque across all 4 wheels to make superb handling in all road conditions, even with a 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine. It was more like a high-end sports car with a smaller backseat added as an afterthought. The front boasted paddle shifters, side air bags, GPS display, adaptive headlights, keyless ignition, and more controls than you knew what to do with – yet surprisingly quiet and roomy.
* MSRP: $45,780 – $53,200
2008 Acura TSX
The 2008 TSX has a classy, refined look you’d expect of a luxury sedan, but it was made with performance in mind. Superb handling on even the most twisting back roads, tons of features, and a very agreeable price made this an instant favorite. It provides satisfying acceleration, smooth performance, and impressive responsiveness. Throw in good gas mileage and a low price, and the 2008 TSX was one of the most highly recommended cars in that year.
* MSRP: $28,190 – $30,290
2007 Acura TSX
The previous year saw the introduction of the TSX sedan as Acura’s entry level model, based on European cars like the BMW or Mercedes. But the TSX was for buyers more used to the affordable Japanese cars of the compact sports sedan type that were just taking off in sales. The 2007 TSX offered a step up in quality and comfort. It was robust with Acura’s 200-hp i-VTEC engine, great handling, plus side air bags and the Standard Vehicle Stability Assist for safety. The transmission came in a choice of six-speed manual or SportShift automatic. It was a very likeable, reliable car that to this day holds its high resale value very well.
* MSRP: $28,090 – $30,090
2009 Acura TSX
This was a re-design year for the TSX that met with mixed reviews after the beloved 2007-2008 design was phased out. The 2009 TSX came in two styles, the 6MT and the 5AT, and for an extra $3,000 you could get the Navigation System in either version. With the 2009, some reviewers even said Acura was “showing off”. Some even complained they should have focused more on the 2009’s performance, finding the inline 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine and front wheel drive a bit sluggish. However, it got rave reviews for its high-quality interior and range of features, including Bluetooth, 7-speaker audio system, moon roof, heated front seats – the list goes on. So what it lacked in power, it more than made up for in comfort, and today’s owners feel the same way.
* MSRP: $29,160 – $32,260
2007 Acura TL
Acura had introduced the distinctive TL back in 2004 to capture its fair share of the mid-size luxury sedan market, but sales finally took off with the 2007 version. The TL was essentially based on the Honda Accord, but with so much more to offer. It came with the same 3.2 and 3.5 liter V-6 options for engine, giving impressive power with as much as 286-hp. But the 2007 brought new levels of responsiveness that sport sedan drivers wanted, while meeting the highest safety standards. Leather seats and a spacious cabin contributed to a feel of luxury. Folding back seats and AWD weren’t available with the 2007 TL, but it still maintains an excellent reputation and high resale value with used car buyers.
* MSRP: $33,625 – $38,325
2009 Acura RL
The RL series was the next step up from the TL or TSX sedans, in both price and luxury. The price tag was hardly increased over the 2008 RL, but some reviewers at the time complained about the 2009 RL’s lack of style. Perhaps it could have been better, but this model was about substance, not flair. It came with AWD and top safety ratings, but even with a tweaked 3.7 liter V-6 it was notably less powerful than comparable European models like the Mercedes E-550 that came with a V-8. The RL consequently didn’t make a big splash at the time, but in longevity it retains a reputation as a very reliable, safe, and smooth-driving luxury sedan.
* MSRP: $46,680 – $54,100
2008 Acura RL
Perhaps because the RL sedan replaced the popular Acura Legend, it never captured quite the status it deserves. More conservative styling didn’t help, so the RL has always been more or less overlooked by luxury enthusiasts. Which is a shame, because it does deliver on promised quality. The 2008 RL still used the proven 3.5 liter V-6 engine for power, along with the AWD excellent handling and all the latest safety features. It was also more affordable than European or even many American luxury rivals in the same class. With two different technology packages, reviewers then and now say it boasts one of the best combinations of features, reliability, and luxury. And in some ways it was the last of its kind, with a new design coming out in 2010.
* MSRP: $46,280 – $53,700
2007 Acura MDX
From its inception in 2002, the MDX was one of the leaders in the Japanese SUV market, and 2007’s model cemented it as one of the leaders in overall SUV sales. Like all of Acura’s vehicles, it offered tons of luxury features and quality details for a price that was still lower than that of competing luxury brands. It came with the powerful 300-hp, 3.7 liter V-6 in Sport, Technology, and Entertainment packages to satisfy different buyer needs as far as installed features. The only complaint most reviewers have is the lack of space and climate control in the 3rd seat. Otherwise, it packs the performance and control of a sports sedan in an SUV frame. Including a great sound system and an impressively styled leather interior made this an instant classic.
* MSRP: $39,995 – $47,795