2002 Acura RSX -- Body and Interior

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OVERVIEW
The bodywork of the RSX leaves no doubt in the minds of beholders: clearly, this is a car designed for the driving enthusiast.

From its rakishly angled hood to its broad stance, deep chin spoiler, combination headlights, and sleek, wind-cheating lines, the RSX says "speed" even when standing still. Yet the car's dramatic presence derives every bit as much from function as from form. Compared with the Acura Integra, the sleek RSX boasts a drag coefficient improved by 4 percent - making the RSX the most aerodynamic coupe in its class. In addition, the RSX's coefficient of lift is less than the Integra's.

Contoured window glass in the doors and quarter panels helps the RSX slip effortlessly through the air - and also provides exceptional visibility for all occupants. In front, unique headlights lend a distinctly "Acura" look to the nose, while neatly integrated cylindrical taillights accent the rear. A smoothly integrated liftgate raises easily to reveal a spacious cargo hold.

Inside, the stylish RSX cockpit has been carefully crafted to meet the needs of spirited drivers. A wide instrument pod with large, metallic-face analog gauges surrounds the driver. Deeply sculptured seats provide excellent comfort and support during cornering maneuvers. A thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel offers exceptional comfort and fits the driver's hands like a racecar wheel.

Luxury touches abound. Standard conveniences include an Automatic Climate Control System, power windows and outside mirrors, a keyless entry system with engine immobilzer, and two premium audio systems: a 6-speaker system with in-dash CD player (RSX), and a 7-speaker Acura/Bose® Music System with 6-disc in-dash CD changer and cassette player (Type-S). Rich leather seating surfaces are also available (standard on Type-S).

Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) have been reduced thanks to an exceptionally rigid structure, extensive sound insulation, and extremely tight fit-and-finish tolerances.

Body And Interior At A Glance

Styling

  • Sleek, dramatic bodywork with a broad stance, sharply raked hood, deep chin spoiler, and compound curved window glass
  • Cabin-forward silhouette
  • Short overhangs front and rear
  • Class-leading aerodynamics
  • Signature 5-sided Acura grille
  • Flush 4-pod headlights
  • Neatly integrated taillights

Interior

  • "Driver-oriented" cockpit design
  • Large, easy-to-read analog instruments
  • Stylish, contemporary shapes and materials
  • Small-diameter, leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel
  • Abundant luxury features, including automatic climate control system, power windows, power door mirrors, and keyless entry system
  • Premium audio: 6 speakers with in-dash CD player (RSX); 7-speaker Acura/Bose Music System with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, cassette (Type-S)
  • Deeply bolstered seats available in cloth (RSX) or hand-selected perforated leather (optional on RSX; standard on RSX Type-S)

Quality And Refinement

  • Greatly improved torsional and bending rigidity compared to the Integra
  • Tightly controlled noise and vibration
  • Computer-designed structural reinforcements
  • Significant reductions in body-panel fit tolerances

NVH Control

  • Extensive sound insulation
  • Melt sheets added to the floor to reduce interior noise
  • Urethane foam seals roof-pillar cavities
  • Newly developed door-trim seals

Comfort/Utility

  • Generous interior head, leg, shoulder, and hip room
  • Heat-rejecting window glass
  • Spacious cargo area (17.8 cubic feet)
  • Large glove box and abundant storage bins and pockets
  • Easy-access liftgate with reduced lift effort

Corrosion Resistance

  • Double-sided galvanized steel in all high-corrosion areas
  • Anti-chipping primer applied to leading edges of hood and fenders
  • PVC and wax sealer applied to underbody

EXTERIOR STYLING
The RSX features an aggressively styled front end, a broad-shouldered stance, and a cabin-forward posture. Yet the design is every bit as practical as it is compelling. A neatly integrated liftgate affords easy access to the rear cargo area, while the smoothly bowed door and quarter-panel glass contributes to superb visibility and outstanding aerodynamics.

Short overhangs front and rear add to the lean, purposeful appearance, while clever packaging provides abundant cabin room for the driver and passengers. New combination headlights and a five-sided grille lend the RSX a decidedly "Acura" face.

The 2002 RSX is available in eight colors: Taffeta White, Nighthawk Black, Firepepper Red Pearl, Satin Silver Metallic, Desert Silver Metallic, Eternal Blue Pearl (RSX only), Premium White Pearl (Type-S only), and Arctic Blue Pearl (Type-S only).

PRECISE FIT AND FINISH
With the combination of new manufacturing techniques at the Sayama factory in Japan and the advanced design system, fit tolerances of the RSX have been reduced to extraordinary new levels of precision. The bumpers, door and tailgate openings, and body panels - all reflect an entirely new level of fit and finish. The result is a more solid and integrated appearance, one befitting the RSX's sophisticated image.

UNIT BODY STRUCTURE
To provide the best-possible ride, handling, safety, and NVH control, the RSX unit body was designed for maximum torsional rigidity without excess weight. To accomplish this, Acura engineers performed extensive computer analyses using the NASTRAN stress-analysis program. Then, in creating the final structure, the engineers specified a high percentage of lightweight yet strong high-tensile steel - and further enhanced rigidity using numerous strategically placed reinforcements. The result: the RSX is 35 percent better in bending rigidity and 116 percent better in torsional rigidity than the Integra it replaces.

NOISE, VIBRATION AND HARSHNESS (NVH)
The engineers of the RSX set out to create an automobile of outstanding quietness and refinement. To reduce high-frequency road noise, for instance, the RSX features carefully developed door-trim seals. Further reducing noise are a new styrofoam-molded cover over the spare tire, noise-insulating carpet, asphalt-based melt sheets in the floor and trunk areas, gap-sealing urethane foam in the front pillars, and a dashboard insulator to isolate the cabin from engine noise.

CURVED WINDOW GLASS
For the doors and quarter-panels of the RSX, Acura engineers opted for subtle, compound-curved glass that both improves the car's smoothly integrated look and enhances its aerodynamic performance. In order to realize the lightweight goals of the RSX, the side and rear glass is thinner and lighter than the Integra's.

INTEGRATED HEADLIGHTS
The face of the RSX has a decidedly Acura appearance, thanks in part to new headlight system that advances the "round" image of the last-generation Integra. The design incorporates four lamps - low beam, high beam, turn signal, and position light - into a multi reflector and side reflex reflector behind a single clear lens. Headlight brightness, beam-width, and range are noticeably improved compared with the Integra. At the rear, neatly integrated taillights complement the sporty image of the headlights.

CABIN OVERVIEW
The roomy interior of the RSX has been carefully designed to be attentive to the needs of driving enthusiasts while also providing comfort and amenities for all passengers. A bold, driver-oriented instrument array delivers critical vehicle information at a glance while also lending a decidedly racy air to the interior. Deeply sculptured seats offer rewarding support and lasting comfort. Standard cabin luxuries include an Automatic Climate Control System, power windows, a keyless entry system, and premium audio systems. Rich fabric with simulated suede is standard in the RSX, while hand-selected leather is available as an option (standard on Type-S). For exceptional versatility, the RSX is equipped with 50/50 split-folding rear seats that greatly extend the cargo capacity of the cargo area.

INTERIOR STYLING
The RSX is a driver's car. Large, analog gauges are arrayed in a pod that angles toward the driver. A thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel begs to slice up a mountain road. All controls are in easy reach. Stylish materials lend a sporty, even slightly aggressive flavor to the cabin environment. Above all, the RSX cockpit is highly personalized, outfitted with controls designed for rewarding tactile feedback and shapes that enhance the "driver's machine" theme.

SEATS
The solid, deeply sculptured front bucket seats of the RSX are built to provide exceptional support during even the most enthusiastic driving. Deep side bolsters provide superb lateral support during hard cornering maneuvers, while firm back and bottom cushions stabilize occupant posture and deliver excellent support during acceleration. Integrated headrests contribute to the sporty, functional appearance of the front seats.

In back, the RSX is equipped with comfortable 50/50 split-folding seats and, between them, a convenient storage tray for sunglasses and other small items.

Cloth inserts with simulated suede trim are standard on the RSX, with sporty hand-selected perforated leather available as an option. On the Type-S, the perforated leather is standard.

INSTRUMENTATION
During the day, the large, analog gauges of the RSX appear as easy-to-read black numerals on titanium-tone metallic backgrounds. At night, however, the gauges are backlit by a red illumination that provides excellent acuity while also adding a touch of drama to the cockpit. Furthering the racy feel of the instrument panel are "zero-angle" pointers that, like the needles in many racecar gauges, point straight down to the six o'clock position when at rest.

MATERIALS
The materials employed throughout the RSX cockpit were carefully chosen to create a stimulating yet luxurious driving environment. Wrapping the instrument panel is a unique, rubberized geometric-grain material that feels soft to the touch yet has a warm, "high-tech" look. Flush-surface panel-joint areas reinforce the high-quality appearance, while metallic-finished panels on the dash accent the interior and enhance the advanced look. Rich fabric with simulated suede trim adorns the seats in the RSX, with handsome perforated leather available as an option. On the high-performance Type-S, the perforated leather is standard, enhancing ventilation and accentuating the car's sporty demeanor.

AUTOMATIC CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEM
For year-round comfort and exceptional convenience, the RSX is equipped with a standard high-efficiency automatic climate control system. Operated by three large, easy-to-use dials on the dash, this integrated system delivers best-in-class cool-down performance while also reducing power consumption by 9 percent compared with the Integra. A host of atmospheric sensors provide highly accurate, fully automatic operation; the system can also be easily overridden manually using the dashboard controls. Heat-rejecting window glass helps improve the efficiency of the climate control system. Air flowing from the dashboard is expelled through stylish "fin-type" round outlets.

To help ensure a clean, pollutant-free cabin environment, the automatic climate control system is complemented by a standard micron air filter that traps dust and other airborne particles before they can enter the cockpit. The filter, conveniently located behind the RSX's glove box, can be easily replaced without the need for tools.

AUDIO SYSTEMS
Standard on the RSX is a premium 6-speaker AM/FM audio system with in-dash CD player. Each of the six speakers has been carefully located to optimize the unique acoustics of the RSX cabin. Complementing two dash-mounted tweeters are four side-mounted speakers that utilize rare earth, neodymium magnets for authoritative bass response and high output levels with extremely low harmonic distortion. An antenna etched into the tailgate glass provides excellent radio reception without the breakage concerns of conventional pole antennas.

On the Type-S, the standard-equipment list features a high-power Acura/Bose® music system custom engineered for the acoustics of the RSX cabin. The Bose system in the Type-S automatically adjusts tonal balance so that the listener hears natural sounds at all volume levels.

The unique system couples a sophisticated AM/FM head unit with an integrated 6-disc in-dash CD changer and cassette player with seven speakers, including a low-frequency Bose Richbass™ woofer, strategically placed to create concert-like performance throughout the vehicle. The RSX's exclusive Bose Richbass woofer, cleverly located in the spare tire well to help maximize available space, dramatically increases volume in the low-frequency range. Two 1 1/2-inch tweeters mounted in the dash and four 6 1/4-inch wide-range speakers located in the doors and rear panels work with the woofer to help provide full stereo sound for all occupants. The Acura/Bose system also uses a printed radio antenna in the rear window for a clean exterior appearance.

KEYLESS ENTRY SYSTEM / ENGINE IMMOBILIZER
A standard keyless remote entry system allows the driver and passenger doors and rear hatch to be unlocked by pressing a button on the key fob. A "panic button" on the keyless remote, when pressed, activates the security siren and flashes the headlights to summon assistance in an emergency.

The keyless entry system on the RSX benefits from increased operating range (up to 30 feet from the vehicle) and improved security. By using electromagnetic keyless control and frequency modulation, as well as an anti-copying system for the transmission code, the keyless entry signal is highly resistant to "cloning."

Complementing the keyless entry system is a standard engine-immobilizer system. A special electronically coded key prevents the car from being started - even if a mechanical duplicate of the key is used. A transponder, built into the key, signals the immobilizer control unit that the key is genuine. If the car is hot-wired, or an unauthorized key is used, the engine will not start.

In addition to its standard engine-'immobilizer' system and copy-resistant keyless entry system, the RSX is equipped with several other notable anti-theft features. The inside door lock knobs are recessed when locked, making it extremely difficult to unlock the doors with a prying tool. A new plastic cover around the lock area deflects "slim jim" type mechanisms from being used to force the door lock.

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
For the ultimate in convenience and versatility, the RSX is equipped with a long list of handy features as standard equipment. These include:

  • "Auto-up" power driver's window, which raises the window with a single press of the window switch (an auto-reverse system halts the window if an obstruction is detected) and "auto-down"
  • Intermittent windshield wipers
  • Large glove box allows storage of letter-size papers
  • Multi-function center console with integrated cup holders and hidden, sliding storage tray
  • Dual door pockets: one for CDs or letter-sized papers, one for concert tickets or other small items
  • Integrated door grips with soft center pads and elbow-rest areas
  • Lightweight and removable rear cargo cover
  • Rear center tray for sunglasses and other small items

LIFTGATE/CARGO AREA
The integrated liftgate of the RSX provides exceptional ease of cargo loading, while a generously sized 17.8-cubic-foot cargo area provides enough room to hold two large suitcases or two 9-inch golf bags even without folding down the rear seats. With both seats folded down, cargo room grows to 25.3 cubic feet - enough to accommodate extra-large items such as bicycles.

The RSX liftgate itself has been optimized with a new damper mechanism that reduces closing effort by 35 percent compared with the Integra. The liftgate is further refined with an added inner handle which lowers the required reach height. A lightweight rear cargo cover is integrated into the liftgate for easy loading and unloading.

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