The RSX is a nice-looking car to start out with, before you start tacking on any accessories. It's low and sleek for a hatchback coupe, not excessively sporty or styled. Acura's quality control is top-notch, so everything on the RSX fits right and is tight as a drum.
The majority of the accessories that make up the A-Spec package are visible on the outside of the RSX-S. An "A-Spec" badge gets installed below the RSX-S logo on the back. 17" alloy wheels wrapped in Yokohama rubber dress the corners. The body kit includes front, rear and side underbody spoilers, and a prominent High Wing Spoiler on the back deck. In high speed situations, a wing provides downforce and stabilize your ride. The A-Spec wing isn't excessive. Like all of the A-Spec accessories, it's well constructed and integrated with rest of the car. Still, I would skip the wing if I bought an RSX. I'd just be way too self-conscious.
Driving a car with underbody spoilers, you have to be very careful when you park and when you encounter speed bumps. An average curb can be a hazard, and a wicked speed bump could devastate your investment. If your driveway has a steep approach angle, you'd better find street parking for your RSX, or you'll be cleaning up plastic shards.
The A-Spec package doesn't touch the interior – the RSX-S doesn't need it. The interior is tasteful and well-appointed, though compared to the rest of the Acura line, it's virtually stark. That's okay with me – the RSX-S is a driver's car. The gauges are big, clear and intelligently located. The climate controls are simple, big knobs, and they're high on the dash for easy access. The dash is non-reflective so you get less glare on the steep windshield.
I love a driver's seat that wraps around my sides like a hug. The RSX-S seats are shaped like racing seats, but have great adjustment. Real racing seats are usually fixed, and don't offer the kind of angle changes that you get in a luxury car. Perforated leather makes for a great seating surface.
Forget about the back seat – you don't want to put any human beings back there, and a child safety seat would be too hard to get to. Send the kids in the minivan – the RSX is your car.
If you do have to pick up some groceries, though, the RSX has impressive cargo space – 16 cubic feet – and you can fold down the 50/50 split rear seat to make even more room. Amaze your friends – when you open the rear hatch, the RSX looks like it splits in half, ready to swallow a HUMMER whole.
A-Spec accessories don't make any appearances under the hood of the RSX-S either. The 16 valve 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine pumps out a decent amount of power – 201 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. You've got to get the revs up to really hit the sweet spot – peak hp doesn't arrive until 7800 rpm, and peak torque hits at 7000 rpm. That means that you're sawing through the six manual gears frequently, trying to keep the engine happy. If you love to clutch and shift, if you're great at heel/toe maneuvers, you'll love driving the RSX-S. I wish that the RSX-S had a short-throw shifter option – the spindly shifter stalk has to go. While we're wishing, I also wish for more horsepower and torque to go with the A-Spec package. Where's the supercharger? Where's the turbo option?
The A-Spec does upgrade the suspension to a "sport suspension." Whatever those components are, they work like a dream. The RSX-S feels planted to the road, yet still has enough compliance to make rough pavement and bumps disappear. Maybe that's why there's no turbo option – this car has excellent balance between its power and its handling performance. Many enthusiasts scoff at front-wheel drive. In a well-sorted package like the RSX-S, front-wheel drive is a blast.