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2014 Acura MDX SH-AWD

Thu, 15 May 2014 11:57:00 EST

There are certain vehicles on sale today that are affected by what I call 'Camry Syndrome.' Named after Toyota's ubiquitous family hauler, Camry Syndrome affects a fair number of cars and trucks, many of which are exceedingly popular with consumers.
The issue I have with these vehicles is that while they're adequate, they lack ambition. Their looks are clean and reasonably attractive, but they're not particularly stylish, let alone adventuresome or - heaven forbid - polarizing. Their interiors are comfortable and well screwed together, with the sort of popular features that consumers expect at a given price point. Their engines are decently powerful and vocal enough to set the heart very slightly aflutter, yet they're not too thirsty. Their transmissions are invisible and their rides are best described with whatever buzzword synonym Joe Consumer might come up with for "sporty" or "luxurious." In short, they're boring.
In reality, provided they sell well, there's really nothing wrong with automakers building Camry Syndrome vehicles - they're reasonably competent at everything and clearly meet a need. The problem is that I want some aspects of my vehicle to be better than others, because contrast breeds character. I wish someone at Acura felt the way I did when it redesigned this MDX for 2014, because for me, there's so much of this premium crossover that's merely middle of the road.

2014 Acura RLX

Fri, 15 Feb 2013 11:57:00 EST

Good. But Good Enough?
Spoiler alert: The 2014 Acura RLX is a good car. But that shouldn't come as a surprise. Despite the fact that Acura is subject to a lot of criticism for things like its odd positioning in the automotive landscape, questionable styling choices in recent years, and the fact that, more or less, its products feel like lux'd-up Hondas rather than something truly unique, the cars have always been inherently good - decent to drive, nice to sit in and reliable to own. That's what happens when you ride that sort of "affordable luxury" line.
Because Acura's sedans don't really fit into any one definable segment, the brand hopes it can draw customers from a broader range who aren't necessarily dedicated to a certain marque. And while there's certainly rhyme to that reason on the more entry-level end of the spectrum, that proposition makes less sense as you move toward higher price points. (Have a gander at the Hyundai Equus, if you will.) On the other hand, Acura pulled data from a 2012 Strategic Vision survey that showed the number one purchase decision for luxury buyers last year was value for the money, with manufacturer reputation coming in at a close second.

eBay Find of the Day: Ayrton Senna's 1993 Honda NSX

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:26:00 EST

It's not often that things owned by the late Ayrton Senna come up for sale, but the seller of this black-on-black 1993 Honda NSX (aka, Acura NSX) eBay find claims it was once owned by the Formula One legend, and that he left a footprint on the factory carpet that can still be seen today. (Footprint, or vacuum lines?...)
NSX no. T000999 was given to Senna as a gift from his mentor and sponsor, Antonio de Almeida Braga, the seller claims, and it was stored at a palace near the Estoril F1 circuit in Portugal. He also was known to drive two other NSXs, a black one and a red one - the latter in which he was seen often.
The seller claims to have owned T000999, which is still in Portugal, for 17 years, and the 31,000-mile odometer indicates it was driven about 1,500 miles per year on average. Thankfully the car has been kept stock, so whoever buys it can enjoy driving it just as Senna did - that is, if the car actually is what it's claimed to be. If the story checks out, then this is one valuable NSX, which is reflected in the high minimum starting bid of 47,500 pounds ($73,620). There have been no bids at time of writing, but with nine days left in the auction, we'll be keeping our eyes on this one.