Acura is a division of the Japanese automaker Honda Motor Company that focuses its attention on the luxury vehicle market. Its automobiles are noted for their luxury and high performance. The company is one of the most popular luxury auto manufacturers in the world, achieving particular success in North American markets.
A fairly new company, Acura opened its door in 1986 with the slogan, “Acura. Precision Crafted Performance.” It was the first luxury brand of automobiles to come out of Japan.
The initial offerings from Acura consisted of two models. These were the Legend and the Integra. The Legend was an executive class automobile while the Integra was in the compact class. Additionally, the Integra was available in both a five-door and a three-door version. All three original Acura models were highly successful. In fact, in their first full year of sales, the company sold over 109,000 cars.
Acura’s success continued into the 1990s. Indeed, it was in 1990 that they introduced their NSX, a mid-ship V6 sports car. The car soon became both Honda and Acura’s “image car” and was dubbed the first Japanese car capable of competing with the performance of Ferrari and Porsche.
Despite the company’ strong start in the luxury market, their sales suffered in the late 1990s. Part of the reason for this is their lack of innovation during this period. Instead, many of the cars were simply re-branded Hondas, some featuring minor tweaks.
It was during the 2000s that Acura really cemented its place in the world of cars. The came out swinging in 2000 with an upscale sedan dubbed the Acura 3.2 TL. This was followed by the three-row crossover SUV the Acura MDX and the Acura RSX coupe. A number of other highly popular models followed and Acura is still going strong in the 2010s.
Released in 2013, the 2014 model year Acura RLX is the current flagship model for the brand. Like most of the company’s cars, the vehicle is manufactured by Honda then branded and sold by their Acura division.
The Acura RLX succeeds the highly popular Acura RL. It is currently offered in two versions. These include a front-wheel drive version with Acura's Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) and a hybrid variant. Though both variations can be considered flagship models, the hybrid variant is set to serve as Acura’s official flagship.
Acura currently produces five current models of cars. These include the Acura ILX, the Acura MDX, the Acura RDX, the flagship Acura RLX, and the Acura TLX.
Acura ILX: A compact sedan, the Acura ILX is a premium sports car and is a new model in the United States. It is available in a hybrid variant.
Acura MDX: A luxury SUV, the Acura MDX features a three-row design. It is the second best selling crossover SUV in North America.
Acura RDX: A crossover SUV, the Acura RDX is the company’s entry-level crossover SUV. It is smaller and less expensive, though somewhat similar, than the MDX.
Acura RLX: A full-size sports sedan, the Acura RLX is the current flagship offering of the company. It is available in a hybrid variant.
Acura TLX: A mid-size luxury sedan, the Acura TLX is one of the company’s newest offerings.
Despite only being in business since 1986, Acura has already produced an extensive list of models. All of them except the five above are discontinued.
These previous Acura models include the CSX compact sedan, the EL compact sedan, the Integra sports coupe and sedan, the RSX sports coupe, the Legend luxury sedan and coupe, the Vigor mid-sized sedan, the CL luxury coupe, the SLX SUV, the NSX exotic coupe, the RL full-size sedan, the ZDX crossover SUV, the TL mid-size sports sedan, and the TSX compact sports sedan and sports wagon.
Since its inception, Acura has been involved in motorsports racing, especially in the United States. They have been particularly successful in the Sports Car Club of America and the IMSA GT Championship series. They have won several times in these events as well as a number of others.
Acura is also well known for its brand image and logo. The stylized Acura “A” was introduced in 1990 to much acclaim. The current slogan for the company is “Advance.”
Acura has also firmly established itself a spot in popular culture. This started with an association with Marvel Entertainment in 2010. The film Iron Man 2 features an Acura ZDX after the end credits. There have since been several promotional campaigns between Acura and Marvel. Acura vehicles have since appeared in several additional Marvel films including Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers Iron Man.