Acura's price-leader, a compact-class hatchback coupe, emerged in 2002 on Honda's global compact platform as successor to the original coupe, Integra. It repeats for 2003 in two different flavors with the base RSX and high-performance Type-S edition.
Both stock a twin-cam 2.0-liter four-in-line engine that employs Acura's advanced i-VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system with computer-controlled intelligence for regulating camshaft phasing to boost performance and fuel economy. The RSX base version makes 160 hp and links to a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic. Type-S goes further through tuning to push output to 200 hp and manage the power through a six-speed manual. Type-S also has track-tuned suspension settings with firmer springs and dampers plus larger front vented disc brakes.
With hatchback styling, the two-door cockpit provides seats for two up front and two more on a folding back bench. Standards range from automatic climate system and keyless entry to power controls for mirrors, windows and door locks, plus a power moonroof and premium audio with in-dash CD deck. Perforated leather lines seats on Type-S but is optional on the base model. A new color emerges in 2003 with Redondo Red Pearl.