2012 Acura NSX
February 11, 2012 by staff
2012 Acura NSX, Not many drapes were ripped off all-new cars under bright lights in Chicago over the past few days. The debuts we saw were limited in number, but the size of the show itself is seemingly endless and filled with more commonplace models. At least that’s what our feet are saying.
2013 Acura ILX
David Thomas: Winner
I was expecting to be impressed with a spacious interior in a compact car, like I was with the new Honda Civic. I wasn’t expecting the ILX to be the best-looking Acura sedan at the booth. The brand’s design could be better, but if it keeps moving in this direction I see hope.
Kelsey Mays: Loser
Acura (and Buick, for that matter) paid heed to the pitfall potential in the elusive near-luxury segment. Cabin materials feel a lot richer than the Civic’s dowdy surfaces, but I disagree with David: The ILX still looks bland, and the odd blank space below the grille recalls Keanu Reeve’s Neo having his mouth fused shut in “The Matrix.” Gas mileage is well below the Civic, even with the base four-cylinder. For entry-luxury cars to catch on, models like the Buick Verano and ILX can’t fall 7 or 8 mpg on the highway below their non-luxury counterparts.
Joe Bruzek: Winner
The ILX has the same premium interior feel of Acura’s current entry-level TSX, but it has higher gas mileage ratings, the backseat is more comfortable and Acura says pricing will be well below $30,000, which is the TSX’s starting price. All those things point to a winning formula, but it begs the question: Why didn’t they just call this the TSX?
Colin Bird: Winner
This is a close call for me, but I’m calling the ILX a success based solely on the fact that Honda’s luxury brand seems to have finally accepted its place in the automotive hierarchy. It can’t compete with the Mercedes and BMWs of the world, and it shouldn’t even bother. Acura’s peak years occurred when the brand was selling premium (read: not luxury) cars like the Acura RSX and more humble-looking versions of the TL, RL, MDX and, of course, the NSX halo vehicle. If this car is truly priced well below $30,000, Acura’s mojo – sterile but competent engineering and geeky looks with some sportiness – is back.
Mike Hanley: Loser
While I liked the ILX’s high-quality interior, I never warmed to its exterior design — even after a second visit to the Acura stand. The brand’s beak-like grille is off-putting, and the car incorporates unusual cues, like bulging haunches that recall the Dodge Charger of all cars.
2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible
Call me crazy but I have no desire to drive a 650-horsepower convertible. Coupe? Yes. Boss 302? Hell yes. This? No.
The proof will be in the driving, but the last Shelby lacked the throw-around drivability of the Boss. The burden’s on Ford with this one.
I’m all for 650 hp no matter how unusable that power is on the street on low-profile tires. I would, however, feel a wee bit more comfortable with some steel above my dome in a car capable of 200 mph. When does the accessory roll bar come out?
I agree with David and Joe on this one. Talk about a dyed-in-the-wool muscle car of bygone days. No convertible needs this much power. Convertibles that aren’t roadsters should be relegated to touring duties only. Yes, I’m a cantankerous old man.
You’re only as old as you feel, Colin, and I suspect driving the Shelby GT500 convertible could make the years fall off. I admit that a 200-plus-mph Mustang is a bit shocking — frightening, actually — but the thought of not having any steel and glass between your ears and the quad exhaust tips is highly appealing.
2013 GMC Acadia
The exterior changes will make the biggest difference in terms of drawing in buyers to what is already a solid-selling crossover. The interior isn’t as refined as I expected after seeing the press photos. Still, for the money, the Acadia offers a lot of room and now has more advanced features, too.
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