Acura’s “pocket rocket” RSX receives considerable changes for 2005, both cosmetic and mechanical. On the outside, there’s a redesign of the headlights, taillights, bumpers, grille and wheels; on the inside, there are new sport seats, white gauges, a new handbrake, shifter surround and climate control vents. The Premium trim line is further divided, with a new base Premium that contains all of the Premium L’s content but without its heated leather seats. ABS is now standard on all models.

On the Type S, there’s a horsepower increase from 2004’s 200 hp to 210, an increased redline to 8300 rpm, 17-inch wheels with larger tires, and a new rear “ducktail” spoiler.

Both the RSX and Type S carry a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that makes 160 hp and 210 hp respectively; the RSX comes with a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a five-speed automatic with manual mode, while the Type S is exclusively a close-coupled six-speed. The RSX is built on a global platform that it shares with the Honda Civic.

The base RSX includes automatic climate control, 15-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent wipers, rear washer/wiper, cloth interior, 50/50 folding rear seat, floor mats, CD player with four speakers, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, and power heated mirrors.

The Premium adds 16-inch alloy wheels, leather-wrapped wheel, tilt- and height-adjustable driver’s seat, six speakers, cruise control, overhead map lights and power sunroof. The Premium L includes heated leather seats.

The Type S comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, leather sport seats, titanium-style shifter knob, body-coloured chin spoiler, and six-CD system with six speakers.

For a car that starts under 25 grand, the RSX may be the best sport coupe in its class on the market; it’s fun to drive, extremely responsive, it corners with confidence, and its fit and finish are superb. The Type S is a missile, but its sport-tuned suspension is just a little too much on the performance side, returning a very rough ride. Still, you can’t go down to the corner performance shop and trick out a base one to these specs for what the factory charges out of the box, and with a warranty.

The RSX is built in Suzuka, Japan.

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