Vehicle Type: Performance Coupe
History/Description: The NSX wasn’t a car anyone bought to have the fastest supercar on their block. Launched 1990 and battling the likes the Porsche 911, Ferrari 355, Dodge Viper, Lotus Esprit and Chevrolet Corvette in its lifetime, all models got a VTEC V6 engine smack in the middle, making between 250 and 300 horsepower, depending on the model and year.
So, this wasn’t a car shopped for pure speed. It was a car bought because it was cool looking as all hell. And had a gorgeous V6 engine. And looked like a Ferrari. And handled like a fighter jet.
Some Ferraris from this era are still priced like real estate – but you can get an NSX on the affordable side of the spectrum nowadays, to the delight of the local Honda Civic tuner crowd, who will be super-envious of your VTEC. Best of all, unlike the comparable finicky supercars from its era, the NSX isn’t incredibly fussy about tune-ups, parts and maintenance.
Engines / Trim: NSX models came one way: as a two-seater with a mid-mounted VTEC V6 driving the rear wheels. The NSX was a hard-topped coupe, while the NSX-T had a removable targa top.
Early models got a 3.0L V6 making 252 hp with the automatic transmission and 270 with the five-speed manual. From 1997, a 3.2L V6 landed under the hood, bumping power to 290 horses. It was joined by a new six-speed manual transmission. Special versions of the NSX got further upgrades to power output.
What Owners Like: Beautiful handling, steering, balance, styling and an all around authentic performance car driving experience are highly rated by NSX owners, many of who say there’s nothing closer to a perfect sports car on the road, then or now. Ride comfort, fuel mileage and everyday usability are all highly rated, too.
What Owners Dislike: Owners of cars like the NSX tend not to have any complaints, though some owners do wish for more interior space, and an easier time with boarding and exiting.
Here are some owner reviews.
Common Issues: Many NSX owners report a reliable, solid and no-nonsense ownership experience from their rides, though a few checks should be considered mandatory ahead of your purchase.
As with any used performance car, check the consumable parts. Tires, brake pads, brake rotors and the clutch on a used NSX should all be presumed to be in need of replacement until the shopper and / or his mechanic confirm otherwise. As a performance car, replacing consumable parts won’t be inexpensive – so be sure the seller isn’t trying to pass a replacement bill onto you. Coax slippage from a worn clutch by applying full throttle from a low speed in a high gear, confirm tires have plenty of remaining tread life, and ask a mechanic for help checking out the brakes if you’re not sure how.
According to owner forums, some transmissions in earlier (1991 and 1992) NSX models may have a defective transmission case design which allows a snap-ring inside of the gearbox to shatter. Symptoms of the snap-ring problem include a transmission that pops out of gear on its own, or a grinding / growling noise while driving. Listen closely on your test drive, noting that the transmission in the NSX is in the rear of the car.