By Chris Chase, Autos.ca
The Honda Civic-based Acura CSX is the most recent of the brand’s entry-level offerings, following the 1997 1.6 EL and 2001 1.7 EL; previous to the EL, you can count the Integra, which was part of Acura’s original line-up in 1986, as one of the CSX’s ancestors, too.
Where the 1.6 and 1.7 EL were mechanical twins of the different generations of Civic they were based on, the new-for-2006 CSX differed, with a base engine that wasn’t available in any North American Civic model, a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder (155 hp; 139 lb-ft) shared, mostly, with the RSX.
In 2007, a Type-S variant was added, powered by the same 197-horsepower version of the 2.0-litre engine as the Civic Si, with a six-speed manual transmission that was the only one offered with the high-po motor. The base engine came with a five-speed manual, or an optional five-speed automatic. The 2009 CSX got the requisite mid-model makeover, the most significant cosmetic element of which was the addition of Acura’s trademark “power plenum” grille.
In the base car, Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption ratings were 8.7/6.4 L/100 km (city/highway) with the manual transmission, and 9.5/6.5 with the automatic. The Type-S was rated 10.2/6.8 L/100 km.
The CSX’s reliability follows in the Civic’s footsteps, in that this too seems to be a generally solid little car.
There’s a common problem with the Type S’ (and Civic Si’s) transmission that causes grinding and hard shifting into third gear, and a shifter that pops out of third. This prompted the folks at 8thCivic.com to draft a (poorly written) petition in an effort to get Honda to acknowledge the problem. The company eventually did, by issuing a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) advising dealers on how to fix the bad transmissions.
A popping sound from the front suspension, a problem that appears to affect mostly 2006, 2007 and a few 2008 models, is caused by an incorrectly manufactured bump stop. Honda/Acura addressed this in 2007, with the TSB that can be found here.
Some Civic Hybrid owners complain of bad rear suspension control arms, but whether it affects the CSX and non-hybrid Civics isn’t clear. Read about it here.
Here’s a thread that discusses head gasket failures in the Civic’s 1.8-litre engine. The 2.0-litre engines used in the CSX (the Civic Si and CSX Type-S share a motor) are not the same as the 1.8-litre, though, so this problem, however widespread it may, or not, be in the Civic, shouldn’t affect the CSX.
Being a Canada-only model, the CSX was never crash tested by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but the Civic was, and the similarities between the two cars means the data applies to the Acura, too.
The four-door Civic scored “good” in both the IIHS’ frontal offset and side impact tests, but the organization noted a small possibility of rib fractures for front seat riders in the side impact results. From the NHTSA, the Civic sedan earned five stars for driver and front passenger protection in its frontal crash test, and four and five stars for front and rear seat protection in side impacts, respectively.
At the time of this writing, Canadian Black Book puts used CSX values in a range from $11,050 for a 2006 Touring model with manual transmission, to $24,425 for a 2010 Type-S. Interestingly, a 2006 Civic EX – the top model in that line, but a lesser car in the overall Honda/Acura hierarchy – is worth more used ($12,025 with a stickshift) despite having been about $3,000 cheaper when new. But then, a 2010 Civic Si, the Honda analog to the CSX Type-S, is worth about $4,000 less than the Type-S from the same year. Used values for 2011 models weren’t available when this article was published.
Whether you think a CSX is worth the price premium over a Civic depends on what you expect from your car features-wise (in Canada, the eight-generation Civic wasn’t available with leather seats or a navigation system, both of which were reserved for the CSX, for example) and how much driving a car with a premium nameplate on it matters to you. And then, the CSX’s extra 15 horsepower might be enough to sway some buyers to the Acura camp. I would suggest keeping an open mind and cross-shopping the CSX against the Civic, to see if you can live with the Honda’s lower level of luxury in return for potentially saving a few bucks.
Black Book Pricing (avg. retail) February 2011:
|Year||Model||Price today||Price new|
|2010||CSX base w/ automatic transmission||$22,250||$28,790|
|2009||CSX base w/ automatic transmission||$19,200||Price new|
|2008||CSX base w/ automatic transmission||$16,600||$28,290|
|2007||CSX base w/ automatic transmission||$14,500||$27.290|
|2006||CSX Touring w/ automatic transmission||$11,900||$26,700|
CSXDriver.ca is dedicated to the CSX, while AcuraWorld.com and AcuraForum.com each give the CSX its own discussion section, as does 8thCivic.com. VTEC.net combines chatter about the CSX with that of its predecessor, the EL.
Transport Canada Recall Number: 2007282; Units affected: 107,653 (includes other models)
xxx: On certain vehicles, an ABS wheel speed sensor O-ring seal may allow water to enter the rear wheel bearing and eventually cause damage to the bearing, especially in areas where use of road salt is prevalent. In time, the wheel bearing could become loose, which could cause the bearing to overheat. This could cause a wheel to separate from the vehicle, potentially resulting in a vehicle crash with injury or death. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if required, replace ABS sensor O-ring seals and rear wheel bearings.
Crash test results
Used vehicle prices vary depending on factors such as general condition, odometer reading, usage history and options fitted. Always have a used vehicle checked by an experienced auto technician before you buy.
For information on vehicle service bulletins issued by the manufacturer, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
For information on consumer complaints about specific models, see www.lemonaidcars.com.