Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda. The brand was launched in the United States and Canada in March 1986, marketing luxury, performance, and high-performance vehicles. Since its inception, Acura has been a trailblazer in the automotive industry. In the late 1980s, the success of the company’s first flagship vehicle, the Legend, inspired fellow Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan to launch their own luxury brands, Lexus and Infiniti, respectively.
The 1990 launch of the NSX, a mid-engine exotic sports car, offered a reliable and practical alternative to exotic European sports cars, and introduced Honda’s VTEC variable valve timing system to the North American market. The 1993 Legend coupé featured Honda’s first use of a six-speed manual transmission, mated to a Type II engine. In the late 1990s, Acura produced a Type R version of its compact Integra coupé, which featured a reduced curb weight, a stiffer and lower suspension, and a high-output VTEC engine.
History of Acura
Following a decade of research, Honda opened 60 new dealerships in North America by 1986, to support its Acura automobile division. Acura was the first Japanese luxury brand, and its initial offering consisted of two models: the executive class Legend and the compact class Integra, available as a five-door and three-door hatchback. The Legend was the result of Project XX, a joint venture Honda entered into with the UK’s Austin Rover Group. It was mechanically related to the Rover 800 series, while the Integra was an improvement of the Honda Quint hatchback.
Beginning around the year 2000, Acura experienced a rebirth which was catalyzed by the introduction of several redesigned models. The first of these models was the 1999 3.2 TL, an upscale sedan. Critics suggested that although 3.2 TL did not outdo its competition in any one area of luxury cars, it offered a well-rounded blend of sportiness and luxury.