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2006 Acura CSX Road Test

2006 Acura CSX Road Test

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Canadian-Exclusive CSX Replaces Popular EL

Anyone questioning whether Acura would continue forward building its EL with the dawn of an all-new Honda Civic, despite it only
Anyone questioning whether Acura would continue forward building its EL, has had their queries answered with the new CSX. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)
being available in Canada, can rest assured that a revised version of the popular model has just arrived on the market as part of Acura Canada's 2006 lineup. But this said we can all say goodbye to the EL nameplate, a designation that's been part of the Canadian auto industry since its inception in model year 1997.

Although the premium Japanese brand has never gone overboard trying to disguise the entry-level car's compact Civic roots, with restyled headlamps, an Acura grille and reshaped taillights 'transforming' the look, the upcoming CSX, once again exclusive to Canada, does a better job differentiating the model from its slightly less well-to-do second cousin. And in that redesign, Acura has broken from tradition, and penned the new model in a more conservative fashion than the almost radical Civic. Where the Civic sports thin,
Acura has broken from tradition, and penned the new model in a more conservative fashion than the almost radical Civic. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)
straight and sharply angular headlamp clusters, almost Acura TSX- (which is a European Honda Accord after all) or TL-like in shape, where the CSX adds a more graceful curve to the light's lower edge, resulting in a frontal character with an entirely unique appearance.

This differentiation is helped along, mind you, by an equally exclusive grille opening, which comes to a point as it dips down at centre, similar to other Acura products, and concurrently, previous Hondas, highlighted by a single horizontal strikethrough finished in chrome, with the Acura stylized compass symbol at centre, of course. The lower fascia, hood and front fenders appear much the same as Honda's popular compact, as do the car's panels from the B-pillar rearward, until at least, the CSX's taillights come into focus.

Once again,
In marked contrast to the Civic's sophisticatedly shaped, almost Audi A4-like rear lamps, the CSX's are less provocative. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)
in marked contrast to the Civic's sophisticatedly shaped, almost Audi A4-like rear lamps, the CSX's are less provocative. Some will like their less intrusive approach more, and some will lament their seemingly lack of creativity, but they are tasteful, work extremely well within the overall design, and pay tribute to other Acuras, in particular the sporty RSX. While the trunk lid looks to have been reshaped to accommodate the new lenses, in actuality it hasn't, the Civic's tail lamps merely having been extended downward at their innermost edges, and inward along a horizontal plain, where they would have otherwise curved upwards on the Civic. The trunk lid cutout divides the lights in half, although this is not immediately noticeable on either car.

I suppose therefore, the CSX's slightly more conservative approach (and some
The CSX's uniquely shaped headlamps give the entry-level Acura a totally different look than the Civic it's based on. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)
would say the more pleasingly styled car) in mind, that it makes sense for Honda to have chosen to go with the Canadian design when introducing its home market Civic in Japan. Yes, contrary to a popular misconception, Acura Canada didn't merely re-badge a Japanese Civic with an Acura label, but rather designed the car from scratch, more or less, at which point it was adopted by Honda Japan, as its new Civic; Japanese buyers traditionally being more conservative than North Americans and/or Europeans when it comes to design. On another note, the CSX's unique side-view mirrors, which integrate an unorthodox triangular turn signal, may have first appeared on the Civic Hybrid but were originally designed for the compact Acura, and were only adopted by the Hybrid later on, in order to give the car a more modern, space-age character.