Arizona Drive in some Performance Hondas.

IMG_3296

As much as I love to experience different makes of cars, I always somehow find myself back in a Honda (don’t worry, I didn’t buy another car). I’ve owned 3 in my life so far:

  • 2002 Acura RSX Type-S 6-speed
  • 2004 Honda Accord V6 6-speed
  • 2010 Acura TL SH-AWD 6-speed

All of them have been memorable to me. Even though my focus generally is now on Mazda, I welcome any opportunity to get a Honda experience. That’s exactly what I got thanks to Tyson (drivetofive) and his good friend and journalists, Mr. Steve Lynch.

I was invited to be a driver in a convoy of Hondas for an article Steve was putting together.  Despite working for 17 years in finance for Mercedes-Benz, Mr. Lynch has a passion for Honda and has even worked for them prior to MB. His 1997 book Arrogance and Accords covers some of his experiences and thoughts on Honda when he was employed there.  He is semi retired now and currently writes for an automotive blog called The Truth About Cars. This is the cover of his book.

arrogance_cover

Photo of Steve and his beautiful 2008 Rio Yellow Honda S2000.

steve_lynch

The drive for this event took place on the Catalina Highway which climbs to the summit of Mt. Lemmon, just north of Tucson. Our group consisted of me, Steve, Tyson, Peter Kulikowski, James Lee from 6speedblog, Beau MacDonnell (photographer), and Kelvin Chang.

IMG_3339

This road to the summit of Mt. Lemmon is full of fun twisties and elevation changes perfectly fitting for the cars to be tested. Here are the contenders:

  • 1992 Acura NSX 5-speed owned by Tyson
  • 1993 Acura NSX 5-speed owned by Kelvin
  • 1994 Acura Legend LS Coupe 6-speed owned by Tyson
  • 1994 Acura Legend GS Sedan 6-speed owned by Tyson
  • 2008 Honda S2000 6-speed owned by Steve

Let’s get started! Total travel distance for me was around 1,700 miles. I departed Las Cruces after work to arrive in Phoenix. After the Mt. Lemmon drive, I would head north to Gallup for a family visit and then back home.

2015-04-27 09_16_07-Las Cruces, NM to Las Cruces, NM - Google Maps

Mazda all washed up and ready to rock ‘n’ roll!

IMG_3216

My drive into the sunset towards the Arizona border. I arrived in Phoenix around 10:30pm.

IMG_3236

The next morning, I took some singles of Tyson’s Acuras (with their corresponding custom plates) we’d be driving. I was in the Legend sedan, Tyson in the Legend coupe and Peter got the NSX.

IMG_3255

IMG_3267

IMG_3257

IMG_3259

IMG_3262

IMG_3266

Getting the cars out and ready.

IMG_3253

Also in our crowd was a Lexus RC350 press car driven by James. This was our photo/chase car. His full review of the Lexus can be found here.

2015rc350

Meet and greet before the drive.

IMG_3270

Onwards!

IMG_3275

Pit stop in Picacho, AZ. Is this what Acura lots looked like in the 90s?

IMG_3282

You may have noticed that we picked up an extra NSX along the way. That belongs to Tyson’s friend, Kelvin. He is an avid NSX enthusiast and certainly didn’t want to miss this drive. Though his NSX is one year newer than Tyson’s (’93) it still looks identical.

IMG_3280

Rolling shot of Tyson’s Legend coupe

coupe_rolling

Meeting up in Tucson with Steve.

IMG_3357

Our group of Hondas (and the Lexus).

pre_drive

This is when I could get close and personal with Steve’s S2000. This is my first encounter with the S2000.

IMG_3289

That cozy cockpit is just as I imagined…very driver focused.

IMG_3290

Throughout the day, we all swapped cars and were able to compare and contrast.

lineup_front

It was hard to pick a favorite in my books, but the NSX came dang close! I must say, this car was intimidating to me at first but in typical Honda tradition, the car instantly felt familiar and easy to drive. Everything feels raw and mechanical. This is a sensation you just can’t find anymore. The black leather seats with monstrous bolsters hold you securely; all controls are simple and easily at reach—this is a driver’s car. The transmission and steering were an absolute joy. The 3.2L V6’s 290 horsepower rating seems rather ho-hum by today’s standards; however, this car is still dang quick and sends a tumultuous rush through the exhaust pipes. Tingling with excitement, I kept finding myself looking for excuses to downshift just to hear that motor howl. The sensations and noises were so orgasmic, you don’t even care about the powertrain figures. Visibility was excellent, ride was decent, you can shift with one finger…this really is the supercar for everyday.

jason_nsx

lineup1

IMG_3303

Amazingly, the NSX feels and is quite a bit lower than the S2000. They both handle like a dream though.

IMG_3308

Nearly everyone agreed that this was the biggest surprise of the group. I had the privilege of accumulating the most miles (around 300miles) on the Sedan. Before first taking the keys, I was expecting a focused boulevard cruiser with cushy-squishy suspension backed by average handing and obnoxious understeer when pushed into the corners. Pleasantly, I was wrong. First off, cruising down the highway was effortless and smooth. The cockpit was roomy and inviting with pillowy soft, yet supportive seats clad in rich feeling leather. The big greenhouse and low dash made for an excellent view out. When it came time to toss this big boy around some corners, I was amazed how composed and level the body remained. The handling was definitely not sports car precise, but it didn’t leave me fearing for my life. The 230 horsepower Type-IIV6 was an absolute gem and hustled the Legend out of corners effortlessly despite packing nearly 147,000 original miles. Brakes were another bonus. Pedalfeel was firm, inspired confidence and gave little nose dive. The clutch was light and each gear change was smooth with very short throws. I was impressed. Here’s Steven taking the Legend sedan around some corners.

sedan_front

Love this road!

IMG_3293

Lunch stop at the summit.

IMG_3334

Their juicy green chile bacon cheeseburger sure hit the spot!

IMG_3329

IMG_3331

Back to the cars! This time I was able to test out the S2000.

IMG_3344

Yup…I want one!

IMG_3345

With 240 horsepower on tap and a raging VTEC waiting to be awakened by a stab at the throttle, this little roadster won me over and has made it to the top of my charts of “must-have” cars to own. As I snuggled in the cockpit for the first time, the whole environment was just as I expected…everything right at your fingertips and driver-focused. Fit and finish was excellent, and knobs and switches moved with a precise, “snick-snick” action. On our mountain road coarse, this roadster kept me grinning. The tight and rather heavy steering always pointed the nose in the right direction with the confidence and assurance you’d expect from a light rear-drive chassis. Speaking of the chassis, Honda really did themselves well here as the all-control-arm suspension kept the 17” Bridgestones sticking like glue in the corners. Brakes were perhaps my favorite of the group. “Go-kart” comes to mind when trying to describe the personality. Here’s a photo of me and Peter coming around a bend.

IMG_3361

Another stop to swap cars again.

IMG_3341

The gang: Tyson, James, Steve, Beau, me, and Peter. The final article of Steve’s can be found here.

IMG_3358

Back to Phoenix! Here’s a photo of Tyson in the NSX. It rolled over 100,000 just on the outskirts of town. His celebratory post is here.

IMG_3360

The next day, I headed northeast towards Gallup. The sun shining and temperatures in the mid 80’s, it was a nice drive. Though I had driven some pretty special cars the day prior, it was nice to get behind the wheel of the Mazda again. Even though this is completely different in personality, it’s still very good fun to drive.

IMG_3374

Thank you all for stopping by and checking out the Hondas. ‘Til next time!

IMG_3400

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

8 thoughts on “Arizona Drive in some Performance Hondas.

  1. tysonhugie says:

    Haha, love the series of pics with the cars + license plates at the beginning of the post. I’m so glad you were able to come out for the Honda Party that day. My favorite comment was about the NSX sending a “tumultuous rush” through the exhaust pipes. Great write-up! Looking forward to our next meeting. I forwarded a link to this post to Steve, Beau, Peter, James, and Kelvin BTW. I’m sure they’ll enjoy it too.

    • pawela says:

      Wow! You were fast to comment! Caught me in the middle of editing. 🙂 Thanks and it sure was a blast! Still love that NSX and hope to grab one someday. I look forward to the next meeting as well and hope you guys can rig up “Part II” of this. Maybe there should be a whole series? Thanks for sharing with the gang.

  2. James Lee says:

    Good stuff!! Thanks for linking back to our pages.

  3. Nate says:

    Great post as always! Love me some sexy Hondas!

  4. lifeat9000 says:

    Fantastic post, Honda lover here (2001 S2000) as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: