The first gen (1990-2005) Honda NSX is the people’s champion to some. Argued to be a perfect blend of sports car and daily driver, this little two seater is highly praised by thousands of hardcore fans. However, does its reputation exceed what it actually is? Has the name of the NSX been over-inflated, over-hyped and overrated? Let us discuss why we think it has.

1. It’s boring to drive

Sure it looks special enough to turn heads when you’re driving down the street, but as for the experience of the actual driver, it’s far from thrilling. One of the NSX’s main strengths actually turns out to be a major weakness as well, which is the fact that it drives like an Accord.

Honda NSX drive

Sure, it’s great that it handles well around town, but at the same time, when you buy an extravagant-looking car like the NSX, you want to feel the rush of adrenaline through your veins when you drive it, not yawn-inducing boredom. It’s only when you really put your foot down that you realise you’re driving a classic sports car, but surely it should feel like that all (or at least most) of the time?

2. The “unique” design isn’t really very unique

Yellow Honda NSX

A good number of NSX fans will list the innovative and inventive shape of the car as one of its great strengths. However, as you hear people praising it for taking on a very alternative style and celebrating the car’s ingenious and original aesthetic, just remember that it borrowed a lot of the design from Ferrari. If you look to the Ferrari 348, we can quickly notice that the front is very similar, as is the back and the overall shape of the whole body.

Ferrari 348 Spider

Ferrari 348 Spider

Add a spoiler and get rid of the arches connecting the roof to the back of the car and you end up with a red NSX with a ferrari badge on it. The F355 and the F40 (without a spoiler) also have the similar style of shape to the NSX and all of these cars were released before the Honda was…But then again, it is a fraction of the price you’d pay for a Ferrari.

Honda NSX 1

3. It was obsolete in 1999, but was produced until 2005

2005 Honda NSX

The NSX production only came to a halt in 2005, which really wasn’t that long ago in classic car terms. What’s wrong about this is that the NSX barely changed during its excessive 15 years of production. As many cars were releasing new generations or completely new models with new names, Honda stuck with the NSX and kept most things untouched. While Honda stood still, competing cars like the Ferrari 348 or the Porsche 964 evolved into new, more powerful models, leaving the NSX in the dust. By the time the new millennium was upon us, the NSX was completely obsolete and irrelevant in terms of power, appearance, interior styling and technology. Does this damage the reputation and legacy of the “classic” NSX?

4. It’s a lot smaller than you think

Honda NSX & Dodge Challenger SRT

Literally, this car is tiny. Pocket sized. Concentrated. It looks great in photos and thanks to some sort of optical illusion science that was employed when the car was designed, it looks quite big in photos. But it’s not until you see one in person with your own eyes that you realise it’s a similar size to a Honda S2000 or Mazda MX-5. Of course this is not a problem for a lot of people, but some people can find small cars feminine or think that they look like toy cars. Also, with it being so small and low it’s going to make vision very poor and also leave you feeling incredibly anxious when you’re between two lorries on the motorway. Don’t be deceived by the internet, this car is about the same width as a Mini Cooper and about two thirds as tall.

5. It has only 270 bhp

Honda NSX Type R

Unfortunately, numbers matter to sports car enthusiasts. What many people will overlook is the fact that horsepower isn’t everything and although the number is underwhelming, the track performance is basically the same as some cars with 100 or 200 more horsepower. Even so, the number cannot be ignored and 270 just sounds very low for a car that’s to be considered as a legendary sports classic. This is especially true when you can buy a car with 200 extra horsepower for the same price. Furthermore, if the NSX was as quick as lightning with only 270bhp, imagine what it could do with more power. What a sad thought.

The Honda NSX was truly a great motor, but we have to acknowledge its many flaws. This car was by no means perfect and when fans try to argue that it changed the definition of sports cars at the time, or that nothing can compare to it, tell them that they’re wildly exaggerating and hit them with the facts.


Image source – automoblog

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4 Responses

  1. Phil Ager

    Well of course the Nissan is a good car. Good cars to have to be fitted with massive, thirsty engines or be the size of a small bus. There are many European and Japanese sports cars that would outperform big engine US cars on pretty much any race circuit.

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