2002 Acura RSX -- Chassis

The goals for the RSX chassis were high indeed: achieve quick handling response, outstanding grip, a smooth and compliant ride, excellent stability, and exceptional packaging efficiency to help maximize spaciousness in the passenger cabin and engine bay.

After careful analysis of all the variables involved, the RSX engineers developed an all-new, Control-Link MacPherson Strut front suspension design. The advanced design provides the precise handling, stability and comfort of a double-wishbone layout with packaging efficiency that is more difficult to achieve with a conventional front double-wishbone design.

At the rear, a new, highly compact double-wishbone suspension improves handling, ride comfort, stability, and space efficiency. Cornering grip is also enhanced by standard 205/55R16 all-season high-performance tires on 16-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels.

To fulfill its high-performance role, the suspension of the RSX Type-S delivers even greater handling performance through stiffer rear springs and more compression and rebound damping front and rear.

Strong, secure stopping power is provided by large-diameter disc brakes equipped with a standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). The RSX is equipped with 10.3-inch ventilated front discs, while both models use 10.2-inch discs at the rear. The high-performance Type-S uses 11.8-inch ventilated discs in front.

Chassis At A Glance

Ride and Handling

  • State-of-the-art Control-Link MacPherson Strut front suspension
  • Compact, high-performance double-wishbone rear suspension
  • 16-inch tires and alloy wheels
  • High-mounted steering box with long control arms for improved toe control (tracking stability)


  • Large-diameter front and rear disc brakes
  • Improved pedal rigidity and higher braking force for enhanced feel


  • Quick-ratio power steering system for crisp handling maneuvers
  • Variable-capacity power-steering pump for excellent driver feedback and improved fuel efficiency
  • Steering damper for more solid feel and enhanced straight-line stability


  • Standard four-sensor, three-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

In designing the front suspension of the RSX, the engineers set for themselves a challenging objective: combine performance-tuned handling (including superb grip and responsiveness) with positive feedback and road feel, a smooth and fluid ride, excellent space efficiency, and a reassuring level of safety.

After analyzing these objectives, the RSX engineers designed an all-new, state-of-the-art Control-Link MacPherson Strut front suspension with performance comparable to a double-wishbone system. Compared with conventional strut designs, this new design provides superior suspension geometry and control by adding a control link to precisely vary toe change throughout the suspension's travel. Combined with refined suspension geometry, damping, and carefully tuned spring rates, the suspension helps increase the front tire's contact with the road - enhancing handling performance and stability, particularly during sporty driving. For superb refinement, the layout incorporates low-friction progressive-valve gas-pressurized shock absorbers that more effectively absorb bumps and other road shocks.

The compact design of the Control-Link MacPherson Strut front suspension also helped to maximize packaging efficiency, providing added room for the RSX's high-output engines and increasing cabin spaciousness. Indeed, this layout provides advantages simply not obtainable with a conventional front double-wishbone suspension. Among these is the ability to incorporate a high-mounted steering gearbox. This arrangement uses 43 percent longer, high-mounted tie rods to steer the vehicle and provide improved toe control (the amount the tires angle in toward the body). The steering system also provides exceptional tracking stability during cornering.

On the high-performance Type-S, the front suspension is tuned with a 40 percent increase in damping rates for enhanced handling performance and responsiveness.

Like the front suspension, the new double-wishbone rear suspension of the RSX has been carefully designed to deliver high-performance handling, stability, excellent ride comfort and outstanding space efficiency. Rear toe-in during braking helps improve the suspension's stopping stability. The geometry of this new suspension also arcs the tires rearward when compressing over bumps to reduce road shock and provide a smoother, more comfortable ride. By enhancing the rigidity of the body, bearings, control arms, and stabilizer bar, the rear suspension provides secure tire-to-ground contact for smooth, predictable handling.

At the same time, this highly compact design uses less space than conventional double-wishbone systems because there is no trailing arm alongside the fuel tank. Freeing up space in this manner allowed the engineers to move the exhaust pre-chamber from the cabin floor to the rear - enabling them to design a wider trunk and a flat floor in the interior.

Further enhancing the RSX's precise, stable handling is a suspension geometry with a well-balanced roll axis.

The Type-S rear suspension is specially tuned for enhanced responsiveness, utilizing stiffer springs and revised damping settings.

A "racecar" feel was a design priority for the RSX, and thus the steering system was optimized for outstanding precision and control. Compared with the Acura Integra, the RSX features a quicker-ratio power steering system for a more nimble handling response. Steering smoothness and directional stability are enhanced with a vibration-reducing, oil-filled damper in the steering box.

The RSX uses a torque-sensitive, rack-and-pinion power steering system equipped with a new variable-capacity power-steering pump. By incorporating a relief valve, which adjusts necessary power assist through oil-quantity control, the new pump is able to achieve a linear injection volume. Unnecessary oil flow at 900 rpm and above is eliminated - increasing fuel economy by 0.5 percent.

Tracking stability is enhanced by the high-mounted steering box, which improves toe control (the amount the tires angle in toward the body) by using long, high-mounted tie rods to steer the vehicle.

For outstanding stopping power and excellent resistance to fade, the RSX is equipped with 10.3-inch ventilated front disc brakes and 10.2-inch rotors at the rear.

On the Type-S, the ventilated front rotors are increased in diameter to 11.8 inches. In addition, front caliper piston area has been reduced for improved rigidity, and braking force has been increased for a notably solid, linear pedal feel.

Standard on both RSX models is a three-channel Anti-lock Braking System with a speed sensor located at each wheel. The system modulates braking power to the front wheels independently and to the rear wheels in tandem - enhancing driver control during maximum-effort stops.

The 2002 RSX wears large wheels and tires in keeping with its race-bred, sports coupe breeding. There is one specified tire/wheel combination for both models: 205/55R16 Michelin MXM-4 all-season high-performance tires on strong, lightweight 16-inch, five-spoke cast-alloy wheels.

The unique flat floor of the RSX - made possible by the compact rear suspension and such innovations as a high-efficiency exhaust system - helps provide a cabin of remarkable spaciousness and comfort. To improve the floor's torsional rigidity, the RSX uses a "tunnel side frame" with a large, flat cross-section instead of the usual tunnel structure.

The RSX is equipped with a new four-layer resin fuel tank that offers reduced weight, increased capacity, improved safety, and reduced emissions. Capacity is maximized because the resin tank can be molded to fit around other components. The RSX also incorporates a returnless fuel supply system that helps reduce vapor loss.

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