2003 Acura RSX -- Safety

Occupant safety is important to the design of any new Acura, and the RSX is equipped with an array of standard occupant-protection systems. The RSX was designed with the goal of achieving a 5-star NCAP rating for front impacts-the highest rating possible. While the RSX has yet to be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is expected to meet these targets:

  • 5-star NCAP for frontal impact
  • 4-star SINCAP for side impact
  • "Good" Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rating for front offset impact

To achieve these objectives, the RSX includes: front and rear crumple zones, a highly rigid passenger compartment, dual seatbelt pretensioners on both front seats, and driver's and passenger's dual-stage front air bags and a driver's and passenger's side air bag system.

To help the driver avoid being involved in an accident, the RSX employs other safety features including a quick-ratio power steering system for precise handling, all-season high-performance tires and a four-wheel Anti-lock Brakes System (ABS).

The ABS system in the RSX is a three-channel, four-sensor design that modulates braking power to the front wheels independently and to the rear wheels in tandem-enhancing steering control during maximum-effort stops.

In the event of a frontal impact, the energy is divided between the parallel side frame and the sub-frame. The impact is then absorbed, dissipating into the side sill, the floor frame, and the front pillars.

For additional protection in the event of a collision from the side, the RSX features strong steel side-impact beams in each door. Further strength is derived from a strong roof gusset. To help cushion the forces of a side impact, the RSX is equipped with crushable, energy-absorbing pads below each quarter panel and in the door linings. In addition, a middle-floor crossbeam is fitted between the B-pillars to help lessen body deformation in the event of a collision.

As an additional measure of occupant protection, the RSX is equipped with advanced, dual seatbelt pretensioners on each front seat. Previously, pretensioners have been used to pull the shoulder belt tightly in the event of a collision. In the RSX, in addition to the shoulder-belt pretensioners, the engineers added a lap belt buckle pretensioner to each front seat. In a collision, both the shoulder portion and the lap portion of the belt are pulled tight, firmly securing the occupant in the seat.

The RSX is equipped with a standard driver's and front passenger's air bag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS). The system employs three sensors-including a front sensor, buckle switches to determine if the front seat occupants have the seatbelts buckled, and a dual-stage inflator to match the air bag deployment rate with the severity of the crash. As in all Acura models, the front passenger's air bag is designed to deploy upward along the windshield and then back toward the occupant. This provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger.

To enhance the protection of the driver and front seat passenger during a variety of frontal impact collisions, the RSX utilizes varying air bag deployment power. The system, which uses a dual-stage inflator, automatically adjusts the deployment of the driver and front passenger's SRS air bags based on the severity of the crash. During a slower speed collision, the dual-stage inflator system is triggered in sequence, resulting in slower overall air bag deployment with less initial force. During a high-speed collision, both inflators operate simultaneously for full immediate inflation, to correspond with the greater impact force.

The standard side-impact air bags on the RSX are triggered in response to signals sent by three sensors. The front passenger's seat is equipped with an innovative side air bag cutoff system designed to disable side air bag deployment. and prevent injury to a child (or small-statured adult) if they lean into the side air bag deployment path. A series of seven sensors in the passenger seatback monitors the size and position of the occupant to determine if it is safe to deploy the air bag

If the occupant leans into the deployment path of the side air bag, the sensors will prevent the side air bag from inflating. When the occupant returns to an upright seating position, the side air bag will reactivate. An indicator light on the dash alerts the driver if the front passenger is out of position.

The RSX features the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system in both of the rear seats, so parents can use LATCH-compatible child seats. These child seats are secured at the top by a tether anchor on the rear liftgate sill, and are secured at the bottom to anchor points located between the seat back and the seat bottom cushion.

Parents who use non-LATCH child seats can still use a seat belt to secure the seats in either of the rear seats. The liftgate sill has two covered tether anchors for securing a child seat tether strap.

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