In 1996, the Acura EL was born as a compact entry-level luxury car developed by Honda as an entry-level vehicle (the EL in the car name), and sold only in Canada. It replaced the Integra sedan in the lineup, while the Integra sedan continued to be sold in the United States until 2001. The car had two different generations, and was sold from 1997 to 2005. The EL was Acura's top seller in Canada, since the Civic is the best-selling car in Canada. The first generation was a subcompact car, while the second generation became a compact car. The Acura EL was the first B-segment luxury car in North America.
All ELs were built at Honda's Alliston, Ontario, Canada plant (home of the Civic), and also the first Acura built in Canada.
The second generation EL was available in two trims levels - touring and premium. The latter added leather seats, heated front seats and a power sunroof. Automatic climate control was added for the premium trim in 2003, and for the touring trim as well in 2004. In 2003, a four-wheel anti-lock braking system was made standard for all models. For 2003 and 2004 a special dealer-installed 'aero package' was made available for both trims levels which added unique front and rear lips, side stills and a rear spoiler. In 2004, the EL underwent a slight exterior makeover with restyled headlamps, front bumper and grille, rear taillights, trunklid, and rear bumper. The new sportier look came with standard fog lights, a restyled steering wheel, new woodgrain trim patterns, and two additional tweeters to complete the 6-speaker audio system.
The Acura EL was replaced for the 2006 model year by the Acura CSX, based on the redesigned 2006 Honda Civic. Like the EL, the CSX is available only in Canada.