Acura EL

Acura EL

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.

First generation (1996-2000)

The first generation of the EL was a rebadged version of the Japanese market Honda Domani. Sold as the Acura 1.6EL, it was introduced in 1996 as a 1997 model. It was a replacement for the 4 door Acura Integra sedan whose sales were discontinued in Canada after 1997. The designation was based on engine displacement, indicative of its 1.6 L I4 engine(D16Y8), with power reaching at 6600 rpm at 5500 rpm, thanks to the use of Honda's VTEC valve timing control (VTEC kick at 5600 rpm) (having a redline of 7200 rpm) . Only available as a four-door sedan, it featured luxury trimmings not available on the similar Honda Civic.

Second generation (2001-2005)

The EL was completely redesigned in 2000 (as a 2001 model) and was based on the seventh generation Civic. In addition to the slightly more powerful and torquier VTEC-equipped 1.7 L 4-cylinder SOHC engine (badging correspondingly changed to Acura 1.7EL; engine size was dropped from the model name for 2004) with 127 hp (95 kW), distinctive headlight and taillight designs and available leather interior trimmings noticeably set it apart from the Civic. Other differences include 15” multi-spoke alloys, heated power mirrors, cruise control, and rear disc brakes.

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.

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