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Acura EL – A Uniquely Canadian Compact Luxury Sedan

The EL was the first Acura ever built in Canada at Honda Canada Manufacturing (HCM) plant #1 in Alliston, Ontario. This same facility that builds all of Honda’s North American Civics; both the first and second-generation EL’s are based on the Civic platform.

Model Overview

Created exclusively for the Canadian market, the Acura EL was introduced in 1997 to replace the Acura Integra sedan. The first generation EL’s (1997-2000) were offered in three trim levels: Standard, Sport and Premium while the second generation models (2001-2005) were offered in both Touring and Premium.

Acura EL Technical Specs

-The 1.6 Liter, 16-valve inline four-cylinder VTEC engine (all 1997-2000 models) provides up to 127 HP at 6,600 rpm with a 9.6:1 compression ratio. Fuel injection is multi-point programmed. -Second-generation models include a 1.7 Liter SOHC VTEC 16 valve inline four-cylinder engine delivering 127 HP at 6300 rpm and a 9.9:1 compression ratio. Fuel injection is multi-point and the ignition is direct electronic -Front brakes are power-assisted disc (ventilated); rear are power-assisted drum. Antilock brakes (ABS) were offered on the Sport and Premium models as an upgrade. -Fuel economy (regular unleaded gasoline) for the 5-speed manual is 8.1 L/100 kilometers within the city and 6.3L/100 kilometers highway, while the 4-speed automatic achieves 9.1 L/100 kilometers city, 6.7 L/100 kilometers highway.

Differences Between First and Second Generation Models

The first generation of the Acura EL was based on the Honda Domani, the Civic-based luxury car sold exclusively in Japan. As the EL’s are essentially upgraded Honda Civics, HCM added a number of premium features and cosmetic differentiators to the EL’s. These included a rounded front end, raised trunk, amber-colored interior dash and a standard tachometer. Other features that helped distinguish the Acura EL from the Honda Civic are the power trunk, alarm, rear-window embedded radio antenna and a stiffer, sportier suspension. The Acura EL received a complete overhaul for the 2001 model year, signaling the launch of the second generation of these compact luxury sedans. Changes from the previous generation included upgraded headlights, leather-trimmed heated front seats, climate control and a power moonroof. The anti-lock brake system became a standard feature, while options like fog lights, a trunk spoiler, side stills and woodgrain interior trim were added in 2004. Also offered were a sport-styled steering wheel and an upgraded, 6-speaker sound package complete with a CD player and subwoofers.

Acura EL Resale Values

As with all Honda/Acura products, used EL’s command a high price on the used car market when compared to it’s domestic and import competitors. Honda/Acura owners tend to be highly loyal to the brand and their vehicles; finding a good used Acura EL for sale can be difficult. Despite it’s similarities to the Honda Civic, used Acura ELs consistently fetch resale values that are between 10-20 percent higher than same-year Civics with similar wear and tear and miledge. Acura has some great specifications from its wheelcovers to the technology on the inside! 

Categories: Production Cars

Calvin Escobar

About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.