Regular Joe’s Review: Honda NSX

日本國寶級戰車or in English, ‘Japan’s National Treasure Sports Car’, these are the common words used to describe Honda’s flagship sportscar, the NSX. Much have already been said of its rich history including the fact that it was developed with input from legendary F1 driver, Aryton Senna, so I will waste no time telling you what you can easily Google online.


I’ve always been a JDM fan growing up and naturally, the NSX sat at the very top of my dream car list. The car was cutting edge back when it was first launched in 1990 and its sleek sculptured lines have aged beautifully. Although it is well over 25 years old now, it feels somewhat unfitting to call it a classic car as it still holds its on (outside of the really dated plasticky rear tail lights) when parked next to modern supercars.

Kaiser Silver Honda NSX Hong Kong

So what’s it like to drive a 26-year-old JDM hero around the streets of HK? Is it really as reliable as they say? There was only one way to find out so I decided to take the plunge, buy my childhood dream and check that NSX box!

Red Honda NSX Hong Kong BBS

The search was not easy and I had little luck after looking at many local cars in HK. There were very few manuals and most were either of poor condition or modified into ghastly ricer rockets (I’ve long past that phase and the sight of aftermarket bodywork makes me nauseous), with no other choice, I decided to import one directly from Japan.

The whole process took a little more than 4 months but when the car finally arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the immaculate condition of the vehicle. The interior design is very plain and clean so did not feel too dated. Build quality is excellent and the old style plastics stood up very well against the test of time, unlike modern soft-touch plastics that peel after only a few years. Nobody would believe that this was a 20-year-old car if I did not tell them!

Honda NSX interior Hong Kong

The Drive

First impressions, the car had no power steering. This is not the first non-power-steer car that I’ve owned but the steering on the NSX is extremely heavy, making it very difficult to manoeuvre in the parking lot, much more so than the similarly non-assisted Lotus Elise. I can see why electric power-steer was added on 96 and later models.

Kaiser Silver Honda NSX Hong Kong night

Around the city the NSX feels comfortable and effortless, and once at speed, the heavy steering becomes a non-issue. The engine is quiet, suspension extremely well damped and perfect for the imperfect HK roads. Crashy bumps are easily absorbed while the car feels well planted and firm. I cannot imagine a better setting for the road. Clutch action is light, abeit with a slightly high biting point, but the shifter is easily one of the best in the market even for today’s standards. Rifle bolt action would be an apt description of the shift quality of the NSX, its perfect.

Honda NSX driver Hong Kong

As the revs build up, the engine comes alive. I was pleasantly surprised by the power and torque of this 25-year-old V6. Rated at ‘only’ 280hp, the car felt urgent and brisk even at the lower RPMs and really starts to scream as you race up to the 8000 RPM redline. I’m going to be honest, the car sounds like a Honda Accord from the outside but in the driver’s seat, with the engine sitting behind, the bark of the V6 sounds incredible and I found myself in a state of euphoria as the VTEC kicks in. My car came with an aftermarket exhaust but I am glad that I quickly swapped it back to the factory muffler as the engine note sounds way better than the thrashy exhaust noise (perhaps I’m really getting old). This engine just begs to be revved and boy do you get rewarded when you do. Unlike older Hondas, the NSX’s V6 feels sufficently torquey in the midrange and can be easily enjoyed even if you are not in the mood to go VTEC bananas.

NSX dashboard

The handling of the NSX is confident and predictable, a huge contrast to the smilarly mid-engined but extremely nervous Lotus Elise. While the NSX may not be as sharp and raw, it is equally engaging with good turn-in but without the constant fear of losing control. The rear of the NSX does step out fairly easily but comes round slowly with ample time for you to adjust and react. The car body feels very solid with little flex, but I do find it a tad heavier than expected.

Kaiser Silver Honda NSX Hong Kong

So everything sounds perfect so far, is this truly the mecca of Japanese Sports Car engineering? Unfortunately there are a few disappointments; the steering ratio is waaaaay too slow. On tighter corners, I found myself struggling to keep up as my arms went lock to lock on every turn. The steering weight stays the same at speed and can feel tiring if you are taking on the back-to-back tight corners of route twisk. Having said that, steering feel is not as great as many have commented. Perhaps a faster rack or smaller steering wheel would fix this little flaw but I really cannot imagine fighting with even heavier steering in the parking lot. Speaking of parking lots, the front skirt scrapes easily even at stock height. This is likely due to the longer overhangs of the front bumper but it is really quite annoying when you realize that you are likely to scrape in more than half the carparks in HK.

Kaiser Silver Honda NSX Hong Kong

So is this truly the first daily drivable supercar? The NSX is easy on gas, comfortable, and genuinely reliable (no faults in the year that I’ve owned it). The steering and height clearance issues can be bit of a pain, especially here in HK, but is not something that you absolutely cannot live with.

Honda NSX rear Hong Kong

Personally, I’d prefer driving something more normal on a daily basis. Top conditioned NSXes are rare and meant to be treasured and collected. You will find yourself taking it out for the occasional drive, and on that occasion, the NSX is indeed every man’s childhood dream fulfiled.

Let us know your thoughts on our review or tell us if you would like us to review a specific model by leaving a comment below!

Photos by: Marco Automotive Photography

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