Acura Wiki
Acura CL
2nd-gen Acura CL
Manufacturer Acura
Production 1997–1999 and 2001–2003
Assembly Marysville, Ohio, United States
Class Mid-size entry-level luxury car
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout FF layout

The Acura CL is a model of automobile manufactured by Honda's Acura brand from 1997–1999, and from 2001–2003. The CL is often thought to have been a replacement for the Acura Legend coupe. All Acura CLs were built at Honda's plant in Marysville, Ohio alongside the TL and the Honda Accord upon which the Acura CLs were based. The CL was the first Acura to be built in the United States.

Following the end of the 1995 model year, the Acura Legend coupe disappeared from Acura's lineup when the sedan version was renamed the Acura RL. The coupe was replaced by the Acura CL for the 1997 model year, following Acura's transition to alphanumeric naming of all of its vehicles (with the exception of the Integra, which was kept in production until the 2001 model year).

First generation (1997–1999)[]

First generation (YA1)
1997 Acura CL
Production 1997–1999
Engine 2.2 L F22B1 I4
2.3 L F23A1 I4
3.0 L J30A1 V6
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 106.9 in (2,715 mm)
Length 190.0 in (4,826 mm)
Width 70.1 in (1,781 mm)
Height 54.7 in (1,389 mm)
Related Acura TL
Honda Accord
Honda Odyssey
Isuzu Aska
Isuzu Oasis

1998-1999 Acura CL

For the 1997 model year, the CL was offered with either a 3.0 L J30 V6 producing 200 hp (150 kW), or a 145 hp (108 kW) 2.2 L (F22B1) I4 engine. The 1998 and 1999 models featured a 2.3 L (F23A1) with 150 hp (112 kW) Both the 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder CL offered a "Premium" trim level which offered leather upholstery (with heated front seats in the 3.0), and in the 3.0, an Acura/Bose stereo. For the 1999 model year, the "Premium" trim level was eliminated, and leather upholstery became standard on all models, as was a trunk cargo net. The alloy wheel design was different on the 3.0 for each year, moving from a five-spoke design (1997) to a seven-spoke design (1998), to a different multi-spoke alloy design for the 1999 model year. The 2.2/2.3 CL used a six-spoke design for 1997, then moved to a 5-spoke double-prong design for 1998 and 1999. Only the 4-cylinder model had an option for a manual transmission.

  • 1997 Acura CL 3.0 L V6 - 200 hp (150 kW)
  • 1997 Acura CL 2.2 L I4 - 145 hp (108 kW)
  • 1998–1999 Acura CL 2.3 L I4 - 150 hp (112 kW).

Driver side window concerns[]

The 1997 CL suffered from repeated failures of the driver side window mechanism. The manufacturer replaced the motor both under warranty and after warranty expirations, however no mass recall was ever issued.[1]

Second generation (2001-2003)[]

Second generation (YA4)
Acura CL
Production 2001–2003
Engine 3.2 L SOHC VTEC J-series V6
Transmission 5-speed automatic
6-speed manual (2003 only)
Wheelbase 106.9 in (2,715 mm)
Length 192.0 in (4,877 mm)
Width 70.6 in (1,793 mm)
Height 55.5 in (1,410 mm)
Related Acura TL
Honda Accord
Honda Pilot
Honda Odyssey

For the 2000 model year, the Acura CL's sibling, the TL, was redesigned. The CL, however, was never produced as a 2000 model and instead in March 2000 the completely redesigned Acura CL was released as a 2001 model featuring a 3.2 L SOHC VTEC J-series V6. A navigation system was also available along with the Type-S model, denoting Acura's 'Sport' edition. While the regular CL featured a 225 hp (168 kW) V6, the Type-S boasted a 260 hp (194 kW) V6 with 17" wheels, a firmer suspension, slightly larger brakes, and firmer seats.

In 2002, the CL Type-S was offered, as a 2003 model, with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with a helical limited-slip differential. The 6-speed CL deleted some minor interior features from the automatic, such as a center console light. Also, the heated seats only featured one heat setting (vs. high and low in the auto). VSA and TCS were also not found on the 6-speed car, and as such, a 3-channel ABS unit was used. One of the main criticisms of the CL was that a manual transmission had been dropped when the car was redesigned for the 2001 model year. Very few manual transmission models were built; there were 2,691 without navigation and 820 with navigation, for a total of 3,511. Despite such small numbers of manual transmissions, there was still a greater demand than Acura had expected. However, with the CL's sister car, the TL, coming up on a redesign for the 2004 model year, the CL was dropped from Acura's lineup due to declining sales, and to this day Acura has no mid-size luxury coupe replacement. Total Acura CL sales from 2000 until 2003, when the last new model was sold, was less than 31,000 units. The CL's manual transmission survives in the 3rd generation TL and 7th generation Honda Accord.

2003 also saw cosmetic changes to the CL. The 55w road/fog lamps found on the 01-02 models were deleted, and non-functional air vents were installed in their place. The grille surround and door handles were now body color, as opposed to being chrome on the 01-02. The side mirrors were also redesigned (for both the 2002 and 2003 models) by having a more square shape, full body matched paint, and tinted glass since customers had complained about excessive wind noise coming from the mirror seam. The 2003 models also saw new headlights which now featured a blacked-out interior, and the taillight lenses had a cleared turn signal and reverse light. Type-S's now included updated 17x7" 12-spoke wheels. Revised thicker exhaust tips were also a new addition. Canadian CLs offer daytime running lights and a windshield washer fluid level sensor as standard equipment (USDM CL's do not have these as an option).

  • 2001–2003 Acura 3.2 CL - 225 hp (168 kW), 217 lb·ft (294 N·m)
  • 2001–2003 Acura 3.2 CL Type S - 260 hp (194 kW) @ 6900 rpm, 232 lb·ft (315 N·m) @ 3500-5500 rpm

Transmission concerns[]

The 2nd Generation Acura CL models include a 3.2L 5-speed Automatic, a 3.2L-Type S model 5-speed Automatic +40 hp, and a 3.2L-Type S 6-speed Manual transmission. The TL only includes the Automatic transmissions with tip tronic shifting. The problem which is most seen with owners is with the Automatic transmission. Reports say that after an average of around 40,000 miles, the transmission experiences gear failures, such as downshifts, slipping, flaring and not shifting, and leaking.

One main cause is excessive wear of the 3rd gear clutch pack, resulting in large amounts of debris blocking the flow of transmission fluid. Many owners reported problems with the replacement transmissions as well. Similar transmission-related issues exist in the Honda Accord, Acura MDX as well as the Honda Odyssey.[2]

Due to many failures, the manufacturer extended the warranty on the automatic transmission on some CLs and TLs for 7 years, 100,000 miles (160,000 km). Many replacement rebuilt units had problems. A class action lawsuit later extended the warranty to 93 months or 109,000 miles (180,000 km). Despite the conversion to kilometers, the class action settlement applies only for persons and entities residing in the United States.[3]

In addition, there was an unrelated transmission recall for safety reasons. One gear tended to overheat, break and cause the transmission to lock up. Since this failure would cause the car to come to a sudden stop, this might cause accidents. Further information on the transmission issue is available here and at the official Acura Service Bulletin:

See Also[]

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