Back in the 90s, Acura was one of the best brands in the market. It saw early success from the NSX supercar, the Integra was bringing in most of the sales, and the Legend was, well, legendary, even back then. But one Acura model that was unveiled during the early 90s was unlike all the rest. In some ways, it was the “black sheep” of the family in that it was different than the others in the lineup, but it was an Acura all the same. That model was the Acura Vigor.
It slotted right in
The Acura Vigor had a short production cycle in North America from 1992 to 1994. It was based on the third-generation Integra platform at the time and looked a lot like its Legend older brother, but with smaller and sleeker proportions.
But it was a family sedan nonetheless, and under the hood was a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that was not only unique for its time, but it’s even an oddity now. We’d like to think that the unique number of cylinders was done on purpose as the Acura model lineup at the time consisted of the Integra, the Vigor, and the Legend.
Following the order of the body style sizes, the car’s respective engine sizes followed suit. The Integra was fitted with a four-cylinder engine, the Vigor with a five, and the Legend with a six. Interesting, right? Either way, it’s safe to say that the Vigor slotted right in with its stablemates.
A unique engine setup
Speaking of the engine, the 2.5-liter had a single-overhead-cam cylinder head with four valves per cylinder and it produced 176 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque. The oddity that it was didn’t only stem from the odd number of cylinders it contained, but also in the way that the engine was mounted.
Unlike the four-cylinder engines found in most cars, which are mounted transversely, the Vigor’s G25A1 engine was mounted longitudinally and at a 35-degree slant in order to get the extra cylinder to fit. As weird as that was, what made it a near engineering marvel was that Acura wanted the car to be front-wheel drive, which meant that mounting the transmission was tricky.
We’ll spare you some of the technical details, but the engineers devised a design that involved the use of a longitudinal shaft that sent power to the differential and sat underneath the middle of the engine while an intermediate shaft, which sent power to the right drive wheel, went through the crankcase. All of this drivetrain trickery resulted in a 60/40 overall weight distribution as the engine assembly was able to sit more toward the rear of the car.
And in case you might be wondering, the Acura Vigor could be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic and was able to get to 60 mph in around eight seconds.
Gone and almost forgotten
The Acura Vigor had a very short run during the time that it was in production and it was inevitably canceled due to declining sales. At the time, it carried a sticker price of $23,000 to $26,000 depending which trim level you chose, but it was only around $4,000 cheaper than it’s Legend bigger brother, which probably didn’t help sales very much.
If you’re looking to own an odd piece Acura history, you can find a Vigor for a couple of thousand dollars in most places, however, don’t be surprised if your local auto repair tech gives you a weird look when it’s time to do transmission work.