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First Time Test Drive and Stuff

12 September 2019
Disclaimer - I am a die hard Audi R8 fan.

Last week I decided to go see a 2017 NSX at Crown Acura in Richmond, VA. I had see one previously at a Cars & Coffee and has spoken to the owner of one. The car looked pretty nice and he said he liked his. So, when one came up for sale, I scheduled a test-drive.

Before getting in the car I did a pretty thorough inspection of the car inside and out. Yeah, I like the external design. I also was pleasantly surprised my 6'4" frame fit inside and still had decent visbility. Most cars I can't really fit in and if I do my line of sight is at or above the upper edge of the forward windshield. So, right away, the NSX wins some major bonus points. I was disappointed the car lacked any kind of shelf space behind the seat. The R8 definitely wins here. The trunk is kind of small - the cubic feet is a little more than the R8 - but the NSX has some odd-ball hump which kind of defeats the space a bit. I had read the criticism about the interior design and use of "Honda" parts for things - really I am just fine with that. Granted it doesn't scream fancy like the R8 custom diamond stitch interior and lots of carbon - but it was just fine. What I really wanted to focus on was the view outside. The forward view was better than the R8. However, the side views were less. However, the really important view was from the rear-view mirrors which appeared to be a bit bigger and gave a slightly more generous view behind me. More bonus points to the NSX. Lets move on the the drive.

I had heard about the engine sound was lacking. Huh? Honestly, thought, depending on which mode the car was in, the car had plenty of throaty sound to satisfy all but the most deaf of drivers. Actually, I think what I liked was the car seemed a little less tense than my R8 when it came to the sound. This was really apparent when driving really slow and/or in the "quiet mode." I cycled through the various modes and was incrementally rewarded with more acceleration and what felt like a more tight and responsive car. So, definitely impressed. After being allowed to take the car out for about 30 minutes with my wife, I reluctantly parked the car and turned over the key fob. Yeah, pretty nice ride.

I guess what I didn't like was what I discovered after going back and looking a the numbers and then doing a lot more research on price, cost to own, depreciation, etc. Overall, based on my own research the car (less depreciation) appears to cost a little under 6K a year to own. I won't go into all the details since my costs and calculations may not be the same as your but, on the whole, my 2015 R8 runs about $300 less a year to own. I found this rather interesting. So, overall the annual costs were pretty similar. However, my 10-year average cost estimate was unable to include an extended warranty for the NSX. Maybe Crown Acura wasn't aware of it or maybe I failed to find one but basically the best I could come up with was an extension of the original 4-year factory warranty with a certified extension that would take the car out an additional 2 years. this would cost another $3800 if the car qualified. I contrast this with my 10-year extended warranty on the R8. So, not only was the R8 just slightly less expensive per year to own it possessed 4 more years of warranty. Another issue I took exception to was the sale price. I was quoted a price of $144K for a 200K MSRP build that was already 31 months into its original warranty. Sure, the car was loaded up with just about all the extras - but . . . after seeing the sorts of discounts, rebates, and anticipated depreciation for the NSX - I felt this price was kind of really far off the mark. In fact, the day after the test drive, I found virtually the same car available in Pennsylvania with less than 1000 miles that was selling for 128K. I felt like this price seemed a bit more on target for a 2017 model, given the current deals available for 2019 models.

Bottom line - the NSX was a nice ride but the prices for the various years really require due diligence and research to ensure the buyer doesn't get taken for a ride by the dealer.

I can't say I am really hot to change out my R8 for an NSX but I wouldn't dismiss one if the price were right and I didn't have my R8.