The Acura Vigor is certainly a vehicle striven to change that perception, combining many of the best elements of a sports coupe and a touring sedan.
A 1994 Acura Vigor GS four-door sedan, is an ambitious and innovative attempt to improve the import sedan in terms of ride, elegance and Performance. For an MSRP of $28,827, our Vigor GS delivered all the power assists, conveniences and safety measures we've come to expect in a luxury midsize sedan, including an AM/FM stereo with cassette and CD players, air conditioning, a lush leather interior and dual air bags-all standard.
It also boasted a number of technical marvels, most notably a five-cylinder, 2.5-liter, 20-valve power plant delivering a level of performance that competing four-cylinder import sedans would be hard-pressed to match.
The Vigor GS doesn't reach the upper echelon of luxury sedans because its interior is too small, inches short of what its prime competitors are offering.
Finished in a deep Sherwood Green Pearl with a nicely contrasting tan interior, this vehicle was devoid of any inconsistencies in paint quality or deviations in seam width or color match between the metal and vinyl components. Dramatically flared front and rear fenders, a slinky aerodynamic profile and slightly upswept rear fenders put the Vigor GS at the head of the class in the sports sedan school of styling.
In front, a rather diminutive black grille showcased the Acura logo and was framed by a thin ribbon of chrome. Broad, four-section headlight assemblies covered in clear, impact resistant plastic occupied more than 60 percent of the front end. Above, there was a sloping, sculpted hood that, taken together with the grille shape, reminded us of a Mercedes-Benz treatment.
In profile, a black vinyl splash guard/rocker panel molding added to this vehicle's sport sedan image. All these styling touches set the Vigor GS apart from its competitors, such as the slab-sided European offerings and the rounded, cookie-cutter domestic sedans.
A wide, protective side molding traveled from the front fender well to the rear well and matched the car's body color perfectly. Oversized side-view mirrors and recessed door handles also matched the body color.
The rear fenders and upswept trunk lid highlighted the rear styling treatment. Oversized red and white tail-lamp assemblies wrapped around the rear fenders. Molding identical to that on the side of the car protected the body-colored vinyl bumper; this molding encased the bumper and extended to the back of the rear wheel wells, giving the trim a uniform look.
Acura seems to be proud of its identity-as well as the Vigor nameplate-and hopes its owners will share that pride. A large Acura "A" appears on the middle of the trunk lid with the corporate name to the left and "Vigor" spelled out in prominent chrome below that. Even the distinctively spoked alloy wheels bear the Acura logo. Viewed from any angle, there's no mistaking who makes this seda.
Well-organized and elegant are terms that come to mind when describing the interior of this fully equipped sedan. Visible through the thickly padded steering wheel was a nicely arranged instrument panel containing the speedometer, tachometer, fuel and temperature gauges-all with white needles and graphics against a black back round for maximum legibility. These readouts were accompanied by a host of warning lights.
The positioning of other controls and features revealed Acura's quest for easy access and superb ornization. Large power window and door lock buttons were situated on a near vertical portion of the driver's armrest. The center panel housing the eight-speaker stereo system and the air-conditioning controls was slightly angled away from the driver for better legibility and easier access.
We were pleased to discover a thick rubber seal between our car's roof and its doors-just one of the many painstaking measures Acura stylists have taken with the Vigor GS to isolate its occupants from outside elements and road noise.
Elegant and comfortable but far too snug was our overall impression of the interior scheme. Wood grain accents and luxurious leather seats made this an eye-pleasing car. The four-way power driver's bucket seat featured adjustable lumbar support for maximum comfort.
Our big complaint was that all these creature comforts were crowded into an interior that lacked a few inches here and there. This was particularly true for rear seat passengers, whose legroom was definitely restricted by the front seatbacks. We think the reason for the cramped interior lies in the positioning of the Vigor GS's rear wheels. Unlike Chrysler's LH sedans, the GS's wheels are positioned well forward; although this gives the car an unusually large trunk, it noticeably reduces interior space.