As hard as it is to believe, some Honda product planners back in the mid-'80s just weren't sure the public would accept a new line of more expensive luxury automobiles wearing the Honda emblem. The line of reasoning ran thus: Buyers expect small size, high quality and a low price from Honda, so a larger, higher-quality, high-priced car simply wouldn't fit the image. Right or wrong, Honda chose to market its first upscale offerings through a new channel, called Acura, beginning in the 1987 model year. Although this created the challenge of establishing an identity for an all-new brand, it also gave Honda The opportunity to handpick the Acura dealer body, which has resulted in exceptional dealer service. Whether because of or in spite of its Honda heritage, the Acura division was a rousing success from the start, and remains so to this day even though it has been slightly upstaged by the Toyota Lexus and Nissan INFINITI divisions. Initially, two Acura models were offered: the compact Integra and the large Legend. Two more lines, the slow-selling Vigor (now dropped) and the sensational NSX sports car, were added later. Yet another model is to be launched midway through the 1995 model year, replacing the Vigor. The current Legend is a second-generation design that shares little but its name with the original. Though comprehensively improved, the 1995 Legend retains all the features that a member of the Acura family is expected to carry. It's exquisitely engineered, beautifully crafted, refined and reliable. Even the substantial price increases that have plagued all Japanese cars during the past few years have done little to dampen the Legend's appeal.