Honda's luxury Acura division is replacing a car that never lived up to its name with a new version that won't really have one.

The Vigor, a luxury sedan that fell midway between the low-end Acura Integra and the flagship Legend, had its most vigorous year in the United States in 1992 when 13,845 were sold.Rich Thomas, executive vice president of American Honda Motor Co.'s Acura division, said the company expects to sell 30,000 to 40,000 a year of the car that replaces it this April.

At a press preview of the Chicago Auto Show, Thomas also outlined a new program that eventually will replace the names of all Acura's models except the $75,000 NSX sports car. Acura will follow a formula that has worked for years for European luxury cars and others made by the Japanese - using so-called alphanumeric names.

The Vigor will be replaced by the 2.5 TL and the 3.5 TL. The numbers represent the engine displacement in liters, and TL stands for "touring luxury," Thomas said.

As new or replacement models are introduced for the Integra and the Legend, they will receive new alphanumeric names, as will a new luxury coupe the company will build in Ohio starting in 1996.

The 2.5 TL and 3.5 TL looks a lot like a Legend on a slightly smaller scale. Its prices will range from about $28,000 to $35,000, Thomas said.