November 21, 2007 > Auto
The TSX is the smallest of Acura's three, four-door sedans. It was designed and engineered for the younger, technically astute buyer that is looking for a more upscale brand. Another focus of the marketing effort is motorsports and the performance image that it promotes. Acura has been very successfully involved in US motorsports for years. Their small sedans have won many championships, and their TSX continued that tradition by winning the opening round of the 2007 Grand-Am series in Daytona in January.
The front wheel drive TSX uses its 2.4-liter, 4 cylinder motor to produce 205HP and 164 foot pounds of torque. The motor uses Acura's i-VTEC variable valve lift and timing technology to produce good "around town" drivability. Then at the 6000 rpm valve shift, it steps up to racecar-like performance. The i-VTEC system also increases fuel economy while it reduces emissions. Its EPA mileage estimates are 22 city and 31 highway. The car uses premium unleaded fuel.
Our test TSX had the 5-speed shiftable automatic transmission (not the 6-speed manual). One of my complaints was that the gears in the automatic were too widely spaced to use the 6000 to 7000 rpm power band efficiently.
Another thing I didn't like about the transmission was the direction that the lever moves to upshift. You move it forward to upshift. Many manufacturers use a backward motion to upshift which seems much more logical to me.
The TSX is a very responsive and well handling car. The suspension was designed so it could compete with the best small sedans that Europe has to offer. The 4-wheel ABS disk brakes do a great job of slowing down the 3,356 pound TSX. Acura has installed their 4 channel Vehicle Stability Assist in the TSXs to orchestrate the throttle and the brakes to assist the driver in dangerous situations. My only handling complaint was that some torque steer would rear its ugly head when the TSX was pushed hard on twisty undulating roads. But in 98 percent of daily driving, this was not an issue.
The interior is very nicely designed and equipped. It has a 360-watt premium sound system, power moon roof, very supportive seats, XM Radio, and a telescoping steering wheel. I had two, small "opposite end of the spectrum" complaints about the interior. The navigation screen would not dim during night time driving. I went through the manual, but it always seemed like it was a flashlight shining in my eyes at night in an otherwise dark cockpit. The various control switches were not well lit at night, and were very hard to use in the dark. The manual was no help with this issue either.
The only real factory installed option for a TSX is the Acura Navigation System that includes voice recognition. It is easy to use and helps you find your way in unfamiliar territory.
TSXs come with a 4-year, 50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty. The drive train warranty is 6-years or 70,000 miles. Acura also includes 24-hour roadside assistance.
With either transmission, the TSX lists for $28,090; the navigation system is an extra $2,000. The TSX is a great performance car and has been selling very well.
By Dick Ryan
Freelance Automotive Journalist
Member of the Western Automotive Journalists