Acura TSX Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
, Administrator Emeritus
Joined
·
2,496 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
By DAN NEIL
RALEIGH, N.C -- The Acura TSX is the Stepford wife of sport sedans. Like one of the complaisant clones in Ira Levin's sci-fi feminist novel (and the deliciously dated movie of 1975), the new TSX does everything one could ask of it and offers still more.

Agile and athletic, fuel-efficient, luxuriously refined and loaded with standard features like a 360-watt sound system, leather upholstery, power moonroof and a stability-control system, the TSX undercuts a similarly equipped BMW 325i — a main rival for your affections — by $6,000.

My test car, with a six-speed manual transmission and a navigation system with voice recognition, had a list price of $28,990, including a $500 delivery charge. The well-equipped base model is $26,990. Anyway you slice it, that's a lot of clone for the money.

If the 2004 TSX has a weakness, it is the same as Stepford's selfless automatons: an appliance-like vapidity, a soullessness, a gravity for which there is no center.

Not long ago, the TSX's mechanical perfection was too much to hope for; these days, consumers can choose among accomplished machines that are also fun, irreverent and witty. I am thinking of BMW's saucy Mini Cooper, the Chevy SSR retro truck, the Honda Element box car, the Infiniti FX45 speedwagon — cars that make the TSX seem dull and programmatic.

The TSX was born of corporate expediency. It started life as the Honda Accord that is sold in Europe and Japan, a smaller and quicker version of the Accord that is so popular in North America.

Pressed into service to battle midsize sport sedans, this junior Accord is loaded to the scuppers with high-end features: dual-zone climate control, driver's eight-way power seat, seat heaters, ambient L.E.D. interior lighting, xenon headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and turn indicators on the outside mirrors, to name a few more. The car also receives significant upgrades in the performance department.

The TSX borrows its 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine from the Accord, but Acura turned up the wick, increasing the compression ratio, dilating the intake and exhaust plumbing and reprogramming the variable valve timing and lift controls. The engine now produces an even 200 horsepower (40 more than the Accord) and 166 pounds-feet of torque. (The same engine, with essentially the same tuning, powers the hot Acura RSX Type-S hatchback).

This power plant is a screamer, with peak torque at 4,500 r.p.m. and peak horsepower at 6.800 r.p.m. Yet at less than 3,500 r.p.m., where a lot of day-to-day driving takes place, it feels a bit lazy. It behooves buyers to forgo the five-speed automatic transmission and opt for the six-speed manual, the better to keep the revs high around town.

But when it comes to full-on acceleration, the 3,200-pound TSX is admirably quick — it goes from a stop to 60 miles an hour in well under 7 seconds — with each gear yanking the car faster with rubber-band-style surges. At highway speed, slotted into the overdrive sixth gear, the TSX hums along with an electric smoothness, returning impressive highway mileage of 29 m.p.g. or so. Indeed, with its engine noise and vibrations meticulously dampened, the motor sounds like nothing so much as a whirring Braun coffee grinder smothered with oven mitts.

The TSX covets the ground held by sport sedans like the 325i, the Audi A4, the Saab 9-3 and the Lexus IS 300. Honda engineers stiffened the Euro Accord's suspension and added a larger rear antiroll bar. Riding on 17-inch Michelin tires, the front-drive TSX has excellent grip in the corners with only modest "body roll."

The steering is taut and linear and the brakes are strong and progressive. Considering the car's weight balance of 60 percent in front, 40 at the rear — compared with 50-50 for the 325i — the TSX handles well indeed, with sharp reflexes and good balance. It feels settled and composed when driven briskly, resisting the understeer — a tendency to plow ahead on turns — that is common among front-drive family sedans.

It resists up to a point, that is. Pushed hard, on roads that a rear-drive BMW or all-wheel-drive Audi would eat up, the TSX starts to flounder, its stability-assist system blinking fitfully as it tries to null out the nose-heavy understeer that suddenly becomes all too apparent. Of the current crop of high-end front-drive cars, I think the new Saab 9-3 is the benchmark for handling.

All that said, the TSX is certainly in the ballpark of the other cars. And when it comes to interior refinement and luxury it seems to be in a different league. The interior of the test car — draped in parchment skins, accessorized with titanium-look trim and a band of convincing simulated wood — looked like a very good European sedan. And, come to think of it, it is a very good European sedan.

The exterior styling, on the other hand, is a snore. While the shape is extremely aerodynamic — with a drag coefficient of just 0.27, lower than a Nissan 350Z sports car — it is the sort of nondescript design that seems to disappear in transit somewhere between the retina and the visual cortex.

Forgettable? It's hard to forget something that you never quite saw in the first place.

Perhaps it's the TSX's design — lovely without being attractive — that reminds me of the Stepford wives. Maybe it's the uncomprehending voice-recognition system built into the navigation system. When asked to plot a route to the nearest hospital, the robotic feminine voice directed me to the North Carolina Central Prison; when I ordered the temperature down on the climate control, it tuned the radio instead.

In any event, it is worth remembering the movie's ending. The Stepford husbands were quite content with their soulless and servile surrogates. If the TSX proves anything, it's that personality isn't everything.
 

·
, Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
454 Posts
wow such a damn well written article.. makes me wanna go hop into my tsx and drive it for a while....

i mean.. wait.. i dont have mine yet :( :(
hehe by the way do you have the link to it?
I need to share it with a friend who is loooking into the tsx and i think it might convince her to go test drive it :D
(i should make commisions on how many people i get to love this car)
 

·
San Ramon TSX
Joined
·
27 Posts
best article on TSX I've seen

I've had my TSX for about three weeks now and the gist of this article is right on. To me, the only weakness of the TSX is its bland exterior styling -- it lacks personality/character to help it stand out. That being said, it is still a sharp-looking car and I've received a few compliments on it here and there.

The navigation/voice recognition system also needs some work. I decided not to get it not only because it messes up the console layout, makes it harder to adjust radio/climate settings but it is not worth $2,000!
 

·
, Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
7,952 Posts
I remember this article, came out about a week after I got mine
 

·
Bethlehem, PA
Joined
·
89 Posts
Great article, very well written.

I have to say, out of all the cars I have ever owned, I have never come across such a consistent winner (when it comes to reviews) as the TSX appears to be.

Ususally there is one or two people that will trash a car due to their personal bad experience. I had a WRX and there was of course the one guy on epinions that got a lemon and dragged the car through the mud. But I have been reading articles on the TSX for years (and even moreso now that I actually own one), and I have yet to come across a totally negative view on this car.

Sure there are things here and there people are not too fond of (the styling...which I happen to love, the navigation capabilities, a few problems here and there) but the good shines through the bad and never seems to tarnish the general concensus on this car... which is: it is a great car!
 

·
, Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
elgage said:
The navigation/voice recognition system also needs some work. I decided not to get it not only because it messes up the console layout, makes it harder to adjust radio/climate settings but it is not worth $2,000!
This is a great article. Very well written. Can't wait to see the 06 reviews.

Having never seen or used the Acura NAVI before I bought it, I must say NAVI makes the TSX a different car to drive. I've now driven both NAVI and Non_NAVI and I must say, the non NAVI is boring to me. It also makes my TSX more unique.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
But when it comes to full-on acceleration, the 3,200-pound TSX is admirably quick — it goes from a stop to 60 miles an hour in well under 7 seconds — with each gear yanking the car faster with rubber-band-style surges.
Where do I buy this version of the TSX? :)

narci said:
Having never seen or used the Acura NAVI before I bought it, I must say NAVI makes the TSX a different car to drive. I've now driven both NAVI and Non_NAVI and I must say, the non NAVI is boring to me. It also makes my TSX more unique.
I pretty much agree. There are a lot of small, sporty cars out there that compete with the non-Nav TSX. The incredible Nav/electronics package is a big part of what makes the TSX unique in its market segment IMO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
I've never heard anything but good about the TSX looks. In fact, people usually come up to me to ask me about it. Some guy at a gas station asked if he could just sit in it. I let him ;). And if the author thinks that the Chevy SSR, Honda Element, Mini Cooper, and Infiniti FX45 are good-looking, then I feel better about him not liking the TSX. Those cars range from downright ugly, to polarizing, to cutesy, to I don't know what.
 

·
What to put here...
Joined
·
1,050 Posts
IMO, he didn't see the TSX w/ the OEM kit. :drool:

I get compliments EVERYWHERE, and always because of the kit making the car really stand out as compared to the regular Accord-looking TSX.
 

·
, Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
10,086 Posts
futuremugenR said:
where was this article taken from? very well written
Good question. You got me curious.

I did a little googling, and I think the writer now works for the L.A. Times.
He used to write for the Raleigh News & Observer. Since the article is indicated as coming from Raleigh, I'd guess he was writing for that paper at the time.
 

·
, Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
10,086 Posts
The Sporty Xtra said:
...."But when it comes to full-on acceleration, the 3,200-pound TSX is admirably quick — it goes from a stop to 60 miles an hour in well under 7 seconds......"

Where do I buy this version of the TSX? :)
Good one!!!

Yeah, we gotta wonder where he got that from.
I'd guess he just spoke with some Honda/Acura PR-meister who was talking a good game, and the writer took it at face value.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
353 Posts
I agree, the kit helps make it a bit more sporty-looking. It is still subtle, understated, though.

What do you want though? If you want a boy-racer car, get a Celica. Someone mentioned the Subaru WRX and/or STI -- these look like upgraded econoboxes! Ok, it's not completely ugly, but it's too boxy with oddly shaped scoops & wings and things. I dunno. And those other cars that were mentioned.. Honda Element? An interesting concept, and I kind of like the look, but it's not "sporty" and some people really think it's ugly. I think the SSR looks neat, but that new thing, I just don't know what to say. And the charger? I don't get that either.

So, I think we can all make our own personal lists of car styling that we like or don't like. And the more odd or risky the styling, the more polarized people are going to be. Some will love it, some will hate it, etc. Honda/Acura tends to be more conservative; fewer people are going to just drool over the cars, but yet the styling will still look good years later. I still like the look of old Integras, Legends, etc. Some cars from other companies from the same time period just look dated.

(Although I did see a Pontiac Solstice today, and that is something to see...)

Where do I buy this version of the TSX?
I want this one that does 0 to 60 in 6.6 sec.!

http://www.forbes.com/2003/05/05/cx_mf_0505test_print.html

More typically, I see 7.2, like in this one:
http://www.caranddriver.com/default...ash=1321&agMake=ACURA&agModel=TSX&agYear=2004

I checked motortrend.com and autoweek.com, but all I could find were "estimated" numbers (7.5 and 7.0 respectively).

I dunno, I could live with 7.2. :)
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top