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On another thread I talked about the AAA auto guide that gives ratings and 1-page write-ups of all the cars. (Well, almost all the cars. They don't do the S2000 or the NSX, although those cars get listed in the "Dream Cars" piece, together with 10 other cars like the Aston Martin and the Maybach.)
Anyway, it's great airplane reading, and pretty good stuff. The only thing missing is that they say basically nothing about reliability, which somewhat limits the ability of cars like Acura and Honda to strut their stuff.

One neat thing about this guide is how easy it is to compare ratings of different cars -- each page has an easy chart at the bottom, 10 categories with a 5-point scale on each, very eye-friendly. Besides which cars gets higher or lower scores than others, the charts also let you see HOW SIMILAR the cars are, because each car's series of scores gives sort of a profile. It's like sports statistics (or really any kind) -- let's take baseball. If you have one player who batted .300 with 40 home runs and 120 RBI's, and another player who did .295/37/112, totally aside from which player was better, you can see that they're extremely SIMILAR players. In this case it's also clear which one was better because all the differentials are in the same direction, but even so, you can still see clearly that they're extremely similar.

So I figured I'd see which cars are most similar to the TSX according to these AAA ratings. Remember, I'm not talking just about the total score for each car, but also the overall profile of the sub-scores.


According to these ratings, it looks like the two most similar cars to the TSX are the BMW 3-series and the new TL. They get slightly higher total scores than the TSX (36 total out of 50, TSX gets 34) but most of the sub-scores are identical and the overall profiles are extremely similar.

All the other cars that you might think of, like 9-3 and IS300, have total scores about the same as TSX but their profiles aren't as similar. BTW the Volvo S60 is in that same ballpark. (The S40 isn't included in the guide.)

Interestingly, one of the next-closest "comps" to the TSX according to these ratings is the Honda CR-V -- far closer than the Accord. I'd guess it must be mainly due to size. The Accord is a significantly bigger car than the TSX, while the CR-V's dimensions (except for height) are surprisingly similar to the TSX's. I've been saying that I think a car's size is the one factor that most determines its nature (assuming a certain basic quality of the car). This little factoid is in line with my view although obviously it doesn't prove anything.....

Among other reasons because ratings are probably always a little weird. For example, they don't say which 3-series car they're mostly talking about. But the main thing about these ratings that jumped out at me was this. Since it's a 5-point scale, "3" basically means average (although they say it means "good"). So, if a car gets "3" on everything, you'd think it would have to be a pretty ordinary car, like white-sliced-bread or something. Well, no car got 3 on everything. But one car came close -- it got 3 on everything except acceleration, where it got a 2. So, what was this white-sliced-bread car -- the most average, ordinary car you can buy?

The PT Cruiser.
 

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larchmont said:
If you have one player who batted .300 with 40 home runs and 120 RBI's, and another player who did .295/37/112, totally aside from which player was better, you can see that they're extremely SIMILAR players. In this case it's also clear which one was better because all the differentials are in the same direction, but even so, you can still see clearly that they're extremely similar.
Well, maybe not. I'll take On-Base % and Slugging % any day over average and RBI. RBI is largely a team stat, and average does not take into account plate discipline.

Oh -- we were talking about cars. Sorry. :D

Good points, larchie. I dont' think the TSX is miles away in terms of size when compared to the Accord. The dimensions on the TSX are sort of mid-way between the Accord and the 325.

Car...........Overall Length........Wheelbase.........Width........Weight
Accord........189.5.......................107.9................71.5..........3349
TSX............183.3........................105.1................69.4..........3329
325............176.0........................107.3................68.5..........3307

These #'s are off the KBB.com site, but are probably fair representations. I just don't feel like doing research from the respective mfg sites. Too darn lazy.

This sort of lends itself to something I've been thinking about....why not a 6 cly in the TSX? People have said it would make the car "unbalanced", but who knows? The TSX has a rather largish 4 cly, so a 6 wouldn't weigh all that much more. There are smaller cars with 6 cyls in them. The new VW R32 is a good example.

Imagine a TSX with a six (or maybe turbo-charged 4? maybe even an inline 5 cylinder?), maybe in the 2.8 to 3.0 L size. Not as big as the V6 in the TL or Accord. But get performance numbers up to around 230 bhp, 210 lb/ft torque...would make an impressive car very, very impressive.

Heck, if Acura was so inclined -- and I don't believe they are, unfortunately -- they could shift some weight to the back by making it RWD. Shave some time off 0-60 to get into the low 6's, and there's the BMW killer that the automotive press keeps looking for.

It could be done.
 

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Re: Re: AAA ratings: Which cars are most similar to the TSX?

Ferg said:
Well, maybe not. I'll take On-Base % and Slugging % any day over average and RBI. RBI is largely a team stat, and average does not take into account plate discipline.

Oh -- we were talking about cars. Sorry. :D....
Nope! Too late, Ferg! You started the digression, so I'm gonna take you up on it.
Well, actually I started it, but I'm counting on it that nobody will notice. :D

Good point -- you're totally right. And there's a lot more where that came from too.
I was almost going to start talking about these things in that first post, but I figured it was long enough as it was.
But yes, you're right. Just because players have similar stats, you can't assume they're similar players, and just because one player's stats are "better" than another's you can't tell for sure he was better. And I don't just mean that maybe the other guy was better on other things like on-base-average or fielding or whatever (which of course is also true), I mean that EVEN ON THOSE EXACT THINGS he wasn't necessarily better.

Besides considerations like RBI being largely a team stat -- about which you're completely right, and which a lot of people still don't get -- by far the main factor that screws up comparisons like this is the ballpark. This has become pretty well known in recent years, partly because of the lecturings of the "new analysts" ("sabermetricians"), but mainly because of Coors Field in Colorado, which threw the numbers off so much that people couldn't help noticing. Guys like Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla could hit .300/40/100 all they wanted but most people would still know they weren't great hitters.

But some did think they were great hitters. And when the subject wasn't Colorado, the persisting ignorance was astonishing. As a New Yorker, I can't stop being amazed at the apparent ignorance of the New York Met organization on this. If you take even the most casual open-minded look at "home" and "away" records of Met hitters and pitchers over the years, it becomes clear that Shea Stadium is very distinctly a pitchers' park. That's OK as long as you realize it and take it into account in the moves you make and how you evaluate your players. But it seems they never do. They constantly overrate their pitchers and underrate their hitters. And when they acquire some star player, they never seem to take this into account in their expectations. Take a hitter from Boston or Cleveland and put him in Shea Stadium, and his BA is going to drop maybe 20 to 40 points, and he's going to strike out a lot more, even if he's just as good as he ever was. That's just normal. Yet they always seem shocked when that happens. My favorite example was Juan Samuel. Robby Alomar was another example although other things were probably involved there. All of this is over and above the fact that the team has a way of signing guys who are old, fat, and/or coming off 3 years of disabling injuries.

Aren't you glad you asked?
(Oh, almost forgot, he didn't ask.) :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Re: Re: AAA ratings: Which cars are most similar to the TSX?

Ferg said:
.....I don't think the TSX is miles away in terms of size when compared to the Accord. The dimensions on the TSX are sort of mid-way between the Accord and the 325.

Car...........Overall Length........Wheelbase.........Width........Weight
Accord........189.5.......................107.9................71.5..........3349
TSX............183.3........................105.1................69.4..........3329
325............176.0........................107.3................68.5..........3307
Nice chart, Ferg. According to the arithmetic you're right.

But I think this goes beyond the pure numbers -- I think it's not a "continuum," where each additional inch or 1% (or whatever) would have an equal effect. This is very subjective, of course, and even if someone agrees with me on this, his view might differ on where the quantum breaks are. And in fact I think that even for a given person, it's not definable where the quantum breaks are, because it depends on a lot of things.

Anyway....what I want to say is that regardless of those numbers, the TSX feels much closer in size to the 3-series than to the Accord, and it seems much more similar in its nature to the 3-series than to the Accord. Somehow the extra size of the TSX over the BMW doesn't affect the car as greatly as does the Accord's extra size over the TSX. But I know others could disagree.

However, I think I can say this: A lot of people don't even realize that the TSX is bigger than the 3-series or at least they don't realize how much bigger it is, while I don't recall anybody failing to appreciate that the Accord is bigger than the TSX.
.....why not a 6 cly in the TSX? People have said it would make the car "unbalanced", but who knows? The TSX has a rather largish 4 cly, so a 6 wouldn't weigh all that much more.
That's right, we don't know that it would throw off the balance.
But, a couple of things:
(1) I sort of assume it would, because Honda/Accord really seemed to know what they were doing with this car, and I figure that if it wouldn't have thrown off the balance in some way, they would have made it 6-cyl. I know there are all kinds of other rationales for why they didn't, like that the Euro Accord has 4-cyl and it was easiest to just keep the TSX that way, and that if they made it 6-cyl that might have blurred the distinction between the TSX and the new TL. But still.
(2) When we (or at least I) talk about 6-cyl maybe throwing off the balance, we're talking about more than just weight. I'm talking about the balance of the car's characteristics too -- for example, the balance among power and handling and comfort.
An example IMO is the Infiniti G35, which I recently drove for a few days. It has more power than the TSX but the power (IMO) isn't as well integrated into the overall car -- the power is too great for the rest of the car -- with the result that the car just doesn't feel refined or graceful. I know that many others would disagree. But that's my take. The TSX doesn't seem to have any such "imbalances."
.....Heck, if Acura was so inclined -- and I don't believe they are, unfortunately -- they could shift some weight to the back by making it RWD....
It could be done.
Sure it could, and a lot of people would love to see it. I mean A LOT.
But IMO the Acura market is largely a FWD market, or at least non-RWD. I, for one, wouldn't even have been looking at Acuras during these 16 years that I've been owning them if the cars were RWD.
 

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Re: Re: Re: AAA ratings: Which cars are most similar to the TSX?

larchmont said:

Anyway....what I want to say is that regardless of those numbers, the TSX feels much closer in size to the 3-series than to the Accord, and it seems much more similar in its nature to the 3-series than to the Accord.
I absolutely agree 100%.

But I'm not sure as to why. The Accord is certainly a more spirited handler than it's main rival, the Camry, but is by no means a car with fantastic handling characteristics. I wonder if a better-tuned Accord wouldn't approach the feel of the TSX and 3 series? Seems like the standard Accord's tuning is biased a little more towards the soccer mom.

You know what? If the Accord had a sport tuning option that got it into TSX handling territory, I may be driving one of those right now instead of the 325i, even though I'm not thrilled with the exterior styling of the current Accord.




larchmont said:
However, I think I can say this: A lot of people don't even realize that the TSX is bigger than the 3-series or at least they don't realize how much bigger it is, while I don't recall anybody failing to appreciate that the Accord is bigger than the TSX.
An excellent point!

I wonder if that's due to the frumpy look of the Accord compared to the sleeker designs of the TSX and 3 series? For instance, the wheelbase measurements of the Accord and 325i are almost identical, but the Accord is over a foot longer than the 3 series! I think that comes down to exterior styling more than the base platform.


larchmont said:
.... I know there are all kinds of other rationales for why they didn't, like that the Euro Accord has 4-cyl and it was easiest to just keep the TSX that way, and that if they made it 6-cyl that might have blurred the distinction between the TSX and the new TL.
This brings me to something I've been thinking about regarding the TSX. Is the fact that it's essentially a Euro Accord a good thing, or bad thing?

Think about it: if not for the Euro Accord, we wouldn't even be talking about this great car known as the TSX. But since it's based off of a car that far outsells it, and is therefore more important to the economic viability of Honda/Accord, will they ever really see a need to change the TSX too radically from the Euro Accord version? This may impede it's future potential as a BMW killer. For example, this means they may not be willing to redesign and retool to make the car RWD just to sell 20,000 of them over here.

I think Honda/Acura has a tough decision regarding where to take this car in the future.
 

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Re: Re: Re: Re: AAA ratings: Which cars are most similar to the TSX?

Ferg said:
....But I'm not sure as to why.....
I think it's because differences in size are a "threshold" thing -- i.e. certain incremental changes in size might not affect the essential nature of the car but there are "plateaus" where the nature changes significantly. That's what I meant by the phrase "quantum breaks," which admittedly wasn't a good phrase.

This is highly subjective, and it depends on things besides sheer dimensions. But to me, for whatever reason, the cars of the TSX's size -- which include the A4 and very few others -- are basically like the cars that are a few inches smaller, like the 3-series. In other words, the size increase doesn't change the basic nature of the car. But, if you make the car just that much bigger again, the cars become fundamentally different. They're not necessarily all similar to one another -- for example, that next size class includles not only cars like the Accord and Camry but also the 5-series -- but they're significantly different from those smaller cars.

And -- (digression coming) -- this, I think, is one of the problems for the new TL, and one of the reasons I continue to believe it was a mistake for them to keep the TL name. The changed size IMO makes it a fundamentally different car. The size isn't clearly in one category or another, but to my taste, it's more in the TSX/A4 category than in the 5-series/ES330/A6 category. I'm not talking about performance, where it's clearly in the "higher" category, but about the basic nature and feel of the car.
....I wonder if that's due to the frumpy look of the Accord compared to the sleeker designs of the TSX and 3 series?
I'm sure that's not it, or at least not the whole thing.
I gave the Accord very close consideration before getting the TSX and wasn't much affected by the look (which was fine to me), yet I still found it notably lacking compared to the TL-S (which was my current car) and (eventually) to the TSX. Indeed its handling was impressive, but not in a league with those other cars.
......something I've been thinking about regarding the TSX. Is the fact that it's essentially a Euro Accord a good thing, or bad thing?
I think the only bad thing is that it gives some people a reason to start arguments that the TSX is "only an Accord." I've had my fill of those debates, and I think I've won them :D but it doesn't bother me that the car is heavily based on the Euro Accord.

I think I'd love the Euro Accord if I had a chance to try one.
 

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Did you know that the 04 TL is actually 3.6 inches Shorter in length than the 03 TL? It seems like Acura is aware of your QUANTUM BREAK theory.

Did you know the Accord EX-L V6 is the same price as the TSX?
26,500
28,500 with NAV
yet many people always mention how the Accord can be had for thousands less. Doesn't make sense to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
pocketkiller said:
Did you know that the 04 TL is actually 3.6 inches Shorter in length than the 03 TL?.....
Thanks for resurrecting this old thread, PK. It was one of my favorites -- I think it's some of the most interesting stuff.

Actually the size difference between the "old" and "new" TL is more than that -- it's about 6". And what's even odder is that even though the new one is so much shorter in length, its WIDTH is greater.
So, they made the car significantly shorter, and they drastically changed its proportions.

Don't get me wrong -- it's a much improved car. But I just can't get into those proportions. Or that width.
 

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I was reading through the old threads and found this interesting. Good stuff. You're right, the proportions are quite different, but I think it looks great from the exterior. The interior adds some elbow room, although I sat in the back and my head was hitting the roof. Is it me or is the rear headroom really lacking...and I'm not even tall @ 5"11
 

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Acura TSX doesn't land squarely into one class of luxury sedan, we think that's part of its charm.

Other alternatives include the Acura ILX, which is the brand's smallest car. It lacks the TSX's fun-to-drive personality, but offers a considerably more efficient hybrid model. On the other hand, there's the Subaru Legacy and Buick Regal. The Legacy is a better all-weather car with its standard all-wheel-drive, but its interior doesn't quite land in the luxury category. The Regal drives more like a German car, but it's similar in size and packaging to the TSX.
 
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