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1st Drive: 2010 Acura TSX v6
More power is always better, and the TSX V6 brings plenty to the table.

By James Tate of MSN Autos​
Acura has varied the nose of the 2010 TSX V6 just slightly to improve aerodynamics and cooling, but the familial shield is still hanging around.
Related Links

* Research TSX Crash Tests
* Bing: Read Acura TSX V6 Reviews

Not even its most ardent fans would say the stock Acura TSX is what you'd call muscular. Sure, its longstanding 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine develops a respectable 201 horsepower, but its rather anemic 170 lb-ft of torque won't exactly burn up the asphalt off the line. Acura agrees with this assessment, which is why the automaker is now offering the 2010 TSX with a decidedly gruntier, 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, borrowed from the larger TL sedan. The added power cuts the car's zero-to-60-mph time down to a hair under seven seconds, and the TSX faithful will be happy to hear that all of the tech goodies — like infinitely adjustable front seats, a beautiful ELS sound system and GPS navigation — are still on hand.

Model Lineup

The TSX is still available in base trim, complete with 5-speed automatic and 6-speed manual transmission variants. Whether you opt for the 4-cylinder or the V6, you can have your baby Acura with a technology package that includes all the fun gadgets and gizmos we've come to expect from Honda's luxury line. The TSX V6 is available only with a 5-speed automatic gearbox, although buyers opting for the bigger engine will benefit from new 18-inch wheels (up from 17-inch).

Watch Video: 2010 Acrua TSX

Though the tech package includes features such as a 10-speaker ELS sound system, navigation, backup camera and real-time traffic and weather, the base TSX isn't bereft of electronic goodies. You still get a laundry list of convenience-oriented tech, including dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth hands-free calling, XM Satellite Radio and a premium 7-speaker sound system as standard equipment. You can't fault Acura for standard-equipment coddling.

Acura touts the TSX V6 as the sportier alternative to the 4-cylinder-powered car, and the company says a host of mechanical changes are aboard to back up that assertion. New spring rates and revised dampers are designed to ensure a firmer, more planted ride compared with the lower-rung TSX, and the electronic power steering benefits from new programming that makes the sedan react more quickly to driver inputs.

Compare: 2010 Acura TSX V6 vs. Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs. Cadillac CTS

Under the Hood
Fans of the efficient 2.4-liter 4-cylinder in the base TSX need not worry — that engine isn't going anywhere for 2010. Instead, the more muscular 3.5-liter V6 engine joins the TSX lineup, with 280 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 254 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm. Compare those figures to the 201-horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque available from the 4-cylinder variant and you can see why Acura calls the TSX V6 the sportier of the two. Buyers looking for a genuine sport sedan may be disappointed to hear the TSX V6 is available only with a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Discuss: Does more power make the TSX more attractive?

Inner Space
Acura offers a variety of interior color choices, so there's no fretting about getting stuck in a black and gray nightmare. Seats are comfy and supportive up front, and while the TSX V6 can technically seat five people, we wouldn't recommend squeezing three into the back seat unless they were really well acquainted. The good news is there's ample legroom, even if headroom is a bit tight in the rear of the car.

As in other Acura vehicles, the center stack is a candy store of buttons, knobs and dials. The result is a system that would be easy to control if it weren't so intimidating. Our guess is that the public at large will stick to adjusting the volume and not mess with any of the other neat tricks, like keying up a 3-day forecast or finding a local spot for some grub, for fear of accidentally launching an intercontinental ballistic missile.

On the Road
The base TSX is no track star. With 3,400 pounds of luxury weight being pushed by the 4-cylinder, don't expect to win any drag races — something Acura has set out to change with the TSX V6. The additional 79 horsepower at your command means the more robust sedan gets up and moves without breaking a sweat. Interstate passes are breathless, thanks to the 254 lb-ft of torque on tap, and there's no distinguishable torque steer off the line.

Watch Video: Acura TSX Crash Test

Though Acura is proud of the work it's done to the TSX V6's suspension and steering, the changes are nearly imperceptible behind the wheel. The company says there's new programming at work behind the electronic power steering, but the final product is vague and detached, with even the "less sporty" steering of the 4-cylinder offering better feel — perhaps due to the lighter front end. We would like to see a little more precision in a car with this much power. The same can be said of the sharpened suspension — anyone would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the stiffer setup in the TSX V6 and the more luxury-oriented base TSX.

Although Acura would sell about 10 manual-transmission-equipped TSX V6s, we still mourn the lack of a manual gearbox in the car, since the extra power begs for a third pedal. However, the 5-speed automatic is no disappointment. Quick, smooth shifts and rapid, intelligent logic means the car is rarely in a gear other than the one you would choose yourself, particularly when in sport mode.

Compare: Acura TSX V6 vs. BMW 328i vs. Lexus IS 250

The TSX V6 excels at being exactly what it is — a luxury sedan. The cabin is quiet and comfortable, with most wind and road noise banished to the exterior of the vehicle, and the suspension copes easily with uneven pavement without upsetting your latte inside. The buttery 5-speed automatic transmission does its job without any drama, and the suite of high-tech gizmos, with or without the available technology package, means the TSX V6 fills an important hole in the Acura portfolio.

Discuss: Does more power make the TSX more attractive?

Right for You?
While the base TSX squeezes the wallet for between $29,310 and $32,410, depending on gearbox selection and options, the TSX V6 checks in between $34,850 and $37,950. If that seems steep, consider the massive amount of technology that comes standard, combined with the fact that you'll never find yourself searching for gears (or torque) when the need arises to pass that minivan.

Bing: See pictures of the 2010 Acura TSX V6
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