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, Administrator Emeritus
2,496 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Don't rush through the pronunciation of Acura's newest sedan too quickly. Someone overhearing me talk about the TSX thought I was talking about sex with someone named Tia.

The sometimes problematic name aside, Acura's newest four-door helps fill a void left after the 2002 model year when Acura did away with its lowest-priced sedan, the Acura Integra.

Arriving in showrooms shortly, the TSX takes over that position with a starting manufacturer's suggested retail price, with destination charge, of more than $25,000, according to the automaker. Final pricing had not yet been announced.

This puts the TSX just below the V6-powered Acura TL, which has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $29,480.

Expected to sell in relatively low volumes of around 15,000 a year, the TSX is basically an Americanized version of the Honda Accord sold in Europe.

The European Accord is different from the one in this country, and the TSX's drivetrain, interior, features, tires and styling are modified further for American drivers.

Acura officials portray the TSX as a BMW 3-Series fighter. The lowest-priced BMW 3-Series sedan, the 2003 325i, starts at $28,495.

But I think savvy BMW fans will point out the TSX is front-drive, not rear-wheel drive as BMWs are, and the TSX comes only with a four-cylinder engine, not a six-, as the 3-Series cars do.

In addition, while rear styling on the TSX has some BMW similarity and is quite attractive, the front end of the TSX has the ho-hum Acura family styling that's not really as forceful as a BMW front end.

Still, I expect the Japan-built TSX to have the kind of quality that has put Acura among the top brands and above BMW in annual J.D. Power and Associates quality studies.

And when shoppers compare all they get for the price in the TSX vis-a-vis other cars in the entry luxury category, it may be easier to eschew that BMW or even Mercedes-Benz nameplate.

Example: While the 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine in the TSX may not sound like much competition for the 2.5-liter, inline six in the 325i, the TSX powerplant puts out 200 horsepower. This compares with 184 horses in the 325i.

The TSX's torque of 166 foot-pounds at 4,500 rpm isn't quite as much as the 175 at 3,500 rpm in the 325i. Nor does it approach the 192 foot-pounds between 3,500 and 4,000 rpm from the 2003 Mercedes 230 with 189-horsepower, 1.8-liter, supercharged four-cylinder. This model has a starting price of $28,710.

But the sporty, short-throw six-speed manual in the TSX makes getting the max out of the four-cylinder a real joy, especially if a driver keeps the car in the higher revs.

The 325i has a five-speed manual, while the Mercedes C230 has a six-speed.

All three cars also can be had with automatics, and all are close in fuel economy. The TSX with manual transmission is rated at 21 miles per gallon in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway. That compares with 20 and 29, respectively, in the six-cylinder-powered 325i.

Premium is the recommended fuel for the TSX.

Note the redline in the TSX tachometer is a commendably high 7,100 rpm, and the TSX is the first Acura with drive-by-wire throttle control system.

The system combines with standard skid and traction control to tailor the car's response to a driver's throttle pedal movements and to incorporate driving conditions in the process.

In the test car, the response and feedback were most comfortable — and comforting — during the test drive. And the fact the TSX is the first Acura with a bottom-hinged accelerator pedal — the better to drive heel-and-toe — added to the fun.

Better yet, on curvy mountain roads, the TSX handled predictably and confidently, with 17-inch tires gripping well.

Tire noise on certain road surfaces and a pleasant engine note upon acceleration were about the only sounds that intruded in this car.

Wind noise was kept to a minimum, and seats were slightly, but not overly, cushioned.

The TSX trunk has an impressive 13 cubic feet of space — and that's before you push down the rear seatbacks and slide long items inside to the passenger compartment.

That compares with 12 cubic feet in the Mercedes C-Class sedans and 11 cubic feet in the 325i.

An example of the effort to make the TSX special: The car comes standard with seats trimmed in an attractive perforated leather. Leather is optional — and more than $1,400 — on the base 325i sedan.

Heated front seats are standard, too. They're optional — for more than $600 — on the Mercedes C230.

Other standard items on the well-equipped TSX are Xenon High Intensity Discharge headlights for low-beam driving (bi-Xenon lights are optional for about $700 on the 325i) and power moonroof (part of an option package priced at roughly $1,600 on many Mercedes C-Class sedans).

Then there's the TSX navigation system with voice recognition, which also controls ventilation and audio. It's offered on uplevel models.

In the test TSX, it invited some playful silliness as my traveling companion, at a bored moment, asked the system's female voice: "What time do you get off work?"

"Set temperature to 85 degrees," came the system response, delivered in a curt female voice. Sure enough, the temperature setting on my companion's side of the car was automatically reset to 85 degrees. The TSX comes standard with dual climate control for front-seat passengers.

I didn't always fare better, even with recognized commands and even though I used the system settings to change the female voice to a male voice. Guess this voice recognition technology still has room for improvement.

We also had to chuckle when we mistyped a restaurant name and the nav system came up with a route to get us to lunch in New Jersey, some 2,524 miles away!

Sixty percent of TSX buyers are expected to be men, with median age of 33, according to Acura.

Fifty-five percent are likely to be married, and 85 percent will have college degrees. Median household income is projected at $80,000 a year.

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, Moderator Emeritus
454 Posts
funny article... at least to begin with
but it kind of got dissapointing as it went on
ah well i still don't think im dissapointed with it

i totally don't fit the projected buyer of tsx
i've got the degree part covered (almost ;) )
not a man
not married (just yet)
and not making 80k (yet ;) )
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