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We drive the Acura TSX Sedan

by Ali Arsham
Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Acura TSX
The sport sedan category is one of the best in the world.  Here are cars that can do it all from hauling kids to school, to picking up groceries to carving corners and they tend to get decent fuel economy.  And they are usually affordable.  As with most things, once manufacturers figure that people like something, they figure that more is probably better which is not always the case.  So we end up with 400 horsepower (or more) machines that cost $50,000 (or way more) that can do 0-60 in four seconds. 

What happened to the original simple and affordable sports sedan?  We found it at the Acura dealership.  It is the Acura TSX and it is a delightful machine.
The TSX is not too small and not too big.  At 185.6 inches in length, the TSX is about the same size as an Audi A4 or a BMW 3 series. 

For 2011 the TSX received a facelift and some upgrades which made it an even sweeter machine.  All TSX models are improved in the area of reducing noise and vibration.  The TSX has always been smooth and quiet but now the TSX has even less noise, vibration, and harshness thanks to items such as a new acoustic glass front windshield, even thicker side glass, increased use of sound-deadening insulation, thicker floor mats and new under floor covers.  Smooth is the perfect word to describe the TSX’s driving feel.

On the outside, the TSX receives a new front fascia and an updated grill that team with new underbody panels to improve aerodynamics.  Inside, the TSX receives a host of visual upgrades in the form of revised styling for the center console, darker trim pieces, and contrasting-color stitching for the leather seats, door armrests and center console.  Rear seat occupants will enjoy added comfort thanks to the addition of heating/cooling vents mounted at the rear of the center console.

The TSX also makes use of even more LED lighting now including the front footwells.  Also new starting with the 2011 models, the TSX with available Technology Package now includes an LED backlit full VGA navigation screen with a higher resolution screen than before, Song By Voice user interface, a 60-gigabyte hard disk drive, and the ability to download 15-gigabytes of personal music to the hard disk which is comparable to 3,500 songs. 

Not much has changed under the hood of the TSX.  Under the hood of the TSX sedan is your choice of a 2.4 liter four cylinder or a 3.5 liter V6.  The four cylinder only produces 201 hp at 7,000 rpm but is available with a five speed automatic or a six speed manual transmission.  The V6 is just too big and heavy while the sweet four cylinder makes you wish for more power.  A perfect engine may be the turbocharged four cylinder that is available in the Acura RDX. 

The four cylinder engine is definitely the better choice and better suits the character of the car.  The K24 series engine was upgraded for 2011 receiving higher compression ratio, new valve timing, and intake and exhaust flow improvements. An aluminum and resin composite intake manifold reduces weight over the previous I-4’s aluminum design, while better insulating the engine’s incoming airflow from under-hood heat. 

The four-cylinder uses a high strength forged-steel crankshaft with micropolished journals to help reduce friction and to improve long-term durability. High compression 11:1 aluminum pistons feature the new molybdenum coating and also use a new design of low-friction rings to help reduce friction.

Our car featured the optional five speed automatic transmission.  While we prefer the slick six speed manual that is available, the automatic is a very well designed unit.  The automatic has well placed ratios that suit the car and the paddle shifters allow for quick shifts.  More importantly, the automatic listens to the driver and unlike many other cars does not make decisions on its own.  This really helps the driver know what is going on and maintain better control in busy situations.

Take the TSX to a twisty road and listen to the K24 engine rev to 7100 rpm and you can attack the corners with confidence.  While it is certainly not the fastest car in a straight line or in the turns, what makes the TSX special is the feel.  The chassis always communicates what is going on and you end up with a smile on your face.  It is a very simple and pure feel that is totally reminiscent of the way sports sedans were thirty years ago. 

Unlike many of the high power sedans you can get now, the TSX proves that with 201 hp, you can have fun behind the wheel.  The nice part is that the TSX four cylinder gets pretty good fuel economy as well.  The TSX four cylinder with manual transmission is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway while the automatic gets an even better 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Back Seat
The TSX sedan’s interior is a great place to be with soft and supportive seats with a very upscale and modern designed cockpit.  The back seat is very roomy for two and can easily take three people for shorter trips.  If you choose the sedan, you get a roomy 14 cubic foot trunk.

Order the Technology Package and the already impressive standard equipment list swells to include leading-edge electronics that make driving that much more efficient.  The Acura navigation system with voice recognition and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic are the centerpieces of the Technology Package.  Also part of the Technology Package is a rear view camera.  Included in the Technology Package is a 10-speaker premium audio system tuned by legendary recording engineer and producer Elliot Scheiner. 

The system includes a note function for XM Radio that makes it easy to identify songs to recall at a later date.  With push of a button, the note function can capture 10 seconds each of up to 30 songs, along with text indicating song title, artist name and XM Radio channel. 

Another cool feature is Song by Voice which allows the driver to select audio choices via voice activation, rather than having to remove a hand from the steering wheel.

The TSX is also very affordable.  The four cylinder sedan starts out at $29,810 and there is only one option.  And every Acura comes with Acura’s fantastic four year/50,000 mile warranty.  Whether you are looking for a luxury car, sports car, sedan or economy car, the amazing TSX can fit the bill and do the job well.

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