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2009 Acura TSX Review – Nice package for the conservative Brooks Brothers type

Wednesday September 10th, 2008 at 1:99 PM
Posted by: Francois

Review by Francis Cebedo | Photos by Derek Mau

Blings:

  • The build quality is top notch
  • The slick shifter is a joy to use
  • The engine is very willing and has a broad power range

Dings:

  • Power, power, power. A car of this stature can seem badly underpowered at times
  • There is a bit of body roll and tire squeal when driven at the limit


Introduction:
The Acura TSX is an enigma. It is a well-balanced car that is nicely packaged. But there is only one package. It is a capable performer for the average driver. But the sporty driver will be looking for the V6 model, or the Sport version, the turbo, the high output, etc. etc. But there is none. There is only this one with the 200 hp engine. And so it will make most folks satisfied but it will also leave a good segment of prospective buyers looking for more.

It is a good package but where is the model with the spirited engine that will help this vehicle keep up with the dozens and dozens of 250+ hp engine competitors out there.

201 hp 2.4-liter, i-VTEC™ inline 4-cylinder engine LED backlit gauges with progressive illumination

If you can look beyond that shortcoming however and live with a car with modest power and great balance, this may be the car for you. To get the most out of this car, we believe one has to opt for and appreciate the six speed manual transmission. This transmission squeezes the most power out of this engine and delivers miles of smiles to the driver in the process. It is light, quick and very smooth. It’s very easy to shift and it works harmoniously with the clutch

Driving Impressions:
2009 Acura TSX center console stackThe TSX delivers a satisfying experience when driven slightly aggressively. The road bumps are muted, the car corners confidently. Interior noise is at a minimum. The 6-speed shifter mated with this clutch is a joy to use. It is reminiscent of the Mazda Miata’s shifter which is so light and intuitive. It is able to coax every horsepower out of the enthusiastic engine.

But driven aggressively, the honeymoon ends. The tires start howling and the body roll is quite pronounced at the limit. The engine really starts to show it’s weakness as there is a lack of low-end torque and there is just limited top end power. The driver is left waiting for the punch and it never comes.

But back to civil speeds and the car is at it’s element once again. Comfort and ergonomics are excellent. And the navigation guides you safely home while using the precious fuel efficiently.

Value
The car’s interior and navigation are quite impressive for the price. However, cars like the Honda Accord V6 and the Infiniti G35 are in the same area and just threaten it with superior power and performance.

Who Should Buy It?
If you like the Mazdaspeed 3 or the Subaru WRX STI, then you shouldn’t buy this car. Those cars overflow with raucous performance. This car wheels around with ‘restrained performance’. It seems to have a sporty pedigree and it is fun to drive enthusiastically in it. But if you want to see what the car can deliver in acceleration or handling every once in a while, don’t bother. You will be disappointed.

So I would say calm drivers looking for a hint of sportiness and excellent build and quality will be very pleased with this package.

Conclusion
It looks like a performance car but it’s really not. It’s a great balance of handling, economy and comfort with the added bonus of a slick 6-speed shifter and clutch. In the end, we are still a bit confused with this car. The sports car oriented driver looks like the prime target with the awesome shifter, the flexible engine and the sporty look of this car. But it can’t deliver when pushed to the limit. Thus the market is limited for this but those who can appreciate restraint, balance and quality will be quite pleased.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 4.5 4.5 3.5 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1/B


2009 Acura TSX Photo Gallery

2009 Acura TSX Specs

2009 Acura TSX Specs

AcuraThe official website of Acura – www.acura.com




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