A brand-new front-wheel-drive sport sedan joined the lineup of Honda's luxury division as an early 2004 model. Slotted between the RSX sport coupe and the midsize TL luxury-performance sedan, the compact TSX four-door was similar to the European version of the Honda Accord. Heated mirrors, a four-way power passenger seat and XM Satellite Radio became standard for 2005.
Modifications to the intake and exhaust systems have raised the four-cylinder engine's output to 205 horsepower for 2006, using new testing standards established by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Front and rear fascias have been redesigned and are accompanied by a fresh hood and grille. Side sills are more pronounced, and bumper-integrated fog lamps are standard. Acura's available navigation system has also been upgraded.
Competitors include the Audi A4, BMW 325i and Lexus IS.
Like so many manufacturers today, Acura promotes the sport sedan's aggressive appearance. High-intensity-discharge headlights flank Acura's familiar five-sided grille. These xenon lights sit above lower air intakes that suggest racing brake ducts. The back window slopes into a short trunk lid, whose sharp termination is intended to help air separate cleanly from the rear of the car at highway speeds. A power moonroof is standard.
New nine-spoke alloy wheels hold 17-inch V-rated all-season performance tires. Measuring 183.3 inches long overall and 57.3 inches tall, the TSX has a four-wheel-independent double-wishbone suspension with a multilink configuration in the rear. Trunk capacity totals 13 cubic feet.
The interior features deeply bolstered seats that are upholstered in perforated leather. A three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel contains integrated audio and cruise controls. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and keyless entry are standard, and the eight-speaker 360-watt premium audio system includes a six-CD changer. Acura's optional navigation system can operate with voice recognition.
Under the Hood
Acura's upgraded 2.4-liter four-cylinder generates 205 hp at 7,000 rpm and 164 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. According to Acura, the engine's i-VTEC intelligent valve-control system adjusts valve timing and lift to enhance performance across a broad power band. A drive-by-wire throttle-control system aims to produce smooth acceleration.
Either a close-ratio six-speed-manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic with a manual-shift provision can be installed.
Side curtain-type airbags and all-disc antilock brakes are standard. Side-impact airbags include a passenger-sensing system. Standard Vehicle Stability Assist electronic stability control is combined with traction control.
Finding fault with the TSX isn't easy, but it feels more like a family car than a sporty four-door companion to the RSX. The manual-shift TSX accelerates eagerly, and its gearshift glides smoothly between ratios.
This sedan is exceptionally quiet and easy to drive, and it maneuvers with satisfying behavior. Unlike some sport sedans, the TSX delivers a relatively gentle ride on smooth surfaces. But on urban pavement, potholes produce substantial reactions and the ride gets stiff with considerable body movement. The seats offer excellent support, and the bright gauges are easy to read.