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Motoring: Acura TSX doesn't add up to greatness

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | November 17th, 2008

There are good cars, and then there are not so good cars. The original Acura TSX was neither of those, because it was a great car.

I loved the willingness of its engine, and I also loved the way it handled. It was a proper driver's car and the sort of car that would put a smile on my face every single time I drove it.

It was not only a blast to drive it was practical, comfortable, fuel-efficient and good looking.

The new 2009 version, however, lacks on more than a few of those things I just mentioned about the old version.

For starters, I am not a fan of this new versions styling. Overall styling is fine, but I have no idea why Acura has decided to give every single car in their line-up a stubby nose. It looks ugly and I would instantly fire the design team for coming up with it.

The interior thankfully is better looking, however I do feel the centre of the dash is too busy with all the buttons, and the navigation screen always seem to get washed-out by sunlight. I also think the old TSX had better storage areas in the cabin.

However, as all my regular readers would know, I can forgive a car of all its foibles, if it turns out to be a great car to drive.

It starts out sounding quite promising. It has a naturally aspirated, 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, VTEC engine that produces 201hp. That power is fed to the front-wheels via either a six-speed manual transmission (as in my test car) or a five-speed automatic (why Honda/Acura has not fitted a six-speed auto on any of their cars is beyond me).

So the power on paper is fine, but it surely didn't feel like anything special on the road. Where the old TSX was sharp, agile and gutsy, the new one feels soft, cumbersome and gutless.

Yes, I would admit this is not a bad car if you looked at it as just a car, but the problem is this is called a TSX, whose ancestor was one of the best sedan's ever made. This new one does not even come close to the original.

Acura really should have picked another name for this car, than it would not have been so disappointing.

I was also disappointed by the fuel-economy. Yes the test car I had was fairly new, but to average 13-litres/100km is really bad. I once picked up an Acura TL with just 2km showing on the odometer, and that still managed 10-litres/100km, and the TL has a very strong V6 engine.

So the new TSX (base price $32,900) doesn't do anything for me. I would suggest that if anyone wants a fun sedan to rather buy the Acura CSX Type-S, or if someone wants a luxury car to instead look at the Acura TL.

While many cars under the Honda/Acura banner are great vehicles, ones I would recommend to many and enjoy driving, I am afraid that when it comes to the new TSX, I'd pass on it.
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