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Motoring: New vs. old - The Acura TSX

Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | March 5th, 2012

There are good cars, and then there are not-so-good cars. The original Acura TSX was neither of those: 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 also practical, comfortable, fuel-efficient and good-looking.

When I first drove its replacement model in 2009, I felt it lacked on more than a few of those things I just mentioned about the old one.

For a kick-off, I was not a fan of this new car's styling. The overall styling is fine, but I really did not like its stubby nose. The styling has not improved over the last few years, but it has grown on me.

The interior was and is brilliant. 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 thought the old TSX had better storage areas in the cabin, while the new car has more space for passengers.

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

Let's start with the engine. It has a naturally aspirated, 2.4-litre, four-cylinder VTEC engine that produces 201 hp. That power is fed to the front wheels via either a sixspeed manual transmission (as in my last test car) or a five-speed automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters (as in my most recent TSX tester).

This engine, when mated to a manual gearbox feels sluggish and unrewarding. Mated to the automatic, however, the engine's character feels completely different. The automatic version feels sharp and quick, just what a TSX should feel like. I loved it.

So while it might still not be as much of a driver's car as the original TSX, it is still more than satisfying enough. Acura enthusiasts might think this model is too soft, but for everyone else, it is a thoroughly impressive car to haul you and your family around.

It's easy on your wallet when it comes to running costs. I averaged 9.4 litres/100km in my week, and given the amount of time I spent driving in town and stuck in heavy traffic, that is truly brilliant.

What it isn't is cheap to buy. Base model starts at $31,890. That sounds like a lot for a car with a four-cylinder engine (a V6 model is also available, which is priced from $41,890), but when you spend a decent amount of time with it, you'll quickly understand why I like it so much and why it's worth its asking price.

If you're in the market for a nice, luxury family car, put the TSX towards the top of your list.
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