2005 TSX New Car Test Drive
The Acura TSX is a responsive sports sedan with front-wheel drive. The tip-offs for its sporty demeanor start with the name. Acura calls its sports-specialty vehicles the RSX, TSX, and NSX. Road cars are named CL, TL, RL. The TSX is Acura's response to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
The TSX is based on the European-market Honda Accord, which is a different car and slightly smaller than the Accord designed for the U.S. market. It's a superb chassis that's tight and fun to drive. The 2.4-liter iVTEC four-cylinder engine delivers 200 horsepower and boasts a broad torque curve. This engine is wonderfully tuned and loves to rev.
The result is immediate throttle response followed by a rapid acquisition of speed. That throttle is actually a drive-by-wire accelerator. The six-speed manual gearbox is notably sweet, smooth and quick. The alternative is a five-speed automatic with Sequential Sport Shift. The suspension dances to the tune of a European sports sedan. The brakes scrub off triple-digit speeds without drama and the pedals are set up well for effortless heel-and-toe braking and downshifting. For an enthusiast, the Acura TSX eliminates the lust for European-market cars.
New for 2005 is the A-Spec, a sport package available from Acura dealers.
The 2005 Acura TSX model line presents few dilemmas: Simply choose between the six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic with Sequential Sport Shift. Both models are the same price ($26,990). Then decide whether you want the excellent navigation system ($2,000).
Either way, the front-wheel-drive TSX is powered by the 200-horsepower 2.4-liter double-overhead-cam iVTEC engine and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels with V-rated performance tires. Standard equipment includes perforated leather seating, moonroof, HID headlights, and 360-watt Acura premium audio system with six-disc CD changer and eight speakers. For 2005, XM Satellite Radio hardware is standard, but requires a subscription.
Safety features include Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with traction control and side curtain airbags.
A-Spec ($4,330) adds high-performance shocks and springs, lightweight 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin Pilot all-season performance tires, and an aero kit featuring an air dam, chin spoiler, side skirts and a choice of deck lid or wing spoiler. The kit is installed by dealerships. If you want the better handling without the other stuff, you can have the suspension by itself ($800), but you'll have to give up the nifty A-Spec badges.