2009 TSX New Car Test Drive
With the 2009 TSX, Acura has done a full remake of its entry-luxury level sedan. More than just bolting a slick new body on an old platform, the TSX is new from the ground up, as in, longer, wider and lower. In a couple measures, it's roomier, too.
Technology is what sets the new TSX apart. Acura's superb navigation system comes standard and can be operated using voice-recognition. The standard navigation system is the equal of anything in the class, while an optional system displays real-time traffic with congestion re-routing and local and national weather. An airlines display lets you track a flight's progress across the country. The top-line audio system sets a standard for the class, too, with superbly crisp surround sound. Hands-free, Bluetooth cell phone architecture is built right into the car's electronics.
The 2009 Acura TSX is a four-door, five-passenger sedan designed to competed with Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series sedans. It comes with one engine, a 2.4-liter inline-4, and a choice of transmissions, a six-speed manual and a five-speed SportShift sequential automatic. Although horsepower is off slightly, torque is increased by enough to make up any difference in sheer acceleration. Just as important, fuel economy is unchanged with the manual and improved with the automatic. The TSX stays with a front-wheel-drive configuration, whereas true sporty sedans are rear-wheel drive. That said, the TSX is one of the better-handling front-wheel-drive sedans and in its class, hard to beat as an everyday driver that can still be fun on a mountain road.
Styling stays true to Acura themes for 2009, but cleans up here and there to give the car a more aggressive, more buff look and to emphasize its more planted stance. The wider part, where it adds a couple inches between the wheels side to side, translates directly into a sportier driving feel.
Everything inside that matters is powered, including the adjustments on both front seats. Dual-zone climate control and heated seats and outside mirrors are standard. Safety hasn't been overlooked either, with everything from a full array of airbags to electronic stability control to tire pressure monitors included at no extra cost.
The 2009 Acura TSX is a four-door, five-passenger sedan with a 2.4-liter, 201-hp four-cylinder engine and a no-cost choice of either a six-speed manual or a five-speed sequential SportShift automatic.
The Acura TSX ($28,960) comes standard with leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, eight-way adjustable driver's seat with memory, four-way passenger seat, power seats, windows and locks, heated outside mirrors, steering wheel controls for cruise and audio, seven-speaker AM/FM/XM/6CD stereo; USB and auxiliary audio input jacks in the center console, power tilt-and-slide moonroof with shade; Bluetooth connectivity; garage door remote; two power outlets; xenon HID headlights; fog lights; speed-sensitive wipers.
The TSX with the Technology Package ($32,060) replaces the standard audio system with a 10-speaker, surround-sound, 415-watt, AM/FM/XM tuner with multi-format, six-disc CD/DVD audio changer. The navigation system adds a rearview camera, AcuraLink Real-Time traffic (in 76 major metropolitan markets) with dynamic re-routing, AcuraLink weather and AcuraLink satellite communication system.
Acura-approved, interior and exterior accessories are available from dealers. For inside, the list includes Dark Metallic and Titian Silver interior trim kits, trunk tray, trunk hooks, cargo organizer, and cargo net. Among those for the outside are 18-inch, 10-spoke, chrome-look or ebony-finish alloy wheels to replace the stock 17-inch aluminum alloys; backup sensor; wheel locks; sport bumper kit; rear bumper applique; deck lid spoiler or wing spoiler; moonroof visor; car cover; and nose mask.
Safety features include a full complement of airbags to protect occupants front and rear in frontal and side impact crashes. Rear outboard seats provide anchors (LATCH) for child safety seats. Antilock brakes let the driver steer the car during emergency stops, brake assist boosts initial brake pressure in panic stops and electronic brake-force distribution apportions brake application between front and rear to optimize stopping distance. Electronic stability assist, coupled with traction control, adjusts brake and throttle to keep the car going where it's supposed to go through evasive or avoidance maneuvers or when road conditions deteriorate. And tire pressure monitors tell the driver when a tire gets low on air.