2010 TSX New Car Test Drive
For the first time, the Acura TSX is now available with a V6 engine. The availability of a V6 for the 2010 Acura TSX represents a step almost as big as the styling changes introduced with the 2009 model year. More than just an engine change, the Acura TSX V-6 has a character all its own, distinct from the four-cylinder version.
Technology has always been one of the main appeals of the TSX, and this extends beyond the drivetrain and chassis. Acura's superb navigation system is the equal of anything in the class, and it 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. Like the other features, hands-free Bluetooth cell phone architecture is cleanly integrated with the car's electronics.
The Acura TSX is a four-door, five-passenger, front-wheel-drive sedan. Considered a near-luxury car, the TSX comes standard with leather-trimmed seats, power everything, dual-zone climate control and heated seats and outside mirrors, electronic stability control and a full array of airbags.
The 2010 TSX is available with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder comes with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, while the V6 comes with an automatic. The four-cylinder is rated at 201 horsepower and just 172 pound-feet of torque but it revs happily and, with the six-speed manual, it's the enthusiast's choice; figure on 0-60 acceleration in the mid-seven-second range. Fuel economy, according to the federal government, for a TSX four-cylinder automatic is 21/30 mpg City/Highway.
The new V6 changes the character of the car. Acura's V6 is smooth and linear, and up in the higher revs makes a pleasant growl. Good as the five-speed automatic is with paddles and a sport mode that holds manual gear selections, it hasn't the involvement factor of the six-speed manual offered only with the four-cylinder. The V-6 model is heavier by 210 pounds and takes 3 mpg off EPA city and highway ratings. And it needs an extra 15 inches of space for a U-turn. The TSX V-6 gets an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg.
The TSX uses front-wheel drive, whereas true sports sedans are rear-wheel drive. That said, the TSX is one of the better-handling front-wheel-drive sedans. And in its class it's hard to beat as an everyday driver that can still be fun on a winding road. The 2.4-liter engine is rated at 201-hp,
Styling is true to Acura themes, the more aggressive, buff look to emphasize stance introduced on the 2009 model.
The 2010 Acura TSX competes primarily with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Lexus IS. Other competitors include the Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G37, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Saab 9-3, Volkswagen CC, Volvo S60. Among them, the 3 Series, CTS, G37, and C-Class use a more sporting rear-wheel-drive setup.
The 2010 Acura TSX ($29,310) comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a choice of either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission at no extra cost. The TSX V-6 ($34,850) comes exclusively with a five-speed automatic.
Standard features include 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, moonroof, Bluetooth, HomeLink, trip computer, two power outlets, Xenon headlights, fog lights, and speed-sensitive wipers.
The TSX V-6 model adds 18-inch wheels, recalibrated steering and suspension, and active sound control, in addition to the drivetrain changes.
The Technology package for the TSX ($32,410) or TSX V-6 ($37,950) upgrades to a 10-speaker, surround-sound, 415-watt, AM/FM/XM tuner with multi-format, six-disc CD/DVD audio changer; the voice-recognition navigation system adds a rearview camera, AcuraLink communications with real-time weather, traffic and dynamic re-routing.
Dealer-installed accessories include interior trim kits, trunk tray, trunk hooks, cargo organizer, and cargo net. Other Acura-approved accessories include 18-inch, 10-spoke, chrome-look or ebony-finish alloy wheels; 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 for front and side curtain airbags in back. 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. Tire pressure monitors are standard.