2009 Acura TSX

2009 Acura TSX

By Mike Hanley
March 20, 2008

They say you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight, and that phrase came to mind when I drove the redesigned 2009 Acura TSX. The TSX, which hits dealerships in April, has its share of good qualities — like a stylish exterior and interior — but it competes in the luxury sport sedan category, which is one of the more crowded segments of the car business. Shoppers there will find the TSX outgunned by competing models in terms of power and handling.

The Look
The TSX’s all-new styling builds on the previous generation’s athletic looks, but the new sedan is 2.4 inches longer and 3 inches wider than before. The TSX’s wide stance, accented by bulging front fenders, is apparent when looking at the sedan head-on.

The face of the car has been updated via new headlights, a new grille that incorporates Acura’s shield design, and an aggressively styled lower bumper. Around back, changes include more substantial rear fender flares that echo the front ones, as well as new taillights. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires are standard. All in all, the TSX is sporty without going overboard.


Performance-oriented Acura TSX muscles in

2009 TSX set to be first Honda in U.S. using acclaimed diesel engine

The new TSX enjoys the benefit of the ceaseless advancements made in consumer electronics, including a navigation system that now depicts real time traffic and weather data on the screen. Unfortunately, Honda’s BMW envy has led the company to ape the damnable iDrive computer interface employed by its German rival. So rather than the previous easy-to-use touch screen system, the TSX is now saddled with a central control knob that operates its functions.

This contributes to an “even more intuitive interface,” according to chief engineer Hiroyuki Ikegami, demonstrating perhaps the worst sense of intuition since President Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s soul and spotted a man who could be trusted.

There is also the requisite high-decibel sound system that promises to bundle an entire Sony Records studio and all the label’s performers into the car’s trunk, providing the most authentic music experience possible. OK, not really. But top record producer Elliot Scheiner (just nod and smile, pretending you know who he is, because it doesn’t really matter) lends his name to a super-duper high-clarity audio DVD system that does in fact produce discernibly better music reproduction.

The interior of the TSX suffers from far too much of a particular variety of shiny silver plastic that comprehensively populates cars from Acura, or at least that’s my guess because each new model the company releases is slathered in ever more of the stuff. It started on the inside, flattering the dashboard with a richness that can only be conveyed by, well, shiny plastic.

This plastic looks “technical,” according to Acura executives, apparently unaware that the bits of shiny silver material on authentically technical devices are typically made of aluminum, stainless steel, titanium or the like. Shiny plastic is within the purview of the faux, rather than the authentic.

Perhaps Honda has discovered something here that other manufacturers have missed. Harley-Davidson designers are forbidden from using chromed plastic on their motorcycles. If it’s shiny and metallic on a Harley, it’s metal. Apple iMacs are encased in aluminum rather than aluminum-colored plastic. There’s no shiny plastic on Harleys or Apples, but maybe that’s because Honda’s purchasing department cornered the market on the substance.

Making bigger a car whose popularity was in part the result of appreciation for its compact size, and delivering technology for technology’s sake — these are two symptoms of the problem that has led to the TSX and other Acuras to becoming loaded with loathsome silver plastic.

Car customers want and appreciate honest virtue and value, not glitz and pork. But most cars out there are getting fatter too so the TSX will still look slim standing beside them, and a new 40 MPG diesel engine will attract its share of customers, even when it’s dressed up in Acura’s plastic.

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

Select a Year to View Acura TSX Pictures

2009 Acura TSX Pictures 2009 Acura TSX Pictures
2008 Acura TSX Pictures 2008 Acura TSX Pictures
2007 Acura TSX Pictures 2007 Acura TSX Pictures
2006 Acura TSX Pictures 2006 Acura TSX Pictures
2005 Acura TSX Pictures 2005 Acura TSX Pictures
2004 Acura TSX Pictures 2004 Acura TSX Pictures

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