The Acura TSX is an entry-level luxury sport sedan that is positioned and priced between Acura's RSX sport coupe and the more upscale TL luxury sedan. Introduced in 2004, the TSX is actually based on the European-market Accord, a car that is much different in form and function than the American Accord. That Honda recognizes the vast differences between the American and European market is just one indication the TSX is on the right track.
Some potential buyers might be surprised to learn that the Acura TSX comes with a four-cylinder engine only. This is a luxury-branded car, and even the Accord can be had with a V6, right? But from Acura's standpoint, the four-cylinder has advantages in weight reduction and price while still making competitive amounts of power (205 horsepower for 2006).
Honda and Acura are well-known for their intuitive, ergonomically efficient interior designs, and the TSX is no exception. The expansive cabin is instantly inviting. Soft-touch leather abounds, with no cheap, hard plastic surfaces that allude to cost-cutting measures. Like its TL and RL siblings, the 2006 Acura TSX is truly a luxury car. The TSX competes mainly with lower-end versions of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, as well as the Lexus IS 250 and Volvo S40. While it doesn't really have the prestige of the German cars, the Acura TSX rates highly with us because of its premium interior and very impressive standard features list. If a luxury-branded vehicle is what you must have, you should know that this Acura car is the most refined example of a well-equipped entry-luxury sedan under $30,000 and fully deserving of any attention you give it.
The Acura TSX entry-level luxury sedan has seating for five passengers. It's available in only one trim but with such an extensive standard features list you're not likely to want anything more. Included on every model are items like 17-inch alloy wheels; HID headlights; heated, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats with driver's memory; leather upholstery; an eight-speaker, 360-watt audio system with XM Satellite Radio and an in-dash CD changer; dual-zone automatic climate control; and a sunroof. An impressive DVD-based navigation system with voice-activated software is the only option.
Inside, the Acura TSX offers a beautifully furnished interior that looks and feels more upscale than you would expect. The driver-oriented cockpit has large, easy-to-read gauges and controls and performance-engineered front bucket seats that feel great. Rear legroom is more generous than in most competitors and passengers will find plenty of foot room under the front seats. As in other compact luxury sedans, a fifth passenger will suffer in the center seat.
All TSXs come with a 2.4-liter, DOHC four-cylinder making 205 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque that drives the front wheels. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic with a Sportshift feature. When it comes to fuel economy, the Acura TSX rates 22 city, 31 highway with the automatic and 21/30 with the manual.
The TSX's 2.4-liter four delivers all the sophistication you'd expect from an Acura car. While a four-cylinder is usually not ideal in a luxury car, this one is so refined that some owners may give up on V6s altogether. The smooth six-speed manual transmission is well suited to the 205-hp four, and shifts are precise and the gates easy to find. Of course, you can't go wrong with the smooth-shifting automatic, either. Handling is equally impressive, if not more so, as the steering is quick and exact while the precisely tuned suspension holds body roll in check. During more subdued driving, the 2006 Acura TSX never forgets its luxury branding and delivers a solid, compliant ride that always feels just right.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes with BrakeAssist, traction control and a stability control system are all standard. Side-impact airbags for front passengers and side curtain airbags for both front and rear occupants are also standard. In front-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Acura TSX received a rating of "Good," the highest possible. Side-impact testing resulted in an "Acceptable" rating, the IIHS' second highest. In NHTSA tests, the TSX earned a perfect five-star rating on all counts, except for rear side impacts, where it received a four-star rating.
The Acura TSX receives minor engine, feature and styling changes for 2006. The car's 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine has been modified to produce a bit more power; it now makes 205 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque. Inside, there is an upgraded optional navigation system that's faster, has more points of interest and includes access to a Zagat restaurant guide. A hands-free cell phone interface and a digital audio media auxiliary jack are also new. Exterior enhancements for the 2006 Acura TSX include redesigned front and rear fascias, new side sills, foglamps and new alloy wheels.