- The Washington Times - Friday, August 17, 2007

Acura first revealed the TSX as an all-new sports sedan in 2004 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, positioned between the RSX sports coupe and Acura’s top-selling 3.2 TL luxury performance sedan.

The power driving the front wheels for the 2007 model year still comes from a 2.4-liter dual overhead camshaft, i-VTEC, in-line four-cylinder engine that now generates 205 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 164 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, with EPA fuel-economy ratings of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway (automatic). The engine capability places the TSX’s performance on a level comparable with several competitors powered by six-cylinder engines.Two gearboxes are available: a six-speed manual or a five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic. Fuel is delivered through programmed fuel injection and a drive-by-wire throttle system. Exhaust emissions are rated LEV-2 and exit through dual pipes, one per side for visual symmetry.

Value pricing continues for 2007, with a minimal price increase over three years ago, and that’s including all the improvements and enhancements. There’s but one extra cost option to consider in a simple menu of only three choices — when you choose your new TSX, you need to determine if you want the manual or automatic SportShift transmission, your preferred exterior color and if you want to pay $2,000 extra for the DVD Navigation system with voice recognition and expanded memory.

The TSX is a superbly equipped sports sedan capable of logging 110 thousand miles on the odometer, with no scheduled tuneups. It rides on 17-inch, nine-spoke alloy wheels, shod with Michelin HX Pilot V-rated, all-season rubber. The driver’s seat is power adjustable with adjustable lumbar. A power moon roof and heated front seats are standard fare, too. The steering column is telescopic and tilting with wheel-mounted audio and cruise control switches. The keyless entry system includes window controls, trunk release and a panic button. A dual-zone automatic climate control system keeps occupants comfortable.

In terms of chassis structure, the four-wheel-independent double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear provides a controlled ride with the torque-sensing, variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system offering a positive directional input. Vehicle stability assist with traction control and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS serve up stability and security with high intensity discharge headlights.

Visually appealing, the TSX is not simply a stretched version of the RSX coupe, but rather a more diminutive execution of Honda’s midsize platform, which includes the Accord, TL and CL. The design is slippery with a drag coefficient of 0.27. Lines are clean and crisp with sculpted hood grooves and rain gutters. A bright window surround coupled with the blacked-out “B” pillar gives the car a more coupelike look. The chrome dual exhaust tips provide a sporty flair. Included for 2007 are: a new tire pressure monitoring system, standard Bluetooth enabled hands-free phone system, dual zone climate control, a power moon roof, power windows and door locks and keyless entry. The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel provides controls for audio, cruise control, voice recognition and HandFreeLink. The 360-watt Acura Premium Sound System with XM Satellite radio also offers an auxiliary jack located in the center console to accommodate playing MP3s and other digital music devices. The test TSX sported an “Arctic blue pearl” metallic exterior with a “quartz gray” and “charcoal” interior featuring deeply bolstered perforated leather seating surfaces, and it was outfitted with the five-speed automatic gearbox with sequential SportShift with a base price set at $30,090. The optional navigation system bumped the sticker to $30,760.

The Acura TSX will compete with the likes of Audi’s A4, the IS350 from the Lexus camp, the MBZ C240 and BMW’s lower end 3-Series. That could be a tall order for a normally aspirated four-banger when going up against turbos and two more cylinders in some cases. Never-the-less, the TSX with its more attractive value packaging offers more than a pleasing level of power and performance. OK, a V-6 would be sportier, particularly a turbocharged model, but that isn’t really what the TSX is all about — it’s a sporty sedan more than an all-out sports sedan, filling a niche in Acura’s stable.

The easy-to-use navigation system with voice recognition contains a menu of 560 voice commands, an 8-inch display and a comprehensive destination guide with more than 7 million points of interest, including the Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide and 3-D graphics for freeway interchanges.

Bottom line, Acura’s TSX for 2007 is easy on the eyes and has more than adequate performance characteristics, a host of standard features and amenities — all at a reasonable and affordable price.

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