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Acura TSX, 2009: The Weekly Driver Car Review

Acura TSX, 2009: The Weekly Driver Car Review 1Six years after it was introduced, the Acura TSX remains an unheralded sedan that teeters the fine line between premium compact car and premium sports/performance vehicle.

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I drove the 2004 model and thought highly of it as a near-luxury car with superior handling. I recently drove the 2009 model for a week and felt the same way. It’s a sedan designated by the odd term “four-door coupe.”

Redesigned for 2009, the TSX is Acura’s entry-level offering, and it shares its the basic design with the European-market Honda Accord. The new version is 1 inch long in the wheelbase, 2.5 inches longer overall and 3 inches wider than its predecessor, the only previous TSX version. The new version is 150 pounds heavier than its sibling.

Acura TSX, 2009: The Weekly Driver Car Review 2

Handling is an Acura trademark, and the TSX does not disappoint. It grips the road and never lacks confidence, sudden weather changes to varying road surfaces.

During my test week, I twice drove the vehicle along the winding, narrow roads near the Napa wine country. The two-lane, two-way stretch between interstate 80 near Sacramento and approaching the Napa expressway also doesn’t have street lamps. If the weather changes suddenly and/or if night driving is involved, it’s a drive requiring intense concentration.

I drove at night and in a strong, sudden rainstorm. And it felt like the Acura TSX changed personalities as the weather worsened. The Acura gripped the road more firmly. Its Xenon beams provided impressive panoramic vision. In short, I had plenty the assurance of a safe journey.

The 2009 edition is available in only one trim. Its standard features include: Antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, traction control, the previously mention Xenon headlights, automatic climate control, eight-way power driver seat with memory, four-way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats, sunroof, Bluetooth; and satellite radio.

The engine is a 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder complemented by a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. The automatic transmission has steering wheel shifting paddles, which I utilized a few times in my inclement weather drives.

Acura models are always thoughtfully appointed, and the combination of the vehicle’s leather seats and attractive console and dashboard further adds to the TSX’s appeal. You want a coupe with four seats? The TSX provides it. How about a refined sports car? The TXS obliges.

As a so-called entry level car, the TSX can’t be all things to all people. Trunk space isn’t plentiful, the back seat legroom is less than generous and the controls (including the navigation system) aren’t intuitive. And why does Acura have its protruding navigation/sound system knob? It doesn’t fit the otherwise handsome interior design.

But as it was in 2004, the 2009 redesigned Acura TSX is the manufacturer’s entry level vehicle. But it’s hard to think of it as an entry level car.

Safety Features — Driver and passenger front and side airbags and side curtain airbags

Warranty — Powertrain, 6 years/70,000 miles; Bumper-to-bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Free roadside assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles.

Gas Mileage — 21 mpg (city), 30 mpg (hwy).

Price — $30,060.

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