A change for the better
If you've read road tests on the Acura TSX since its introduction as a 2004 modelyear, you probably know already that it's immensely appreciated by the automotive press. As a matter of fact, the TSX won several awards in its first couple of years.
However, sales of the sedan have been modest. In 2007, just a little over 2,000 units found homes, and that's about 700 less than the year before. Acura had to do something to keep the car competitive in a tougher (and growing) segment.
Same engine, different sensation
The main complaint about the previous-generation TSX concerns the engine; although powerful and lively, it must be kept high up in its rev range in order to exploit maximum power. Under normal driving, the 4-cylinder can't be appreciated to its full potential because it's just too darn peaky.
The 2009 TSX fixes this. The 16-valve, 2.4-liter mill has been retuned to provide a more linear power curve. As a result, we no longer feel the extra rush of power at 6,000 rpm like we did in the old car.
In short, if we rely solely on the numbers, we'll notice that the new 2009 TSX loses 4 horses, 201 versus 205. However, the engine's torque is increased, while peaking at lower revs. We no longer have to keep it spinning between 6,000 and 7,100 rpm to get full power, which isn't ideal in a luxury sedan, even if it has sporting pretensions.
At 5,900 revs, 25 additional horses are now available. That's good news, especially since the 4-cylinder is now better suited to the 5-speed automatic, which represents 75% of the car's sales. Fuel consumption is also said to be improved slightly.
As for handling, the TSX has been lowered by 10 mm and widened by 30 mm in order to improve sporty driving. During our brief drive, it's hard to feel a true distinction between the old model and the new one; we'll get back to you on that in a few weeks, when we'll get the opportunity to drive one during a whole week. However, the car's ride remains a tad stiff, which is nonetheless quite acceptable for a sports sedan.
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