Originally based on the European Honda Accord, the Acura TSX has always been an intriguing blend of performance and luxury. Not a hard-and-fast sport sedan along the lines of the Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series, it still holds its own under most circumstances.
Following a redesign in 2009, it was powered by either a 3.5-litre V-6 or a 2.4-litre four-cylinder in 2010. The V-6 developed 280 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque, while the four was good for 201 hp and 172 lb-ft. Depending on the engine, you could get either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.
What was interesting about the TSX was the difference in character between the two powertrains. The four-cylinder version with the manual gearbox encouraged enthusiastic driving and had a European flavour. The V-6 version was more of an upscale saloon than sport sedan. That said, this version could zip the TSX from 0-to-100 km/h in about six seconds. Unfortunately, it also required premium gas.
One note here: this iteration of the TSX featured Acura’s then-new and unsightly chrome-slab front grille treatment. The intervening years have shown that this little eyesore has cost Acura sales, and newer versions of the TSX have been modified to make them less unattractive. They’re still not exactly raving beauties, however.
The equipment level was high – especially the V-6 models. Leather interior, dual-zone climate control, heated seats, power front seats, Bluetooth and power-up/down driver and passenger side windows all came standard with the V-6 version. And, with the Technology package, you got an upgraded sound system, back-up camera and voice-activated navi system.
No safety recalls to report, either from Transport Canada or the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA, however, does have 10 technical service bulletins on file. These include a software update to improve the fuel injection and variable valve timing systems, front suspension “clunks” in hot weather, loud rattling noises coming from the engine in cold weather due to a faulty variable valve timing component, abnormally high oil consumption and possible irregularities with the steering wheel bearing.
It’s also worth noting that both NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety give the 2010 TSX top marks for front-end crashes. Notes Consumer Reports: “The front-crash test simulates a head-on, full-frontal crash with an identical vehicle. Scores are assigned to the driver and the front passenger.”
Twenty complaints from owners here. Some samples: “when it rains, the driver’s side windshield wiper drags back water on to the windshield right in my line of sight,” “I was sitting in my car with the engine running when the dash indicator read ‘check airbag system.’ I continued to gather my things, when suddenly the airbags deployed, hitting my left arm and momentarily deafening my hearing” and “rear brakes are prematurely wearing.” This last item is a common problem with the TSX.
Still, Consumer Reports likes this one, giving it a “better than average” used-car verdict, and bestowing its “good bet” designation upon it. In virtually every area, this generation of the TSX receives top or near-the-top grades. Again, the one area where it falls short is the braking system – the magazine gives this area of the car its worst possible marks. The audio system may also not be up to snuff. More comments from owners: “seats are a little narrow,” “came standard with a lot of equipment,” “very intelligent car in every way” and “rear seating is not acceptable.”
Market research firm J.D. Power, meanwhile, gives the 2010 TSX better than average marks for predicted reliability and overall quality, with an “about average” mark for overall performance and design. More comments from owners: “smooth manual transmission,” “four-cylinder has ample power,” “sloshing noises when you have a full tank of gas” and “the steering wheel is too high even at its lowest setting.”
From a base price of about $33,000 in 2010, the TSX has dropped in value by a third, depending upon the trim level. Prices for a three-year-old model range from the low to mid-$20,000s. The four-cylinder models are fetching $1,500-$2,000 less than the V-6, with the top-of-the-range Technology version priced from $25,000-$27,000.
2010 Acura TSX
Original Base Price: $32,990; Black Book: $22,250-$24,425; Red Book: $20,975-$25,650
Engine: 3.5-litre V-6 and 2.4-litre four-cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 280 hp/252 lb-ft for v-6; 201 hp/172 lb-ft for four
Transmission: Six-speed manual/five-speed automatic
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 11.3 city/7.4 highway (V-6); premium gas
Alternatives: BMW 323, Audi A4, Honda Accord V-6, Lexus IS250, Infiniti G37, Hyundai Genesis
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