By KBB.com Editors
Looking for a premium-branded sedan with a sub-$30,000 starting price and fuel economy that reaches into the 30 miles-per-gallon range? Congratulations, you've found it. While its Acura TL big brother competes with heavy hitters like the BMW 3 Series and Infiniti G Sedan, the second-generation Acura TSX is light on direct competitors. The Volvo S40 is one, as are the lower-powered versions of the Audi A4 and Lexus IS. The TSX's big advantage versus most of its competitors can be summed up in a word that a premium-brand marketer like Acura would never use: Value. A fully-loaded, tech-laden 2009 Acura TSX tops out just under $33,000. Combined with an EPA rating of up to 30 mpg on the highway, the Acura TSX may be the best premium bargain going.
With fuel prices and the economy being what they are, the 2009 Acura TSX is a premium sedan for our times. In terms of technology, fuel economy, performance and value, the Acura TSX is a premium-level bargain.
While Acura now offers the bigger TL with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, the 2009 Acura TSX remains strictly a front-driver. Most buyers, though, should consider this a non-issue. More troubling to some of us is the electric power steering system that demands constant attention on the highway.
The all-new, second-generation 2009 Acura TSX is measurably larger than its predecessor and boasts an even more impressive collection of in-cabin technology. It's also quieter and feels more deserving of its premium badge.
Driving Impressions We could hardly ask for a better balance of fun and comfort from a sporty, front-wheel drive, entry-premium sedan than that delivered by the 2009 Acura TSX. It encourages a...quicker pace when the road begins to meander, and adequately absorbs surface irregularities and external roars when cruising. We like the six-speed manual's precise shifting action and the five-speed automatic's exceptionally aggressive Sport mode. The Kryptonite in the garage is an efficiency-enhancing electromechanical power steering (EPS) system that ranges from a shortcoming to a deal-breaker, depending on which KBB editor you ask. Most vehicles require subtle steering input when traveling straight down the highway; the 2009 Acura TSX requires constant, unnatural-feeling correction. We're hoping the system will be improved over the life of the TSX, because we really like the rest of the package.
DVD-Audio Surround Sound
The base sound system is good, but the comprehensive premium sound system included in the Technology Package is downright amazing. You might think about dropping by the dealer just to experience the crystal-clear, 5.1 DVD-Audio Surround Sound.
Voice-controlled Navigation System
The 2009 Acura TSX offers a sophisticated navigation system with a big, eight-inch screen, voice input of city and street names, Zagat restaurant information, weather conditions and real-time traffic information and rerouting. A rear-view camera is also part of the package.
If soft, warm and rich is the vibe you seek from a premium sedan, settling into the TSX may leave you cold. The TSX eschews traditional luxury cues for a more technological type of richness, although wood-look trim is available. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and the second row sufficiently passes the six-footer test. The smallish trunk is less impressive, but a 60/40-split rear seatback adds flexibility. All told, inside the 2009 Acura TSX is a satisfying place to spend a long commute.Exterior
The 2009 Acura TSX is measurably longer and wider than its predecessor, and defined by sharp edges, pronounced wheel flares and a forward lean that give it a bolder, more athletic demeanor. The face is distinguished by angular, xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, Acura's new shield-like grille and a wide lower intake. Mirror-integrated turn signals, 17-inch wheels and a long shoulder crease lead back to complex tail lights, an integrated spoiler-like element and dual exhaust tips.
The 2009 Acura TSX boasts a long list of standard equipment that includes Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod integration (and simpler auxiliary input), steering wheel-mounted controls, leather seating with position memory, moonroof and dual-zone climate control. All the safety gear is included, such as front, front side-impact and two-row side-curtain airbags, plus electronic stability control.
Every bit of optional equipment available on the 2009 Acura TSX is wrapped up into one mouth-watering Technology Package, the highlights of which include a world-class DVD-Audio Surround Sound system and a comprehensive advanced navigation system, both of which are detailed in the "Favorite Features" section of this review.
The second-generation TSX gives up four horsepower compared to its predecessor, but gains two additional highway miles per gallon. Considering torque is also up by eight pound-feet, it's easily a trade worth making. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is coupled with either a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic that features a high-revving Sport mode. Like in so many Honda and Acura vehicles, the i-VTEC engine is at its best when pushed hardest.
2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder
201 horsepower @ 7000 rpm
172 (manual), 170 (automatic) lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 21/30 (automatic)
By 00derek on Saturday, September 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quiet, smooth, comfortable, 30 mpg!"
Cons: "slower than a Golf GTI. Infuriating NAV system"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"The most comfortable car I've ever owned. Front seats are like lazy boy armchairs. Superb for long road trips. Honda/Acura reliability are second to none."
9 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Jack on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Front seat comfort is the best"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Used only by my wife and me(over 65), always covered, used for frequent trips to Utah and Montana. Never smoked in. All records at Las Vegas Acura."
By City Driver on Monday, August 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car handles like it is on rails. The gas mileage is amazing and the vehicle is very comfortable to drive. I drive in the city and occasionally on the expressway. For a 4 cylinder car it has a ton of power. Will never own another car."
By lulu on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, looks sharp, turns heads, zips along"
Cons: "Low front bumper easy to scrape."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"It rides low to the ground. It can be bumpy for passengers. Seats are very comfortable but not quite as durable as I would like--feel a wee bit shot after 40K miles, and I am a smallish woman. For the cost and the cost to operate, its a great vehicle."
9 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By mark on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am very picky and looked at many cars before buying this one. I really love this car the only complaint I have is the transmission should shift smoother. The acceleration in non sport mode is ok. In sport mode it is pretty fast. If your going 85 and hit the gas you still really feel it. The cars looks inside and out are just great. Very comfortable to drive. Under the hood is pretty simple and maintenance parts are easy to get at. I plan to keep this car for a while. Also the price can not be beat. I did like the Mercdes C300 a bit better, but the increase in cost was not justified. I will most likely buy a TXL v-6 next time due to wanting a v-6 and the great gas milage and 9 speed tranny."
4 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By rudy on Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Wonderful driving experience."
Cons: "Lack of AWD"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have the V-6. It provides for a great driving experience. Plenty of power, terrific cornering, very solid feel when driving. Components are high quality and sound system is as good as I have heard, including Bose. I have 4 kids old enough to drive that are still at home and this is the car they fight over. It gets 18-20 mpg around town and 35 (yes 35) mpg on the highway. Best auto purchase I have ever made (my 12th car). Can't say enough about it."
22 people out of 35 found this review helpful