Updates to the TSX began in 2009 and continue this year with the addition of a V6 engine. While some people are delighted with this option, others are at a loss as to why Acura is offering such a powerful six-cylinder in a car whose main focus is agility. Quite frankly, we liked the dynamism of the four-cylinder, but now we’ll have to see what the V6 has to offer.
Similar but different
First off, there’s no question that the new design of Acura’s models is not universally popular. Combining oversized elements with lines that are nice and crisp, some Acuras have been compared to Transformers and Pontiacs. The TSX, however, seems to have escaped from the designers’ zeal. It bears some similarities with other Acuras, but overall it remains classic and discreet, unlike the TL and the MDX.
With this new style comes a distinct improvement in terms of road handling. Larger dimensions mean the vehicle’s reactions are markedly more stable and solid. In fact, this TSX is 6.1 cm longer and 7.6 cm wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase gains 3.3 cm and the track width nearly 6.6 cm. These modifications not only make the interior bigger but also allow this car to hug the road better.
Behind the wheel of this speed machine, you’ll notice that finding a great driving position is quick and easy – the perfect environment for sport driving. Now, you’d expect a car like this to have a manual transmission, but Acura decided to only offer a five-speed automatic with the V6. Initially, this may seem like a monumental mistake, but once you’re comfy behind the wheel, your outrage is quelled by the paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Three ways to drive it
The automatic transmission has two different modes: D for civilized driving and S for a little more punch. The revs increase impressively and incredibly quickly. When pushed, the engine purrs at high revs and, unlike several German models, the TSX loves extremes. As if that weren’t enough, you can also shift gears manually using the paddles on the steering wheel. The results aren’t as quick and precise as Volkswagen’s DSG transmission, but the way the revs climb coupled with the outstanding engine and muffler sounds make the experience downright incredible. In my view, it would be impossible not to enjoy driving this vehicle.
Out on the road, the TSX offers impressive stability. Compared to the 2008 model, it seems like a totally different car. Its increased size has made this vehicle highly competitive with the German brands, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. The previous version of the TSX simply wasn’t heavy enough. With the V6, though, this Acura is back in the game. Decked out with 18-inch tires, the TSX V6 is practically glued to the road. You’ll get no roll except in really tight turns and practically no brake diving. Obviously, a TSX with six cylinders has more weight on the front axles than a TSX with four cylinders. The weight distribution is not ideal, but for the common mortal it shouldn’t pose a serious problem. That said, when pushed to extremes and on turns, the TSX V6 tends to under-steer – but that should only be a problem if you take turns at more than 150 km/hr! Otherwise, it drives solidly, the steering is nicely assisted and the suspension levels out the road admirably. The vehicle also offers superb soundproofing and rolling at 100 km/hr is such a breeze that you find yourself wondering if you’re really going that fast.
Quality as always
Inside, you find the same attention to details as in all Acura products. The fit and trim is exemplary while the choice of materials is adequate. Since this model is wider, the interior is more spacious, with the dashboard looking particularly wide. Brushed aluminium gives it a sporty look, and the two-toned dash adds that missing hint of luxury. The front seats are extremely comfortable and offer excellent support to both the back and sides. The headrest is cushy, making long drives a lot more pleasant. In the back, however, the report is less positive. Legroom is average, and access to the back seats is made more difficult by the door’s limited range.
The 2010 TSX V6 now has the makings of a true sport sedan. It gives the German vehicles in its category some serious competition while being so reliable you’d think it was up to any challenge. The design has been improved, the dimensions beefed up, and the engine now offers that much-needed wow factor. What more could you want?