2010 Acura TSX V6 — Review
This 2010 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2013.
By James Tate of MSN Autos
Not even its most ardent fans would say the stock Acura TSX is what you'd call muscular. Sure, its longstanding 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine develops a respectable 201 horsepower, but its rather anemic 170 lb-ft of torque won't exactly burn up the asphalt off the line. Acura agrees with this assessment, which is why the automaker is now offering the 2010 TSX with a decidedly gruntier, 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, borrowed from the larger TL sedan. The added power cuts the car's zero-to-60-mph time down to a hair under seven seconds, and the TSX faithful will be happy to hear that all of the tech goodies — like infinitely adjustable front seats, a beautiful ELS sound system and GPS navigation — are still on hand.
Though the tech package includes features such as a 10-speaker ELS sound system, navigation, backup camera and real-time traffic and weather, the base TSX isn't bereft of electronic goodies. You still get a laundry list of convenience-oriented tech, including dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth hands-free calling, XM Satellite Radio and a premium 7-speaker sound system as standard equipment. You can't fault Acura for standard-equipment coddling.
Acura touts the TSX V6 as the sportier alternative to the 4-cylinder-powered car, and the company says a host of mechanical changes are aboard to back up that assertion. New spring rates and revised dampers are designed to ensure a firmer, more planted ride compared with the lower-rung TSX, and the electronic power steering benefits from new programming that makes the sedan react more quickly to driver inputs.
Under the Hood
As in other Acura vehicles, the center stack is a candy store of buttons, knobs and dials. The result is a system that would be easy to control if it weren't so intimidating. Our guess is that the public at large will stick to adjusting the volume and not mess with any of the other neat tricks, like keying up a 3-day forecast or finding a local spot for some grub, for fear of accidentally launching an intercontinental ballistic missile.
On the Road
Though Acura is proud of the work it's done to the TSX V6's suspension and steering, the changes are nearly imperceptible behind the wheel. The company says there's new programming at work behind the electronic power steering, but the final product is vague and detached, with even the "less sporty" steering of the 4-cylinder offering better feel — perhaps due to the lighter front end. We would like to see a little more precision in a car with this much power. The same can be said of the sharpened suspension — anyone would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the stiffer setup in the TSX V6 and the more luxury-oriented base TSX.
Although Acura would sell about 10 manual-transmission-equipped TSX V6s, we still mourn the lack of a manual gearbox in the car, since the extra power begs for a third pedal. However, the 5-speed automatic is no disappointment. Quick, smooth shifts and rapid, intelligent logic means the car is rarely in a gear other than the one you would choose yourself, particularly when in sport mode.
The TSX V6 excels at being exactly what it is — a luxury sedan. The cabin is quiet and comfortable, with most wind and road noise banished to the exterior of the vehicle, and the suspension copes easily with uneven pavement without upsetting your latte inside. The buttery 5-speed automatic transmission does its job without any drama, and the suite of high-tech gizmos, with or without the available technology package, means the TSX V6 fills an important hole in the Acura portfolio.
Right for You?
James Tate cut his teeth in the business as a race team crew member before moving to the editorial side asSenior Editor of Sport Compact Car, and his work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Automobile, Motor Trend and European Car. When not writing, Tate is usually fantasizing about a vintage Porsche 911.