First Drive: 2004 Acura TSX – Autos.ca

27 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on First Drive: 2004 Acura TSX – Autos.ca
Acura TSX

March 1, 2003

Los Angeles, California #8211; Dave Gardner, National Manager for Acura Canada, is worried that RSX, EL and Integra owners are looking elsewhere when it comes time to move up to a compact sports sedan. #8220;We want to stop the migration of Integra, RSX and EL owners to European brands,#8221; he said at the North American introduction of the TSX in Hollywood, California.

A quick look around the Honda universe convinced Acura North America representatives that the European/Japanese style Accord (which is completely different from the recently-redesigned North American one) would make a perfect Acura sports sedan#8230;with a few modifications. Acura threw in a 200 horsepower VTEC 2.4 litre four banger, a 6-speed manual with a lightweight magnesium housing, standard 17 inch wheels and performance tires, and added a full complement of luxury interior goodies #8211; and renamed the car, Acura TSX.

#8220;The Acura TSX is designed to attract European intenders who might otherwise shop for cars like the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C240, Lexus IS300, Saab 9-3 or VW Passat,#8221; said Gardner. #8220;Buyers in this segment want styling, a car that#8217;s fun-to-drive with good handling characteristics.#8221;

Great idea, really. While the European Honda Accord is too small and sporty to be a North American Honda family sedan, it#8217;s perfect as a mid-range Acura sports sedan. And though it is smaller than our Accord, it is bigger than the current BMW 3-Series #8211; its primary rival according to Gardner.

Acura TSX

Typical buyers for the TSX, says Gardner, are 35 year old males with a university degree and a professional job. Hm, that sounds like just about everybody#8217;s perfect demographic profile. The good thing is that anybody, even fat, old people without a university degree, can buy a TSX if they have about $35,000.

Prices weren#8217;t announced, but they are expected to be in the mid $30#8242;s. The TSX will appear in Acura showrooms on April 7, 2003.

The TSX looks a lot like the 3.2TL #8211; at least in a photo. But up close, it#8217;s smaller and more distinctive, particularly the narrow horizontal rear taillamps. Most of all, I was impressed with the homogenity of the design, and its superb finish. There#8217;s no excess fat on this car #8211; front and rear overhangs are short, the wheels fill the fender wells, and the bumpers look more like 2.5 mph bumpers than 5 mph bumpers (the less bumper, the better in my opinion).

It#8217;s low 0.27 coefficient of drag is the result of its flush side glass, front chin spoiler, special wind deflectors in front of the tires, and underbody covers. Its excellent paint finish and narrow body gaps reveal a high level of quality in body construction (it#8217;s built in Sayama, Japan), and the interior is also extremely well-finished.

My only complaint is that the TSX is not as distinctive as a 3-Series or an A4. I suspect Acura execs decided to give the car a strong Acura brand image by using the signature Acura grille, headlight and bumper design #8211; at the expense of its individual distinctiveness. Yes, everybody will know it#8217;s an Acura, but only a few will know it#8217;s a TSX.

While narrower than a North American Accord, the TSX seats four adults comfortably, and according to Tsuto Sasaki, Deputy Project Leader for the TSX, it offers more interior room and a bigger trunk than the BMW 3-Series. Standard equipment is extensive: the interior comes with a standard 360 watt, 8 speaker sound system with a 6-disc in-dash CD player, perforated leather seats, moonroof, dual zone climate control, power 8-way driver#8217;s seat, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power windows, heated mirrors, cruise control, and for the first time in an Acura, standard side curtain airbags.

And unlike the N.A. Accord, the TSX gets split folding rear seatbacks instead of a single folding seatback. However, Canadian cars don#8217;t get the optional navigaton system because mapping software is not yet available.

Acura TSX
Acura TSX
Acura TSX
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