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2009 Acura TSX

09 TSX

2009 Acura TSX

The all-new 2009 Acura TSX is a good and decent car, reasonably fun to drive and loaded with high-tech gadgets and more room than the outgoing TSX. It’s a smart deal that’s bigger and bolder than ever before. So why that empty feeling after my test drive? Read on. Price range $29,720 – $32,820, EPA fuel economy estimates 20-21 MPG city, 28-30 MPG highway.

Sitting inside the Acura TSX is like visiting Techno Nation. It’s a fine place to be as long as you’ve paid the extra three grand for the technology package. That’s a bit steep, but it’s worth it for the sublime ten-speaker stereo system and navigation system with AcuraLink. From voice commands to weather forecasting to traffic alerts, the navigation system is the centerpiece of a car that stakes its claim to being the most technologically hip and modern entry-luxury sedan available.

NEED MORE SPEED!

If you’re not into these sensory delights, though, chances are good you’ll decide the TSX isn’t quick enough. Its 7.7-second 0-60-mph time (7.2 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and 15.6-second quarter-mile at 89.8 mph are on par with the 2.0T-equipped Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat, but the normally aspirated 2.4-liter’s peaky power band isn’t as friendly as the 2.0-liter turbo’s flat torque curve.

The 2009 Acura TSX is also an easy mark for almost any family sedan with a V6, especially when equipped with the five-speed automatic. We tested a TSX with the five-speed and its 0-to-60-mph time fell to 8.6 seconds (8.3 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). That’s slower than all four of the family sedans in our last comparison test which included the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.

The 240-hp turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-4 in the Acura RDX seems like the obvious solution here. Even the 4,000-pound RDX beats the TSX through the quarter-mile (15.2 seconds at 90.4 mph), so you can imagine the results if the engine had 600 fewer pounds of car to motivate. But the turbocharged engine’s intercooler would have to go up front and that would lengthen the front overhang, and Acura’s designers aren’t up for a car with a big nose.

A more likely remedy will be Honda’s 2.2-liter i-DTEC four-cylinder turbodiesel, already the favorite power plant among European buyers who know this car as their Accord. A turbodiesel engine is indeed coming soon for the TSX, although it won’t be the Euro engine.

Rating: ★★★★

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