2010 Acura TSX V6 Road Test Review

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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The 2010 Acura TSX is much the same as the 2009, except for one important ingredient, the availability of a high-performance V6.  And while that might not seem like much on the outside, it makes all the difference in the world when the pedal hits the floor. 

I was initially concerned the big 3.5-litre would throw this delectably agile four-door off balance, but no worries here.  This is Acura after all, the premium division of Honda… an automaker well known for building cars with superb handling dynamics. 

Too much torque going through the front-wheels challenged early V6-powered Acuras, causing a noticeable tug on the steering wheel when accelerating quickly. The TSX V6 seems to have eradicated the problem, however, so it's just gobs of fun whenever right food hits the mat, and let me attest that it's extremely difficult to remain responsible when behind the wheel. 

The sizeable V6 makes 280hp at 6,200 rpm and 252 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm, which is a lot for a car that only weighs 1,666 kilos (3672 lbs).  The V6 comes standard with a 5-speed automatic featuring manual shift mode and proper paddle shifters behind the steering wheel spokes, optional with the base car, so if you want the ultra-slick close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, a joy to shift, you're going to have to step down to the base engine, itself an excellent performer that delivers a little bit more at the pump too. 

Achieving 10.5L/100km in the city and 7.0 on the highway, the DOHC, 16-valve I-4 beats the SOHC, 24-valve V6 by a marginal 0.8L/100km in the city and 0.4 on the highway if you can keep your foot off the throttle; the V6 gets 11.3L/100km in the city and 7.4 on the highway.  Keep in mind, however, that premium fuel is recommended with both engines to maximize performance and economy, a hefty price to pay at the pump. 

Capable of spinning higher than the 7,000 rpm needed to achieve its 201 maximum horsepower, the 2.4-litre four puts out a healthy 170 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm for a spirited drive.  You're going to have to balance the initial cost difference between the two powertrains, the nominal fuel economy benefit and the minor feel-good environmental bonus for the ability to go like the dickens when you want to.  It's all about priorities so I'll leave it there… you've likely already made up your mind after all. 

There's more however, being that the V6 gets some special suspension tuning that can really be felt.  I mentioned earlier that the big V6 doesn't pose any negatives in the corners, but I'd go even further to say that the car I tested recently actually holds the road better than the 130-kg (287-lb) lighter entry-level TSX.  Of course it makes sense that Acura would make sure its top-line trim level would outdo its lower model, and part of its one-upmanship comes from 18-inch rims on 235/45R18 all-season tires compared to the 17s shod with 225/50R17 all-seasons. 

Like the four-cylinder model above base, opting for the larger engine makes you choose between two flavours, V6 Premium and V6 Technology, the latter which includes everything in the Premium and more; yes, very flavourful indeed.  Go with the Premium and you'll enjoy an upgrade to perforated leather-trimmed seats and trim, with two-position memory for the driver, a really good premium audio system with XM satellite radio and a USB connector, plus automatic xenon headlamps and fogs.  The Technology Package adds a six-disc CD player to that upgraded sound system, a navigation system with bilingual voice recognition, and a reverse camera.  And by the way, the only difference between the four- and six-cylinder models when it comes to these packages is the aforementioned upgrade to18-inch wheels and tires. 

Incidentally, all TSX models come with dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt and telescopic steering, heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, speed-sensing variable intermittent wipers, heated seats (fabric without the Premium upgrade) with 8-way driver and 4-way passenger power adjustment, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front illuminated vanity mirrors on both sides, a powered glass sunroof, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and a decent audio system with single-CD featuring MP3 playback, an auxiliary jack and Bluetooth connectivity.  Also standard are dual front, front side-thorax, plus front and rear side-curtain airbags, plus ABS brakes, traction and stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. 

Those wanting something made-in-Japan will appreciate that the TSX is manufactured in Sayama, and those who want something built in North America can ante up for the larger TL.  The TSX is relatively compact in comparison, measuring in at 4,726 mm (186.0 inches) long, 1,840 mm (72.4 inches) wide, 1,440 mm (56.6 inches) tall, and features a wheelbase spanning 2,705 mm (106.4 inches).  It rides low to the ground at 150 mm (5.9 inches), and sports a reasonably large 357 litres (12.6 cu ft) of trunk space. 

A comprehensive warranty of four years or 80,000 km is normal for the premium class, as is its five-year, 100,000 km powertrain warranty.  The TSX has been a reliable performer in all third-party studies, so it's a good bet for long-term dependability. 

While the base TSX starts at $32,990, the four-cylinder with the same Premium package that comes standard with the V6 starts at $36,290.  That means it only takes $3,500 to move into the $39,790 TSX V6.  A four with the Technology package starts at $39,290 while the same upgrade with a V6 will set you back $42,790.  And Acura should be commended for not penalizing those who want to save on fuel economy while doing their best for the environment, by making these two packages virtually the same on both models. 

All in all, I loved my week with the upgraded 2010 Acura TSX V6.  This is a fabulous little four-door sedan, and factoring in the slight increase in fuel economy with the added performance its V6 offers, plus only a $3,500 initial cost difference, it would be difficult to pass up the larger more powerful engine.  Really, you've got to try it for yourself.  This car is a blast to drive.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Acura, 2010, TSX V6, $30,000 - $39,999,

Organizations: Acura

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