ACURA TSX 2006
Entry-level luxury, with an emphasis on “entry-level.”
What’s new for the 2006 Acura TSX: Minor intake and exhaust mods boost horsepower to 205. Elsewhere, new wheels, styling alterations front and rear, driver’s seat memory, an MP3 input jack, a Maintenance Minder System, and a faster-thinking navigation system round out the long list of minor enhancements.
For most upscale automakers, small sedans are big business. They get sales numbers, draw in young yuppies, and sometimes serve as the brand’s cool, fast, fun model. Acura likely had these goals in mind when conceiving of the TSX, though they ended up taking a different approach than did most others.
Rather than designing the TSX from the ground up, Acura essentially used a shrunken version of the Honda Accord platform, then tuned the engine, suspension, and tires for an extra dose of performance. The result is a fine-driving, decently entertaining sports sedan, but in a class where excellence is common, “decent” kind of sticks out. For one thing, the TSX’s front-wheel-drive nature has it handling less than a BMW and more like, well, an Accord. Its Accord-sourced engine is two cylinders shy of a full load (meaning six), and compared to others, the TSX is a bit lacking in refinement and low-speed punch. Together, these factors take a toll on the TSX’s legitimacy as a sports sedan.
Performance aside, the little Acura measures up in most ways. There’s a full complement of luxury and safety features (including leather, power seats, sunroof, and stability control); navigation is the only real option. The front seats are great, and the stereo rocks hard (even if it can’t play DVDs like most Acuras). The only drawbacks are the TSX’s somewhat unsupportive back seat, and how the presence of the navigation system complicates the other controls.
Acura is also the most modest with pricing, as the TSX is nearly the only remaining entry-level luxury car that ducks in under $30,000. That might seem like a bargain compared to Lexus, Infiniti, BMW and the rest, but it’s fair to ask if those cars are its real competition. Leather seats and designer labels notwithstanding, the TSX’s hardware and performance are much more in line with cars like the Mazda 3 and Honda Civic Si, which start closer to $20,000.
Still think it’s a deal?