Premium compact car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $10,700 – $24,800*


2009 Acura TSX Front


2009 Acura TSX Rear


2009 Acura TSX Interior


2009 Acura TSX Front-2


2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon Front


2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon Rear

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Cabin refinement
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Cargo room (for large items)
  • Navigation-system operation
  • Engine noise (four-cylinder)
  • Rear-seat comfort

TSX is let down by a noisy four-cylinder engine, a cramped rear seat, and, when equipped with the available navigation system, a daunting control scheme. Its 2009 redesign, however, brought meaningful improvements in ride quality without sacrificing the TSX’s excellent handling characteristics. The manual transmission is particularly delightful. The V6 for 2010 was a welcome addition, delivering a refined engine note, great power, and reasonable fuel economy. These virtues, combined with competitive new-car pricing, make TSX a good choice-but strong resale value tends to keep used-car prices on the high side.

Overview

A redesign of Acura’s premium compact sedan for 2009 gave it freshened styling and new features. This front-wheel-drive sedan was Acura’s entry-level car. Featuring Euro-inspired styling that included a new signature “power plenum” grille and bold fender flares, the TSX shared some of its basic design with the European-market Honda Accord. Exterior dimensions grew moderately. The 2009 model was about an inch longer in wheelbase, 2.5 inches longer overall, and 3 inches wider than the 2004-2008 TSX. Interior dimensions were largely unchanged, though shoulder space grew by about 2.5 inches.

The sole engine was a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder teamed with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The automatic included steering-wheel paddles to facilitate manual gear changes; they could be used in Drive mode at any time. The 2009 TSX came in a single trim level that included such standard features as a sunroof, wireless cell-phone link, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. An optional Technology Package, priced as a separate model, included a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather information; a rearview camera; and a 10-speaker, 415-watt surround-sound audio system. Competitors to Acura’s TSX included the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, and Saab 9-3, as well as the Lexus IS and Volvo S40.

Yearly Updates

2010 TSX
A V6 engine became available for the 2010 TSX. Borrowed from the larger TL sedan, the 3.5-liter V6 developed 280 horsepower. Four-cylinder models could have either a manual or automatic transmission, but the V6 mated only with automatic. V6 models got an upgraded automatic transmission with specific gear ratios, along with special suspension tuning and 18-inch aluminum wheels versus 17s for the four-cylinder version. A performance exhaust system for the V6 included dual outlets.
2011 TSX
The 2011 Acura TSX sedan gets slightly freshened styling and powertrain tweaks designed to improve fuel economy. A new 4-door station wagon body style, the TSX Sport Wagon, joins the lineup as well, but is offered only with the four-cylinder engine.
2012 TSX
Sedan versions of the TSX added a Special Edition trim level, which had the same features as the base model but added specific trim both inside and out. The wagon carried on unchanged.
2013 TSX
No major changes for 2013.
2014 TSX
No major changes for TSX’s final year. The TSX and larger Acura TL were both replaced by TLX for the 2015 model year.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Acura’s 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mates with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. For 2010, Acura made a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine available in the TSX sedan, but it came only with the automatic. It was not offered in the new-for-2011 Sport Wagon, which came only with the four.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 201
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 172
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

20/28

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 201
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

21/30

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/214
Engine HP 280
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 254
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

18/27

Road Test

Acceleration scores well with either engine. Manual-transmission four-cylinder models have surprisingly good low- and mid-range punch given an engine that produces its maximum horsepower at a rather lofty 7000 rpm. The 2009 TSX weighs about 150 pounds more than its predecessor but does not feel any slower. Light shifter and clutch action make this premium compact very easy to drive. V6 models make easy work of passing and merging, helped by a responsive automatic transmission.

Fuel economy varies with the engine, as expected. A four-cylinder TSX with manual shift averaged 28.6 mpg in mostly highway driving. A V6 version, also driven mainly on highways, averaged 22.8 mpg. Acura recommends premium-grade gasoline for both engines.

An extra 2 inches of wheelbase compared to the previous generation added more stability to the TSX’s ride. Though it remains firm, bump absorption with four-cylinder models is very good, with little impact harshness. Credit Acura’s prudent tuning of the suspension and use of 17-inch all-season tires rather than larger and/or summer-only treads. The V6 model’s 18-inch tires don’t absorb road imperfections as well, but the ride is still generally composed.

Handling does not take a back seat to ride comfort. This premium compact carves corners with grippy assurance and little body lean. The electronic steering system offers light effort at low speeds but firms up nicely on the highway or through twisty mountain roads. The V6 models suffer some torque-steer wander, but it’s pretty well controlled. Braking action is drama-free, with short and controlled halts, but some test cars have suffered from slightly dull pedal action.

Acura has claimed that better aerodynamics and additional sound insulation reduced noise. That’s true when it comes to wind rush, which is well muted, but the four-cylinder engine sounds loud and unrefined, particularly as its speed rises. In contrast, the V6 has a great performance sound and is nearly silent at cruise. Coarse-surface tire thrum is more intrusive than expected from a premium car.

Gauges are large and easy to decipher at a glance. All TSX models have a center-mounted dashboard screen for audio, climate, and navigation functions. Those controls are all separate from each other and clearly marked, but the screen is prone to washing out in bright sunlight. The navigation system takes study to master all of its functions. Standard voice recognition helps, but any commands must be spoken slowly, loudly, and clearly. Each test TSX has exhibited solid assembly quality with nicely textured trim and plastics. A few interior panels are unappealing hard plastic that looks low-budget, but they don’t detract from the overall ambiance.

Despite an increase in cabin width of about 2 inches, the interior feels cozy overall. Front-seat legroom is good, and even taller occupants have sufficient headroom beneath the standard sunroof’s housing. Seats are nicely bolstered if a bit too firm for ideal comfort. Visibility is good all around, though the outside mirrors are on the small side.

Rear seats are somewhat disappointing, given this vehicle’s longer wheelbase versus its predecessor. Legroom is cramped even if the front seats are not set far back. Fortunately, the angle of the rear seatback prevents the sunroof housing from stealing too much headroom, though taller passengers may find head clearance lacking. Foot space in the back is tight unless the front seats are raised high.

A wide aperture and low deck are thoughtful, but the sedan’s trunk narrows quite a bit between the rear tires, limiting its usefulness for hauling bulky items. Oddly, the trunk has traditional lid hinges rather than compact strut-type units, though they steal little cargo space. Wagons have a one-piece liftgate; power operation is included with the Technology Package. The load floor is low and flat, but it narrows somewhat between the rear wheel wells. Shallow bins under the load floor add a bit more storage space for valuables. In both body styles, storage pockets in all four doors help compensate for the somewhat small glovebox and center console bins.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2010 Acura TSX w/Tech. Pkg., manual

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 3
30%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 57

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.4 185.6 72.4 56.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.6 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 37.0 42.4 34.3
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.4 189.2 72.4 57.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
61.0 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.6 36.9 42.4 34.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 TSX 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Brakes
Description: The original front brake pad may squeal and cause pedal pulsation and/or steering wheel oscillation. Revised pads will be installed along with special V-springs. (2009-10)
Oil consumption
Description: Deposits on oil control rings could result in increased oil consumption. Warranty extension of pistons and piston rings. (2011)
Steering noise
Description: The steering can make clicking noises caused by burs within the steering angle sensor. (2013)
Suspension noise
Description: A clunk can be heard from the front suspension in hot weather. (2013)
Clock
Description: The clock display changes randomly, requiring replacement of navigation unit with remanufactured one. (2006-09)
Fuel door
Description: The fuel door may not release because the rubber spring that pushes it open fails. (2009-10)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.