For 2005, the Acura TSX receives minor changes: there’s a four-way power passenger seat, illuminated steering wheel controls, and an optional navigation system with bilingual voice activation and wheel-mounted controls.

The TSX is based on a global platform used for the European Honda Accord; it’s slightly shorter and narrower than the Accord sold here. It offers an extremely high level of competence and refinement, with firm but comfortable suspension, classic styling, a wide range of convenience items and top-notch materials and workmanship inside the cabin.

Features include dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, auto-off headlamps, leather interior with heated eight-way driver’s power seat and the new four-way passenger seat, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter knob, 360-watt, six-CD system with eight speakers, cruise control, power sunroof, power windows with key-operated up/down feature, tilt and telescopic wheel, and 60/40 folding rear seat.

This is the price point where front- and rear-wheel-drive start to fight it out; the TSX steps into territory also occupied by the BMW 320i, Lexus IS 300, Mazda RX-8 and Mercedes C230 Kompressor. Those all carry some clout, but don’t underestimate the Acura; it’s one of the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars on the road.

The TSX is built in Sayama, Japan.

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