2009 Acura TSX
2009 Acura TSX. Click image to enlarge

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Acura Canada

Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2009 Acura TSX

Methinks I am experiencing a case of deja Navi.

It probably has to do with the fact that the Acura TL interior design direction is starting to blur its way into yet another Acura model. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, given my first impressions within the cabin of the revamped Oh-Nine TSX, but the Technology Package in this TSX tester does keep you guessing as to what badge you’re wearing on the stern. This week’s 2009 TSX tester is priced at $40,300 with the five-speed automatic. (Pricing shown does not reflect freight, taxes, or regional incentives.)

The Cockpit/Centre Stack:

2009 Acura TSX
2009 Acura TSX. Click image to enlarge

Note to Acura; your multi-function tilt/telescoping steering wheel, while sporting some of the finest switchery available, is starting to look as busy as the bunions tacked onto a full-whack Chevy Silverado wheel. Just because you can find room for it, doesn’t mean you should tack it on. It appears that this problem could be solved, by incorporating smaller tabs into the lower contours of the wheel’s centre, eliminating the bolt-on’s. While we’re keeping tabs on tabs, the steering wheel-mounted keys allow access to audio, cruise control, Multi-Information Display, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and voice commands for everything from Navi to HVAC. Headlamps receive an Auto setting, while delay wipers sport a speed-sensing sweep. The Vehicle Stability Assist/Traction Control combo switch is found to the left of the driver, within good reach. The five-speed automatic uses one manu-mode, with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The gear selection is displayed in the centre of the tachometer sweep. The central joystick of the audio/Navi head unit isn’t quite as intuitive as those enjoyed on Audi and BMW products, though it is by no means cumbersome. A separate stepped switch controls the illumination of the Navi screen, which also doubles as the back-up screen for parking ease. XM satellite radio capability is pre-wired. A six-CD in-dash changer accompanies the ELS 10-speaker audio upgrade. Temperature settings can be tailored individually for driver and front passenger. Heat arrives at the exterior break-away mirrors when the rear defrost switch is engaged. The driver’s door houses power mirror controls, trunk release, Auto Up/Down window panes for the driver and front passenger, and memory settings for two driver’s.

Cubbies!

The locking glovebox does provide a provision for the owner’s literature, though it does seem to command a sizable hunk of real estate. I long for the day when this useful information will somehow be incorporated into the Navi screen, with possibly a solar trickle cell for display purposes when an electrical snafu rears its head.

2009 Acura TSX
2009 Acura TSX. Click image to enlarge

(Oh great; just gave away another million-dollar idea. Flash of Genius 2!) A valet trunk lockout switch is found to the left of the cavity. A flip-top lid hides the front dual cupholder system, with rubberized bladder-style cinchers. A drop-down tray to the left of the driver is flock-lined, and best suited for coin storage. The first of two 12-volt DC outlets is found beneath a soft-eject door, below the HVAC. The second is found within the centre console cavity, which also includes an auxiliary audio input, as well as a USB port. The TSX also sports Bluetooth audio connectivity, for those with aversions to all things cabled. The top of the console door doubles as a sliding armrest. Front and rear doors incorporate a bottle holder cavity, with a dual non-cinched cupholder finishing out the beverage grab duties, revealed when the centre armrest is in place. Front seatbacks include rear storage pockets.

The Overhead:

Mirrors, mirrors, within the car, tell us what your functions are. Let’s start with the interior rear-view mirror, with auto-dimming. (Note the drop-down sunglasses holder.) Vanity mirrors are both lit, though the visors are unable to slide for additional sunshade. What does slide, in an automatic fashion, is the power moonroof, with a proper wind deflector. The upper pane can also achieve an upward tilt.

Seat Treat:

Power to the people! Well, the front seatfront seat people anyway.

2009 Acura TSX
2009 Acura TSX. Click image to enlarge

The TSX driver’s position includes eight ways to boot the glutes, with a manual lumbar bladder, while the passenger gets a four-way ride. The front seats also receive two-step heating. The IS Comfort Dummy, (Now with Extreme Bed-Head!) returned no complaints in the front seat position. The rear positionallowed for good legroom, though headroom for the 5 foot 8 inch Dummy was little more than a balled fist. What assists the rearward seating positions is the seating angle, sure to lull the Dummy, and/or passenger, into restful slumber.

Cargo Embargo:

Don’t let the exterior dimensions fool you; there is an ample 357-litre trunk space within the TSX cargo hold. Here’s the best part: a 60/40 folding seatback goes where few luxo-anythings fear to tread. (That would be the 60/40 folding seatback.) Seatbacks are released from within the trunk only. Tie-downs for cargo netting are in place. Of particular note are specific easy-access panels for rear taillight bulb replacement. (You never get to choose when they’ll burn out.)

Spare Care:

2009 Acura TSX
2009 Acura TSX. Click image to enlarge

The trunk floor incorporates a unique hanger system, to keep it from interfering with removal of the tools and the space-saver spare tire. Acura will change it for you, during the first four years of ownership, with no mileage limit.

The Mill:

Don’t look now, but it appears that an engine in a luxo-deluxo is being allowed to look like an engine. The 201-horsepower 2.4-litre dual cammer is one of the most accessible mills to date for a front-driver, with plenty of applause from local technicians for future service. Fluid fill points are top shelf.

2009 Acura TSX
2009 Acura TSX. Click image to enlarge
The Verdict:

It’s not that often that I utter these words, “I could own this”. The equation that is TSX includes expected luxury, balanced performance, and the bold statement of actually including practicality, instead of assuming that your estate possesses an estate wagon for your Ikea purchases. No one would ever guess that you can actually use it for hauling your stuff. A well-deserved five stars.

Next week: Lexus IS-F

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