The Truth About Cars » tsx http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 19 Oct 2014 11:58:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » tsx http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Acura’s TL, TSX Out, TLX Coming Next Summer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/acuras-tl-tsx-out-tlx-coming-next-summer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/acuras-tl-tsx-out-tlx-coming-next-summer/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 11:30:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=684642 We’re a bit late on this one, but it’s still worth noting that both the Acura TL and TSX will soon fade into history, and will be replaced next summer by the TLX. Acura’s newest mid-sized offering — slotted between the Civic-sized ILX and the automaker’s RLX flagship (what do these letters mean, B&B?) — […]

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2015 Acura TLX Spy Shot

We’re a bit late on this one, but it’s still worth noting that both the Acura TL and TSX will soon fade into history, and will be replaced next summer by the TLX.

Acura’s newest mid-sized offering — slotted between the Civic-sized ILX and the automaker’s RLX flagship (what do these letters mean, B&B?) — will be underpinned by the current Honda Accord, which will also make the sedan smaller than the TL it will replace; the TSX, underpinned by the outgoing European Accord, will simply be phased out.

Under the hood will be the Honda’s Earth Dreams 3.5-liter V6, which, in spite of the granola name, makes 310 horsepower under the bonnet of the RLX. The TLX will most likely also include AWD, an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and all-wheel steering like the system used in the aforementioned RLX.

Though no price has been given as of this writing, the TLX will make its worldwide debut as a prototype during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show alongside the new Honda Fit, and will be assembled at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio plant.

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Review: 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/review-2012-acura-tsx-sport-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/review-2012-acura-tsx-sport-wagon/#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2012 10:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=445441 So, you want a small, practical wagon with a little bit of Euro flair and luxury pretensions. Unless you’re willing to mix with the rabble in a VW, what are your options? Volvo V50? Dead. Audi A3? Not much time left before it’s discontinued in the USA. Try the BMW 3-Series Wagon if you want […]

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So, you want a small, practical wagon with a little bit of Euro flair and luxury pretensions. Unless you’re willing to mix with the rabble in a VW, what are your options? Volvo V50? Dead. Audi A3? Not much time left before it’s discontinued in the USA. Try the BMW 3-Series Wagon if you want something German.

Everyone knows that Acura products share Honda DNA, but none are so thinly veiled as the TSX sedan and TSX Sport Wagon. While badge engineering has caused decades of problems for General Motors, Acura’s tactic  actually makes sense. You see, the TSX is the European version of the Honda Accord (which thankfully shares essentially nothing with the overweight American Accord). While it would have been cheaper to have just imported the Euro Accord as a Honda wagon (they wouldn’t have even had to swap badges), the Accord in Europe competes with more lofty brands than in America.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

For Acura duty, the only change made to the “Accord Tourer” was grafting the Acura beak onto the existing front bumper molds. Since bumper itself didn’t change, the TSX wears the smallest beak of the family, and honestly, looking at pictures of the enormous logo the Touring wears, the TSX is more attractive. The overall form of the TSX is thoroughly modern, in an angular Cadillac-ish kind of way. The slanted hatchback and rear windows that decrease in size as they head rearward attempt to distract from the fact that the TSX is indeed a station wagon. Acura added a splash of chrome trim around the windows and roof rails so you’ll look trendy and sophisticated on your way to the board meeting with your surfboard on top. While the BMW 3-Series wagon is decidedly handsome, the TSX provides firm competition in the looks department.

Interior

While the dashboard is suitably squishy, some interior plastics are less than luxurious. Haptic quibbles aside, the color palate is what gave me pause. Our tester looked as if it was carved out of a single black piece of plastic. Admittedly it is a nice piece of plastic, and the attention to detail is worthy of any luxury marque. However, I found the monochromatic interior oppressive after a while. The only way to avoid this black-on-black-on-black theme is to buy a red or white TSX (they come with a “taupe” interior). Although the dashboard remains black, the lighter leather makes the TSX a far more appealing place to spend your time. Want a red car with a black interior? That’s not on Acura’s menu. The TSX redeems itself with a low starting price of $31,360, undercutting the 328i wagon by over six-grand. For the price, I’m willing to overlook some less-than-swish door trim. Speaking of trim, base model TSXs get fake wood trim while the upscale “Technology Package” add fake metal trim. While neither faux option is “fauxin” anyone, the wood trim makes the interior a touch more upscale by helping break up the vast expanses of black.

Infotainment/Tech

Acura has long had a reputation for gadgets and buttons and the TSX is no different. Base models come standard with a bevy of features that are optional on other near-luxury brands. Standard features include: xenon headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone integration and a 360-watt, 7-speaker audio system with USB/iPod integration, MP3 compatible CD player and XM radio. There is only one option available, the “Technology Package” which may seem pricy at $3,650, (bringing the total up to $35,010) but it adds a decent amount of kit. In addition to GPS navigation, a  460-watt, 10-speaker sound system with DVD-audio and iPod voice control is also included. The voice command system is a bit less intuitive than Ford’s SYNC, but just as functional allowing you to select playlists, tracks, artists, etc by voice command. Also included in the package is GPS-linked climate control that tracks the sun, power tailgate, backup camera, and XM data services like weather, traffic, etc. My only quibble with Acura’s infotainment system is that it still has not integrated very fully with the rest of the vehicle like BMW’s iDrive. This means that vehicle settings and trip information are solely in the gauge cluster which means more buttons and more menus to learn and navigate.

Drivetrain

Acura has no illusions of run-away TSX Sport Wagon sales. This Acura is destined for a lifetime of good reviews gushing about how exciting wagons are, followed by slow sales. As a result, the 2.4L four-cylinder engine is the only engine on offer. If you need more than the four-pot’s 201HP and 170lb-ft of torque, you’ll need to look at the TSX sedan or to another brand. While sedan buyers can row-their-own, Acura’s 5-speed automatic is the only cog swapper available in the wagon. Acura does include paddle shifters, but the transmission shifts too leisurely to make their use enjoyable and steadfastly refuses to shift to 1st unless you’re traveling at a snail’s pace. Fortunately, the transmission’s software is well suited to the car and leaving it in D or S is more rewarding and lower effort. As with the 2.4L equipped sedan, the wagon is neither slow nor particularly fast, scooting to 60 in 7.5 seconds.

Drive

Acura tuned the TSX’s suspension to be a good balance between road holding and highway cruising, but this is no soft wagon. Out on the road the TSX shines with a tight and willing chassis and excellent Michelin Pilot tires. The combo is eager to tackle any mountain road you might pit it against. Unfortunately the lack of power and lazy 5-speed automatic conspire against the chassis making the TSX something of a mixed bag when the going gets twisty, especially uphill. The TSX’s power steering is quick and fairly communicative, a rarity in this age of numb tillers.

 

During my week with the TSX I ended up taking an impromptu road trip to southern California. The TSX proved an excellent highway cruiser delivering 27-28 MPG on the open highway at 75MPH. The TSX’s combination of good looks, good reliability and simple pricing  make the TSX Sport Wagon a smart choice for those that are practical and frugal. While the BMW wagon has yet to land on our shores for a comparison test, you can bet it will deliver more style, more luxury, and a much larger price tag. The only fly in this cargo hauler’s ointment is the s0-called wagon tax. As you might expect, the base wagon is $1,350 more than the base sedan. What you wouldn’t expect is that by simply checking the only option available on the wagon, this delta increases to $1,900. Yikes.

 

Acura provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gasoline for this review.

0-30: 2.8 Seconds

0-60: 7.5 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 16 Seconds @ 83.5MPH

Observed Fuel Economy: 26.8MPG over 1207 miles

 

2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-001 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-002 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-003 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-004 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-005 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-006 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-007 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-008 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-009 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-010 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-011 2012 Acura TSX Sportwagon-012 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Cargo Area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Cargo Area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Exterior, front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Exterior, side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Exterior, Rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, gauges , Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, audio controls, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, audio controls, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, steering wheel, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, driver's side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Cargo Area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Cargo Area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Cargo Area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Cargo Area, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, Gauges, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon, Interior, Gauges, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura TSX Engine, 2.4L, Photography Courtesy of Honda Motor Company Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Review: 2012 Acura RL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/review-2012-acura-rl/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/review-2012-acura-rl/#comments Sun, 13 May 2012 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=441436 Despite debuting over seven years ago, extensively refreshed in 2009 and nip/tucked again in 2011, the Acura RL remains a mystery. Flagship products usually sell in small numbers, but the RL is one of the rarest sedans in America. This isn’t exactly been a badge of honor for Acura. Overlooked by shoppers who flock to […]

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Despite debuting over seven years ago, extensively refreshed in 2009 and nip/tucked again in 2011, the Acura RL remains a mystery. Flagship products usually sell in small numbers, but the RL is one of the rarest sedans in America. This isn’t exactly been a badge of honor for Acura. Overlooked by shoppers who flock to the cheaper Acura TL and largely forgotten by the automotive press (after all these years, TTAC has never fully reviewed the RL) With a full replacement due next year in the form of the RLX concept, I hit Acura up for an RL for a week to see how a flagship product from a major brand could manage to sell just 56 vehicles in Canada and 1,096 in the USA in 2011. For those who like statistics, the TL outsold the RL by 2,850%. Ouch.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

Like Audi, Acura believes in the “same sausage, different lengths” school of design. The RL’s form combines an angular nose with slab sides, a rounded rear and thankfully, (new for 2011) the most demure Acura beak available. While beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, I find the RL more attractive than the TL (even with the TL’s beak-reduction.) There is a problem however: the RL is only 1.7 inches longer than the TL and rides on a wheelbase that is only .9 inches longer. These identical proportions are only the beginning of the sibling rivalry. Nearly identical proportions aside, the RL has aged well and still strikes an elegant pose that is decidedly more exciting than the sedate Volvo S80.

Interior

Once you sit inside the RL, you begin to understand why the TL gets all the attention. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the RL, it’s just not as flashy. While the TL borrows from the European play book with an interior that could have been carved out of a single piece of black plastic, the RL goes for a more elegant two-tone approach. The only real feature differentiation between the RL and TL can be found in the optional real-wood trim and radar cruise control neither of which are available in the “smaller”  Acura.

Not all is peachy-keen inside however. Automotive interiors age faster than a powder-blue tux and the RL is no exception. Aside from the lack of stitched-dash-love, the fact that faux-tree is standard when even Lincoln gets their trim from the forest is a problem. Acura’s well-known love affair with buttons results in no less than 65 buttons (not including toggle or the joystick controller) within easy reach of the driver. Is that good or bad? I’m torn. Tell us what you think the comment section.

Infotainment

As a statement of how “ahead of the curve” Acura was in 2005, the RL’s 8-inch infotainment system provides all the features a luxury shopper could ask for, from voice control to full USB, Bluetooth and iPod integration. The problem isn’t the functionality, it’s the aesthetics. It’s like un-boxing a new PC only to discover it has Windows XP. It might be  just as fast as a model with Windows 7, and it will do everything you need – it just won’t look as snazzy while it’s doing it.

On the audio front, the Bose system is absolutely top-notch with a very natural balance, crisp highs and a wide dynamic range. Acura continues to push the rare DVD-Audio format in all Acura models. DVD Audio’s discrete 5.1 channel recordings do sound fantastic on the RL, but unlike some of the other luxury systems you can’t play video DVDs on the system at all. Good luck finding DVD-A discs as well. The RL uses Bose Active Noise Cancellation technology to cut cabin noise, while it wasn’t really possible to disable the system, the RL’s cabin is very quiet.

Drivetrain

Beating “sideways” under the hood of the RL is Acura’s ubiquitous 3.7L V6, good for 300HP and 271lb-ft of twist at a lofty 5,000RPM. 300HP may have been a selling point back in 2005, but in today’s luxury market, 300 is where things start, not end. The 3.7’s 271lb-ft is practically meager when pitted against the 350lb-ft cranked out by Lincoln’s Ecoboost V6, not to mention BMW’s twin turbo V8. Rubbing some salt on the wound, the TL’s optional 3.7L engine cranks out 5 more ponies. Ouch. Still, the MKS Ecoboost and S80 T6 are on the high-end of the competition’s scale which, more realistically, includes the GS350 AWD and the Cadillac XTS.

For 2011 Acura updated the RL with a new 6-speed transmission. The extra cog cut the RL’s dash to 60 by almost a full half second vs the 2010 model (5.9 as tested.) Mercedes may advertise a 7-speed automatic and BMW and Audi tout their ZF 8-speed, but let’s be honest here – the E350, 535xi or A6 3.0T don’t compete head-on with the RL. When you scale back the competition to the more natural competitors of the S80, MKS,  GS350 and XTS, the right number of gears for this crowd is six. The 2012 RL is now rated for 17/24MPG (City/Highway) which is 1MPG better than before. Over our 745 miles with the RL we averaged a middling 19MPG. In comparison, Cadillac’s XTS promises to be the most efficient AWD sedan in this size class at 17/28MPG.

Drive

It’s not the acceleration that makes the RL an interesting companion on the road, it’s the handling. Oddly enough, the nearly 4,100lb RL is a willing companion on the twisties thanks to Acura’s “Super Handling All Wheel Drive” system. The AWD system used by Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz employs a traditional RWD transmission with a transfer case sending power to the front. In the GS350 AWD, the end result is massive understeer, excessive for even a large rear-drive luxury car. The XTS, MKS and S80 use a Haldex system, with an open differential in the front and rear and none in the center. Instead of a center diff, there is a clutch pack that can vary the mechanical connection to the rear. When fully engaged, the input shaft of the front and rear differentials are mechanically tied together. Acura’s SH-AWD system on the other hand is far more complicated. By making the rear wheels spin up to 5.8% faster than the front wheels, SH-AWD can essentially shift 70% of the power to the rear, and direct 100% of that rear-bound power to one wheel. If you want to know more about that, check out our video link.

The system’s ability to “overdrive”  the outside rear wheel in a corner makes the RL feel strangely neutral even when pressed hard. While SH-AWD is as close to a miracle worker as Acura can get, sales indicate that the snazzier AWD system isn’t a good reason to spend $6,000 more over the cost of a comparably equipped TL. What a pity.

The RL is perhaps one of the most forgotten and misunderstood vehicles of our time. Looking at the sales numbers, you’d think there was something horribly wrong with the RL. In 2011 only 1,096 RLs found a home meaning even the unloved Volvo S80 outsold it nearly 5:1 and the MKS bested it by 12:1. However, the problem with the RL isn’t that the Volvo, Lexus and Lincoln competition is more modern. The problem is the new TL with SH-AWD. With a thoroughly modern interior and electronics, the TL might have a less capable AWD system, but with a lower price tag it is no wonder it outsells the RL 31:1. Still, if you’re shopping for a $50,000 luxury sedan, the RL isn’t a bad choice, but the new RL couldn’t come any sooner.

Acura provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gasoline for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.31 Seconds

0-60: 5.9 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.4 Seconds @ 97 MPH

2012 Acura RL, Trunk, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Trunk, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, SH-AWD badge, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Acura badge, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Acura logo, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, 3.7L 300HP V6, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, 3.7L 300HP V6, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, beak, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, steering wheel controls, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, steering wheel controls, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, front, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, front, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, rear, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, headlamps, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, gauges, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, gauges, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, infotainment, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, infotainment screen, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, infotainment, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, center console, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, driver's side, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, rear door, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, rear seats, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, center console, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, door, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Interior, dashboard, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, rear 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, front grille, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, wheels, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes 2012 Acura RL, Exterior, wheels, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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New or Used: “Affirmative Action” on a Lease Payout? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-affirmative-action-on-a-lease-payout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-affirmative-action-on-a-lease-payout/#comments Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:41:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423845   Luiz writes: Dear Steve/Sajeev: I am a 35 year old elementary school principal, married with 2 kids (5 and 9), and a certified car nut who thinks and reads about them way too much, and who is a walking contradiction when it comes to cars. Here are some examples: I appreciate older cars from […]

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Luiz writes:

Dear Steve/Sajeev:

I am a 35 year old elementary school principal, married with 2 kids (5 and 9), and a certified car nut who thinks and reads about them way too much, and who is a walking contradiction when it comes to cars.

Here are some examples: I appreciate older cars from my youth that are well-cared for, but I am not mechanically inclined at all, and don’t want to tinker with cars.  I don’t like appliances like CamCords, but appreciate reliable machines.  I dislike car payments, and fully understand the value inherent in keeping a car a long time, but can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a car note, as I’ve sold and bought too many cars to list here, all before their time.  I don’t aspire to own a premium luxury ride like a BMW or M-B, but I sold my last car, a loaded-with-everything-and-a-stick, pristine, 2002 Protege5, with only 52K miles, when I became a principal in March of 2009 and wanted a new car with a bit more prestige.  I know practically all the specs on any car in my price range (can’t go more than 30K max, as the wife has an ’11 Outback we’re happy with and plan to keep till the wheels come off-at least that’s the plan), but I buy cars too quickly.  I could go on and on.

So, in March of 2009, I wanted something sporty, with a tad bit more prestige, that could hold a family of four, and wasn’t too common.  I narrowed down my choices to the TSX, or the GLI/GTI.  Test drove the TSX, liked it.  Test drove the GTI twice, but leased a GLI with DSG as the deal was much better than the essentially-same GTI.  My lease is up in 8 months, and the car has been fantastic, with ZERO issues, and a letter from VW stating that my car’s DSG is covered for 100K miles or 10 years due to similar models having issues.  I also enjoy the car and its performance, which is enough for me, as I live in crowded northern NJ, and take trips into NYC and the outer boroughs from time to time; there’s not much space here to go flat out.  This was my first lease, and the buyout will be 15,000 including tax, for a 3-year-old GLI that will only have about 24,000 miles come March of 2012.  So, should I?

1.  Buy the GLI, which flies in the face of what everyone says (don’t keep a German car, let alone a VW, outside of the warranty period)?

2.  Walk away and buy something cheaper, so I can concentrate on paying down the Outback (I have a SAAB specialist about 3 miles from my house who offers clean SAABs with 2-year warranties, for roughly 3-8K dollars, that I drive by and wonder about)?

3.  Walk away and lease something cheaper (my current payment is $350 a month), knowing that I may have to give up some accessories, power, etc, in order to go down in price?

Please help,
Luiz
Principal / Affirmative Action Officer

(oh, BTW, I’m 6’3,” and it’s quite a bitch to find a car that fits, that isn’t a Chevy Express)

Steve answers:

As someone who was fortunate enough to escape from northern New Jersey, I would encourage you to spoil yourself a bit. The weather sucks. The cost of living sucks. I won’t even mention the horror that is daily commuting to NYC.

I would keep the car. First off you want to get out of the debt trap. At least you pretend to have this goal in mind. So why not do it?

Second, that price is pretty good for a retail transaction. You like the car and know it’s history. Plus VW has seen fit to make up for their recent quality transgressions. To me this all sounds like a winning combination.

Keep it. Pay it. Worry instead about why the title of your work also includes ‘Affirmative Action Officer’. I would fear that more than I would fear any VW.

Sajeev answers:

The buyout on your lease is surprisingly good.  Which makes me wonder if the down payment or monthly bill during the lease were brutal?  But I digress…

Odds are you can get just what you need in a $15,000 Mazda 6 or Camry SE (only the SE) but perhaps that’s more trouble than it’s worth.  Sure these vehicles are sporty and known for far better long-term value, but the time value of your money hunting for one is a difficult number to quantify.

If this is a “keeper” and long-term costs are a concern, you’d be wise to dump the GLI.  I don’t even want to know the cost if the DSG fails at 100,001 miles.  Then again, will you really keep it for that long? And the Camry SE is still a Camry.

Don’t listen to me. Listen to Steve.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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New or Used: Mind Reading and Wagon Lust http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/new-or-used-mind-reading-and-wagon-lust/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/new-or-used-mind-reading-and-wagon-lust/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2011 21:45:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402131 Mark writes: Hi Guys, I read TTAC regularly and am debating what to do about getting a new car. The situation is I had a 2001 Volvo S60 which started experiencing transmission “issues” that the mechanic could not replicate, so I traded it for a 09 Fit to get better mileage. The Fit was an […]

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Mark writes:

Hi Guys,

I read TTAC regularly and am debating what to do about getting a new car. The situation is I had a 2001 Volvo S60 which started experiencing transmission “issues” that the mechanic could not replicate, so I traded it for a 09 Fit to get better mileage. The Fit was an excellent appliance car, but felt a bit tinny after the relative comfort and solidity of the S60. The new Lexus CT200h got me excited and my sister-in-law needed a new car so I sold her the Fit and am awaiting the Lexus. However it appears that actually fitting my kids in the back of Lexus won’t work. What would you suggest as a car? I want good mileage, because I have a city commute, a bit of luxury and reliability with not ridiculous repair costs. I had hoped the Mercedes C300 Estate would come here, but it won’t and BMW has me concerned about repairs costs. Could I be happy with a used Lexus SportCross? Please provide your perspective.

Steve answers:

We can’t read your mind. There is a big part of me that says, “Hey. All this guy wants is a hybrid with a bit more room than the CT200h.”

Then the next little voice says, “My good God! Have we sank to the level of serial numbers when it comes to model names?”

I’m surprised the CT200h won’t fit your kids. I recall test driving last year and thought the rear space was fine. But who knows? Maybe your kids are well over six foot and husky.

The Sportcross also has a small rear seat. Sorry.

As for alternatives… there are dozens to choose from. I happen to like the 2008-2009 Audi A6. It clicks all the buttons of a sporty and comfortable ride and there are plenty of low mileage CPO versions to choose from. You can usually get one of those for a lot less money than a Mercedes C300 or BMW 5-Series and if warranty issues are important to you, the CPO warranty will go a long way.

If you want new only, the Infiniti G25 is a wonderful car that is sitting on dealer’s lots (106 days in inventory). The price will be comparable to the CT200h. It will also give you a lot more real world power than the CT while offering reasonable fuel economy (20/29) and a more spacious interior. Go drive one of those and see if you like it.

Sajeev answers:

Life is full of compromises: the only cars I passionately desire are well out of warranty, making spare parts hard to find at times. So let’s get down to you.

Don’t expect a C300 Estate (if it ever arrives) to be any better than a BMW in total cost of ownership. And forget about pleasing everyone or everything in your next ride, odds are they won’t have the room to play nice with each other. All modern Euro Wagons are for ownership under warranty exclusively, unless you hate your wallet. This isn’t a Caprice-Roadmaster-Panther Love thing: it’s a lament over the USA-centric design of the 1990s Honda Accord Wagon, Toyota Camry Wagon, or Ford Taurus Wagon. I’d love to throw you into an Accord wagon right now: Honda Crosstour FTW?

But if you like the Lexus IS Sportcross, get it! Sure the back seat is smallish, but the real problem is that the latest version is about 6 years old. It will need a host of upkeep to keep it in top shape: tires, hoses, belts, fluids, shocks and who knows what else was worn out by the last owner. Maybe nothing, but I suspect your time value of money is important enough to give you pause on a used SportCross.

Can’t take the heat? Get out of the kitchen and straight to your nearest CUV. Or maybe…the Acura TSX sport wagon: one drive will put your mind at ease and push enough buttons to make you happy for years to come. Or maybe even longer.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Review: 2011 Acura TSX V6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/review-2011-acura-tsx-v6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/review-2011-acura-tsx-v6/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 18:50:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392621 Detroit has a long, sad history of self-delusion when comparing its cars to premium imports. Could you tell the difference between the Ford Granada and the Mercedes-Benz 280SE? Murilee’s take: people on ‘ludes should not drive. But what choice does Buick have? The Regal Turbo I reviewed a few weeks ago lists for $35,185. So […]

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Detroit has a long, sad history of self-delusion when comparing its cars to premium imports. Could you tell the difference between the Ford Granada and the Mercedes-Benz 280SE? Murilee’s take: people on ‘ludes should not drive. But what choice does Buick have? The Regal Turbo I reviewed a few weeks ago lists for $35,185. So they’d prefer that people not compare it to the Sonata 2.0T. Rather, the Acura TSX. And so, ever the agreeable reviewer, I did.

The first-generation Acura TSX lacked the striking good looks of the half-size-larger TL, but it was cleanly styled and wasn’t an unattractive car. The current TSX, with its chrome beak, chunky wheel openings, and fussy detailing? The surprisingly tasteful Buick scores an easy win here. The situation is much the same inside the two cars. The Acura’s cabin, with a faux tech vibe, generally seems less solid and more plasticky (though the door panels are nicely upholstered).

Acuras no longer have remarkably low instrument panels, but visibility from the TSX’s driver’s seat remains at least as good as in the competition. The windshield has a reasonable rake, and its pillars aren’t overly thick. The rear seat is tight and too close to the floor, but this is typical of the class. One place Acuras continue to shine: the front seats are aggressively bolstered yet are also very comfortable. Even though the Buick’s buckets benefit from four-way power lumbar adjustments (compared to two-way manual), they don’t compare.

For the Regal’s uplevel engine, Buick opted for a 220-horsepower turbocharged four rather than a V6. Rumor once had it that the second-generation TSX would similarly receive the RDX’s 240-horsepower turbocharged 2.4-liter four. But it did not. Instead, in its second model year it gained the TL’s 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. A V6 might not be fashionable, but it’s simply better. Especially this one. Responses are stronger and more immediate than with any turbo four, and a lusty soundtrack rivaled by few other sixes (much less any four) encourages frequent trips to the 6,800 rpm redline. Unfortunately, Acura’s excellent six-speed manual is not an option with the V6. The mandatory automatic transmission has an industry-trailing five ratios, but with so much engine to work with and an aggressive “sport” mode this isn’t a major disadvantage. Up two cylinders and down a ratio, the TSX V6’s fuel economy should suffer. But according to the EPA it slightly outpoints the Buick, 19/28 vs. 18/28.

Enthusiasts didn’t often buy the first-generation TSX because of how quickly it accelerated. Rather, they prized its handling. The current TSX has a smaller, sportier steering wheel than GM seems willing to fit to ANY of its cars, much less a Buick. Partly as a result, the TSX’s steering initially feels reassuringly firm and aggressively quick. But it’s all downhill afterwards. Despite its heft, the electric-assist steering isn’t communicative. Partly because 62 percent of the car’s 3,680 pounds reside over the front wheels, understeer arrives early and builds rapidly. Suspension tuning is supposedly firmer than in the base TSX, but it’s still considerably softer than in a TL SH-AWD. So there’s also quite a bit of lean in hard turns. The first-generation car’s tight, precise feel is more present in the Buick.

Though there’s still some tire noise on concrete, the TSX V6 is quieter inside than past Acuras. The quality of the noise that intrudes generally supports the premium branding—the TSX sounds more upscale than the Regal. But, while the TSX V6 filters out pavement irregularities better than the fidgety TL SH-AWD, the Regal rides better still, especially over larger bumps.

Acura charges dearly for the V6: it lists for $36,010. The Technology Package (nav, upgraded audio) adds another $3,100. TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool indicates that, when both cars are similarly equipped, the Buick Regal Turbo lists for about $5,500 less—nearly the same amount the V6 and its attendant plus-one wheels add to the Acura’s price. This is somewhat justified, as the Regal’s acceleration falls closer to that of the four-pot TSX.

Nevertheless, the V6, nice as it is, costs too much. Another $3,705 will get you into an Acura TL SH-AWD. The larger sedan’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive and firmer suspension much more effectively transfer the V6’s power to the pavement and induce grins on the driver’s face. And, if you want a manual, one is offered. For enthusiasts, the TL SH-AWD is the clear choice among Acura’s sedans. For non-enthusiasts, what’s the point of the V6? Same as in the Accord and Camry, I suppose. But American drivers increasingly realize they don’t need the extra cylinders to safely merge onto the freeway.

Ultimately, no mind-altering substances were needed to legitimately compare the new Regal to the Acura TSX. The latter feels stronger and more responsive with its optional V6, but the Buick is priced against the four. The Acura also has better front seats and quicker steering, but in just about every other area the Buick does at least as well, and often better. Most notably, the Regal handles more precisely, rides with more composure, feels more solid, and is easier on the eyes.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t only reflect how good a job GM did with the Regal. Acura’s strategy over the past two decades has been to take whatever qualities led people to buy its cars—and eliminate them. The Integra and Legend nameplates? Gone. Tasteful styling? Communicative steering? Faultless ergonomics? Gone, gone, gone. The glorious V6 and supportive front seats remain, but for how much longer? If Acura had instead built on its early successes, the target posed by the TSX would have been higher.

Suburban Acura in Farmington Hills, MI, provided the car. They can be reached at 248-427-5700.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

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Review: 2010 Acura TSX V6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/review-2010-acura-tsx-v6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/review-2010-acura-tsx-v6/#comments Fri, 15 Jan 2010 17:52:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=341946 Remember the ’86 Acura Legend Coupe, the definition of elegant muscle? Or how about the ’97 Integra Type R, the weekend racer you couldn’t break? These were Acuras that inspired passion, joy, and a special place burned into my long-term memory. Even though it’s been 24 and 12 years ago respectively since I drove these […]

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The V6 that nobody asked for?

Remember the ’86 Acura Legend Coupe, the definition of elegant muscle? Or how about the ’97 Integra Type R, the weekend racer you couldn’t break? These were Acuras that inspired passion, joy, and a special place burned into my long-term memory. Even though it’s been 24 and 12 years ago respectively since I drove these high points for Honda’s luxury brand, I remember them like it was yesterday. In contrast, I drove a TSX V6 a mere three days ago, and already my primary remaining impression of it is a longing for those Acuras of yesteryear. And my memory isn’t even that bad.

I’ve always liked Acuras. At least the idea of them. I don’t demand rear-wheel drive and V8s in my sport luxury cars. I appreciate the Honda work ethic, attention to detail and sense of assurance. The difficulty is, if you like them, you go to the dealership and wonder where they are. The TSX V6 is the perfect example. It’s a Honda Accord with a pretentious snout and three-times the buttons.

YeeshThe interior is Steve Jobs personal Hell. Every necessary button comes with an average of four attendants. I stopped counting at five thousand.Things  look very nice inside, in the current black and silver style, but nothing generates a ‘wow’. Nothing generates a ‘where’ or ‘what’ either, so I shouldn’t complain.

Ergonomically, everything is pretty much at or near where you’d guess it would be. Every switch and knob feels firm but pliable, like a good assistant or yoga trainer. Which is what luxury’s all about in the end.

Based on the European Honda Accord, the TSX exterior design is more crisp than its underlings. Cues like the hip crease are tense and sophisticated, but overall Acura’s design language has a limited vocabulary. There is not enough to give this car – the whole line, really – distinction. There is nothing terribly wrong with the TSX, it’s just not as attractive as, well, everything else in the class (the Lexus ES being the only possible exception.)

On that pretentious snout rests the Acura crest, a stylized caliper, signifying the company’s devotion to engineering. It is rightly placed over the hood. This is where the discipline shows. The V6 is new for 2010, offering the TSX’s first-ever step up from the four-cylinder. The 24-valve, single overhead cam with variable valve timing puts out 280 horses and 254 pound feet of torque. This is not insubstantial. The engine revs freely, effortlessly and on an easy to understand path. And there’s no shortage of grunt, despite the 3700 pounds. tsxv63

The five-speed automatic transmission is equally attentive. As opposed to many competitors, this one is a worthy dance partner, never falling behind or stepping on the wrong cog. Downshifts were on time and correct, without the three-blind-mice effect, bumping around in search of the right gear. The automatic clipped to the four-cylinder actually achieves better gas mileage than the manual.

The V6 also comes with enhanced steering, which feels like they added a couple of clock weights to the standard electronic set up. The result is more satisfying than the over-juiced wheel in the base TSX. It is not better, just heavier. Heavier has a shorter learning curve which makes me wonder if I’d get used to the lighter settings, adapt my driving, and not care after a while.

One thing is certain: the brakes aren’t stopping potential buyers in their tracks. They are simply not as good as most of the competition. While not unsafe, they lack the precise feeling and sheer stopping power this drivetrain deserves.

The fact that the suspension is decent makes the inferior brakes even more disappointing. The car’s roll is minimal, keeping you fairly flat, without making your fillings fly out. The car is waggle free. Combined with the frictionless engine and alert tranny, the TSX is hardly short on fun.

tsxv64But neither are the Audi A4, BMW 3, Mercedes C, Infinity G, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis, Volvo S80 . . . All of which have more personality in one department or another. The TSX is a conservative entry in a broad market segment. So while the car is not bad, it fails to stand out against a dozen direct competitors. And I’m probably forgetting some . . . Oh, right, the V6 Honda Accord, this car’s fraternal twin.

The suspension is assembled from the same components (albeit a tad softer.) The engine lacks a mere eight horsepower, though for that compromise your gas mileage climbs by two (city/highway average.) Though nearly identical in exterior measurements, the Accord offers six more cubic feet of cabin space. It might not be of the useful variety, but that’s not the point. It’s eight grand less (our tester stickered at $38,881) and, in many respects, it’s better.

The TSX’s luxury appointments are just that: appointments. The guts are too similar and style too tame. If you’re fond of Hondas and have more money than you used too, buy a V6 Accord, swap out the tires for a stickier set and donate the remaining six and a half Gs to your favorite charity. You’ll be better off, the world will be better off and maybe, in the long run, it’ll help make Acura better. Till then, thanks for the memories.

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Hate The Honda Crosstour? You’ve Been Heard http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/10/hate-the-honda-crosstour-youve-been-heard/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/10/hate-the-honda-crosstour-youve-been-heard/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2009 19:12:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=333414 No, Honda’s Accord-based Crossover sin-against-nature hasn’t been canceled, but it is being cannibalized (sort of). Acura has announced [via Autoblog] that a TSX Sportwagon will be offered beginning with the 2011 model year. In short, if you begged Honda to bring a Euro-spec Accord wagon to market, your pleas have been answered… as long as […]

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No, Honda’s Accord-based Crossover sin-against-nature hasn’t been canceled, but it is being cannibalized (sort of). Acura has announced [via Autoblog] that a TSX Sportwagon will be offered beginning with the 2011 model year. In short, if you begged Honda to bring a Euro-spec Accord wagon to market, your pleas have been answered… as long as you’re willing to shell out at Acura prices. More information as it becomes available… meanwhile, notch up another promising sign in the Honda column.

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