2008 Acura TSX


2008 Acura TSX Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Acura TSX was new.


Performance: 8.1

The TSX's sporty ride doesn't sacrifice comfort, but some test drivers wished for more power than the four-cylinder engine can provide. The Washington Post says that the TSX "boogies big time on the open road," but Car and Driver recognizes, "Modest power versus other cars in class."

Edmunds notes "our only significant beef with the TSX is its lack of beef, or rather low-end torque -- particularly when compared to the small six-cylinders offered in other entry-level sedans."

Acceleration and Power

The TSX has a four-cylinder, 205-horsepower i-VTEC engine that got mixed reviews from test drivers. "The engine is amazingly smooth and effortless," says The Auto Channel, adding: "What a hoot! I love a quick little sport sedan." Motor Week calls throttle response "crisp and immediate. This four-cylinder builds power with the strength and smoothness of a six."

But others are mildly disappointed with the engine's low-end power. Edmunds writes: "The TSX's familiar Achilles heel … continues to be its engine … At low rpm and when taking off from a traffic light, the engine can feel gutless, but once revved past 3,500 rpm toward its 7-grand redline, this VTEC power plant comes to life with an almost turbolike fury." With 164 pound-feet of torque, USA Today says the TSX "is right on horsepower and wrong on torque. Americans buy horsepower but drive torque because it's the stop-and-go power most useful in the USA."

Several note that the engine's strong suit is its fuel efficiency, and the Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2008 TSX with an automatic transmission at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The EPA estimates that the TSX with a manual transmission gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.

Drivers can choose either a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic standard, but many reviewers feel that the TSX is sportier with a stick shift. "Keep the revs up on the manual transmission and the Acura TSX can be tossed from corner to corner with confidence," Autobytel writes. "With the automatic, the TSX just doesn't exhibit the same fun-to-drive characteristics." Edmunds decides, "The manual is better suited to the engine's personality, as the more direct control it provides helps to compensate for the lack of low-end power."

Others don't find the manual transmission indispensable. "We love the six-speed manual transmission as it makes you feel like a pro driver with its short, precise shifts," says Edmunds. "Amazingly, we can't complain much about the automatic either."

Handling and Braking

The TSX's handling left one of the strongest impressions on test drivers, or as Edmunds explains, "Good luck finding a better-handling front-wheel-drive car in the entry luxury segment than the 2008 Acura TSX."

Independent double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link rear suspension combine to give the TSX a ride that MSN and others note as "firm, but not harsh." New Car Test Drive says: "The TSX makes a dancer out of you, and the suspension is your partner. It's heavy for its size, but it's delicate to handle," they state. "It's sweet, but not touchy. It makes you a better driver, not because it requires you to be one, but because it enables you to be. If you can coordinate your hands and feet, and maintain a delicate touch, the TSX will pirouette on a dime for you." In terms of the car's rack-and-pinion steering, Consumer Guide says, "Quick, responsive steering adds to the fun," while Edmunds says that it "responds to commands better than Lassie."

Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes quickly bring the TSX to zero. Reviewers note short stopping distances and good stability during braking. New Car Test Drive notes, "Its brakes will bring you down from triple digits so smoothly and quickly you would never have believed you were up there." Consumer Guide says that the "powerful brakes have excellent pedal feel."

Performance Options

The TSX is available only with a four-cylinder engine, which some reviewers suggest could keep away potential drivers. As Edmunds puts it, "This is a luxury-branded car, and even the Accord can be had with a V6, right?" As Forbes points out, however, the only way to get a V6 is "to upgrade to the Acura TL, which is based on the larger U.S.-specification Accord."

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