2009 Acura TSX: Bigger, More Techie…
The first press event Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show was the unveiling of the 2009 Acura TSX, one of three new models that Acura is introducing this year. Of course, if you followed the Geneva Auto Show, you saw this vehicle in a Honda negligee as the European Honda Accord. The presentation was delivered by Acura Executive Vice President John Mendel, who dated himself a bit as he awkwardly described the car as fitting the “Internet, mp3, iPod, BlackBerry, downloading, YouTube generation who looks to technology to stay connected.”
Whether the YouTube generation will buy the new TSX or not, it looks like an improvement over the aging prior-generation of a car that sells about 30,000 units a year. Mendel stated that the TSX is “more ready than ever to take on the BMW 3 series, the Mercedes C-class, Audi A4 and the Lexus IS.” To accomplish this task, the TSX brings a 201 HP 172 lb/ft i-VTEC 4 cylinder with better fuel economy and dynamic performance to the party. The 2009 is bigger in every dimension, having grown by 3 inches in width and 2.4 inches in length, and according to Acura, completely out-performs its predecessor in acceleration and handling.
At first glance, the exterior of the car is much more substantial than the previous version, with more definition and creased metal throughout. The oversized, faux-race car fenders of the car really stick out, and give the impression of a lower, more powerful car. The front fascia matches the new fleet wide Acura look, and contrasts with the defined hood creases and wide haunches of the car.
The bulk of the presentation was devoted to the enhanced tech features of the TSX, including its new, optional, 10-speaker ELS audio system with DVD-audio (who uses that?) that has been tuned by Grammy award-winning sound engineer Elliot Scheiner. The base TSX gets a 7-speaker system, but includes Bluetooth, XM, and a USB/iPod interface. The optional navigation system features a system called AcuraLink that provides real time weather and traffic information in 76 major metropolitan markets.
Acura is most certainly focused on gaining ground and improving on its sales to entry level luxury buyers. Tech-focused, rather than performance-focused, buyers will probably flock to the TSX because, frankly, 201 HP and 176 lb/ft are not market-leading numbers and Acura is surprisingly not offering a 6 speed automatic to go along with the 6 speed manual. However, the car is good-looking and provides more space, which should make it a good choice for those looking for a mild step up from a Civic or Accord.
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