2005 Acura TSX
Although the styling is rather undistinguished, the 2005 Acura TSX is a very good all-rounder that is fun to drive. As Honda and Acura fans have come to expect, handling is excellent on the Acura TSX, and there is very little evidence of torque steer. The fantastic six-speed box just begs to be used at every opportunity, even though the 200-horsepower engine provides enough lower-end torque to make any change a choice rather than a necessity. Plus, the good gas mileage (21mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway) and California LEV-2 emissions are just icing on the cake.
Moving inside, the front seats are comfortable and supportive, but the backseat is lacking a bit of room, and there isn't a lot of in-cabin storage space. The DVD navigation system is an absolute delight, while the stereo and air-conditioning systems also take full advantage of the touch-screen interface, with simple, large graphics that are easy to see and use in nearly all lighting conditions. Unfortunately, Acura missed the mark by forgoing Bluetooth integration. That said, the price of the 2005 Acura TSX starts at $27,190; our test vehicle, which included the optional navigation system ($2,000), came in at $29,805.On the outside, the 2005 Acura TSX looks bland, mainly due to the excessively thin headlights and taillights. Although the lights may have been an attempt at making the car look wider than it really is (the TSX was originally designed for Europe's narrow roads), they fail to provide a sufficient visual anchor. The interior of the TSX features front heated power seats that are comfortable, with plenty of legroom and good lateral support. Like most leather seats, though, they are slippery, especially under moderate-to-heavy braking. As with most other compact sedans, the rear seats are short on both headroom and legroom. Trunk space is adequate but, like the car, narrow. Fortunately, the 60/40 rear folding seats provide a bit more room if needed. One warning: The navigation system/DVD player is mounted in the roof of the trunk and hangs low enough, where its sharp corners could easily rip soft luggage or badly scratch hard-shell cases, so take care when loading cargo.
From the driver seat, most of the switches and controls are well laid out and easy to use, but when we wanted to use the headlights during the day, we had trouble adjusting the instrument-panel brightness, since it required an awkward reach through the steering wheel. We also didn't like the location of the moonroof control on the lower left of the steering wheel, but we did appreciate the ability to control the stereo, cruise control, and voice-recognition system from the steering wheel. Other electronic goodies on the 2005 Acura TSX include a HomeLink transceiver that can control up to three remote devices, such as a garage-door opener, an autodimming interior mirror, and a heated exterior mirror. There is also a remote entry system that includes window lowering.
The navigation system with voice control is excellent and also provides a touch-screen interface for the climate control and stereo. The 8-inch display is large and easy to see, but we had a bit of trouble when the sun was directly behind us. We found entering destinations to be easy and quick. When we deviated from our route, the computer immediately offered us new directions. After a couple of minutes of familiarizing ourselves with the system, we found it to be quite intuitive; however, it took us some time to get used to the voice-command feature, as we had to memorize a number of specific commands to operate the system well. While we commend the TSX's microphone, speakers, and voice-recognition software, we felt Acura really dropped the ball by not adding Bluetooth phone support to complete the system.