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Photos: 2009 Acura TSX

Although none of its cabin tech is over-the-top, the 2009 Acura TSX offers a complete roster of useful in-dash gadgets. Its enjoyable driving characteristics make it a great vehicle in a variety of situations, from commuting traffic to road trips.

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CNET Reviews staff
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The TSX sits at the bottom of Acura's line-up, although the cabin tech and interior quality isn't substantially different from the more expensive TL and RL. But the TSX is a slightly smaller car from the others in the lineup and comes with a four-cylinder engine.
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Although Acura considers the 2009 TSX a major update, the car doesn't look drastically different from previous versions. The grille is a bit tighter, but most of the improvements are under the hood or in the cabin tech. Even then, Acura tends to make evolutionary changes to its cars rather than wholesale redesigns.
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We were very impressed with this 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers 201 horsepower, which moves the car quickly, but still gets in the mid-20s for gas mileage.
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The Acura's styling is a basic four-door sedan, without any strong cues. It looks fine, but is fairly nondescript.
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The dual tailpipes give the TSX a sporty look, which isn't undeserved. The suspension is a compromise between comfort and rigidity, not leaning strongly in either direction.
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The interior design is kind of busy, with a two-tone dashboard and separating strip. But we do like the fit and finish in the cabin.
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Acura hasn't reformed the button-happy interface of its cars, with the TSX sporting 16 controls on the steering wheel alone. The lower left holds two sets of voice command buttons, one for the phone system and one for the navigation and audio systems.
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We dig the gauges in the TSX, which use needles suspended from the outsides of the dials. The lack of a center pin allows room for a display on the speedometer. The tachometer face appears strangely blank.
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Our favorite part of the TSX is this six-speed manual shifter, which makes a huge difference in the car's driving feel.
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The instrument panel holds a number of buttons, with the center dominated by a large multifunction knob. There is also a voice command system that duplicates many of the button functions.
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Address entry is somewhat tedious with this interface, as you have to select each number or letter along the arc. Fortunately, it grays out letters or numbers that don't fit the selection in its database.
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Route guidance works well enough, but it doesn't use text to speech, and the map quality is mediocre.
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The green lines next to the freeway indicate free-flowing traffic. A yellow line would indicate traffic moving between 20 and 40 mph, while a red line would mean traffic is moving under 20 mph.
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You can also see a list of nearby incidents on the roads, which can alert you about areas to avoid.
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The weather forecast is a new feature in the TSX. You can see current conditions and the three-day forecast for any city in the U.S.
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The audio system lets you browse folders on an MP3 CD.
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XM satellite radio is part of the audio package and is also the means by which traffic and weather data are delivered to the car.
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For the 2009 model, Acura adds this USB cable in the console. You can plug a standard USB flash drive into it and play MP3 tracks, or plug in an iPod cable.
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The TSX gets Acura's ELS audio system, which is tuned specifically for the car. We like that you can adjust the subwoofer and centerfill speaker.
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The weather function also has a severe weather alert. It shows these advisory notices, along with a map of any severe weather events in the region.

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