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2010 Acura TSX Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Well balanced package, some fun included. by pharmageek

pharmageek

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Introduction

While the TSX won't take the prize in any single category (power, handling, tech, space), it offers a good dose of all of the above with solid reliability and without a cringe-inducing price tag. The fact that it's fun to drive just makes it better.

Update (24 Nov 2014) - With a few suspension mods and better tires, the fun to drive factor has increased substantially with little impact on daily driveability (though comfort is, of course, marginally compromised). At a little over 63000 miles, the car is tight and rattle free and still drives like new with a maintenance schedule that is somewhat more frequent than what the car's computer requires. This is more due to my obsessive nature than anything else. Fuel economy continues to be 5-10% better than EPA estimates in mixed and highway driving. I plan to keep this car until at least 150K miles and should enjoy every one of them if things continue as they are.

Reviewed: 2010 Acura TSX

4dr Sedan 201-horsepower 2.4L I4 5-speed shiftable automatic FWD

Why the 2010 Acura TSX?

Fuel economy

Surprisingly good fuel economy. Averaging around 27 mpg even with mixed driving conditions and a lead foot more often than not. Beats the EPA estimates easily especially in highway driving where 32+ MPG is possible.

Powertrain performance

Don't let the low numbers fool you. Plenty of grunt for everyday duty (but don't go hauling around a bunch of passengers). Things really liven up when the tach gets north of 5000 RPM. Sounds great up there too.

Front seat support & comfort

Drove 4 straight hours in these seats. They hug in corners and don't leave you butt feeling numb even after long drives. Not many seats out there that are more comfortable (Volvo is one of the makers that comes to mind with better seats)

Handling

This is a front wheel driver, so don't get any ideas of matching a BMW or anything like that. That said, handling is very sharp for a front wheeler with 60/40 front/rear weight bias, and is certainly better than what you'll get with the most common 4-door sedans. Could do with lighter wheels and better tires. I actually take joy rides with her.

Reliability & durability

A total of more than 33000 miles with this car and the only issue of note is a minor rattle that came up that I isolated to the dash gauge cluster cover. My local dealership took care of this under warranty and haven't had any further issues. The engine is a thing of beauty; just give it regular oil and filter changes.

Why Not the 2010 Acura TSX?

Safety & braking

One of the demerits of the TSX. Braking is easily modulated, but generally weaker than average for a near lux car though they are fine for daily road use. Upgrading to better brake lines, pads and rotors goes a long way to remedy this.

Rear seat room & comfort

The trunk space is adequate, but get a hatchback or wagon (or SUV if you're into that sort of thing) if you're going to regularly carrying anything more than the usual grocery bags, suitcases, golf bags, etc. That said, the 60/40 split fold rear seats will allow for surprisingly longish items to fit (managed a 6 foot ladder, barely).

Rear seat room & comfort

The rear seats can be a little tight for people on the tallish side (for me, anything above 5'10"). This can get more complicated with a tall driver/front passenger and tall rear seat occupants.

Conclusion

If you need a practical vehicle that does most things well, but don't want it to say, "I give up on fun," the TSX is worth a close look. Just not at the chrome beak.

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Response from Member6083

11:47 am January 26, 2016

Any recommendations on suspension, tire, and brake upgrades? I have a 2011 myself and would love to put in $2000 or so in upgrades into my car rather than purchase a new one for 10x that.

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Response from pharmageek

1:37 pm January 26, 2016

Glad to share. I'll list my upgrades and prices so you can make your decision based on budget, but for what it's worth, I'd say brakes and wheel/tire upgrade give the best bang per buck. Note that I did some of the work myself which saved a few hundred bucks. Best of luck with the TSX and have fun!

Wheels/Tires: Enkei Fujin (18x8, 50 mm offset) and Continental Extreme Contact DW tires (235/45R18). ~$1500 from TireRack. This combination gives good summer grip and a decent ride with about 8 lb weight savings per wheel which is noticeable.

Brakes: StopTech slotted rotors front and rear with Hawk HPS pads all around and braided stainless steel brake lines. Also DOT3/4 Valvoline brake fluid. ~$750. Improves brake feel and performance by a small but noticeable degree. I would avoid drilled through brake rotors since they decrease overall heat capacity and it's pretty low already with the TSX brake system.

Rear Sway Bar: 22mm UltraRacing rear sway bar (RSB). Progress also makes one that is adjustable. ~$260. I was surprised that just this noticeably improved turn-in response and kept things a little flatter in corners. Good bang for buck add-on.

Suspension: Tein H-Tech springs with Koni Sport yellow shocks (need to buy as a set since either one wihtout the other will not work very well). ~$1000. These I had professionally installed for ~$350. Definite improvement in handling with a modest 1" drop in ride height. However, comes with a somewhat harder ride. I can feel it but prefer it that way, but wouldn't be surprised if it's a bit much for some.

Engine: Dyno tuning with a licensed Hondata tuner. ~$600, but prices seem to vary greatly by location. The engine management software is conservative so I was able to free up about 5 - 8% extra torque and HP (at the wheels) through most of the rev range with just a tune, no other engine, intake or exhaust modifications. If you want more tuning capability, you'll need to buy a K-Pro and ECU through Hondata which will run >$700, but check on the Hondata website. I think things are different with 2011 and up TSXs.

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