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2004 Acura TSX Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Owner Pros and Cons by pwcasellini

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Reviewed: 2004 Acura TSX

4dr Sedan 200-horsepower 2.4L I4 6-speed manual FWD

Why the 2004 Acura TSX?

Exterior styling

Clean, understated, almost minimalist design. Dangerously close to the bland/clean line, though.

Powertrain performance

Revs willingly, and I'm pretty sure I've never driven a more satisfying manual gearbox in any other car. Lacking in torque and needs to be wrung out to get any real performance (VTEC switchover happens around 6000, redline's around 7000) and it's pretty easy to bounce against the fuel cutoff under hard acceleration. That said, it makes a great sound and it just feels at home at higher RPMs.

Handling

Pretty well-sorted for a front-drive sprot sedan. Definitely prone to understeer at the limits, and the weight up front is almost always noticeable, but it's very well-mannered up to and including at its limits, and it'll gladly dance with you on off-ramps if you cue up a little liftoff oversteer.

Driving position & visibility

Gauges are excellent, seating position is very well adjustable, gearshift lever falls exactly where your hand should be. Driving cross-country over the course of three days revealed the padding on the door panel armrest to be very minimal, so if you're one to lock your elbow down there on highway drives try to make a note of that.

Reliability & durability

Apart from the lighting behind the radio and climate control buttons, there's not a single thing wrong with it. It's a Honda product from the good old days when that meant implicit quality with no ifs, ands, or buts. (Except for that radio thing, I guess.) It's a 2004 with 143,000 miles as we speak, the last 40,000 of which I personally put on over the last year and a half, and the only sign of its age is some wind noise around the drivers' side door seal.

Why Not the 2004 Acura TSX?

Color choices

Paint seems to age faster than many comparable cars. I've got a bit of orange peeling on upper surfaces, and I've seen a handful of red cars with the misfortune of a pink roof. Also, my black car was stuck with beige leather and burl wood trim, which doesn't really suit the sporty nature of the car the way the aluminum trim basically every other exterior color the car came with does.

Fuel economy

With my admittedly brick-like right foot, I'm lucky to get 24 MPG in mixed driving, which isn't stellar for a 6MT four-cylinder. (With California premium gas, no less.)

Safety & braking

The brakes are where this car falls short. The one big indication that this car was just an Accord for the rest of the world that was substantially tightened up in a few key places for North America. They stop the car, of course, but they lack nearly all communication and are incredibly eager to hand themselves over to the ABS computer if you brake too hard, or hit a brief patch of gravel, or a pothole, or an expansion joint, or...

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