2008 Acura TSX Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
June 27, 2008

The 2008 Acura TSX is far from the freshest sport sedan design, but it remains one of the most sensible and fun-to-drive.

As the experts at TheCarConnection.com put together this review on the new 2008 Acura TSX, they studied the range of available reviews. Then TheCarConnection.com’s editors incorporated their firsthand experience with the vehicle to help assure the most useful review.

The compact, front-wheel-drive TSX sport sedan is the lowest-priced vehicle in the Acura line. The 2008 Acura TSX is equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generating 205 horsepower, and is available with either a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission or five-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission.

Performance is very perky with the six-speed manual, which is one of the nicest, most tactile manual gearboxes, but it's not quite as energetic with the automatic, which is sometimes hesitant to downshift for corners and grades. More expensive premium unleaded fuel is recommended for the 2008 Acura TSX.

The 2008 Acura TSX has a ride that soaks up rough surfaces and potholes alike, and the four-wheel independent suspension brings responsive, nimble handling. Brakes feel just right, and the variable-assist power steering communicates a good feel of the road at touring speeds but makes parking easy.

Review continues below

The TSX's exterior styling is quite simple and conservative yet very attractively proportioned, and the interior follows the same theme. The car's interior was made a little more contemporary in 2006 with a revised steering wheel, gauges, and multi-info display, as well as the use of more matte-metallic surfaces. Seats are firm and supportive for front occupants in the 2008 Acura TSX, with plenty of headroom for all, but backseat passengers will find legroom lacking.

A full complement of comfort and convenience features comes standard on the TSX, even though it may be Acura's "entry level" model. They include a power moonroof, xenon headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, and a Bluetooth hands-free calling interface. The only major option on the 2008 Acura TSX is a voice-activated navigation system that includes points of interest in several categories.

Standard safety features on the 2008 Acura TSX include front side airbags, side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes. The TSX has been crash-tested, obtaining results that are impressive but not in the top tier, with federal tests giving it five stars in frontal impact and four- and five-star results in side impact. The insurance-supported IIHS gave the TSX the top score of Good for frontal impact, Acceptable for side impact, and Poor for rear impact.

7

2008 Acura TSX

Styling

The 2008 Acura TSX features clean, contemporary lines and a high-tech aesthetic inside and out.

While the 2008 Acura TSX may put off those who appreciate tradition, its contemporary styling will appeal to drivers with a high-tech aesthetic.

The CarConnection.com notes only one basic trim for the 2008 Acura TSX. Cars.com reports that the Acura TSX "received a modest makeover for 2006," adding that "nothing has changed for 2008." That said, this source goes on to report that "Acura promotes the sport sedan's aggressive appearance" and notes that "xenon lights sit above lower air intakes that suggest racing brake ducts."

Using a metaphor from a popular television sitcom, Edmunds compares this 2008 Acura to "the classy, refined Charlotte" (from Sex and the City). Kelley Blue Book acknowledges that "some complain the [Acura] TSX is rather basic in its execution," but believes that "its sharp lines and clean appearance will stand the test of time better than some of the more trendy designs currently on the market."

Regarding the interior, Car and Driver describes this 2008 Acura as a "driver oriented cockpit" (but fails to specify in what way); Edmunds describes the "refined yet high-tech interior" as "attractive and well-made." In general, the 2008 Acura TSX "features one of the nicest interiors in its class"; this source notes that "the cabin toes a line between traditional luxury and a modern, high-tech aesthetic."

Kelley Blue Book offers more details, reporting that the Acura TSX's "dash is handsomely adorned with wood or aluminum and soft-touch vinyl and the instrument panel puts on its own light show once the sun sets; it's all truly a work of art."

8

2008 Acura TSX

Performance

The 2008 Acura TSX goes lean on power, but its athletic moves make up for the lack of grunt.

The 2008 Acura TSX offers exceptional handling and good fuel economy, but may be slightly underpowered for some.

According to Cars.com, the "2.4-liter four-cylinder generates 205 hp at 7,000 rpm and 164 pounds-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm." Car and Driver reports that the 2008 Acura TSX "delivers a level of light, accurate feel and eager response that sets the standard for this class" but produced "modest power versus other cars in [its] class," adding that it "needs to spend some time at the gym." Edmunds was less than impressed with the Acura TSX in this regard as well: "our only significant beef with the [Acura] TSX is its lack of beef, or rather low-end torque -- particularly when compared to the small six-cylinders offered in other entry-level luxury sedans. At low rpm and when taking off from a traffic light, the engine can feel gutless." As with earlier models, they say that "The TSX's familiar Achilles heel...continues to be its engine."

Most sources, however, report better performance with this 2008 Acura once the engine reaches the upper rpm range: "revved past 3,500 rpm toward its 7-grand redline, this VTEC power plant comes to life with an almost turbolike fury," says Edmunds. ConsumerGuide confirms this impression, noting "modest power below 3000 rpm."

Car and Driver suggests that a different transmission and some alteration in gear ratios could address this problem: "testers kept wishing for a cog that would summon another 20 or 30 ponies." According to Cars.com, the 2008 Acura TSX offers a choice of transmissions, either "a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic with a manual-shift provision can be installed."

TheCarConnection.com notes that the choice of Acura TSX transmission can have a small, but significant bearing on the fuel economy. ConsumerGuide testing demonstrates that "[the six-speed] manual-transmission TSXs averaged 22.6-30.2 mpg," while "[five speed] automatic versions averaged 26.4 mpg." This source praises the manual transmission, reporting that it offers "light, precise shift/clutch action."

This 2008 Acura nonetheless offers uncommon handling. Edmunds reports that "steering is quick and sharp and responds to commands better than Lassie," while "body roll is kept well under control...compliant enough for those who'll confine their driving activities to commuting and running errands." Consumer Guide adds that the ride is "firm, but never jarring, even on badly cratered pavement," and "body motions are well-controlled," although Cars.com warns that "on urban pavement, potholes produce substantial reactions and the ride gets stiff with considerable body movement."

Braking seems to be less than stellar, according to Edmunds, which describes it as "slightly less impressive, as stopping distances are rather long for this class while pedal feel is lacking in progression."

Nonetheless, Kelley Blue Book is impressed; while the TSX "lacks the 'pit of your stomach' punch," it is still "so well balanced that it almost seems to slice through curves like a knife through whipped butter," thanks largely to its front-wheel-drive layout, which "works well for the TSX, providing excellent traction while being nearly devoid of torque steer."

8

2008 Acura TSX

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Acura TSX has a high-quality interior with ample room for adults.

TheCarConnection.com sees few complaints about the 2008 Acura TSX's comfort and quality.

Cars.com is quite enthusiastic about this year's Acura TSX's "deeply bolstered seats that are upholstered in perforated leather...[offering] excellent support." ConsumerGuide is in accord, praising this 2008 Acura's "firm, supportive seats...bolstered to keep occupants secure in spirited driving," but noting that back-row "leg support is lacking due to a short seat cushion."

Edmunds assures potential buyers that the 2008 Acura's "interior is...plenty roomy, offering almost the same amount of front and rear-seat legroom as the uplevel TL" and says it offers "comfortable seating for four passengers." ConsumerGuide, however, notes that the 2008 Acura TSX's "back row headroom is tight for six-footers," although "there's surprisingly good leg and toe space even with the front seats fully aft."

Cargo space is apparently nothing to shout about aboard this 2008 Acura; ConsumerGuide reports that it is "not bountiful, but good for a compact, and most all the space is usable...cabin storage is just adequate." Edmunds reports that the Acura TSX's "trunk space measures 13.2 cubic feet, a bit below average for this type of car."

Overall, Kelley Blue Book is highly impressed with the quality of the interior, declaring that it is "where the magic begins. The 2008 Acura TSX's interior is clad in the finest materials, far superior to anything in its price range," while ConsumerGuide describes it simply as "quite refined."

Noise levels inside the Acura TSX are minimal; according to ConsumerGuide, "Tire noise intrudes some on coarse pavement but isn't enough to be bothersome. Wind rush is minimal."

9

2008 Acura TSX

Safety

Drivers will have little to complain about when it comes to safety issues on the 2008 Acura TSX.

TheCarConnection.com gives this 2008 Acura TSX above-average marks for safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2008 Acura TSX five stars for front-impact protection and four stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives this 2008 Acura all around marks of "good" for injury protection except in the case of driver "Pelvis/leg" injuries, which receive a rating of "marginal."

Edmunds reports that "the 2008 Acura TSX boasts a long list of standard safety equipment including antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, side airbags for front passengers, and front and rear side-curtain airbags." Cars.com reports that the "side curtain airbags and all-disc antilock brakes are standard," and that "side-impact airbags include a passenger-sensing system" on this year's Acura TSX.

Additional safety equipment available for this 2008 Acura according to ConsumerGuide includes traction control and an antiskid system. Kelley Blue Book says that the Acura TSX's "comprehensive stability and traction control system known as Vehicle Stability Assist, or VSA...will provide you with peace of mind" as well. ConsumerGuide also reports that "all-around visibility is good" in the Acura TSX.

9

2008 Acura TSX

Features

The 2008 Acura TSX has enough standard features to satisfy the most demanding drivers; the voice-activated navigation system is especially good.

TheCarConnection.com finds that the 2008 Acura TSX has plenty of standard and optional features for the discerning driver.

According to Cars.com, standard features for the Acura TSX features "dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and keyless entry."
In fact, Cars.com reports that the Acura TSX for 2008 is "loaded with luxury features" that are user-friendly and ergonomic in design. These 2008 Acura TSX controls are "are straightforward and easy to use, even when equipped with the optional navigation system."

According to Kelley Blue Book, this optional equipment is remarkably simple to operate: "[the 2008] Acura's voice-activated navigation is one of the best in the industry. Not only is it relatively simple to operate, you can vocally ask it to find landmarks, restaurants or gas stations."

Motor Trend reports that the Acura TSX also comes with "sport suspension, power everything, leather, sunroof, primo audio, and dual-zone A/C." The 2008 Acura's "primo audio" as described by Cars.com consists of an "eight-speaker 360-watt premium audio system [that] includes a six-CD changer."

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January 15, 2015
For 2008 Acura TSX

Great sedan for family use

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  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
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The TSX was like an upgraded Honda Accord. I've owned and drove it as a daily driver for 3 years. It was a hand me down from my in-laws. It is peppy and has very good handling. The 2008 was about as roomy as... + More »
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Styling 7.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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