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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
the TSX needs to spend some time at the gym
Car and Driver
light, precise shift/clutch action
The TSX's familiar Achilles heel...continues to be its engine
lacks the 'pit of your stomach' punch
Kelley Blue Book
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."
The 2008 Acura TSX goes lean on power, but its athletic moves make up for the lack of grunt.