If there is one guarantee in life, I have found that at some point or another everything around you will fall apart. It is just the nature of the beast and any person who has put more than a few miles under their proverbial steel belted radials will no doubt attest to this fact of life. That is, unless they are the type of person who looks at Botox injections as necessary to daily life as a multi-vitamin.
This is less a car review and more a tale of survival, redemption and finding your inner strength. And I owe a 2010 Acura TSX sedan with a super slick 6-speed manual transmission a big thanks for teaching me an important lesson in how to survive adversity. Sound implausible? Read on.
During the week that this magical Acura four door luxury sport sedan was in my possession I was pummeled by a seemingly endless array of personal setbacks. My computer crashed completely taking months of work (and my photos of this car) with it. A day later my cell phone died and then I experienced a really fun health scare. (Thankfully I am okay now…)
There were a number of other challenges that erupted in a never ending array of events that would make any mere mortal want to cower under their silk duvet cover. But if I was the type of person who let adversity like this do that to me I would never have survived being an out and open gay man in a world that wants me to shut my mouth and know my place. Sorry but that’s just not me.
So, when events, people, society or situations try to squeeze the last bits of life out of me I take the things in my life that bring me joy and squeeze every last bit of happy out of them that I possibly can. This is true whether it is a new episode of “Glee” or glorious moments behind the wheel of a car like one precious black on black 2010 Acura TSX.
This is the story of my inspiring love affair with a stylish and fun to drive sport sedan that is, in my opinion, the best buy on the market today. Come on, look at the price. You can either get a fully loaded Camry or have a driving experience more memorable than a moonlit drive with Brad Pitt. Sorry, where was I? I said Brad Pitt and got distracted.
Since I just totally outed myself to you I will also say that the TSX is easily the best automotive accessory to any outfit. It really goes with anything. No, I am serious. You will look flawless getting out of a TSX in a tuxedo, casual khakis and a blue blazer, a fitted Hugo Boss suit or even a pair of shorts with a fitted Nike shirt and aviator sunglasses. No matter what your personal style the TSX will make you look better. This stuff matters. Or at least it should.
Black (and dark colors) really set off the angular, classically masculine lines of the TSX sedan but I have yet to see this Acura in a bad color. It is a rare car design that can pull off any color and the TSX is one of those rare luxury cars. It doesn’t try to look German either nor does it try to look boringly middle of the road (cough*Lexus*cough). It is unmistakably an Acura sedan and is all the better for it.
One of my life mantras is be who you are, say what you are here to say and don’t copy someone else’s style. I think following these rules will get you noticed. By following these rules I think the TSX sedan occupies a stylistic quadrant that is utterly and completely its own.
Again, since I am gay I am going to address some resolute bitchiness that has been leveled at the interior of the TSX regarding the door handles. So what if they aren’t covered in spray on chrome? If spray on chrome implied taste and some sort of design ethos then I guess we have to say that Donald Trump’s spray on pompadour is the pinnacle of forward thinking hair styling. Get over it. They aren’t covered in chrome but they do the job.
Beyond that the ergonomics in the TSX are beyond reproach. The knob located in the center of the dashboard makes it extremely easy to cycle through your iPod songs and is a much smarter location than that spot by your thigh favored by BMW. This way, every time you need to use the knob you don’t have to lower your eyes. Isn’t watching the road kind of the point of these things?
Other than that the leather is of extremely high quality and mixes suppleness with a feeling of real durability. Compare it with the pleather in a $29,000 Hyundai Sonata Limited like the one I am driving now and tell me which one is nicer. This doesn’t even take into account that the leather in my current Sonata tester is seriously purple. Their leather coloring department chief needs to be fired.
Even though my test TSX didn’t come equipped with the Tech Package’s Acura/ELS surround sound system (which also includes in-dash navigation), the standard 360-watt 7-speaker audio system had incredible sound quality when I wasn’t in the mood to listen to the glorious howl of the 2.4 liter 4-cylinder. But more on that later…
Still, if I were buying a TSX with a 6-speed manual I would definitely invest in the Technology Package. It is proven that in-dash navigation systems like the one in this Acura hold their value come resale time. It also saves you from the tacky ignominy of having cheap aftermarket unit power chords draped across your expertly engineered Acura dashboard.
Pricing, Features and Economy
$29,310. That is the price Acura is asking for this exciting, fun to drive, economical, stylish and SEXY four door sport luxury sedan. That is the same price as most every top of the line family sedan on the market today ranging from Hyundai to Kia to Ford to Mazda. Why would you want one of those when you could have an Acura?
You should also take into account that Acura gives you a 4 year/50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty along with a 6 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty which is much better than most of its competition in the family sedan field. But from a driving perspective none of these “options” comes close to “competing.”
The “basic” Acura TSX comes standard with leather, power windows, power door locks, keyless entry, power moonroof, alloy wheels, 360-watt 7-speaker audio, Bluetooth, USB/iPod integration, dual zone automatic climate control, steering wheel mounted audio controls, cruise control and HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlamps that illuminate the road ahead of you with double the force of your average system.
The TSX “recommends” premium unleaded gasoline but does not require it like the optional 3.5 liter V6 engine available with this luxury sedan. EPA estimates are 20 city/28 highway and over the course of a week I averaged 24.7 miles per gallon. That is miraculous considering how I relentlessly abused this jewel of an engine. I’ll just leave it at that and hope Acura doesn’t notice I just said that.
So how did I “abuse” the 2.4 liter 201 horsepower/172 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder that came with my test 2010 Acura TSX? Well, thanks to the snickety smooth 6-speed manual and an engine note that erupts into a banshee wail as it nears the stratospheric 7,100 RPM redline I could not resist driving this sport sedan as if I had just stolen it off a dealer lot.
Beyond my personal fantasies of high speed police chases, the 2010 Acura TSX moves down the road with a fluidity, lightness and athleticism that is at cross purposes with vehicles like the BMW 3-series or Audi A4. Where those sedans feel hunkered down and planted the TSX instead feels like a limber dancer that glides effortlessly around corners and tight back road apexes.
The steering doesn’t have the artificial heft of most German systems but still gives you a delicious sense of what the front wheels are doing and makes it very easy to point and shoot through breaks in traffic. The ride is compliant over bumps but body roll and cornering wallow are nicely muted. The best Hondas and Acuras have terrific ride/handling/steering balance and the 2010 Acura TSX is a perfect example.
When I was behind the wheel of this 2010 Acura TSX I felt like I was in total harmony with the mechanical symphony created by the smooth 6-speed manual and rev-hungry 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine. It may not overwhelm you with brute force at low RPMs but the joy of driving the TSX is that you have to participate in the driving experience.
Everyone has their own level of driving capability but the TSX 6-speed manual seriously flatters most any driver. You will walk away from even the most mundane trip to the grocery store convinced that you could take on the most accomplished WRC World Rally Car champion. Or Nascar. Or Formula One. Well, maybe not NASCAR because they just drive in circles. I still really don’t get the appeal of that but to each their own.
I knew that I was going to survive my own personal ordeals during a special night drive up the Pacific Coast Highway when the song “Dog Days are Over” by “Florence + the Machine” came up on my iPod. The lyrics say it all. “Run fast for your mother/Run fast for your father/Run for your children and your sisters and your brothers/Leave all of your love and your loving behind you /Can’t carry it with you if you want to survive/The dog days are over/The dog days are done/The horses are coming/So you better run.”
Thank you to this 2010 Acura TSX from ensuring that my dog days ended.
How Dog and Kid Friendly is It?
You may not immediately think “dog car” or “family car” when you think of the Acura TSX but given the durability of the interior build and the space on offer it makes a whole lot of sense. The trunk is big enough for a collapsible stroller and diaper bag, although it is kind of a squeeze.
Sure, an Altima may have a bigger trunk and a bit more rear legroom but the TSX exudes coolness from each and every angle. The Altima exudes “rental car” and banality from every angle most especially from the driver’s seat. Just because you are a parent or have a 65 pound boxer dog like me doesn’t mean you have to be a dork. Don’t be a dork. Drive a TSX.
In the classic 1980’s TV show “The A-Team” the character of Hannibal loved to end each episode with the classic line, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Spending a week behind the wheel of this Acura TSX with 6-speed manual I can easily imagine Acura engineers muttering to themselves “I love it when a TSX comes together.” And this is one seriously together luxury sport sedan.
Sadly, only around 5% of TSX sedans are ordered with the 4-cylinder/six-speed manual transmission option. Fine, you may think a luxury car requires an automatic and a V6. You may think that equipping a luxury sedan like the TSX with a 4 banger and a manual transmission is just wrong.
Well, if this Acura TSX is wrong then I don’t want to be right. This TSX not only gave me my happy back during those blissful days behind the wheel but it showed me that by being different you can teach the world a whole new form of bravery and strength. Who wants to live in a world where everything is the same anyway? Not me.
Here’s to all of the people and the cars like this TSX that are wrong in all the right ways.
Vehicle Tested: 2010 Acura TSX (6-Speed Manual Transmission)
Base Price: $29,310
Price as Tested: $29,310
Options on Test Vehicle: None
Engine: 2.4 liter 4-cylinder
Power: 201 horsepower/172 lb. feet of torque
Redline: 7,100 RPM
Transmission: 6-speed manual
0-60: 6.9 seconds (estimated)
EPA Fuel Economy: 20 city/28 highway
Economy as Tested: 24.7 miles per gallon
Runs on: Premium Unleaded (recommended but not required)
Fuel Tank Size: 18.5 gallons
Trunk Size: 12.6 cubic feet
Crash Test Ratings (NHTSA): Front Impact-Five Stars (Both Sides)
Side Impact-Five Stars (Both Sides)
Rollover Protection-Five Stars
Warranty Coverage: 4 years/50,000 miles bumper to bumper
6 years/70,000 miles powertrain
Assembled in: Sayama, Japan
Vehicle Provided by: Acura