In winter of 2005/06 I decided to shop for a new four-door sedan. Out of the Lexus IS250, Acura TSX and Volkswagen Jetta GLI I chose the TSX. It met all of my requirements and the fact that it was assembled in Japan was a big plus for me.
January 30th of this year will mark 5 years of ownership with my TSX. In typical blog fashion, I am writing a review to share the ups and downs of owning this particular model. Let’s start with the numbers.
Current Mileage: 75,437
Average Fuel Economy / Range: 26.39 MPG / 280.3 miles
Maintenance Costs (including tires): $3,117.31
Personal Modification Costs: $308.05
All generations of the TSX are based on the European version of the Honda Accord which makes it smaller than the US version of the Accord. Part of the draw to own this car was it’s small, sporty size that still has ample interior room for four adults and their accompanying luggage.
For the past five years almost every element of this car has been easy to live with. The heated leather seats are comfortable and they are still holding up well; for the most part, the ride has always been smooth with the exception of the BFGoodrich Super Sport A/S tires I used as the second set; even with my CT Engineering air intake the car is a quiet operator; and the engine has about as much pep from a naturally aspirated i-VTEC four-banger that you could hope for.
Bumper-to-bumper the TSX has held up surprisingly well. The Alabaster Silver Metallic paint has faired well, even when it was beat by the elements for the first three years of its life. The wheels and suspension have remained tried and true to their stock nature. However, the actual front bumper has been a disappointment. After more than five years of owning my ’01 VW Jetta, the paint on the front bumper took all kinds of shots from rocks, sand and other road debris and looked surprisingly new when I traded it in. Unfortunately, the Japanese-made TSX fails to please in this area. The chrome trim around the grille is peeling (new part is on order as I write this) and the rest of the bumper looks like its taken a hundred rounds from an automatic BB gun. I don’t know if this a plastic+paint marriage from hell or if the TSX has taken more abuse than my Jetta. Whatever the case, be prepared for a respray should you own this model beyond five years.
Even with all of the positives surrounding this car there is one major flaw: the brake rotors. With just 21,445 miles on the TSX I had to have the rotors resurfaced due to severe warping. Just 19,000 miles later, the front rotors were replaced all-together by my local dealer due to warping. After receiving new OEM rotors it wasn’t long until they warped again and to this day I’m still feeling the
good vibrations when I apply the brakes. Acura needs to address this issue immediately.
But enough about the bad stuff, let’s talk about how great this car is. To date, knock on wood, I haven’t had any major issues with the TSX. Since the odometer read 6,348 I have run Castrol Syntec 5w-30 through the heart of the engine. At 15,200 miles I replaced the stock paper air filter with a K&N version. It has been recharged twice since the initial install. One thing I love about this car are the aero wiper blades that bond to the curve in the windshield. I have only replaced the blade inserts one time in five years and they’re still going strong.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the TSX has been a low maintenance vehicle. Based on the numbers above, maintenance costs equate to about $.04 cents per mile. My days usually revolve around a busy schedule so I let my local dealer, Harper Acura, maintain the car which makes the maintenance costs even more impressive in my opinion. One abnormal maintenance item that I ask Harper’s to perform each year is a transmission fluid flush. That may seem like overkill but since I opted for the 5-speed automatic I like to err on the side of caution.
As Car & Driver said, “It’s rare for anyone to emerge from a drive in the TSX spouting anything but superlatives.” After five years of owning this car I have to say that I’m very pleased.