The TSX is pretty much standard-issue Acura in terms of acceleration. The engine doesn't have abundant low-end torque, bu the mid-range is strong and the tach needle swings past its 7,000-rpm redline without breaking a sweat. In fact, we stretched each gear out to around 7,300 beore shifting (and after discovering the rev limiter at 7,400). However, despite having such a broad range of useable power, the TSX was well into fourth gear before crossing the quarter-mile mark, proving the car's short gearing. And those expecting a characteristic VTEC rush at high rpms will be disappointed. The developmetn of i-VTEC has softened the engine's high-end punch, giving the drivetrain improved refinement (but reduced excitement) when wound up. Still, (and despite our mediocre acceleration numbers) the level of mid-range torque from this 2.4-liter inline four keeps the TSX entertaining when you hit the "go" pedal.
We've noticed a pattern of less-than-stellar maximum braking performance from Acura products over the last few years. They aren't horrible and they certianly aren't dangerous, but in terms of impressing us with short distances and a complete lack of fade (like most Toyota/Lexus models) the braking performance of Acura (and Honda) products continues to be, well...adequate. The TSX's brake pedal is easily modulated up to a point, but when invoking maximum braking performance the pedal feels stiff and resonds with a healthy amount of vibration (and a more-than-healthy amount of noise). The front-end experienced some dive, and there was a slight pull to the left on each run. We also saw slightly longer distances on each of our three panic stops, but the total stopping distances only went up by three feet over three runs, so heat-induced fade was a minor issue. The numbers themselves were fine, but we expected slightly shroter distances. We should reiterate that when driven on twisty roads the TSX's brakes perform quite well in terms of modulation, feedback and fade resistance, so the above weaknesses really only relate to emergency/panic braking (thus the "Good" rating). IF Acura could improve/refine its ABS system the company's vehicles would do much better in our instrumented testing.
The TSX displayed modest body roll in the slalom, but it was very easy to predict and control when driven at the limit. The car's stability control system is properly calibrated to allow a big of rotation before cutting power (however, our best times still came with the system defeated). Unfortunately, the car's short gearing meant we had to use third gear in the slalom or risk hitting the redline, but in third gear the car was at the lower end of the tachometer--meaning no toruqe to accelerate out of the final cones. There was likely a better time to be had but the lack of torque meant entering the slalom with as much speed as possible, and that made navigating the first few cones tricky. Items like steering feel and suspension dampening were exceptional. A bit more low-end torque (or longer gear ratios) would ahve increased the car's average speed through the slalom substantially. Karl Brauer