Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Long Term Test: 2012 Acura TSX Special Edition post #4

Fourth update
Mileage: 20,760

Not long after East Brother returned to the west coast, I proposed and experiment: trade cars for a week to see how we would get along with each other's cars. I figured this would be an interesting experiment to try considering the only similarities between my S2000 and his TSX SE are that they were both built by Honda in Japan, and have a six-speed manual transmission. Besides those two similarities, the Honda S2000 and Acura TSX are two completely different machines, built for different purposes.

I went into this experiment knowing things would be very different, so I figured nothing was going to surprise me. Just as expected, there was more space, the cabin was quieter, and the suspension was more compliant. In typical Honda fashion, the transmission was excellent, with a fantastic solid feeling from the shift lever. The lighter clutch took a little to get used to, but again, it was something I expected. So far, it sounds like everything I had expected from transitioning from a two seat roadster to a sedan.

The performance of the TSX SE actually surprised me. Despite having 39 less horsepower and only 10 more lb./ft. of torque than my S2000, the car felt quite brisk. The broader torque curve means the car is much easier to drive on a daily basis. During my daily commute, there was less of a need to downshift to get past slower cars on the freeway. Getting the car off the line from a dead stop felt surprisingly quick and the 2.4 liter inline-four also makes a surprisingly throaty and pleasant sound when hammering on the gas.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the TSX's handling capabilities. Obviously, a four-door sedan with an extra 400-pounds would not be as sharp as my S2000 and I expected as such. For a front-drive sedan though, this car actually handles quite well. Powering onto the 405 freeway via the Hawthorne boulevard on ramp, which is a long right hand sweeper, the TSX felt stable and confident with only a hint of body roll. With a set of decent summer tires, I think the TSX could probably handle as well as a Civic Si or the RSX Type-S.

Overall, I was very pleased with the way the TSX presented itself during the week I had it. On my daily commute, it was comfortable and quiet enough that I never had to adjust the radio volume once I got on the freeway. It provided plenty of power when I needed to make a pass on the freeway and to quickly catch up with the rest of traffic. Admittedly, it was also nice to be able to go out with friends and be able to shuttle them around in relative comfort instead of always having to rely on someone else for a ride. Because my own car can only carry one additional passenger, it does mean I save on gas when hanging out with friends, but it also makes me seem like a mooch.

Going back into my own car after the week was over felt extremely weird. Getting used to the lack of cabin space was surprisingly easy. It was getting used to the transmission that really threw me off. I never realized how heavy the clutch in the S2000 is, or how stiff the gearbox is until I had driven another manual equipped car for a full week. Would I swap my car with the TSX for a week again, or even a longer period? Sure. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen anymore as the TSX has been retired from our long-term fleet and replaced with a car, which we will introduce soon.

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