As a part of the TOV's ideal Road Test, we like to put the test vehicle up on a lift to closely examine the underside. It's a part of the vehicle that is easily overlooked, but such an examination can reveal many important things about the characteristics of the vehicle.
In this case, we were able to get a peek underneath the TSX. The first thing we noticed was the attention to aero detail in the underbody. At the front of the car is a lower engine fairing which extends from the bumper all the way to the rear of the oilpan. It's sloped downwards to accelerate the air, causing a low pressure area which should serve to pull air through the radiator as well as through the engine bay. The fairing provides enough coverage that a small service panel cutout is required to gain access to the oil drain plug.
Air deflectors (tire strakes) positioned in front of the tires are also used to keep airflow away from the turbulence caused by the rotating tires. This is now a very common practice for all new Honda and Acura cars.
At the rear of the car, we were somewhat surprised to find that the engineers went so far as to specify an air diffuser. The gradual uptake of the diffuser will serve to smooth and straighten the airflow from the rear of the vehicle. This will mitigate turbulence and reduce overall drag on the car. We are glad to see that Acura has really started to pay closer attention to the benefits of improved aerodynamics.
We then take a look at the exhaust system on the TSX. We see that there is a massive, but short downpipe going into a flex coupling and then into the single catalytic converter. This design may pose a challenge since on other K-series motors we've observed that a long tube header is needed to effect significant gains. We'll have to see how the aftermarket community attacks this challenge.
A close look at the rear suspension reveals an aluminum upright and hub carrier. This reduces unsprung weight, which should improve handling. The rear brake rotors look somewhat undersized to us, especially with the 17" wheels mounted. We had to really look closely at the rear suspension to find the anti-sway bar because it was tiny! On long winding roads, the TSX has great balance, but on tighter corners, a larger aftermarket anti-sway bar would be a great modification to get your TSX to rotate even better.
We see that the TSX is using a Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 all season tire. A tire like this is fine for the average driver, but as enthusiasts, we will make another call to Honda/Acura to provide a Sport wheel/tire package option. A set of summer tires would improve the ultimate grip of the car and further showcase the TSX's great balance. A car such as the TSX really deserves a higher performance tire package.
Watch the videos to hear more details of our evaluation of the underside of the TSX. Please right click on the file and Select Save As to save on bandwidth. Please contact us if you have a site to mirror our videos. Thanks.
TSX Undercar Review Video, Part 1
3.43MB Real V9 file
18.5MB MPEG1 file
TSX Undercar Review Video Part 2
2.16MB Real V9 file
11.6MB MPEG1 file