Enter the TSX. A key mission of the TSX, as stated by Acura, is to keep roughly 15,000 people per year from leaving the brand. Acura is specifically targeting the type of people who constitute a large percentage of the TOV's audience. These people are in their late 20's to early 30's, about 60% male, college educated, 55% married, and landing a median annual household income of around $80000. In the past they have likely owned a Civic or Integra, and they've likely visited or at least heard of the Temple of VTEC at some point in their life. If they've visited the TOV, then they've likely read the rumors and news page, where I've been personally begging Honda or Acura to bring us a sport sedan for ages. And perhaps they've even chimed in with their opinions on the topic. It seems that Acura has heard us, and provided an answer.
A quick glance at the spec sheet might leave a few people wondering if the TSX is "for real". Sure, we've been calling for a sporty sedan with a manual transmission, and we get that by virtue of an excellent 6-speed in the TSX, but with "only" 200hp on tap in a car tipping the scales at over 3200 lbs, you're excused if you're inclined to yawn. Peeking over the fence at cars whose price ranges overlap the TSX's expected $25k-30k tag reveals that the TSX is somewhere in the middle of the field. The German competition begins at about 170hp, with Japanese competition in the 220-260hp range. In almost any comparison at similar equipment levels, the price advantage of the TSX becomes vast rather quickly.
Another area of potential dismissal might be the drivetrain layout. Acura is fully aware that some people may label the car as a "pretender", simply due to its FF (Front-engine, Front-wheel-drive) layout. Acura is also aware that many people have seen FF cars spanking "superior" FR (Front-engine, Rear-wheel-drive) cars around circuits across the globe (Speed World Challenge, JGTC, Grand Am Cup, to name a few). These people are sophisticated enough to realize that there are many more factors involved in establishing the sportiness of a car beyond "FF vs FR". The Type R Integra, Civic, and Accords have all made a strong case for this argument. And Acura is quick to point out that the TSX is not a replacement for the departed Integra sedan. It is clearly designed as a standalone step-up from the RSX.
On the flip side, the TSX has been endowed with many strong selling points. The combination of exterior styling, interior styling, over the road performance, and equipment levels propel this car into a whole new arena for Acura. Where the US model Accord's exterior styling has been received with mixed feelings, the Euro Accord's (upon which we knew the TSX would be based) debut was greeted with delight from many of our own readers. It makes its way here largely intact, with its muscular stance, excellent proportions, and European detailing mostly intact (those of you who were worried about the marker lamps in the exterior mirrors can relax). The interior of the TSX is also quite fetching. It is styled beautifully, without being overstyled. Restraint has been exercised in all the right areas, while useful luxuries abound. Leveraging its relationship with the mass-market Accord serves the TSX well in this respect. Otherwise, you likely wouldn't find features like dual zone climate control, Xenon HID headlights, HomeLink® transmitter, keyless entry with remote window-down operation, leather-trimmed seats (8-way power driver's seat), and 360(!)-watt audio system in a car that will sell for around $25k, in quantities totaling only 15000 per year.