THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2009 Acura TSX sedan.
DOWN THE ROAD: The Japanese automaker's entry-level car has been redesigned inside and out. The second-generation TSX boasts a boost in its wheelbase by 1.3 inches, width by 3 inches and overall length by 2.6 inches. However, the front-wheel drive maintains its agility and sportiness, making it a truly energetic car for all occasions.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: Available in four trims, the 2.4-liter DOHC i-VTEC aluminum-alloy inline four-cylinder engine offers 201 horsepower at 7000 rpm and 172 pounds-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. Power is put to the road via a slick 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic with manual-shift capabilities. Suspension is handled via an independent double wishbone in the front and a multilink double wishbone in the rear. Both get coil springs and a stabilizer bar. The car may be able to zip around in peak-hour traffic or cruise on the highway but it does have commendable stopping power. The credit goes to 11.8-inch ventilated front and an 11.1-inch rear solid disc.
LOOK & FEEL: The redesigned TSX sports a fresh-looking grille with a silver-colored bar atop and wraparound projector-style HID low and halogen high-beam headlights with integrated fog lamps underneath. Slip behind the wheel and you will be impressed by the three-spoke and thicker leather-wrapped steering wheel, which also hosts paddle shifters for manual lovers. White-on-black gauges with red needles adorn the instrument panel of tachometer, speedometer, fuel and water coolant readings. The tailored climate and audio controls are cleverly separated. The eight-way power driver and four-way front-passenger seats hold occupants firmly in place. Also standard is a 60/40-split rear seat, dual zone automatic climate control, power moon roof, dash-mounted compass and USB ports for iPod and iPhone.
SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes, Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, front and rear crumple zones, three-point seatbelts for all passengers, front-seat active head restraints, a tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights.
OUT THE DOOR: $28,960, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. The $3,100 Tech Package can fetch you a navigation system, real-time traffic and weather and a 10-speaker sound system with six-disc CD player, among other amenities.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P225/50R17 all season; wheelbase, 106.4 inches; length, 186.1 inches; weight, 3,485 pounds; fuel capacity, 18.5 gallons; highway, 30 mpg; city, 21 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: Sporty is the keyword when it comes to the appeal of the TSX to buyers, especially young professionals. The fun-to-drive car offers snappy performance, sharp looks and an inviting cabin. Its redesign has been timed just right.