The first generation Acura TSX amounted to a high-class premium sport sedan that wouldn’t cost owners a fortune to maintain, fuel or repair. Effectively a re-badged European-spec Honda Accord, the popular first-generation TSX was available from 2004 until 2008, inclusive.
Intended to compete with the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series and Lexus IS, the TSX offered up a relatively simple shopping process — as all models came in a front-drive configuration with four-cylinder power.
A 2.4-litre, 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine was standard on all TSX units, and required premium fuel. Five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmissions were available. If you’re looking for V6 power or All Wheel Drive, you won’t find it in a used TSX.
Features included a sunroof, heated electric leather seats, a Bluetooth phone interface, driver computer, navigation, automatic climate control and plenty more. Full power accessories, premium interior trim and high-end audio systems were also on board. The mid-sized sedan offered adequate room for four adults and a ride set up for a nice balance of comfort and sportiness.
What Owners Like: Most first-gen TSX owners report satisfaction with fuel mileage, a slick-shifting manual transmission, great ride and handling balance and plenty of overall value for their money. Styling and interior layout round out the owner-stated positives.
What Owners Hate: Many TSX owners report that wind and road noise levels were higher than expected, and that interior panels may rattle and squeak as the car ages. Some owners wish for more low-end snap from the model’s engine—which needs to be revved fast for maximum performance.
Common Issues: Some owners taking to the Internet to share their TSX ownership experiences report a weak or wimpy clutch that could wear out prematurely. If you’re considering a manual-equipped model, be sure the clutch isn’t slipping or worn out. Note any unwelcomed grinding sounds, and be sure the shifter doesn’t try to ‘pop’ out of gear, too. Have a mechanic check things out if you’re unsure.
Check all electronics, including the memory seats, keyfob, remote trunk release, and all locks and windows. Window regulators and lock actuators were known to be issues on earlier models. Finally, check the headlight housings for signs of discoloration or moisture damage—which may be caused by moisture leaking into the headlight assembly over time.
Finally, if unsure of the model’s service history, be sure to budget for a full tune up and fluid change, just to be safe.
The Verdict: The first-generation Acura TSX looks like a very solid premium used car bet, and one that appears free of any major or systematic driveline problems. Of course, such reliability isn’t usually cheap in the used vehicle marketplace—so expect to pay a premium for your used TSX. If you do, you’ll likely join a largely satisfied group of owners.