30 years ago as a young car fan I remember trying to wrap my head around the idea of a luxury Japanese car. Honda was proposing their higher line of cars in a separate brand called Acura.
It wasn’t until the second (and last), generation Acura Legend (1991-1995), did I take notice. Yes I know they made the iconic NSX (which is coming back next year), but honestly I was more enthralled with the Legend than the NSX supercar.
And then the next car that got me from Acura was the second generation TL (1999-2003), I believe it was initially called the 3.2 TL and though it looked a lot like an Sixth generation Honda Accord (1997-2002), it had enough changes to be unique.
It was a great looking car and had enough upgrades that you knew this was no Accord.
The third generation TL (2004-2008 and pictured), is what really got a lot of people’s attention, I have a close friend who has had one for eight years, that thing is indestructible, it has Honda DNA with luxury appointments and unmistakable styling.
I have another friend who bought a first generation Acura TSX (2004-2008), she bought it new in 2006 and still has it, 110,000 miles later, still going strong, these cars really last.
But they are not boring by a long shot.
I got to go on a test drive with a friend looking at a second generation TSX (2009-2014), and it’s a really nice car.
The best word to describe it is smooth, though it’s sporty and can have every option imaginable, it’s a solid car. It’s that Honda infrastructure, the one we tried was a 4 cylinder VTEC engine that felt like a six cylinder.
It rode well, had that solid feel the good Japanese care gives you, its not hard sport like a European car and its not soft like a lot of American cars can be, its right in the middle.
I got accustomed to that in the Mazdas I owned but honestly Honda has mastered the combination of a solid feel, with a sporty stance and a luxury feel and it doesn’t feel like anything was compromised.
Now honestly, if you are used to German or American cars it may not feel right because its an acquired taste but trust me you get used to the reliability.
Its why these car score so high with Consumers Union, JD Power and other organizations that measure reliability metrics as well as performance.
I admit this care have always looked conservative and some of the driving in them is not as inspired as their true sport car counterparts.
But they can go fast, handle well and you get your moneys worth.
You could classify them as Japanese sleeper cars because no one would expect you to fly in one but from my experience with this last TSX, it’s a car made for people who appreciate a good driving car.
This is not just a commuting car, you can enjoy your driving in it, the TSX had paddle shifters like in Formula 1 racing.
The Indy Car racing heritage is not lost on this, all those years Honda has been in open wheel racing shows in this car oh so very subtly.
I would encourage anyone looking to have a nice driving car but it doesn’t scream look at me I have a expensive car, look at Acura, its more than meets the eye.
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Filed under: Cars