While I am more of a small car person, I was encouraged to get a larger, more family friendly vehicle instead of the Mazda 2. When my mother announced she was buying a brand new Honda CRV and asked me to sell her 2004 Acura TSX, an opportunity presented itself. I could take on the larger Acura as I felt it had plenty of life left in it, plus it was the more fun-to-drive manual transmission version.
My mother had bought this TSX back in 2005 as a lightly used car so I knew the history for almost all its life. She had kept up with all the maintenance at the dealership with a few big dollar items along the way like a new clutch. Like any used vehicle it did have a few cosmetic issues like scratches and scrapes as well as a fender that needed to be popped back in.
After my usual after-purchase cleaning, the interior looked like new again.
The engine is a 2.4L KA24 inline four cylinder with a 7100 rpm redline and hooked to a six speed manual gearbox. This not a muscle car by any means as you need to rev it, but it is quite a zippy engine.
The Acura had a wind deflector that I did not care for on it. It was not long before it was removed and sold. I did not get much for it but it boggled my mind that I was able to sell the deflector at all.
Since the deflector had been installed for well over a decade it unfortunately it left a bit of a paint defect that eventually faded a bit. The overall looks were upgraded by its absence.
The biggest issue with the car was that the all season tires were shot. They even self-identified as needing replaced. Luckily it was just about winter, so I was able to toss on the winter tires and delay tire replacement several months. Usually I have been able to source used tires and rims, but not so with the Acura (besides I liked the design of the stock alloys), and so i bought brand new tires for the first time in at least a decade.
The car came with a set of decent winter tires mounted on 16″ (stock is 17″) Honda Accord steel wheels. The taller sidewall meant the speedometer was still correct.
During my ownership the Acura has been quite reliable with the exception of batteries. I have replaced the battery twice now. Each time you have to enter a code to re-enable the radio. The code should have come with the car but must have grown legs and walked away at some point. To get the code for US cars is as easy as entering your VIN into the Acura website. No such luck in Canada as they make you visit the dealership to get the code. Luckily the local Honda one pulled it for me.
If you are thinking two batteries in a short time is too many, then you are correct. The starter was never great on this car and failed to actually start the car a couple times. Batteries and starters seem to be one of the few weak points of the early TSX and mine is no exception. I ordered a new starter and replaced it myself which is pretty involved as it is under the intake. It works again but still takes a while to crank each time.
As of this writing the TSX remains my daily driver providing reliable service. The A-spec factory body kit is quite attractive and the purple/blue color is also very nice.
Batteries are weak on all Honda products….I owned two Honda Elements, the two most reliable cars I ever owned, but play the radio too long while the engine is off or leave interior lights on too long and the vehicle would not start. An overnight on my battery tender would always do the trick though.
Agreed. My daughter has had two Honda Jazzes, er, Fits, and the batteries on both didn’t take much to go flat.
Those Fit/Jazz batteries are extremely small, too. I have been through several, now. Even the aftermarket versions don’t last longer than 3 years.
I have considered these cars a few times, and even came close to buying a lightly used wagon. But some online research revealed that the Honda 2.4 engine seems prone to using quite a bit of oil between changes. I forget if a definitive reason was found, and that was also a bit troubling.
Your car though is quite attractive, I love that blue, a great change from silver or charcoal grey.
Does this car have hands-free-telephone ? On the “Accord” badged version ( mine is an ’08 diesel) when the HFT module fails it slowly discharges the battery. Since we never use HFT we only found out when we left the car in an airport carpark for two weeks…
It does not. I added a bluetooth FM transmitter but that was only lately.
Great looking car, this and the TL of the same era are the best looking Acura’s made, they still look fresh 15 years later.
Quite a nice car. I have a 2003 Accord the same motor and wish it had a stick to take advantage of the torque curve. Still quite peppy though. As to the oil consumption, after 150k maybe 1/2 a quart every 5k while using Walmart high miles full synthetic.
Battery is weak on my 2005 TSX. It turns over slow when it is cold, but it starts every time.
Its been doing this for three years now, so the battery can’t be that weak. I keep waiting for it to die, but it keeps chugging along.
Even with the new battery and starter it is still slow to start but does start ever time now. I dunno, must be just how it is.
I would put a bigger battery in it, remotely mounted in the trunk if it was mine. The batteries that come in these is barely suitable for a motorcycle.
From the picture of the starter, it too looks barely suitable for a motorcycle.
For the sake of fuel economy, ie lower weight, Honda typically uses small batteries. So yes even a new, quality battery won’t run the radio or lights too long if the engine isn’t running. The OE ones are particularly bad as they are even lighter, ie have less plate surface, than is the norm for the particular battery size.
Some applications do have room in the tray for a larger battery size and that will buy you more time. Quality and where the battery fits into that brand’s pricing/warranty structure also have a big influence on how long it will last.
Yup. The original battery on our 2013 TSX lasted barely a year, although it had been dead sitting at the dealer for very long time. The replacement Interstate just went bad very recently, not quite five years. Oh well. It’s the only thing that has gone bad, so I’m not going to complain too much.
The tray does not allow for a large battery in the TSX unfortunately.
I can see from your photo that the width between the battery clamp bolts is much greater than the width of your battery. For the record, my diesel version packs an 80AH battery in that space.
From memory there is a substructure under there that would have be to be removed/modified to fit a larger one.
Excellent choice David. Not surprised at all your TSX has been so reliable. I am a bit surprised your COALs have become larger, more ‘posh’ and mainstream. 🙂 I’ve enjoyed your wide interests and eclectic choices.
Given ‘TSX’ is the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada, I’m again a bit surprised the name was retained here.
Was not a plan to move to fancier cars. This one sort of fell into my lap. I think my wife is generally happier without the heaps of junk parked outside. For some reason.
An excellent choice of a vehicle. I have a 2011 TSX Sport Wagon that I absolutely love. But from what I’ve heard the first gen was a bit more fun to drive, especially with the stick. And my battery doesn’t last that long. Mine suddenly one day just died on me last fall, and the dealership told me that it was completely shot. But if that’s the worst thing I have had to worry about in the three years I’ve owned the car, I’m okay with that!
Sweet car; always liked this gen1 TSX. If they had sold the wagon version (European Honda Accord Tourer) I would have looked for a good used one. The size is just right; the gen2 is too wide for my taste.
Brother-in-law totaled his 2003 Cadillac CTS years back and then bought one of these. I got to drive and it was very impressed with the handling, quality and solidity. I’ve owned virtually all of the major car brands at this point in my life with the exception of the German and Korean brands, Chrysler and Honda/Acura. With sedans going by the wayside for domestic brands, and me preferring sedans by far over crossovers, etc. a Honda/Acura is at the top of my list for a future car.
Nice car DS, I know a couple of people with early TSX’s and they just love them. One even traded his in on the last year of the early ones so he could drive one longer.
I’ve only ridden in them, but I really appreciate the low beltline. Can’t get that on any new sedan.