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Duke MegaDork
9/25/17 10:08 a.m.
pinchvalve said:

The problem with replacing a 2004 TSX is that it was kind of a high point in Acura Design.  It had some clean, classic lines that were pretty timeless and came before the hideous chrome "beak" that Acura adopted. 

Yeah, that's very true.  We drove a TLX during our first round of tests.  We liked it, and we love the TSX, which has given us practically zero trouble in 13 years of service... but we just didn't love the TLX.  As you say, it's busy inside and out, and not proportioned all that nicely.  This is a distinct trend in Japanese cars lately.  It drove well, but being in it just didn't exude the same feeling as either the Volvo or BMW.  It's trying hard, probably too hard, but it just doesn't quite make it.  It also is effectively limited to a black interior; even though grey theoretically exists, most exterior colors are locked out of it.  And the tan looks like a cheap tan interior - not our cup of tea.

The V6/AWD TLX makes a naturally aspirated 290 hp, but it only makes about 9 more ft/lbs of torque than the Volvo's intercooled turbo 2.0 4 cylinder.  And both horsepower and torque peaks are a lot higher in the rev range.  It didn't feel sluggish by any means, but it didn't have that low-end oomph that a great daily slogger needs.

They also aren't really dealing on the 2018s at all (yet), and we didn't want a 2017 because of the post-facelift model year improvements.  The TLX we wanted would have been $3,000 more than the S60, at least.

Duke MegaDork
9/25/17 12:28 p.m.

Having driven the S60 for a while yesterday on some nice back roads (albeit at relatively low speeds), I think this car is ideally suited to our task.  At 240 hp / 258 tq it gives up 10 hp to the BMW (and about 200 lbs, unfortunately).  But torque is identical, and comes in around 1600 rpm - plus, the hp peak is a bit lower in the rev range.  0-60mph is about 6.3 seconds, which is plenty quick enough for a daily.  The 8 speed automatic shift promptly even in normal mode, and downshifts under deceleration for instant readiness.  In Sport mode, it holds lower gears longer, downshifts earlier, and shifts more firmly.  It takes manual shifting well, or reverts to self-shifting with the revised shift points if you ignore the stick.  No paddles, but that's not a loss in this car.

Ride is very nice, but the car is also reasonably athletic in the corners.  Cornering is pretty flat and it absorbs bumps without disconnecting you from the road.  It carries a little more weight than the BMW and isn't quite as aggressive, but it isn't supposed to be.  Road feel is pretty darn good for electric power steering in an AWD car.

I'm glad we held out for the HID lights.  They are bright, even, and have good cutoff that is clear but not too abrupt.  The best part is, they steer with the front wheels, and that really makes a difference when tested on a quick late-night back road jaunt.  The light is right where you want it, all the time, clear and white.

The Inscription is assembled in China and only exists because of the Chinese market, where being driven is a mark of status over driving yourself.

The interior and exterior fit and finish are great.  The paint is smoother and deeper than the TLX we drove, with less orange peel.  The leather is soft, supple, and handsome.  The seats are very adjustable, and (as others here have said about Volvos) very comfortable and supportive.  The rest of the interior finishes are modern and tactile.  We don't even hate the walnut insets in the door handles and console - they are simple, clean, and suit the car well.  And we hate wood trim in cars.  This is a 2016 picture - the leather is actually a little paler than shown here:

The dash display is all-electronic, and has 3 different themes that emphasize different parts of the information.  You can handle a lot of input via the center stack or the steering wheel, relatively quickly and intuitively.  The sound system is by Harmon Kardon and sounds fantastic at moderate to loud volumes.  At lower volumes the bass tends to roll off a bit too much, and a slightly odd phase-shifted or microchorus overtone creeps into the highs.  I haven't really poked around to see if either of those can be adjusted out.  Neither one is that noticeable, though.

We traded a bit of the outright dynamism of the 330xi for more comfort, convenience, and utility.  Well worth it.

The A3 was clearly made to a high standard of quality, but it seemed to prefer being left alone to hanging out with the likes of us. 

The TLX had good aspirations but suffered from stuffing too much gee-whizzery into a given price point.  It also was that guy who wants to be cool but can't stop himself from showing off all his things that are supposed to impress you.

The Fusion Sport was the high-energy mutt who is good company, but a bit too rough around the edges, and a little bigger than it thinks it is.

Some we considered but ended up being non-starters:

We just couldn't get past the Toyota / Lexus styling.  Same with the Nissan / Infiniti.  The G50 didn't look too bad, but I don't like CVTs, and the price point was not good enough even without that.

The Legacy was too dull, and saddled with the CVT as well.

The Mazda6 looks good, but was a tier lower than we were shopping this time, and FWD only.

So overall the longbed S60 was the best suited for what we wanted and needed it to do.  We're both really happy with the purchase and look forward to having this car around for a long time.

Thanks for everybody's input!  See you in 3 years for my next car.

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