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Acura TSX 1st gen vs TL 3rd gen

 
Old 04-05-2019, 02:31 AM
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Acura TSX 1st gen vs TL 3rd gen

Hello everyone,

(I am not a regular here, and although I tried to read a few posts, please correct/remind me if I do not follow any community guidelines that I am unaware of.)

I have owned two Acura TLs in the past, and loved them. Now I am in the market for a second car, and due to my great experience with them, my eyes turned into TL, and specifically the 3rd gen TL. This is not only about the price point, but also about the design of those year models (I like them much better than later generations). However, since I can't find many "good" and low mileage options for TL, I decided to expand my search to include TSX as well. I had nothing against TSX, just that I had previous experience with TL is all.

Long story short, I have a few questions that I think TSX enthusiasts here can enlighten me much faster and reliably than my own digging on the corners of the internet.

1. While looking for 2004-2008 Acura TL models on craigslist, I have done some reading on the side, and found that 2006-2008 models are recommended more due to an update that has been done on transmissions of TLs starting year 2006. Are you aware of any similar changes / issues with TSX transmissions? If so, I would like to know and limit my search into more recommended model years. source for TL transmission comment: Practical Buying Guide: Acura TL 3rd Generation (2004 ? 2008) - Klipnik

2. What is your general recommendation about TSX? I know it's more of a European Accord for its size, vs TL being American Accord platform, and I don't mind the slightly reduced legroom. And I know that TSX has better handling, while TL has the more powerful V6 that I am very familiar with. But more important for me is reliability. How do you compare the overall reliability of TSX to TL for these model years? For long term use, with typically 100k+ cars at this point, do you think one could be expected to fare better than the other when it comes to long term reliability?

3. The price. I expected to find at least slightly lower prices for TSX (given brand new price differences of TL vs TSX at the time), however, it seems like a 2006 or 2008 TSX commands the same, if not more, price when compared to same years of TL. Is it only about better gas mileage? Or are there other things that I am unaware of that makes TSX more on demand?

4. Off topic, but I would appreciate if anyone has an idea about this can chip in: Since almost all cars in these model years will be 100k+ there's the issue of whether the timing belt has been replaced or not. I know this is a general question- and I do the usual things- ask the seller for records, but if they can't produce them but they say it has been replaced, do you know a way to find this out? I don't prefer to buy from a dealer (yet), as I have been happy buying these cars off craigslist in the past, and I just wanted to ask this in case someone has an idea of how to go about this when buying from private sellers.

Thank you so much.

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Old 04-05-2019, 07:37 AM
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2. reliability... it's a 4 cylinder honda.. it will outlast YOU. Given that it was and will be taken care of.

3. Supply and Demand. Who cares why? yes, it might be because it sips fuel while the thirsty v6 drinks it. Doesnt matter the WHY...only matters that it is in demand, which will command higher prices. i mean, it's EXACTLY why you are looking for a TSX instead of a TL, right? Smaller, more nimble, fuel saver. you're demanding or raising the price just by searching for it!! acar is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it...

4. TSX uses a timing chain.
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Old 04-05-2019, 05:34 PM
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Wow, I didn't know that TSX used a chain. That's great news- one that puts TSX one step ahead of TL in my eyes for used car shopping now..

I have read the forum some more since yesterday, and it seems like nobody is talking about any transmission changes between model years 2004-2008 for TSX. And overall I haven't seen any systematic complaints on transmission, well, for anything for that matter. However, I did see that people recommend 2006-2008 over earlier models (assuming it is the MMC, not necessarily about any reliability issue per se).

Thank you for the response.
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Old 04-05-2019, 05:48 PM
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Great topic! One if my favorites!
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:05 PM
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A few comments:
  • 2006 automatic transmissions in TLs are also suspect, the good years were 2007 and 2008.
  • There have been a spate of recent purchases of low mileage 3G TLs here, one went by today with just 29,000 miles (although it did cost $19,000).
  • The J-Series engine in the 3G is another one of those engines which may well outlast you, however, you do need to drop $1,000 every 105,000 miles to get timing belt and associated hardware changed.
  • The TSX vs TL debate is always a good one; personally I prefer the smoothness and refinement of the TL over the TSX, others may prefer the smaller more nimble car.
  • Some say the V6 is thirsty, not in my experience; with the exception of when I was loaded to the gills, a bike rack and travel container on top, and driving against a really stiff headwind where I only got 22 mpg, the single worst tank of fuel I've gotten in 40,000 miles of driving was a heavy urban tank which netted 25 mpg.
  • The flip side of the last sentence was I've gotten two tanks up in the 35+ mpg range where each tank went over 500 miles on 14+ gallons of gas.
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:24 PM
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I hear you, overall I like TL better too. However, given the age/mileage of the cars from these model years, it is very hard to find a car that I can make sure that the timing belt is replaced (or else swallow another 1k to do it right after purchase) and as you also mentioned, the transmission issue for earlier years limit the search to just 2 model years (07-08) which doesn’t help in car search either. So while I started and will continue looking for a reliable 07-08 TL, I will also look for a TSX without the worry of timing belt or transmission issues.

In other words, generally speaking, TSX seems to me as an “easier used car purchase” compared to TL.

That is, so far nobody here replied with any major “systematic” issues for TSX 1st gen. I’ll keep an eye here as I continue my search.

PS: You mentioned about a specific car purchase. Are there car sales ads posted here or were you referring to a forum user’s experience that’s posted here? I would appreciate if you can direct me to any related sub-forums. thank you .




Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
A few comments:
  • 2006 automatic transmissions in TLs are also suspect, the good years were 2007 and 2008.
  • There have been a spate of recent purchases of low mileage 3G TLs here, one went by today with just 29,000 miles (although it did cost $19,000).
  • The J-Series engine in the 3G is another one of those engines which may well outlast you, however, you do need to drop $1,000 every 105,000 miles to get timing belt and associated hardware changed.
  • The TSX vs TL debate is always a good one; personally I prefer the smoothness and refinement of the TL over the TSX, others may prefer the smaller more nimble car.
  • Some say the V6 is thirsty, not in my experience; with the exception of when I was loaded to the gills, a bike rack and travel container on top, and driving against a really stiff headwind where I only got 22 mpg, the single worst tank of fuel I've gotten in 40,000 miles of driving was a heavy urban tank which netted 25 mpg.
  • The flip side of the last sentence was I've gotten two tanks up in the 35+ mpg range where each tank went over 500 miles on 14+ gallons of gas.
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:40 PM
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:52 PM
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Thank you!! 👍👍

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:57 PM
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Biggest problem with tge 1G TSX is the "black death" A/C compressor in the 2004-05 MY's...
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:46 AM
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I see. I will try to look for 2006-08 models then.

By the way, do any 1st gen TSX models come with back up camera? If not, is there an easy/neat way people add this feature to the car? Do I need to buy a model with Navi if I am planning to do that?

thanks

Originally Posted by Midnight Mystery View Post
Biggest problem with tge 1G TSX is the "black death" A/C compressor in the 2004-05 MY's...
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Old 04-06-2019, 08:36 PM
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Now I limited my search to TL 07 and 08, and TSX 06-08.

I have another question: Are there any major differences in features between TSX models years 2006, 07, and 08 ? Or are these models years identical? How about any differences in reliability between these model years?
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by jackreacher View Post
I see. I will try to look for 2006-08 models then.
They're faster too!

By the way, do any 1st gen TSX models come with back up camera?
No.
If not, is there an easy/neat way people add this feature to the car?
Yes.
Do I need to buy a model with Navi if I am planning to do that?
Yes. Unless you're cool with an aftermarket screen.

thanks
Your welcome.
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Old 04-07-2019, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jackreacher View Post
I see. I will try to look for 2006-08 models then.

By the way, do any 1st gen TSX models come with back up camera? If not, is there an easy/neat way people add this feature to the car? Do I need to buy a model with Navi if I am planning to do that?

thanks
The black death AC compressor problems mostly occur with the 2004 models only. I have had a 2005 TSX since new. It has never had any air conditioning problems.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:49 AM
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my experience with over 5+ TSX and 5+ TL

TSX = better handling, folding rear seats, slightly better mpg (like +2-3 mpg mixed driving on average in my opinion, but +5-7 when compared to a TL Type S), worse sound system, no backup camera, a lot less torque, timing chain, center dash lights and radio lights tend to fail go out and are unfixable, AC compressor usually goes out over time, higher overall resale value in my opinion

TL = notorious cracked dashboard issues, handsfree link (bluetooth unit) fails and drains the battery on pretty much all TLs, 6 speed manual comes with brembo brakes, powersteering leaks but can be remedied with new o-ring if caught early enough, motor mounts wear out prematurely, compliance bushings also wear out quickly, a lot of torque steer (A LOT)

there is more, but it's too late for me to be staying up much longer lol.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by hondeducation View Post
my experience with over 5+ TSX and 5+ TL

TSX = better handling, folding rear seats, slightly better mpg (like +2-3 mpg mixed driving on average in my opinion, but +5-7 when compared to a TL Type S), worse sound system, no backup camera, a lot less torque, timing chain, center dash lights and radio lights tend to fail go out and are unfixable, AC compressor usually goes out over time, higher overall resale value in my opinion

TL = notorious cracked dashboard issues, handsfree link (bluetooth unit) fails and drains the battery on pretty much all TLs, 6 speed manual comes with brembo brakes, powersteering leaks but can be remedied with new o-ring if caught early enough, motor mounts wear out prematurely, compliance bushings also wear out quickly, a lot of torque steer (A LOT)

there is more, but it's too late for me to be staying up much longer lol.
x2...


I just saw a clean 2006 TSX with 92K miles and it's only $5,500.... Pretty cheap in my area...

Last edited by Midnight Mystery; 04-11-2019 at 04:13 AM. Reason: 6not5.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:24 AM
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I am almost always looking for "by owner" listings. this one was listed under the owner section, but it is from a dealer. The used car dealer seems to have high reviews, but not sure if this is a good deal at this price. what do you think? (The issue I have is to find that well maintained, very good / excellent condition car from a private owner. I am not in a rush, but I just want to know your opinion on buying from a used car dealer with some negotiation of course. Is there any advantage to that? Do they give their own short term warranties etc or stand behind the vehicle, such that it would justify paying a couple hundred more?

https://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/ct...863055530.html

By the way if it's a 2008 TL with Navigation, can we assume it has back up camera?
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:28 AM
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I can't see many low mileage cars in my area (New England) yet.. maybe I need to be patient, we'll see..

Originally Posted by Midnight Mystery View Post
x2...


I just saw a clean 2006 TSX with 92K miles and it's only $5,500.... Pretty cheap in my area...
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jackreacher View Post
I can't see many low mileage cars in my area (New England) yet.. maybe I need to be patient, we'll see..
When I shopped for my TL in 2017 I initially restricted my search to For Sale By Owner, and with few exceptions, all I found to look at was a bunch of crap. I extended the search to dealers and discovered the prices were fairly reasonable in that they often had access to the best of the used cars on the market, and then they would go the extra mile and complete missed maintenance items and such, and when factored in, the prices they were asking weren't really higher than if I had bought one of the FSBO units and then cleaned them up. In the end I paid $10,000 for a really clean 2006 TL 6MT from a small used car lot north west of Hartford, CT specializing in higher end used cars; yes, I overpaid a bit, but after looking at roughly 100 cars over a 5-month period, I was happy to write the check.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:42 AM
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This is exactly what I have been thinking... I only looked for a couple weeks now, but I was thinking that maybe the people who take the best care of their cars (dealer maintained etc etc) are less likely to put the car on sale on craigslist. Maybe they just drop the key at a dealer and trade it in. This means some of the best, gently used cars are likely to end up at used car dealer lots, not on craigslist by owner. I know I am generalizing, but I think your story kind of proves my point. What do you think about the craigslist post I linked here? (Assuming timing belt replaced how much do you think is good deal for this one? It looks clean to me, but do you think the mileage is high, considering some of the issues listed above that could go wrong in the car?)


https://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/ct...863055530.html


Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
When I shopped for my TL in 2017 I initially restricted my search to For Sale By Owner, and with few exceptions, all I found to look at was a bunch of crap. I extended the search to dealers and discovered the prices were fairly reasonable in that they often had access to the best of the used cars on the market, and then they would go the extra mile and complete missed maintenance items and such, and when factored in, the prices they were asking weren't really higher than if I had bought one of the FSBO units and then cleaned them up. In the end I paid $10,000 for a really clean 2006 TL 6MT from a small used car lot north west of Hartford, CT specializing in higher end used cars; yes, I overpaid a bit, but after looking at roughly 100 cars over a 5-month period, I was happy to write the check.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jackreacher View Post
This is exactly what I have been thinking... I only looked for a couple weeks now, but I was thinking that maybe the people who take the best care of their cars (dealer maintained etc etc) are less likely to put the car on sale on craigslist. Maybe they just drop the key at a dealer and trade it in. This means some of the best, gently used cars are likely to end up at used car dealer lots, not on craigslist by owner. I know I am generalizing, but I think your story kind of proves my point. What do you think about the craigslist post I linked here? (Assuming timing belt replaced how much do you think is good deal for this one? It looks clean to me, but do you think the mileage is high, considering some of the issues listed above that could go wrong in the car?)


https://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/ct...863055530.html
If I was shopping for an Automatic TL, I'd buy that one in a heartbeat; the price and mileage are a pretty good deal. I used to live a few miles from that dealership and they frequently had some cool cars on the lot.
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