2008 Acura CSX Review
This weekend Suz and I came into possession of a new 2008 Acura CSX quite by accident - literally. We were headed up to Ottawa for the long weekend so we took our 2006 Insight into the Acura dealership Friday for it's semi annual oil change. That is where the accident occured. The Acura mechanic admittedly overtightened the nut on the aluminum oil pan - and split it.
Enter the loaner.
We were given a 2008 Acura CSX, built exclusively for the Canadian market, as a loaner. A five hour drive to the Ottawa area was a perfect way to test the car.
Although I plan on being entirely fair, I just want to get the unpleasantries out of the way first. And with that introduction I give you the seats. The heated leather seats in our base model CSX were, hands-down, the most uncomfortable seats I've ever sat in.
How uncomfortable you ask? Imagine sitting in once place for five miserable hours. Now imagine spending those 300 minutes with your ass and your back firmly planted on a rock. It's a heated rock, mind you, but still a solid, painful rock.
I can only imagine what the neanderthal seat designers were thinking when they carved the seats out of stone with their prehistoric tools, then slipped a leather seat cover over top of them. A leather seat cover that was poorly stitched together to boot.
The dash and gauge cluster on the CSX were absolutely, fantastically awesome. It's the same in the Civic, because after all, the CSX is merely a Civic dressed in a Tux. My father-in-law hated the digital display which, to him, was a cheesy throwback to the 80s. And that may be the very reason why I loved it. But either way you slice it, the two-tiered digital gauge cluster is unique.
The steering wheel was nice and small, and gave the car a sporty feel, but there was only one semi-comfortable position for my hands. The cruise and radio controls adorn the spokes of the wheel with nice buttons that click most excellently. Neatly tucked behind the wheel were the paddle shifters which were a nice addition despite the fact they were made of creaky plastic.
The car handled extremely well, and had surprisingly tight suspension which I found to be quite radical. However, I can imagine a lot of people, particularly of the older variety, would find it too stiff. To them I would suggest the Buick dealership down the street.
The radio controls were great big knobs that rotated smoothly and beautifully. Buttons clicked with presicion and gave a feeling of solidness and happiness. The attention to detail was superb, and far outweighed the attention the engineers paid to the big picture.
The cabin was extremely cramped and the parking brake lever was ill-placed as I had nowhere for my right knee to go. In order to see the speedometer perfectly, the tilting/telescoping steering wheel needed to be lowered. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to lower it to, as my knees and legs were in the way. The car was clearly designed for sub- 5'7" consumers.
CSX specs were decent: 155 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0L engine. Actually, the car felt far quicker than these numbers suggest, likely due to the gearing of the 5-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy was surprisingly terrible as we only achieved 11.0L per 100 km as opposed to the 6.5L per 100 kms Acura claims. We were only able to travel 450 kms before filling up. Granted, we were travelling 115 to 120 km/h, however, my 400 hp, all-wheel-drive Talon can travel just over 500 kms on the exact same amount of fuel.
Theoretically, this car should've been awesome, but the reality is, it was not very well executed. Acura will have a tough time selling this car to anyone over 5'7" and larger than 120 lbs. The seats, with no lumbar support, are the biggest downfall and are only tolerable up to about 20 minutes. That being said, the $27,000 CSX is still far more luxurious than the Lexus RX350 I tested a year ago.
I want to give the 2008 CSX higher marks, but comfort is one of the most important things in vehicles and this car is a borderline torture device. So, two Martini-thumbs way up for the amazing dashboard, but two Martini-thumbs way down for the seating, and the tight driver's area.