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2009 Acura TSX - Safety Torrance, Calif. - 4/20/2008

INTRODUCTION

The 2009 Acura TSX provides an extremely high level of standard safety equipment. Anchoring this technology is its new Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure (the first time for the TSX), a total of six airbags, and the first use of active front head restraints on the TSX model.

Advanced safety technology
Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) enhances frontal collision energy management through a network of load-bearing front frame structures that increase the likelihood of two vehicles properly connecting during a collision - important if the vehicles are of different sizes with different bumper heights. As a result, the TSX's new ACE™ body structure improves real-world passive safety by maximizing the effectiveness of the front crumple zones as well as by dispersing energy through more load-bearing channels before it reaches the passenger area. With the addition of ACE™ to the TSX, all Acura models now feature this advanced crash energy absorbing technology.

Inside, the 2009 TSX now incorporates new dual-chamber front-seat side airbags with front passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS) and new active front head restraints designed to reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision. These new features compliment a 4-channel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Brake Assist (please see Body & Chassis section), front seatbelts with automatic tensioning system and load limiters, dual-stage/dual-threshold front airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), and an advanced pedestrian injury mitigation safety design for the hood, hood hinges and windshield wiper mounts. Daytime running lights (DRL) and driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders are likewise standard.

Standard safety features include:

Active Safety Systems

  • 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control (Electronic Stability Control)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

Passive Safety Systems

  • New ACE™ body structure
  • 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
  • Front seatbelt load limiters with automatic tensioning system
  • Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags
  • New dual-chamber front seat side airbags
  • Side curtain airbags for all onboard seating positions
  • New active front head restraints
  • Head restraints for all seating positions
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) child car-seat attachment system located in the rear seat
  • Front 5-mph bumper and rear 2.5-mph bumper

ADVANCED COMPATIBILITY ENGINEERING™ (ACE™) BODY STRUCTURE

A major safety advance for the 2009 Acura TSX is its Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. ACE™ makes the new TSX highly effective at absorbing energy during a frontal crash while also helping to minimize the potential for "under-ride" or "over-ride" situations that may occur with significantly larger or smaller vehicles with different bumper heights during head-on or offset frontal impacts. Created using a sophisticated computer-assisted design (CAD) process, the ACE™ body structure is actually a network of integrated load-bearing elements that helps attenuate impact forces by more evenly distributing them across a larger area at the front of the vehicle.

Most conventional frame designs direct frontal crash energy to the lower load-bearing structures at the front of the vehicle. Instead, the ACE™ body structure in the TSX channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural areas, including the floor frame rails (please see Body & Chassis section), side sills and A-pillars. These specially engineered energy "pathways" help distribute frontal impact forces around and away from the passenger compartment and through a greater percentage of the vehicle's total structure. In doing so, ACE™ helps limit cabin deformation for improve occupant protection.

Inside frame rails
Longitudinal frame rails are now positioned above the floor panel rather than below it, both for aerodynamic improvements (please see Body & Chassis section) and to better withstand severe side impacts.

COLLISION STANDARDS

The new 2009 TSX is designed to achieve 5-Star ratings* in all of the NHTSA governmental NCAP and SINCAP crash tests. As well, TSX is projected to achieve "GOOD" ratings (the top rating) in all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Frontal Offset, SICE and Headrest tests - thus achieving the IIHS's TOP SAFETY PICK for the first time. In total, the new TSX is projected to achieve the highest rankings on every standard test that evaluates vehicle safety.
*Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) New Car Assessment Program (www.safercar.gov). Model tested with standard side-impact air bags (SABs).

FMVSS 301 offset rear collision
The 2009 Acura TSX meets the stringent new FMVSS 301 regulation for offset rear collisions, a much more severe standard than previously used. In the new FMVSS 301 standard, a 1,360 kg (2,992 lbs.) deformable barrier strikes 70 percent of the vehicle's width at 50 mph. In contrast, the previous FMVSS 301 used a 1,814 kg (3,991 lbs.) flat rigid barrier that struck the full width of the vehicle at 30 mph. The new standard requires more body energy absorption than before. The new regulation began its phase-in during September 2006 and must be applied to all production vehicles built after September 1, 2008.

VEHICLE STABILITY ASSIST™ (VSA®) WITH TRACTION CONTROL AND BRAKE ASSIST

Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) is an Electronic Stability Control system that works together with the TSX's Drive-by-Wire™ Throttle System and 4-channel ABS systems. Its purpose is to enhance overall controllability when the driver accelerates, brakes or turns suddenly. VSA® functions by applying brake force to one or more wheels independently, while also managing the throttle, ignition and fuel systems to help the vehicle maintain the driver's intended path of travel.

In operation, VSA® continually analyzes data from seven sensors that monitor wheel and vehicle speed, steering input, lateral G forces and yaw rate, while also comparing the driver's control inputs with the vehicle's actual response. Whenever the vehicle's actual response is outside of a predetermined acceptable range, VSA® intervenes with a corrective action. For example, if VSA® detects an oversteer condition (where the rear of the vehicle starts to swing wide in a corner), the system may automatically apply braking force to the outside front and rear wheels to counteract this unintended yaw motion. While in the event of understeer (where the front of the vehicle "pushes" toward the outside of a turn), VSA® may apply braking to the inside front and rear wheel while reducing engine power to help return the vehicle to its intended course.

As an added benefit for performance-oriented TSX customers, VSA® also provides a limited-slip differential effect for the front wheels by applying braking force to a slipping wheel, thereby directing the driving force to the wheel with more traction.

Brake Assist
Another key VSA® function is Brake Assist, which recognizes emergency braking situations and almost instantly applies added braking force to help the driver. This feature is controlled by a special logic in the system that determines when the pedal stroke and speed exceed a typical range - as they would during emergency braking. The VSA® modulator pump automatically increases braking pressure to ensure maximum stopping force, an action that helps shorten braking distance.

VSA® is calibrated to function seamlessly, and in many cases a driver will not even be aware of its operation. However, anytime the system is enhancing vehicle stability, an indicator light flashes on the instrument panel. While the driver can deactivate the VSA® stability enhancement and traction-control functions via a switch on the instrument panel, ABS remains fully operational at all times.

4-CHANNEL ABS WITH ELECTRONIC BRAKE DISTRIBUTION

The 2009 TSX has a new and enhanced anti-lock braking system (ABS). The new 4-channel/4-sensor ABS system also incorporates Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) circuitry that automatically proportions force based on the braking force needed by each wheel.

DUAL-STAGE, DUAL-THRESHOLD FRONT AIRBAGS

Both the TSX driver and front passenger are protected by advanced front airbags that incorporate dual-stage and dual-threshold activation technology. In the event of an airbag deployment, these two features work together to help minimize injuries that could sometimes be caused by the airbags themselves. In doing so, Acura's sophisticated dual-stage, dual-threshold system matches the airbag deployment rate to both the speed and severity of a crash. The control logic also takes several other factors into consideration, including the seating position of the driver, the weight of the front passenger, as well as whether the seat belts are in use.

For instance, during a lower-speed collision or if the seat is too close to the steering wheel, the inflators in the driver's frontal airbag will activate sequentially instead of simultaneously to help reduce the initial deployment force. In a high-speed collision or if the seat is positioned farther back, both airbag igniters are triggered simultaneously for rapid inflation. The TSX's passenger-side frontal airbag is designed to operate in a similar manner, however a sensor under the passenger seat calculates whether the weight on the lower cushion meets a minimum value specified by NHTSA. If it doesn't, such as in the event a small child is occupying the seat, the airbag is deactivated - and a light on the instrument panel indicates such a condition.

The driver's side airbag is located in the steering wheel while the passenger airbag is located on the top of the instrument panel. When deployed, the passenger airbag inflates upward and then rearward to maximize its protective potential while reducing the likelihood of injuries being caused by the activation process.

DUAL-CHAMBER FRONT-SEAT SIDE AIRBAGS

The 2009 TSX has front-seat side airbags featuring a new dual-chamber design that enhances protection for the torso and pelvis in the event of a severe side impact. Replacing the previous single-chamber airbags, the new dual-chamber units have a larger upper chamber that provides improved protection for the chest area, as well as a smaller lower chamber that protects the lower-back/hip area. A single inflator unit fills both airbag chambers. New dual-chamber airbags are significantly more effective in helping minimize potential injuries caused by impacts from larger vehicles, such as a side impact involving a truck or SUV.

SIDE-CURTAIN AIRBAGS

Full side-curtain airbags provide head protection for occupants of both the front and outboard rear seats. The airbag modules are mounted in the roof and are activated by a central sensor and sensors in the side of the TSX that determine the most appropriate timing and deployment rates in side or other impacts depending on severity.

FRONT SEATBELTS WITH PRETENSIONERS AND LOAD LIMITERS

The front seatbelts in the 2009 TSX are equipped with automatic tensioning systems and load limiters to help minimize injury potential in a frontal collision. When an impact occurs, the automatic tensioning system, which is built into the belt retractor, automatically tightens the front seatbelt to help hold the occupant firmly in position. Each front seatbelt retractor also incorporates a load limiter that works in conjunction with the pretensioner. The load limiter permits a small amount of controlled seatbelt slack momentarily after the automatic tensioning system is activated to limit the peak restraining forces, reducing the potential of serious bodily injury. The TSX's front seatbelts also feature adjustable height shoulder anchors.

Rear seatbelts
Three-point seatbelts are standard in all three rear-seating positions.

ACTIVE FRONT HEAD RESTRAINTS

The 2009 TSX features active front headrests for the first time. The new Active Headrest Restraint System has been designed to help minimize the risk of neck injuries in the event of a rear impact. In a rear impact, the driver and front passenger's bodies are pushed against the seatback, causing the head restraints to move forward in a carefully prescribed arc. This action helps equalize the forces transmitted to the head, neck and spine throughout the collision, a critical factor in helping to minimize potential injuries.

Adjustable rear head restraints
The Acura TSX's rear seat features individually adjustable head restraints for all three passengers.

LOWER ANCHORS AND TETHERS FOR CHILDREN (LATCH)

Both outboard rear seating positions are fitted with Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) as standard equipment. The LATCH system provides a simple and secure method of installing up to two compatible child safety seats in the outboard seating positions. In addition, the center rear seating position incorporates an upper tether that allows fitting a single child safety seat. When a child seat is in the center position, additional child seats may not be used in the outboard positions.

TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS)

An updated Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alerts the 2009 TSX driver whenever the air pressure in one or more of the vehicle's tires decrease significantly below the recommended pressure level. Using four sensors (one in each tire) TPMS monitors and transmits information regarding tire air pressure to the TSX's MID system. When the pressure in one or more tires drops to a potentially critical level, it causes a low tire pressure indicator (located in the instrument cluster) to illuminate.

PEDESTRIAN INJURY MITIGATION

Although there are no official standards for pedestrian injury mitigation in the event a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the Acura TSX helps lead the way with several innovative features. These features include a deformable hood panel - positioned high enough above the engine and other under-hood components to have space to deform - as well as deformable hood hinges and movable windshield-wiper pivots. These components help dissipate collision forces in the event of contact with a pedestrian, thereby helping to reduce the severity of injury to the pedestrian.

ANTI-THEFT FEATURES

The 2009 Acura TSX offers a wide array of security features including an electronic engine immobilizer to help thwart would-be thieves. Security is also advanced by the use of reinforced door lock cylinders to help thwart break-ins, and protectors for the hood and trunk locks (located below front of the hood and inside trunk lid, respectively).