The TSX uses technologies to offer substantial enhancements to overall vehicle safety. However, safety begins with the dynamic traits of the vehicle-in other words, how the vehicle can help its driver avoid an accident. In the TSX, such "active safety" or accident avoidance capabilities include standard Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control and anti-lock braking system (ABS). All play an integral role in the car's high safety marks.
When an accident is unavoidable, passive safety engineering provides for occupant protection. TSX passive safety begins with the vehicle's structural rigidity-its engineered-in crumple zones and sliding front sub frame-and extends to front seatbelt pretensioners and load-limiters, and to its system of airbags. These airbags include front SRS dual-stage/dual-threshold airbags, side airbags with position sensors on the passenger side, and side curtain airbags. Sensors have also been included on the front passenger side Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) unit allowing it to illuminate and then flash the seat belt reminder light (located on the instrument panel to the right of the tachometer) if the passenger side seat belt is not fastened.
All of the TSX's safety technologies work in concert to help it achieve a high level of safety as shown by the following ratings:
- NHTSA Front NCAP (35 mph) = 5 Star/5 Star
- NHTSA Side impact (38.5 mph SINCAP) = 5 Star/4 Star
- NHTSA Rollover resistance = 4 Star
- IIHS Front Offset test (40 mph) = GOOD
Side Impact Rating
Besides the front offset test, one of the toughest crash-test targets in the automotive business is the side-impact test (SINCAP). The Acura TSX achieves a 5 Star/4 Star (front/rear) rating. To accomplish this, Acura used high-tensile steel around the front passenger compartment that extends behind the B-pillars (center roof pillars).
Increasing side crash protection ability in a 38.5 mph SINCAP test required using high-tensile steel and strengthening the joints around the passenger compartment. This special steel is used in 53-percent of the unit body frame. The result is the extremely high capability to absorb and distribute energy forces in a side impact and other collisions. Of particular note are two extremely strong cross-member stiffeners (under the front seats and rear floor) that markedly enhance resistance to side impacts.
- Following is a summary of the TSX safety and security features:
- Dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags
- Driver and front passenger side airbags
- Front passenger side airbag with Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
- Side curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions
- Front seat-belt pretensioners with load-limiters
- Driver seatbelt reminder
- Side-impact door beams
- Front and rear crumple zones
- Sliding front subframe
- Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system
- Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
- Theft-deterrent security system
- Engine immobilizer security system
Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Front Airbags
The TSX is equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold airbags for the driver and front passenger. These airbags are designed to minimize the potential for airbag injury while providing head and chest protection for the occupants in the event of a collision.
The TSX front airbags deploy at one of two rates depending on the severity of a crash and seatbelt usage. During a lower speed collision, the airbag inflators are triggered in sequence, resulting in slower overall airbag deployment with less initial force. During a higher speed collision, both inflators operate simultaneously for full, immediate inflation to correspond with the greater impact force.
Logic is also a part of the passenger side Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) unit allowing it to illuminate and then flash the seat belt reminder light (located on the instrument panel to the right of the tachometer) if the passenger side seat belt is not fastened. Using sensors, the SRS unit notes if there is someone sitting in the passenger seat and if the seat belt is fastened. If the seat is occupied but the belt is not fastened, the seat belt reminder light illuminates and then flashes.
Side Airbag System
The airbags are located in the outboard seat side bolsters and deploy when sensors detect that a side impact is occurring. To prevent injury to a small child or small-stature adult, the innovative Occupant Passenger Detection System (OPDS) prevents side airbag deployment if the passenger is leaning into the side airbag deployment path. A total of seven sensors in the passenger seatback determine the height and position of the occupant; this helps the system determine if it is safe to deploy the side airbag. When the passenger returns to an upright seating position, the side airbag will reactivate so it can deploy and help protect the passenger in a side impact.
Side Curtain Airbags
The goal of the side curtain airbags is to help reduce head injury in a sufficient side impact. The side curtain airbag module is located in a long, slender compartment positioned along the roofline inside the vehicle. Because the airbag module extends from the A-pillar to the C-pillar, it protects both the front and outboard rear passengers.
Side-impact sensors located below the B-pillar, behind the rear seat area, and the main Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) sensor unit work together to signal a side curtain airbag deployment. A gas generator located in the C-pillar inflates the airbag via a channel in the roofline.
Deployment for the side curtain airbags is extremely quick-deployment takes less than 15 milliseconds (.015 second), whereas most competitors' side curtain airbags take more than 20 milliseconds to deploy. In addition, the TSX offers a larger side curtain airbag effective area, lower bag pressure and longer bag stroke, all in the interest of providing superior protection.
The front seat belts include two advanced technologies: seat belt pretensioners and load-limiters. In the first few milliseconds following an impact, the seat belt pretensioners automatically tighten the seat belts, since seat belts that are firmly secured around the passengers provide better protection. But if the deceleration forces rise above a predetermined threshold, the front seatbelt spools are designed to twist due to a metal spindle giving way in a measured fashion that further mitigates deceleration forces exerted on the body. The combination of seat-belt pretensioners and load-limiters, in conjunction with airbags, has been proven to be the best passive safety technology yet available.
Lower Anchors And Tethers For Children (Latch) System
The TSX has a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system in the rear seat area. LATCH features ready-to-use attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be securely installed without using the vehicle's seat belt system.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
The onboard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is equipped with location and pressure indicators that warn the driver when the air pressure drops considerably in any tire. The TPMS helps reduce the chance of losing control of the vehicle due to low air pressure. This is important because a slow leak, such as one that might be caused by anail embedded through the tread, might not be detectable immediately but would, in time, cause significant air loss, loss of grip and potentially a blowout.
A sensor mounted on each wheel continually monitors tire pressure and sends a coded signal to an initiator located inboard of the tire on the chassis. The information is then sent to an electronic control unit that compares the values of each tire against an acceptable set of values.
When a tire pressure drops significantly below the proper specification, a "check tire pressure" alert appears on the MID screen. The system can display the air pressure in all four tires simultaneously via the MID, making it simple to locate a low tire.
At the driver's preference the display can continually show the air pressure in all four tires. Regardless of whether the driver chooses to monitor the pressures, a warning will still appear if a tire drops below a predetermined threshold.
Front And Rear Crumple Zones
The TSX has advanced the use of deformable crumple zones. Together with the passive safety devices inside the car, these crumple zones contribute substantially to the high projected government crash-test ratings of the TSX. The crumple zones consist of supercomputer-modeled areas designed to provide progressive resistance to impact forces. The front and rear of the car are designed to deform in a collision to safely disperse collision forces, thereby slowing the deceleration of the passenger cabin in a controlled fashion. The sophisticated computer simulations allowed engineers to design structures that spread the impact forces through the floor of the unit body.
Sliding Front Subframe
In the event of a frontal collision, the sliding front subframe that holds the engine and front suspension can move rearward, helping to disperse crash energy. A 3.9-inch increase in the "crush stroke" (the distance that the sliding front subframe moves) over previous standards was made possible by collapsing the parts that join the subframe to the main frame.
To thwart would-be thieves, the TSX offers a wide array of security features including an electronic engine immobilizer. 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).