I test drove a newer TSX, probably 2011, and it was pretty fun. The V6 has lots of power, but I'm not a fan of the flappy-paddles because they felt slower when changing gear because of the lack of a clutch pedal so the computer decides when to actually shift, it felt like I was just suggesting when to shift and then it decided when it was actually time to make the change. Honestly I think you are going to have a hard time finding a sporty, automatic car in your price range that is good, I would just say screw it and get an STI or Evo, justify it by manuals lasting longer and getting better gas mileage. You could get the wagon version of the STI to haul people around in if you need the room but you still get the performance not to mention there is a huge tuning industry around them so you can always get more power out of it if you want more than the base models 265HP.
Edited by micrors4 - 11/14/12 at 9:49am