By on June 18, 2012

So, you want a small, practical wagon with a little bit of Euro flair and luxury pretensions. Unless you’re willing to mix with the rabble in a VW, what are your options? Volvo V50? Dead. Audi A3? Not much time left before it’s discontinued in the USA. Try the BMW 3-Series Wagon if you want something German.

Everyone knows that Acura products share Honda DNA, but none are so thinly veiled as the TSX sedan and TSX Sport Wagon. While badge engineering has caused decades of problems for General Motors, Acura’s tactic  actually makes sense. You see, the TSX is the European version of the Honda Accord (which thankfully shares essentially nothing with the overweight American Accord). While it would have been cheaper to have just imported the Euro Accord as a Honda wagon (they wouldn’t have even had to swap badges), the Accord in Europe competes with more lofty brands than in America.

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Exterior

For Acura duty, the only change made to the “Accord Tourer” was grafting the Acura beak onto the existing front bumper molds. Since bumper itself didn’t change, the TSX wears the smallest beak of the family, and honestly, looking at pictures of the enormous logo the Touring wears, the TSX is more attractive. The overall form of the TSX is thoroughly modern, in an angular Cadillac-ish kind of way. The slanted hatchback and rear windows that decrease in size as they head rearward attempt to distract from the fact that the TSX is indeed a station wagon. Acura added a splash of chrome trim around the windows and roof rails so you’ll look trendy and sophisticated on your way to the board meeting with your surfboard on top. While the BMW 3-Series wagon is decidedly handsome, the TSX provides firm competition in the looks department.

Interior

While the dashboard is suitably squishy, some interior plastics are less than luxurious. Haptic quibbles aside, the color palate is what gave me pause. Our tester looked as if it was carved out of a single black piece of plastic. Admittedly it is a nice piece of plastic, and the attention to detail is worthy of any luxury marque. However, I found the monochromatic interior oppressive after a while. The only way to avoid this black-on-black-on-black theme is to buy a red or white TSX (they come with a “taupe” interior). Although the dashboard remains black, the lighter leather makes the TSX a far more appealing place to spend your time. Want a red car with a black interior? That’s not on Acura’s menu. The TSX redeems itself with a low starting price of $31,360, undercutting the 328i wagon by over six-grand. For the price, I’m willing to overlook some less-than-swish door trim. Speaking of trim, base model TSXs get fake wood trim while the upscale “Technology Package” add fake metal trim. While neither faux option is “fauxin” anyone, the wood trim makes the interior a touch more upscale by helping break up the vast expanses of black.

Infotainment/Tech

Acura has long had a reputation for gadgets and buttons and the TSX is no different. Base models come standard with a bevy of features that are optional on other near-luxury brands. Standard features include: xenon headlamps, 17-inch alloy wheels, sunroof, heated seats, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth phone integration and a 360-watt, 7-speaker audio system with USB/iPod integration, MP3 compatible CD player and XM radio. There is only one option available, the “Technology Package” which may seem pricy at $3,650, (bringing the total up to $35,010) but it adds a decent amount of kit. In addition to GPS navigation, a  460-watt, 10-speaker sound system with DVD-audio and iPod voice control is also included. The voice command system is a bit less intuitive than Ford’s SYNC, but just as functional allowing you to select playlists, tracks, artists, etc by voice command. Also included in the package is GPS-linked climate control that tracks the sun, power tailgate, backup camera, and XM data services like weather, traffic, etc. My only quibble with Acura’s infotainment system is that it still has not integrated very fully with the rest of the vehicle like BMW’s iDrive. This means that vehicle settings and trip information are solely in the gauge cluster which means more buttons and more menus to learn and navigate.

Drivetrain

Acura has no illusions of run-away TSX Sport Wagon sales. This Acura is destined for a lifetime of good reviews gushing about how exciting wagons are, followed by slow sales. As a result, the 2.4L four-cylinder engine is the only engine on offer. If you need more than the four-pot’s 201HP and 170lb-ft of torque, you’ll need to look at the TSX sedan or to another brand. While sedan buyers can row-their-own, Acura’s 5-speed automatic is the only cog swapper available in the wagon. Acura does include paddle shifters, but the transmission shifts too leisurely to make their use enjoyable and steadfastly refuses to shift to 1st unless you’re traveling at a snail’s pace. Fortunately, the transmission’s software is well suited to the car and leaving it in D or S is more rewarding and lower effort. As with the 2.4L equipped sedan, the wagon is neither slow nor particularly fast, scooting to 60 in 7.5 seconds.

Drive

Acura tuned the TSX’s suspension to be a good balance between road holding and highway cruising, but this is no soft wagon. Out on the road the TSX shines with a tight and willing chassis and excellent Michelin Pilot tires. The combo is eager to tackle any mountain road you might pit it against. Unfortunately the lack of power and lazy 5-speed automatic conspire against the chassis making the TSX something of a mixed bag when the going gets twisty, especially uphill. The TSX’s power steering is quick and fairly communicative, a rarity in this age of numb tillers.

 

During my week with the TSX I ended up taking an impromptu road trip to southern California. The TSX proved an excellent highway cruiser delivering 27-28 MPG on the open highway at 75MPH. The TSX’s combination of good looks, good reliability and simple pricing  make the TSX Sport Wagon a smart choice for those that are practical and frugal. While the BMW wagon has yet to land on our shores for a comparison test, you can bet it will deliver more style, more luxury, and a much larger price tag. The only fly in this cargo hauler’s ointment is the s0-called wagon tax. As you might expect, the base wagon is $1,350 more than the base sedan. What you wouldn’t expect is that by simply checking the only option available on the wagon, this delta increases to $1,900. Yikes.

 

Acura provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gasoline for this review.

0-30: 2.8 Seconds

0-60: 7.5 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 16 Seconds @ 83.5MPH

Observed Fuel Economy: 26.8MPG over 1207 miles

 

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99 Comments on “Review: 2012 Acura TSX Sport Wagon...”


  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Great looking car (especially for an Acura!); I’ve been sniffing them out but I need another 10 cf of hauling space.

    Reasonably priced though….

    • 0 avatar
      Jerry J. Linder

      Just picked up a White with Grey(Taupe)interior with Tech Package. 100 mile drive home at 30.4 MPG! After being in a Jeep Grand Cherokee for 13 months and 47,000 miles at 15 MPG, I am very pleased.
      Nice combination of “goodies” and comfort. It swallowed all my junk into it’s under-floor compartment and I’m happy.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Not bad but if you are going to only offer one engine and one transmission then the sole engine should have been more powerful.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Yeah, I wish they offered the V6 in the wagon, but that would make the price less attractive.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Doesn’t even have to be a 6, they could just turbo the 4cyl.

      • 0 avatar

        I haven’t driven the 4-cylinder TSX in a while. But the V6 I drove about a year ago failed to impress in the handling department. Supposedly the V6 has stiffer suspension tuning, but my sense (based on aging memory of the 4) is that this cannot compensate for the additional weight in the nose.

        More of an issue for me: no manual is available in the wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Scullin

        Long-time reader, first-time poster here. Hello, B&B! I was excited to read about this car, until I learned that you can’t get a manual. As a Saab/Subie enthusiast, I dig the whole practical quirkiness thing. If I could afford a luxury car, I’d still like to have all the features and fly under the radar. With Saab dead, this would have been a viable option.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredotto

      The lack of a manual option made the TSX wagon a nonstarter for us.

      The missus and I just bought a new wagon, and had Acura offered one, it would have been shortlisted in the top two or three. Instead we picked up a new TDI Jetta Sportwagen. In the end it was really the only choice for a $25,000-$30,000 (give or take) manual wagon. I’m aware of VAG’s quality lapses in the past but the brand has made a lot of progress with this model, which seems to be corroborated by CR and TrueDelta data.

      And we absolutely love it. Good looks, torquey engine, confidence-inspiring handling, nice interior, and we get 36 mpg in mixed city/highway/leadfoot driving.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Seems like everyone just finished complaining that the second-gen TSX was V6-only (for a time) …

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        Er… The TSX gained an optional V6 for 2011. Before, it was 4-cylinder only, leading all the way back to the intro of the first-generation car in 2006.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    > As a result, the 2.0L four-cylinder engine is the only engine on offer.

    Correction. It’s the 2.4l, but same as the base sedan as alluded to in the article.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    At 3600 lbs she’s no lightweight. Personally I’d sacrifice the 10 cubic feet less in a Impreza wagon with all wheel drive, manual transmission, and a turbo to take advantage of having to run 91 octane.

    Not sure what Honda was thinking other than having no technological depth in the current line-up.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      At 3600 lbs she’s also heavier than the Accord the author derides as overweight. Never mind that the “overweight” Accord is actually pretty light for a full-size car.

      Old memes die hard.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    Alex and TTAC – nice timing, posting the review of the wagon on father’s day. As a father and owner of the TSX Wagon (base trim), I really enjoyed the article with my breakfast in bed. :)

    Some reviews posted the wagon’s 0 to 60 times in the mid 8 seconds, and others, like yours, posted the time in the mid 7 seconds. I can only speculate that the difference in times is fully automatic versus paddles, but no reviewer ever specified.

    Clever use of the space in the trunk floor for your roller bag. That space was originally used to house a spare tire for the 2011 Wagon. Sadly, Acura dumped it to save on weight for 2012. In its place, you get an air compressor and can of goo plus 4 years road side assistance. I looked into getting a real spare, but that’s an $800 dealer option. @#!$%!

    Nice review Alex. Appreciated the sprinkling of information from competing brands.

  • avatar
    athoswhite

    I’ve had one of these for about 4 months, and I’m still very happy with the purchase. I’m getting an average of 28MPG in mixed driving, can put three kids (small kids, mind you) and a dog (a big dog, mind you)in the back with room left over, and have fun driving it. I never see another one on the road, so I feel special in it. It fits right into the “near luxury” slot with the gadgets standard and the fit and finish. It’s a good solid car.

    Is it blazingly fast? No. Have I ever worried about merging? No. It gets out of its own way with no problems. Would I buy a diesel manual version? Probably not, and I am a wagon enthusiast. The 5 speed auto is good enough, and so is the mileage. For a car I intend to drive for 10 years, it’s the complete package–good looks, good mileage, good gadgets, and (hopefully) Honda reliability. So far so good.

  • avatar
    graham

    The TSX is a very nice wagon, and I applaud Acura/Honda for making it available. I seriously considered it, but ultimately went with a 2012 E91 3-Series so I could get a 6MT, AWD and I-6. It ended up about $6k more then the TSX, but those three attributes were more then worth it to me. However, for many buyers the TSX is probably a pretty good match.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I’m an E91 owner as well, and considered waiting for this wagon to show up. Once I heard there would be no manual, it was a no brainer for me. Pity. I like how it looks and have heard the handling is up to snuff.

    • 0 avatar
      iganpo

      I was also considering the TSX wagon but got an E91 instead because of drivetrain and looks, especially interior (I hate dark interiors). But one thing the TSX has over the E91 is a power liftgate. I wonder if the F31 has a power liftgate option?

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Being a news junkie..i have several news links I continually run to throughout the day.
    The troubling thing is…I think they all copy themselves. It seems the entire days headlines are all repeats of each other. Hell…I think they COPY each other!

    I am thinking this is happening at my auto sites as well.

    Case in point…the Mazda CX5. Its underpowered. Over and over again I get this from the reviews. I don’t get this from the similar Honda reviews. Well, other than a side note. The Mazda gets it right up front and repeated. It has frightened me enough to wait for the Escape ecoboost.

    Now take this wagon. Its got the 2.0. Not much in my opinion and me thinks it gets away with this issue unlike the Mazda. Is this any more underpowered than the CX5 FWD?

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I think the new Escape is the only decent looking vehicle in the Ford lineup. In fact, it almost looks as good as the Honda CRV. I actually went to the Ford dealer and sat in one. I would have taken it for a test drive, except it seems as if my left leg does not have enough room. I did not know what to think of this, so I went home and sat in my TL and Camry, both 12s. Confirmed. Seems as if the door on the Escape is too thick and takes away left leg room. When I sit in a 12 CRV, seems to be pleanty of room between the door and my left leg. For me, this is an issue, and it was the only issue I had with the vehicle. But, a show stopper. Fortunately, Ford makes the Escape available without a turboed engine, and without the Focus transmission. I would skip the turbo. From my understanding, turboed vehicles are subject to expensive repair bills after the miles pile up. I think this is the reason Toyota and Honda do not sell a turbo. They are unwilling to risk reliability problems. It is possible Ford will face a Consumer Report disaster if turbos start having issues. If there was left leg room, I would test drive and consider. What I find amazing is Quirk Ford in Quincy Mass has a base model 13 Escape available for 21,400 … weekend ad in the Boston Globe. White. It has been sitting on the lot for days. No takers. It is still sitting in the front row. This is the vehicle I sat in. According to TrueCar, this is below dealer cost. In the meantime, the Honda dealer sells every CRV for slightly above MSRP. I would have expected the deal on the 13 Escape would have been snapped up in hours.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      You can never be too rich, too thin, or if you are a car reviewer, have too much power. :)

      The article had a typo; the TSX Wagon has a 2.4L engine, not 2.0L. The Mazda CX-5 has a 2.0L. I’ve also read reviews mentioning that the CX-5 could feel a bit underpowered when fully loaded and going up hill, but eh, I don’t live in a super hilly terrain, so it doesn’t matter to me if that’s true or not. If you need more power, you might want to wait for the Mazda CX-5 diesel which I think is due out next year.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      As others have noted, the Acura is a 2.4.

      The big thing about the CX5 is the availability of a slick shifting 6mt. Makes all the difference in the world in cars with small, rev dependent engines.

      Honda really should make the Si gearbox available for this wagon. Or make an ILX wagon. Or dare I dream, a Sh-awd TL wagon with enough flat loadfloor space to fit a proper mattress in the back :)

  • avatar
    jconli1

    You know up until last year there was in fact a 5-speed manual, AWD Accord wagon in the US with the same 2.4 engine and far more useful interior room : The Element.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I wanted one of these, but found they were impossible to get because of the Japanese earthquake. They are beginning to show up, but the Japanese are not excited about pushing these because of the strong Yen. Still, I would like one. After a test drive, I would like a base model. My only concern is the headroom seems a little tight because of the sunroof. I wish Acura offered these without a sunroof. I own a 12TL, and in that vehicle, there seems to be a little more headroom. In my opinion, the TSX wagon handles great and has pleanty of power. I think a V6 would ruin it.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    Has everyone forgotten about the A4 Avant? It’s quite a bit more expensive, sure, but so is the 328iT that everyone’s mentioning.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Pretty car, but no manual transmission means it was out of the question for me. IMHO, $5-6K is insignificant at this price level, if you can comfortably afford a $35K car you can just as comfortably afford a $40K car.

    • 0 avatar

      The real problem with the Audi and the BMW is that the lease deals are regularly $100+ a month more than the Acura. It’s enough to make you to take pause.

    • 0 avatar
      thesparrow

      Has anyone cross-shopped an Acura dealership versus Audi lately? I think the price difference is much greater than even 6 grand… By the time Audi loads up many of their cars with every conceivable feature, it’s really more like 10 grand or more. I like that Acuras pricing is simpler and more direct. And you should forget the “Technology Package” in any of these cars if you plan on keeping it for more that 5 years.

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Yes, I cross-shopped the Acura with the Audi, and you are right — the Audi options drive the price way up. I felt nickeled and dimed. The final insult was when I learned the air bags for the rear passengers were optional, as if the lives of the people in back were less important than those in front.

    • 0 avatar
      hurls

      I owned a previous generation TSX (sedan) three years ago and would have loved to cross shop this with the Audi if I could have. Bought the avant and haven’t looked back… It’s miles ahead of at least the previous tsx in terms of interior luxury/feel and the turbo engine in the Audi beats the 2.4T k series to the mat in terms of power and (especially) torque.

  • avatar
    kwbuggy

    Too bad Acura/Honda doesn’t do market research! This is the kind of wagon that would sell really well in Canada, especially now that the VW Passat wagon is no longer imported here. I guess Acura has given up on the Canadian market. Canadians buy a much higher percentage of wagons/hatchbacks than those of you in the US but Acura doesn’t seem to care and won’t sell us these wagons. I guess they want to push the ZDX at $8000 more than they charge for the same car in the USA.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for bringing this up kwbuggy, its true. Especially in any urban areas, Canada is rife with hatchbacks and wagons. In some neighbourhoods of Toronto, the hatchback/wagons outnumber anything else…including sedans and small CUVs. Why they bothered to send it to the US, and then didn’t with Canada is beyond me. As you mentioned, per capita, it seems more worth their time.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Ordinarily I am annoyed by folks who bellyache for more power (“WHY CANT THEY PUT THE 5.0 V8 IN THE ACCENT???????”), but in this case I think the powertrain is really mismatched. For the sedan, the 2.4 is fine. But for a luxury wagon, with which one would hope to haul stuff, performance should be effortless, not adequate. One should have to reach into the higher reaches of the RPM range to access power. I imagine this being a little bit of a handful fully loaded.

    That said, I did drive 5 people to Boston in my old Accord… luggage and all. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. For whatever they’re charging for this, it should be great, all the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The point of wagon is not to haul unusually heavy stuff regularly. The wagon advantage is that you can fit a lot of strangely shaped objects which would not fit in the trunk of a sedan no matter what, even with rear seat folder.

      If you need to carry around lumber or heavy duty electric generators or something equally heavy on daily basis, perhaps you need to get a truck. Though the TSX wagon would ok work for a one off. And when there is big cargo, the last thing I want is to accelerate or brake hard needlessly and have the cargo roll around, scratch surfaces, etc if it is heavy stuff. The 2.4 engine power should be fine IMO. I have driven a 2.4 (160HP) 6th gen accord with manual transmission and I thought it was an adequate engine. At that time it could have been confused with a V6 engine, before the V6 HP wars started. 90% of drivers would not miss V6 in this application. The premium fuel requirement does seem a little unfortunate.

  • avatar
    jonat

    The article misses another option in this category, the new Audi Allroad based on the (no longer available in the US) A4 Avant. It is a bit more expensive than the Acura, to be sure, but has a much better drivetrain, a more luxurious interior and looks much better on the outside. These are just now showing up on dealer lots and I have one on order.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “While badge engineering has caused decades of problems for General Motors, Acura’s tactic actually makes sense.”

    It’s a captive import, not badge engineering. They are selling only one version of this car in the US market, so there is no badge engineering. It’s not akin to selling three or four versions of the same car to the same group of consumers, and then wondering why they’re confused by and unimpressed with the result.

    The Canada-only Acura CSX and later versions of the Acura EL were badge engineered. They were not only based upon Civics, but also looked virtually the same as the Civics that were also being sold in Canada — the similarity should have been noticeable enough to the average man on the street.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I fail to see in what way is this better than a Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited. The Outback has AWD, more power, better ground clearence, can tow more, has more rear leg room and can fit more stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      The Outback is masuqurading as an SUV. I would much rather see an honest to god Legacy wagon back on the market. Lower center of gravity and 3.6 would be much more entertaining.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        There is always the aftermarket. :) Besides, all Outbacks receive a retuned, much less floaty suspension (supposedly both handling and ride quality are improved) for 2013.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Are there suspension lowering kits for Outbacks? Could you slam an Outback into the weeds?

      • 0 avatar
        KalapanaBlack

        “Are there suspension lowering kits for Outbacks? Could you slam an Outback into the weeds?”

        I believe they are under the “Legacy” portion of the parts catalog, no? They still sell the non-Outback Legacy wagon overseas, IIRC.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Subaru already beat the TSX wagon six ways to Sunday years ago with the 2005 Legacy GT and Outback XT wagon. The high riding version gives up little to the normal height version in handling, it is still pretty taut, more than can be said for the current Outback. Even had your choice of trans in both models, those were Subaru golden years. Too bad they didn’t stick with it.

        The TSX has the benefit of more modern luxury features and fuel economy over the old Subie but that’s about it.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Sticking with the old Outback/Legacy design would have only cost Subaru sales. The new one addressed most of the customer complaints and is selling better than ever. Do I like it? Hell no, but I am no longer their target customer.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I considered the 2011 Subaru Outback. It was workman-like and practical, and in the tradition of Subaru and tree huggers, it was clean with a PZEV engine. But the back seat — which reclined — had some mechanism poking into my lower back. And as Dan mentioned, it was an SUV in disguise, and the drive felt very floaty boaty to me.

      The TSX Wagon has much better driving dynamics and the Michelin Pilots, for being all-seaons, do suprisingly well in snow:

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/michelin-pilot-hx-mxm4-page-3

      AWD wasn’t important and I would consider the snow tires instead. I don’t tow either. The TSX engine is not PZEV, but is still pretty clean with ULEV2.

      Thus, the TSX was a better match for me.

    • 0 avatar

      As much as I want to agree, the current Outback is a CUV competitor, not a wagon one. Its now huge, tall, floaty, and QUITE ugly. Its interior is lower-rent than the previous gen, although it does offer more space. To me, it just isn’t a wagon underneath anymore, while the last gen was pretty obviously a wagon with tippy-toe bits.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Because some of us prefer wagons that are not up on stilts? The current Outback is a CUV, and is in no way competition for this car. This car competes with the Jetta wagon at the low end, and the Cadillac, BMW, and Audi wagons on the high end. It splits the difference price and performance wise between them.

      To borrow from another recent posting, I wanted a “carver”. But I wanted to be able to haul a big screen TV or a bunch of computer equipment in it too. Or a bunch of 7′ tall flat-pack bookcases. 3-series wagon for the win.

  • avatar
    Geeky1

    Three words:
    Low. End. Torque.

    Honda builds fantastic engines, but all of their 4 cylinder stuff (that I’m familiar with, at least) is torqueless and peaky. The K24whatever in the TSX is evidently no exception; 170lb-ft isn’t much, and it’s delivered at something like 4300rpms.

    That’d be fine. If the engine was paired with a transmission that required a clutch pedal. And installed in a lightweight sports car. And indeed it is; the S2000s made less torque-and at much, much higher RPMs-and it’s one of my favorite sports cars.

    But it just doesn’t work in a nearly 3600lb wagon; it *particularly* doesn’t work in a 3600lb wagon with a torque converter.

    Had Acura seen fit to throw the turbo’d KA out of the RDX-and a clutch pedal-in this thing, odds are pretty decent that I’d have bought one instead of a Volkswagen TDI (with a manual).

    As it is, dealing with the quirks, foibles, affinity for flatbeds, and wallet-sucking tendencies that a VW product is relatively guaranteed to develop as it ages is far and away preferable to having a station wagon that’s going to see the far side of 4000rpms pulling away from a traffic light just to keep up with Grandma on the way to church in her Buick.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The TSX is quite portly at 3600 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Yeah that’s about what was quoted for the Oldsmobile 98 featured in the junkyard. (Fortunately the TSX has 60 hp over the Olds V8… god the late 70s to mid 80s sucked from a hp standpoint.)

      • 0 avatar
        Geeky1

        EducatorDan: Sure, but that 307 put out about 255lb-ft of torque @ 2000rpms (according to Wikipedia).

    • 0 avatar
      SmokingBeef

      We looked at a TDI wagon and couldn’t get past the way it looked. Something from the 1980s. My father hated the way it drove too. Picked up the Acura instead over the weekend. No comparison. Much better looking, and the interior is top notch with way more features. Also, we could live without the VW repair bills. More bang for the buck, as the VW was just plain boring.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I’ve driven a current Gen TSX 4 cylinder as an automatic (friends car) and manual (test drive) as well as a last generation manual (test drive). While not as involving as the first gen (one of the best fail wheel drive cars I’ve ever driven), it was still an enjoyable drive. I saw absolutely no reason to get the heavier torque steerey v6. the automatic, though, was total mood killer. the handling was still fun but the drivetrain was empty of all personality. when i was at the acura dealer testing the 4 cylinder sedan, i looked longingly at the wagon, but told the salesman I wouldn’t even consider it because of the mandatory fun killing slush box. I still think that was Acura’s biggest mistake.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      That 2.4 is practically the Civic Si engine, and it’s plenty peppy. I test drove a TSX and my V6 coupe practically back-to-back, and the 2.4 has plenty of get-up. It just lacks that torquey feel of the V6. I went with the Accord… I gave up 2 doors and 5MPG for the freedom to use 87 octane, $5k price difference, and more power.

      If I could have gotten the TSX for the same price, I’d have taken it. But none of the Acura dealers would budge more than $1000.

      (I’m speaking in terms of 6-speeds, since I don’t drive slushboxes)

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        I agree on the 2.4. I had no complaints in the current gen TSX and even though I’m not an I-4 fan, it was a really fun engine in the first gen with a great vtech buzz saw growl. However, when I drove my friends with the slushbox, it just seemed to completely take away the engine’s balls and it became just another pedestrian 4 cylinder. Like I said, it’s the lack of a proper transmission that kicked this (as well as a Focus) off my shopping list.

  • avatar

    To everyone suggesting the RDX turbo mill, apparently Honda had some serious issues with that design and have quietly swept it under the rug… Hence why it never showed up in any other vehicles.

    I miss the first gen TSX. It was smaller and lighter than the current versions, and only came with the 2.4. Sprightly little sedan. Then they started packing on the weight and stuffed in the V6… And kind of lost the plot in so doing, because now it’s more of a TL-Lite rather than a good compact luxury car that can seduce buyers who wants something smaller and fun-er. By the same token the TL has been getting seriously bloated too.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The RDX turbo fail makes me seriously doubt the turbo CRZ will ever see the light of day… then again, that car is practically BEGGING for the K24 anyway. I bet sales would more than double instantly if Honda introduced a non-hybrid.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I’m not quite sure why people keep suggestions the turbo mill. It was not especially amazing in its capabilities and was definitely not very fuel efficient. There was really no win with it, other than that it looked good on a spec sheet.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I don’t know what “issues” Honda had with the turbo 4 in the first-gen RDX. But I do know, having test driven it, that the implementation of the turbo was, to put it bluntly, crude. It had the bog/surge driveability issues that afflicted lots of first generation turbo cars that were rolled out in the 1980s, many of which I drove at the time. The integration of the turbo and the autobox in the RDX was nowhere near as good as in my ’02 Saab 9-5, which had an engine of equal displacement and equal rated horsepower.

      The RDX turbo was also a huge gas-sucker, even for 4100 lb. CUV.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I compared the TSX wagon 2.4 liter (no manual :( ) to the Jetta Sportwagen TDI with 6 speed manual which is about the same sized car but gets substantially better MPG (TSX requires premium so not much price difference in fuel price but the TDI gets much higher mpg).

  • avatar
    needsdecaf

    Nice review Alex. Particularly interesting timing as I just had a TSX sedan loaner last week.

    How is the space compared to the VR? I know that it’s less…but is it a lot less?

    I think the comparison to the VW is apt. The Acura plays in the same class as the VW, as far as product finishes, etc., goes, IMO. At least on the TSX level. The BM and the Audi are much nicer product….which you would expect given the price.

    Overall, not a bad car.

  • avatar

    This will probably be my next ride when the old 98 Outback finally dies (when and if, this thing doesn’t want to go). Auto is ok cause I gotta share it with the wife.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    I would honestly rather drive the i40 than this.

    • 0 avatar

      No you would not. Fair bit of noise, ride quality yet to be sorted in most Hyundais. Different vehicle altogether. Many bad things can be said about Honda, but their suspension setups seem to hit a very nice balance of isolation and sporty. Hyundai not so much.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    LIke the car but I insist on a 4- cylinder with a stickshift . It’s particularly annoying when the manufacturer offers the same car with a stick in other markets . The new automatics usually get comparable mileage and are peppy but expensive when they fail . So drop dead Acura , I’ll never buy this or any other new car unless it has a stick because that’s what I prefer to drive . A paddle shift is not the same thing .

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    CR-Vs in Houston are selling for around $1500 below MSRP…

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I am personally not a big fan of front wheel drive compact and midsize cars with V6 engines. A lot are nose heavy and guzzle gas if driven strictly in city. What Acura should have offered is a modern 6 speed gear box and a manual option. It’s so perplexing why Honda is so much behind the times now in everything they do. I recall they were among the first to offer VVT and 5-speed automatics. Acura/Honda will be the last company to start offering 6-speed automatic transmissions as a standard option.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Honda is also one of the few companies still designing automatic transmissions in-house rather than just spec’ing an off-the-shelf product from ZF, which is why 6 and 8-speed transmissions came out in a wave across multiple brands.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        Actually, the current rumor mill indicated that Acura will be one of the first companies to start buying ZF’s new transaxles, likely the 9 speed. This is good news since Toyota just announced that Lexus will be using an Aisin sourced 8-speed in the RX F-Sport.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    Nice review, Alex. I have a passing interest in this car because it is one of the few wagons out there with decently sporting intentions, but there is a low probability of one ending up in my garage. As someone stated above, $5k is spitting distance at this price level and the 3-series is going to be the more pleasurable drive though it might not be the more pleasurable ownership experience.

    I have not seen a blue one yet, but it is an attractive car in your photos (and surprisingly so in the profile shot). Only bummers are the none more black interior (my E46 3er suffers the same malady – trim pieces should have some contrast, otherwise, what’s the point?) and the sloped roof with slanted rear window. I’m guessing this is done for improved aerodynamics, but I believe that it weakens the aesthetics, especially the sloped roof.

  • avatar
    redav

    At 189″ OAL, I don’t consider this a “small” car. It would be a tight fit in my garage.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Especially in that shade of blue, hey…not for nothing!…I wouldn’t kick it out of my garage for eating crackers….

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    This car would be high on my list to replace my current car if it weren’t for the fact the nearest dealer is over 100 miles away. Honda service will do basic maintenance but anything requiring parts or warranty service and they won’t touch it.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    “European version of the Honda Accord (which thankfully shares essentially nothing with the overweight American Accord)”

    Good gravy, will this nonsense ever stop. You can call the Accord ugly, boring, whatever floats your boat. One thing it is not is heavy. The LX automatic weighs in at 3,279 pounds. In 2012, where we have “sport” coupes weighing close to 4,000 pounds and mid-level luxury sedans weighing more than that, the Accord qualifies as a featherweight. Oh, and the Euro Accord (TSX)? The base automatic sedan weighs 3,479 lbs., and the wagon is 3,623.

    Can we just drop the “Accord is a fatty” talk once and for all?

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      All cars have been on a weight gain diet for too long as we over content them. I’m hoping for when cars return to adding lightness so they are fun to drive again and don’t need super sized / thirsty engines to make them move. Mid size cars like the Accord used to be < 3,000 lbs but now the Civic encroaches on that weight. I think when someone calls the TSX fatty – it is just one of the over weight cars on the road today along with its peers.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    If this does ok in sales, it, along with the Jetta SportWagen, somewhat justify a Buick Verano wagon…maybe even a diesel Verano wagon!

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      IIRC Honda’s target was 3000/yr, 1653 sold YTD.

      That’s probably not enough to get anyone else in the market, and Mazda dropped the 6 wagon with those numbers although the 6 was also 50% fleet.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    These are a blast to drive. Good MPG and cargo capacity. They missed the mark with lack of 3.5l V6 and 6spd MT (and P.S., the architecture is there for SHAWD in the rear of vehicle), but with that said i’ll prob get one CPO in a few years (unless I get an ILX)…..:)

  • avatar
    sckid213

    “The overall form of the TSX is thoroughly modern, in an angular Cadillac-ish kind of way.”

    A co-worker has a TSX wagon, and it’s okay-looking in a near-premium sort of way. But Senator Quayle, it’s no Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Alwaysinthecar

    As usual everyone is complaining about not having more transmission choices and engines choices and if Honda made this exactly to their personal desires then it would be a great wagon, etc., etc..

    But the fact remains that this wagon is built 100% in Japan. With the dollar to yen exchange, Honda has their hands tied. In fact, I seriously doubt they will offer this wagon next year. Unless the exchange rate stabilizes and goes past 90¥ to the $, or they start building the TSX in Ohio, this may be the last year for the wagon (and for the TSX itself.)

    This very same wagon (the Honda Tourer) can be optioned in Europe with a manual transmission and also a diesel. The dollar to yen exchange is killing Japanese auto mfgs who still build some of their models in Japan. It’s also why the wagon isn’t offered in Canada.

    Don’t expect Honda to ever offer Americans an a la carte version with the currency issues it is facing on its export models. At least not until it can be built in the US.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    They really need AWD for this wagon. It’s too bad its one of the sharpest looking Acura’s IMHO. Something like this is a nice vehicle for skiers – but I would want AWD for that. I don’t care what people say AWD makes it easier to go up snowy access roads.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> I don’t care what people say AWD makes it easier to go up snowy access roads.

      True, but do you plan to drive down those snowy access roads? Once you start sliding, AWD won’t help you, but winter tires will.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    “The TSX’s power steering is quick and fairly communicative, a rarity in this age of numb tillers.”

    Alex, I’m surprised to hear you say this. The TSX sedan has been dinged by a bunch of reviewers for having lost its beloved steering feel in the switchover from hydraulic to electric power steering. I’d be very surprised if the wagon is using a different setup than the sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I’ve also read reviews of the TSX Sedan that criticized the steering as having a numb on-center feel and the need for micro-adjustments while driving straight. In contrast, reviews of the TSX Wagon’s steering were all favorable, with Popular Mechanics writing that it was “wickedly accurate.”

      I was concerned enough about the steering to take 2 test drives of the TSX Wagon before buying it, and could not find the steering’s novocain center either time. Granted, I didn’t test drive the TSX sedan so I didn’t have that experience to compare with.

      Perhaps Acura did tweak the steering setup on the 2011/2012 Wagon.

  • avatar
    GinoDL

    My wife and I bought one two weeks ago. It’s a great car, and I hope that it initiates a resurrection of the station wagon in the US. We’ve had one in the family since my first son was born in 1962, and bought our last American-made wagon (Sable) in 2001. I was getting concerned about what we’d get next, since Ford got out of the wagon business, and even Volvo has quit. Since my better half nixes an SUV, and the only wagons left carry Platinum price tags, I was elated when Acura announced its TSX Sport Wagon. My regular driver has been an Acura since 1987, so the decision was a no-brainer. The TSX wagon did not disappoint – its 4 cylinder engine is even more exciting than the OHV V-6 that was in our Sable, and Honda seems to have made it sound like the V-8 that was in our Olds wagon. The paddle-shiftable automatic is great, and ride and handling are superb. In short, it’s a real keeper. If I’m really lucky, she’ll let me drive once in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      acuraandy

      The TSX Wagon is really an awesome car. Handles great, more cargo room than you could ever use in a non-SUV, good MPG.

      The only reason I won’t get one CPO in a couple years is if I end up with an ILX.

      Call it the Honda 15 yr cycle (Accord Wagon, last offered in 1997, and now TSX Wagon). Give it another 15, i’m sure that one will be offered again, (albeit for only one or two MY)

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Ditto on the engine sound. When I hear my wife pull into the garage, the wagon sounds much more than a 4 cylinder.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Buerkle Acura, Brooklyn Park, MN. We just got in over 10 TSX Wagons, any color or trim you would want. Come and get ‘em!

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      When I bought my 2012 tsx wagon last year, the dealer in Westchester got about 2 wagons on the lot a month, and I believe they all sold. Is having 10 wagons on the lot a hopeful sign that wagons are making a come back?

      • 0 avatar
        acuraandy

        One can only hope. I’m thinking of one in a few years, but I want to put the vinyl woodgrain on the sides (i’ll put an emblem on it that says, ‘Woodie Spec’…lol but seriously.

  • avatar
    GinoDL

    As a followup to my comments of July 29th, we took a weekend trip to see the outlaws in upstate New York with our new Sport Wagon, and I’d like to respond to those who equate horsespower and performance with cylinders. The car really is amazing with its relatively small 4 pot. It has absolutely no problem keeping up with everybody, and it blends in from the on ramps like a muscle car (complete with audio accompaniment). This is all while delivering a cool (real) 28 to 32 mpg on the highway (from an engine that has only got 300 miles on it). Having owned Acuras since 1988, I’ve come to realize that nobody squeezes performance out of four cylinders like Honda. Get over any pre-conceived notions, this car has got it.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    It’s a shame that it’s slushbox only, but putting on a nice stout K24 turbo kit would help fix that little lack of torque problem real quick, and probably give more power than the RDX had.

    Honda engines are nothing if not perfectly tune-able.

  • avatar
    GinoDL

    Following up on previous posts: After driving my wife’s 2012 TSX Sport Wagon (when she’d let me use it), I was convinced that the TSX was going to be my next ride. So I just got one for myself! A second wagon in the family, only mine is silver and has the Tech package and hers is red (should have got her the Tech package as well). Can’t tell you how pleased we both are, and I hope Acura plans to keep this model in the lineup forever. I only wonder why Acura keeps this car under a bushel. I’ve yet to see it in any advertisements (come to think of it, when’s the last time anybody’s seen an Acura ad?). And they wonder why they’re losing market share? Go figure….


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