2011 Acura TSX Review

2011 Acura TSX - High-Tech wagon expands TL lineup.


PLUSES: The TSX for those who need to hold more gear or groceries but don't want a sport ute. Smooth car like ride and handling. Good mileage. So many amenities.

MINUSES: An all wheel drive version would be nice for snow belt.

The Acura TSX sedan now offers a station wagon version for those who could use the utility of an SUV (sport utility vehicle) or CUV (compact utility vehicle), but prefer the car like ride, handling, and mileage of a car, specifically the attributes of the compact TSX sedan.

Acura, however, avoids the "station" wagon designation and calls the TSX a "sport" wagon instead because "station" hints at an old foggy mobile whereas "sport" suggests the owner not only can text, but has an iPod, iPad, and at least one android phone sitting next to his computer at home.

We tested the new for 2011 TSX wagon, which offers the same pleasant ride, crisp handling, and above average mileage of the sedan, only rather than a trunk it features a larger cargo hold in back reached through a hatchback lid---and make that a power hatch lid if you get the technology package.

Acura boasts the TSX wagon combines sports-sedan performance with SUV-like cargo capacity.

Unlike the TSX sedan which offers a choice of 4 cylinder or V-6 power, the TSX sport wagon is only available with a 4 cylinder teamed with 5-speed automatic, the same 2.4 liter and 5-speed that develops a brisk 201 h.p. in the sedan and ensures lively movement along the expressway, into and out of the passing lane, and up and over inclines in the road in the wagon without having to first take a deep breath.

The TSX wagon features front wheel drive. No TSX---sedan or wagon---offers all wheel drive. If, as Acura says, the TSX wagon is an alternative to a utility vehicle, it would seem AWD would be a logical option since often the attraction of a sport ute is AWD for the Snow Belt. But AWD isn't planned, Acura says.

The primary attraction of the wagon is the multi-configurable rear cargo hold area with ample storage room to carry and haul along with a variety of tie downs and hooks to hold items in place. A pull out shade keeps cargo contents out of sight of passers by.

There also are several cubby holes under and along the sides of the cargo floor as well as in the cargo walls to store and hide things.

The rear seat backs fold flat to increase cargo carrying capacity so you can slip in skis, bikes, golf bags, surfboards or lawn mower.

Thanks to being derived from the low slung sedan, the wagon has low liftover height that makes it easier to load/unload cargo---which means there's low step-in, step-out height for entry/exit to the cabin as well.

Our test vehicle came with the Technology Package which includes a power open/close hatchback lid, a most appreciated feature in a compact size vehicle. The Tech package also adds voice activated navi with real time traffic and weather, rear view camera for parking assist, and an upgraded sound system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/DVD.

On the outside, all TSX models get new front and rear end treatment while changes inside range from new contrasting color stitching for the perforated leather seats to the addition of heating/cooling vents mounted at the rear of the center console for back seat occupants.

One gripe: Rear seat arm and head room is ample, but room for legs and feet is cramped.

One pleasant surprise: The compartment under the center arm rest comes with a cooling vent linked to the air conditioning to keep pop or juice cool while traveling. You'll also find USB port, auxiliary plug and power plug under the arm rest. And cabin trim is on the fashionable and luxury side. No bargain basement shortcuts here.

The wagon has plenty of power and the suspension is tuned to provide a firm, but rumble or tumble free ride. Handling is nimble and very sedan like and the wagon is both easy to park as well as easy to maneuver on straightaways or into and out of twists and turns.  

The TSX Sport wagon with tech package starts at $34,610, $3,600 more than the wagon minus the high tech accessories, and includes such goodies as stability control with traction control, traction control, power heated seats, power heated mirrors, dual zone climate control, and Bluetooth hands free phone connectivity.

2011 Acura TSX high tech wagon

Wheelbase: 106.4 inches
Length: 189.2 inches
Engine: 2.4 liter, 201 h.p. 4 cylinder.
Transmission: 5-speed automatic.  
Mileage: 22 m.p.g. city/30 m.p.g. highway.
Base price: $34,610.
Price as equipped: Add $885 freight.

Jim Mateja

Jim Mateja enjoyed a 42 year career with the Chicago Tribune before retiring in 2007 as the newspaper's automotive columnist. He received numerous awards for his reporting and writing, including the National Automotive Journalism Association's "Moto" award for best regularly published column and automotive feature writing, and a Best in Show award for his test ride of a horse in conjunction with the Tribune's 150th anniversary. He also earned the Detroit Press Club Foundation's Gold Wheel Award for best car reviews, and a Tribune Professional Performance Award for his column and regular reporting. He still writes occasional car reviews for the Tribune, is one of the nation's 50 automotive journalists who serve as members of the North American Car of the Year judging panel, and is a panel member who helps select Best Buys for "Consumers Digest" magazine. Mateja also is the founding President of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.