The 2012 Acura TSX is a difficult car to categorize. It's often cited as an entry level luxury sedan. But with its new option, a peppy six-speed manual transmission, and a Special Edition package, it's also a sports car.
Luxury sedan and sports car? That's an oxymoron in the automotive industry. But with Special Edition package, even if only offered on the four-cylinder Acura TSX, it's also an ideal description.
Automatic xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheel, foglights, heated outside mirrors, a sunroof, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, an eight-way power driver seat with memory, a four-way power passenger seat, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 60/40-split-folding rear seatback.
Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. In addition to more horsepower and displacement, the V6 adds a firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels and a road-noise-cancelling feature for the sound system are also standard.
The TSX Special Edition package (base sedan only) adds a more aggressive front spoiler, a new rear bumper fascia and unique side sills and wheel treatments. Within the cabin, upgrades include faux-suede seat inserts, red interior stitching, red cabin illumination, aluminum pedals, bright silver trim elements and a black headliner.
And there's also the optional Technology Package. It adds: a rearview camera, a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice recognition, real-time traffic and weather forecasting, a 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound system with single-CD player, digital music storage and, for the wagon, a power liftgate.
All of the standard and optional equipment may not add up to balance the refinement edge of competitors like the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series. But at the $30,000 price range, the Acura TSX is hard to ignore.
In its review, Edmunds.com succinctly commented:
"If you find yourself shopping for a car that's both sensible and luxurious, we see no reason why the 2012 Acura TSX shouldn't be at the top of your list."
Fuel economy estimates (EPA) for the four-cylinder automatic TSX sedan are 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 combined, while the manual version is 21/29/24. The wagon achieves 22/30/25 and 19/28/23 respectively in the four and six-cylinder editions.
With the Weekly Driver video review below, videographer Bruce Aldrich and I agree with the assessment of Edmunds.com and other notable automotive sites.
The BMW 3-Series (base price, $37,500) and Audi A4 ($33,550 are fine automobiles. But the Acura TSX ($29,810 holds its own, particularly when considering the price variances, the Special Edition package and smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission.