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Acura TSX, 2012: luxury sport wagon provides strong BMW competition

The Acura TSX Sport Wagon joined Honda's luxury segment last year as a limited offering with only 4,000 units available in North America. The idea was to offer a less expensive alternative to BMW and Audi.

The 2012 edition is more readily available and the changes aren't significant, with the exception of additional cargo-area storage space via a new compact tire repair kit.

The standard Sport Wagon is equipped with the 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, the 3.5-liter V6 is only available in the TSX sedan.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

Acura is known for its expansive laundry list of standard features and the TSX wagon is no exception: 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, 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.

Acura TSX, 2012: luxury sport wagon provides strong BMW competition 1
2012 Acura Sport Wagon . . . All images © James Raia
There's also Bluetooth and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.

My weekly driver also featured the Tech Package: a rearview camera, a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice recognition, real-time traffic and weather forecasting, 10-speaker Acura/ELS surround-sound system with single-CD player, digital music storage and a power liftgate.

Add it all up and it's a monster offering of gadgets, dials, wires and high-tech stuff, much of which make the Acura appealing as an alternative to the more performance-oriented (and more expensive) BMW.

Like numerous other vehicles I've test driven during the nearly 10 years of The Weekly Driver reviews, I drove the 2012 Acura TSX Wagon round-trip from Sacramento to the Monterey Peninsula. The 400-mile journey features fast, open stretches of Interstate 5, the winding, off-cambered two-lane road on Highways 152 and 156 and plenty of city streets in often-frequented locales in Monterey, Carmel and Pacific Grove.

The Acura smoothly prowled along the Interstate, and it advanced ideally in cruise control. And the winding, hilly and sometimes narrow road approaching the San Luis Reservoir might as well have still been the flat and straight, sections of Interstate 5 . . . the Acura sport wagon never flinched.

Likes:

Spacious interior.

Quality materials.

Smooth handling, easy maneuverability.

Navigation back up camera has clear screen, accurate distance representation.

European design.

Exterior color, Vortex Blue Pearl, is handsome.

Dislikes:

Four-cylinder engine underpowered on steep ascents.

Technology overload.Acura TSX, 2012: luxury sport wagon provides strong BMW competition 2

Facts & Figures: 2012 Acura TSX Wagon

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 8.5 seconds.
Fuel economy: 22 mpg (city), 30 mpg (highway).
Government Safety Ratings: NHTSA, Not tested; IIHS, Good in all tests.
Engine: 2.4-liter, 201 horsepower, 16-valve 4-cylinder.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $34,810.00.
Price As Tested: $35,695.00.
Manufacturer's Website: www.acura.com
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Power train, 6 years/70,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles.

What Others Say:

"The responsive and aerodynamically fit Acura offers enough space for plenty of baby gear and amenities to keep parents content."–Los Angeles Times.

"TSX Sport Wagon is let down by a cramped rear seat and a daunting control scheme, especially when equipped with the available navigation system. However, Acura's entry-level car boasts excellent handling characteristics with little sacrifice in ride quality regardless of body style. The wagon offers plenty of cargo room with minimal impact on TSX's sporting nature. These virtues, combined with competitive pricing, make TSX Sport Wagon a Recommended choice among premium-compact cars." — Consumer Guide

"Major fun with lots of cargo space, but cramped rear seat." — USA Today

"I would give the wagon five stars for its solid build, overall quality, and easy handling. It would work in an upscale neighborhood where the kids are off to college and dad and mom really don’t want an SUV or crossover vehicle like the ones that populate every other driveway on the block." — MarketWatch.com

What The Wife Says:

"It was luxurious and functional as a wagon."

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

"Like all Acura models, the TSX wagon is immediately comfortable. It's astute on the road, designed handsomely and has a look of a luxury sedan as a wagon. That's a small fraternity, for sure."

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