Acura Tries a Wagon
Acura knows that it is taking a chance with the 2011 TSX Sport Wagon. Station wagons, now called Sport wagons, have been a drug on the market for more than a decade. Yet, Acura’s consumer research indicates that young buyers might just be willing to give them a try. But just in case their plan doesn’t work out, the big cheeses at Acura are hedging their bet by offering only 4000 units this model year.
Behind the wheel, the TSX Sport Wagon feels European. This should come as no surprise, since it is based on the European Honda Accord. I was immediately impressed by the responsiveness of the TSX. When I hit the accelerator, and the car jumped—there was absolutely no hesitation. Additionally, the steering was sharp and the suspension taut. If there wasn’t an Acura logo on the steering wheel, I’d swear that I was driving a German car.
The TSX line has benefited from some worthwhile enhancements this year. The most noticeable is the change to its the front facia. The Acura designers scaled down the size of the shield-like grille. It now seems more like the grille on the 2009 model, the year the car was redesigned. The nose still looks aggressive, but lacks that “in-your-face” quality.
The interior of the Sport Wagon resembles that of the TSX sedan. It features a twin-cockpit design up front. Each passenger’s compartment is defined by curving brushed-silver trim that flows from the dash down to the center console. The dash is a two-tiered arrangement, much like the Honda Accord. A centrally located digital screen displays a variety of data, and the map for the optional navigation system. The TSX holds five passengers in leather-clad seats, but the backseat legroom is cramped.
Of course, the advantage the Sport Wagon has over the TSX sedan is in its cargo area. The sedan’s trunk will hold 12.6 cu.-ft. of your worldly goods, but the cargo area behind the back seat of the wagon will carry more than double that amount, and if the backseat is folded flat, there’s 61 cu.-ft. of storage space. The Sport Wagon actually has more cargo room than either the Audi A4 or the BMW 3-Series wagons.
Acura offers the Sport Wagon with just one power train, its 2.4-liter, four–cylinder engine hooked up to a five-speed automatic gearbox. This engine is feisty, and will happily rev up to the 7000-rpm redline, but it is not really muscular. However, it works well with the responsive automatic, and drivers can select a manual mode with paddle shifters for more performance. The Sport Wagon has a decent EPA rating of 22-30 mpg.
The Sport Wagon comes equipped with standard features like power and heated front seats, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a moonroof. The only option available is the “Tech” package that adds a hard-drive navigation system, a rearview camera, AcuraLink, with real-time traffic and weather reports, a 10-speaker sound system and a power liftgate. Hopefully, pushbutton entry and start will be offered down the line.
The Acura TSX Sport Wagon delivers a pleasing combination of practicality and driving fun in a tasteful looking wagon package. The base price is $31,820. My test car equipped with the “Tech” package had an MSRP of $35,470.
Practical Body Design
Fun to Drive