The TSX Sport Wagon likely won’t be a huge seller, but it represents an important step in the right direction for a brand that has lost its way. Like the Acuras of old, this wagon is compact, efficient, and offers real value. The base price of $31,820 slots in nicely between compacts like the Audi A3 and more powerful offerings like BMW 328i Sports Wagon and A4 Avant (both of which start around $36,000).
Like the TSX sedan, the wagon provides a more rewarding driving experience than the specs suggest, with direct steering, a capable suspension, and a willing engine. I do wish the steering had a bit more heft to it. The lack of a manual transmission is a bummer for us enthusiasts, but considering the low volumes most wagons achieve in our market, it’s hard to blame Acura for not wanting to homologate multiple powertrains. The interior is simple but well insulated and convincingly premium, with nicely bolstered leather seats and soft-touch surfaces all around.
– David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Driving the TSX Sport Wagon just made me ask why the ZDX exists all over again. I understand that the TSX wagon doesn’t get a V-6 or all-wheel drive, but in every other way it is vastly superior to the aforementioned sport-futility coupe. There’s much more usable room in the TSX wagon, and you never have to explain the concept of a wagon to people you meet. Maybe the front fascia needs a little discussion, but the beak has been toned down a little.
As much as I enjoy wagons and high-revving engines, I have a hard time imagining a buyer for this car. As David points out, the TSX pricing is attractive, but BMW and Audi offer much more compelling vehicles in terms of design, powertrain, and infotainment choices. Both BMW and Audi offer AWD, and the Audi A4 Avant gives up only 1 mpg to the Acura’s 22/30 mpg city/highway ratings despite its 10 hp and 88 lb-ft of torque advantage.
The TSX Sport Wagon really exemplifies where Acura is as a brand. The idea is great, the execution is so-so, and nothing about it is particularly memorable, other than the front fascia’s styling. I miss the personality that used to come with an Acura.
– Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer
Like most automotive journalists, I’m a big fan of wagons. However, I’m not as enamored of the TSX’s aesthetic execution as I am with that of, for instance, wagon versions of the Cadillac CTS or the Audi A4 (which, admittedly are both in a slightly higher price bracket, starting at about $39K and almost $37K, respectively). Acura has got a weird thing going in the styling department anyway, though, so that certainly doesn’t help this TSX.
In any case, I still think it’s fantastic that Honda offers the TSX as a versatile, striking hatchback. To me, it helps soften the fact that the last-generation TSX felt much sportier. As Phil pointed out, however, the TSX Sport Wagon’s existence makes the ZDX even more confounding.
– Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
As my colleagues have explained, the TSX Sport Wagon is a breath of fresh air in Acura’s lineup, even if it’s imperfect. It’s proof that a properly developed four-cylinder engine, even one mated only to a five-speed automatic rather than a manual gearbox, can provide all the entertainment a enthusiast needs. I never felt that this car was at all underpowered. I also never felt like it was underequipped. Whether it’s understyled or overstyled, ha, that’s debatable. I thoroughly enjoyed driving it, and I’d like to point out that, in the comparisons my colleagues have made to the usual suspects from Germany and the upstart Cadillac wagon, there’s no mention of the fact that Acuras, historically, are dead-on reliable for years on end. In the real world, that goes a long way and might be the tipping point for someone considering the TSX Sport Wagon.
– Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
I’d be confused if a TL wagon and the ZDX were ever forced to coexist, but I do see how the TSX Sport Wagon carves its own niche in Acura’s lineup. According to the automaker, there are a (small) number of younger buyers who want something versatile, yet aren’t looking for a small SUV like the RDX, or a segment-blurring beast like the ZDX (hey, that sounds like me!).
Overall, the TSX wagon is an attractive commodity, but as my colleagues note, it does begin to pale once you stack it against similar luxo-wagons from Acura’s competitors. It doesn’t have the cachet of the 3 Series, the all-wheel-drive of the A4, nor the oh-so-dramatic flair of Cadillac’s CTS wagon.
That doesn’t mean it’s worth passing over. Four cylinders, front-wheel-drive, 3600 pounds of mass, and a five-speed automatic don’t exactly sound exciting, but the TSX does manage to feel remarkably spritely. Steering is incredibly well weighted and offers quick response, and body motions are relatively reserved. The 2.4-liter I-4 is all too happy to get up and going, and the automatic transmission is quick to respond to throttle input and remarkably smooth. Styling wise, the TSX doesn’t break new ground, but is still neat, tidy, and handsome, both inside and out.
Perhaps most impressive is the pricing. For $31,820 buyers can pick up a base Sport Wagon, which still comes equipped with features like heated leather front seats, a USB audio input, and Bluetooth phone connectivity (an extra $4000 also adds navigation and a power rear liftgate), and manages to undercut the Audi and BMW by roughly $5000; the Cadillac by $7000. It may not be a revolutionary addition to the segment, but certainly, the TSX wagon is an affordable, athletic, and attractive package.
– Evan McCausland, Web Producer
2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
Base price (with destination): $31,820
Price as tested: $35,470
2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine
5-speed automatic transmission
Vehicle stability control
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Tire pressure monitoring system
Heated front seats
60/40 split rear seats
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
USB audio interface with iPod integration
MP3/auxiliary input jack
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise controls
Remote entry system
Tilt/telescoping steering column
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Xenon HID headlights
Options on this vehicle:
Technology package — $3650
10-speaker ELS surround sound system
Acura navigation system
15 GB hard drive
Rear view camera
Key options not on vehicle:
Fuel economy: 22/30/26 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Size: 2.4L DOHC i-VTEC I-4
Horsepower: 201 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 170 lb-ft @ 4300 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Curb weight: 3623 lb
Wheels/tires: 17-inch alloy wheels; 225/50R17 Michelin HX MXM4 all-season tires