2011 Acura TSX
    MSRP
    $29,610 - $35,150
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    2011 Acura TSX Expert Review:Autoblog

    A Wagon With Genuine Swagger

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon - Click above for high-res image gallery

    Brush your long, grungy mop from your eyes, turn down the Nirvana and take a look around. It's the early '90s and an army of sport utility vehicles are flooding the streets. The newest four-wheeled object of America's affection has quickly become the default mode of transportation for everyone from inner city professionals to suburban soccer moms.

    Fast forward a couple of decades and although sport utes are still around, they've largely been displaced by the crossover – the SUV's easier-to-maneuver, more fuel efficient and more comfortable unibody progeny. But even after years of refinement, the CUV is still a basketcase of compromises. Which begs the question: Did we have it right back in the day? Is a wagon still the best compromise of size, functionality and driving dynamics? We snagged the keys to a 2011 Acura TSX Sports Wagon to find out.



    Photos copyright ©2010 Jeff Glucker / AOL



    Needless to say, the TSX Sport Wagon is based on its sedan counterpart, but in addition to its two-box shape, Acura has set it off with a redesigned grille. The new piece looks far less hawk-nosed than the one worn by the four-door, as its been broken up by a thinner frame that creates a slimming effect. The lower bumper also improves front-end styling with a much wider and more aggressive appearance. Seeing the TSX Sport Wagon for the first time is a bit like running into that formerly plain-looking girl from high school who got some work done and now dates a pro baseball player; she looks nearly the same, but somehow better. And she knows it. All of which suggests that Acura's stylists may have been listening to at least some of the criticism they've received over the company's controversial front fascia.

    The Sport Wagon's updated nose gives way to that long wagon body, which also benefits from a handful of well-placed styling elements. Noticeable fender bulges wrap around the 17-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels and serve to bookend a razor sharp shoulder crease. A strong character line takes over and works its way around the perimeter of the car. It's a neat visual trick that keeps your eyes moving along the bodywork, and it also helps to hide the extra length the wagon wears – a grand total of about 3.6 inches. The overall appearance, however, is somewhat sportier than the sedan because of how the rotund rear end sets off the car's stance.

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon side view2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon front view2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear view

    The driver's perch gives you the chance to enjoy the TSX's dark trim and subtle contrast stitching on its seats. The heated leather front chairs wrap around your body like a mold and while the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 328i Sport Wagon and Volvo V50 might have nice seats, none of them offer standard heating and few are as comfortable. Rear seat passengers are well taken care of, too, as the wagon loses just 0.1-inch of headroom compared to the sedan, while leg, hip and shoulder room all remain the same.

    Better still, the rear seats fold down nearly flat with the touch of a switch. The side pockets and lower panels can be removed to reveal even more storage options and the 28-inch height of the rear opening allows for some sizable objects to catch a lift. The 60.5 cubic-feet of rear cargo space is downright cavernous compared to the 50.5, 48.9 and 44.2 found in the Audi, BMW and Volvo, respectively. The closest you'll get to equaling the TSX's cargo hold is the Cadillac CTS Wagon which comes in at 58 cubes with the seats folded flat.

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon interior2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon front seats2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear seats2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear cargo area

    It's not just comfort and utility that makes the TSX Sport Wagon a near ideal place to log trips over the hills and through the woods. All of the knobs and switches are easy to reach, and the available infotainment system hits the moving target of today's technological standards. With the exception of the bulbous multi-directional controller blighting the center stack, the controls are logically laid out, providing an easy learning curve. Dual-zone climate controls keep more than just the driver happy and even the base seven-speaker sound system provides an enjoyable audio experience. The navigation system and rearview camera, however, only show up on the dashboard if you opt for the Technology Package, but Bluetooth and USB audio come standard.

    The base model starts at $30,960 plus $860 for destination and handling, while the TSX Sport Wagon with Tech Package costs $34,610 plus D&H. When upgrading to the latter, buyers also receive a power-actuated tailgate, boosted ELS 460-watt 10-speaker audio system with voice recognition, navigation with real-time weather, traffic updates and dynamic re-routing, and the rearview camera. A loaded Acura TSX Sport Wagon with Tech Package still comes in under the base price of the A4 ($35,940), 328i ($36,200) and comparably-equipped V50 ($35,650). The Caddy? Just over $38,000 in base spec.

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon gauges2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon navigation system2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon climate controls2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon shifter

    Comparing pricing and amenities never paints a complete picture, though, and that's where driving dynamics come into play. "Sport" is the TSX Sport Wagon's middle name, and after hauling around Southern California for a couple of days, the moniker is well-deserved. If just. The suspension is firm – almost surprisingly so – making this five-door a joy to push hard, at least on SoCal's smooth roads. The rack-and-pinion steering is also tight and responsive, combining neatly with the TSX's stiff suspenders to make for an engaging driving experience.

    When the road turns even slightly rough, however, the TSX Sport Wagon transforms into something of a child's moonbounce. While never unsettled, on certain course surfaces we found the Acura to be not unlike navigating a Boston whaler across a choppy harbor. Suspension for this front-wheel drive wagon is composed of double wishbones up front and multi-link setup in the rear, and we suspect the issue lies with the constant-rate coil springs. Perhaps a set of progressive units would help smooth things out, but prospective buyers who live in areas blessed with four distinctly separate seasons should keep the TSX Sport Wagon's stiff nature in mind.

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon headlights2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon grille2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon grille2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon taillight

    Under the hood of the TSX Sport Wagon lies a 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 172 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. That doesn't sound like much, but the powertrain actually provides a surprising amount of motivation for this 3,599-pound premium utility sled and sounds pretty good while doing it.

    Power is routed to the front wheels courtesy of a five-speed automatic transmission, while a pair of paddles mounted to the steering wheel allow for manual gear selection. When left alone, the automatic shifts smoothly, though sometimes it plays a game of hide-and-seek when pressing on with authority. If you're not in the mood for the cogbox's automated games, you can always switch the transmission into Sport and use the paddleshifters. Fortunately, whatever speed you build is just as easy to shed thanks to the TSX's well-sorted 11.8-inch ventilated front and 11.1-inch solid rear discs.

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon engine

    A six-speed manual transmission would offer even more engagement, but sadly Acura can't build a business case for one. When pressed why we can't get a row-our-own version, Acura officials indicated that the company expects to sell around 4,000 units per year, or 10 percent of all TSX models sold. The take rate for manual transmissions amongst current TSX buyers is only around two to three percent, and with the wagon already making up a minority of TSX sales, it doesn't make financial sense to offer a three-pedal model.

    So where is the V6 that's offered in the sedan? The four-cylinder does a surprisingly credible job, but the 280-hp, 3.5-liter unit available in the four-door would be a welcome addition. Just as Acura was listening to its customers with regards to the front-end design, it's also evidently deferred to market research regarding what engine to plunk in the TSX Wagon's beaky nose. As the theory goes, the average wagon buyer doesn't need 280 hp when 201 hp works just fine, and prospective buyers Acura spoke with placed a higher priority on fuel economy than power. The 2.4-liter is rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway, while the V6-powered sedan achieves 18/27 – numbers that would no doubt fall in the heavier wagon.

    2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon rear 3/4 view

    That all said, why is the TSX Sport Wagon finally available in the U.S.? Because Acura says it wants to provide an SUV alternative for its entry-level customers. The wagon is aimed squarely at those successful members of Generation-Y for whom owning an SUV has become a stigma. Priced below the competition and boasting better fuel economy, the 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon is not yet the near-luxury estate of our dreams, but it's a welcome step in the continued resurrection of the premium wagon.



    Photos copyright ©2010 Jeff Glucker / AOL

    New wagon joins updated sedan lineup.

    Introduction

    The sharply creased Acura TSX is something like the Swiss Army Knife among smaller, near-luxury sedans, and now among wagons, too. It does a lot of jobs well. If it's not the best car in its class by any particular measure, the TSX is good by many measures. It's very easy to live with in all locales and loaded with relative value. 

    For 2011, the Acura TSX sedan gets a slight facelift. There are also subtle interior updates for the 2011 TSX sedans, along with aerodynamic improvements and engine efficiencies that raise EPA mileage ratings by 1 mpg across the board. 

    Yet the big development is the new 2011 TSX Sport Wagon. With more than 60 cubic feet of easily accessed cargo space, the wagon makes a nice, quieter alternative to a small SUV or crossover. It delivers almost as much utility, better reflexes and better fuel economy than just about any SUV extant. 

    The 2011 Acura TSX comes standard with heated leather-trimmed seats, power everything, dual-zone climate control, a great sounding high-watt stereo, electronic stability control and a full array of airbags. It scores well in government and insurance industry crash tests. The Acura TSX competes primarily with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, and Lexus IS, and to a lesser extent with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Saab 9-3 and Volkswagen CC. 

    The TSX uses front-wheel drive, whereas true sports sedans and many of its competitors are rear-wheel drive. Regardless, this Acura remains one of the better-handling front-drive sedans available. It's grown bigger, heavier and more luxurious over the last few years, and as a result it plods a bit more than it once did. Yet the TSX is still hard to beat as an everyday driver that can be fun on a winding road. 

    Its standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine comes with a choice of manual or automatic transmission. It's rated at 201 horsepower, but it revs happily and, with the 6-speed manual, it's the most fun TSX to drive. It also gets great fuel economy, delivering up to 22 mpg city, 31 highway, according to the EPA. It's never crude or rough. 

    The TSX sedan is also available with 3.5-liter V6, delivering substantially more power and torque, with a 3 mpg mileage penalty. The V6 has a temperament all its own, distinct from the four-cylinder models. It's more substantial, perhaps, and heavier, with character more in tune with the luxury class. 

    Technology has always been a big part of the TSX's appeal, and this extends beyond the drivetrain and chassis. Updated for 2011, Acura's superb navigation system is the equal of anything in the class. It displays real-time traffic with congestion re-routing and local and national weather. An airlines display lets you track a flight's progress across the country. The top-line audio system sets a standard for the class, too, with superbly crisp surround sound. Like the other features, voice command and hands-free Bluetooth cell phone architecture are cleanly integrated with the car's electronics. The TSX delivers Acura's hallmark traits of smooth mechanicals, a feature-rich cabin and distinctive, if not necessarily pretty design. If it isn't a true sports sedan, it's very good being what it is: a stylish, efficient premium compact sedan with a sporty tilt. If passengers aren't too tall, the TSX is also a fantastically comfortable commuter car. 

    Lineup

    The 2011 Acura TSX is available as a sedan or five-door wagon, with either a four- or six-cylinder engine and manual or automatic transmission. Options are limited. 

    The TSX sedan ($29,610) is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4, delivering 201 horsepower and up to 172 pound feet of torque. Either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission is available for the price, with 17-inch alloy wheels. Standard features include leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with memory, a four-way passenger seat, heated outside mirrors, steering wheel controls for cruise and audio, and a 360-watt stereo with single CD, XM satellite receiver and seven speakers, including sub-woofer. 

    The TSX Sport Wagon ($30,290) is powered by the 2.4-liter four, but it's only offered with the automatic. It comes standard with the same features as the sedan, with a few wagon-only items such as a rear cargo cover. 

    The TSX V6 sedan ($35,150) upgrades with a 3.5-liter V6 generating 280 horsepower and 254 pound-feet. The V6 also adds 18-inch wheels, recalibrated steering and suspension, and active sound control. Comfort and convenience features are identical to those on four-cylinder models. 

    The only factory option is a Technology Package ($3,100 for the sedans, $3,650 for the wagon), which includes Acura's navigation system, with real-time traffic and weather and voice recognition. The package also adds premium ELS audio with more power, 10 speakers, a CD changer and a 15-GB storage drive, and a back-up camera. On the wagon, it includes a power liftgate. The window sticker will list TSXs with this package as separate Technology models. The TSX does offer a number of dealer installed options, including a remote starter, exterior racks and spoilers and interior trim kits. 

    Safety features include the required complement of airbags: front-impact airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags and curtain-style head protection airbags for outboard passengers front and rear. There are active head restraints for front passengers and anchors for child safety seats (LATCH) in back. Active safety features include electronic stability control (ESC) and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist. A tire pressure monitor is required by federal law. 

    Walkaround

    The TSX applies what Acura calls its Keen Edge design theme. Like it or not, the hard creases and prominent bulges stand out more explicitly than those on Acuras past. There is a consistency to Acura's styling that ties its current models together, starting with the prominent, stylized caliper logo, and there is no mistaking the TSX as anything other than a vehicle from Honda's luxury brand. 

    What stands out for 2011 is the newly introduced TSX sport wagon. The wagon is about four inches longer than the sedan, sharing the same 106.4-inch wheelbase, and the TSX sedan is already one of the largest cars in its class. It's more than seven inches longer than a BMW 3 Series and five inches longer than a Lexus IF, and it's wider than both. 

    There's no deceit in the TSX wagon, with nothing meant to imply that it is some truck-style, SUV or crossover. Its aesthetics rest in its utility. We like that, even if the large rear hatch and bulging rear bumper create a big rear end. 

    For 2011, all TSX models get a mild facelift: The chin spoiler in front has been revised. There's a new grille and new, bright garnishes below the front bumper around the fog lights. In back, the taillights and license-plate trim have been updated. 

    The 2011 TSX styling tweaks come with new underbody panels intended to improve aerodynamics. These plastic sheets essentially fare-in many mechanical components, smoothing airflow underneath the car and minimizing the aural disturbance it creates. In its quest to reduce noise inside the TSX, Acura has also improved the glass. The windshield now has a sheet of sound-deadening acoustic laminate between layers of glass, and the side windows are nearly 25 percent thicker than before. 

    The TSX's front end blends elements from Acura's other two sedans, the sporty TL and the more serious RL, and from the MDX sport utility. Its side view departs a bit more from the Acura family look, but keeps just enough of the cues to stay true to its Keen Edge design DNA. Any rear angle is more than a bit busy, and suggests recent Toyota Camrys more than the previous TSX. The rear bumper cups the trunk opening with unflattering bulk, which makes the hot rod-spec dual exhaust tips look a little lame. 

    With styling updates come a slightly revised pattern for the 17-inch wheels on four-cylinder TSXs. The five spokes now have a beveled lip, giving them a little more visual depth. The split five-spoke 18-inch wheels that identify the TSX V6 are unchanged. The six-cylinder is also distinguished by a V6 badge on the trunk and slightly larger lower grille inlets. 

    Interior

    The 2011 Acura TSX benefits from a range of updates inside, beginning with minor appearance items like chrome door releases and contrasting stitching on the standard leather seats. There is also more sound insulation throughout. This all goes along with the introduction of the new TSX Sport Wagon. 

    Two other functional improvements stand out for 2011. The center-console storage box is now cooled by the air conditioning, keeping candy bars, snacks or even a canned soft drink fit for consumption on the hottest days. And the navigation system, already quite effective, has been updated with a full VGA monitor that greatly enhances resolution. 

    It's easy to like the TSX interior. The cabin is comfortable without being plush, and sporty without being sparse. Communication between driver and car is, for the most part, open, easy and unabridged. 

    The decorative trim is a dark gray metallic plastic, and everything else inside the wagon we tested was black, except for the trim around the main gauges and a couple of buttons. The effect is somber, dark, dense and boring. With the TSX's conventional stick key, which is increasingly rare in this class of sedans, it almost made the car feel dated. (However, some of us prefer traditional keys.) The TSX is anything but dated. We'd choose one with a two-tone interior schemes. The lighter color below the trim line makes the TSX cabin much more appealing. 

    The front seats are supportive, with enough side bolstering for reasonably rambunctious motoring on twisty roads. The bottom cushion could be deeper, but this is a common shortcoming in many cars. Shorter drivers may have a hard time getting the lumbar support just where it should be, and the front-seat passenger gets no bottom-cushion height adjustment. That leaves some people feeling as if they're sitting in a hole. 

    Cabin measurements show the TSX with less front headroom than most competitors, but with more rear legroom than some and parity just about everywhere else. All four doors have dual inside pulls, one horizontal and one angled up, for easy closing by passengers of any stature. 

    The gauges are trimmed with bright chrome, and tell their tales with easy-to-scan graphics and floating needles. The manual shift paddles for the automatic transmission are mounted on the steering wheel rather than the column, so they turn with the driver's hands. The wheel sports pushbuttons and toggles controlling more than a dozen functions, not counting the horn, and it looks like it would be just as appropriate in a jet fighter. This is good for fighter pilot Walter Mittys who fantasize about mixing it up with the other side's Top Guns, or for those who like to keep their hands on the wheel at all times, but it could be a bit much if you just want to drive the car. 

    The seat warmer switches are easy to find, on either side of the grippy shifter, and all TSXs are equipped with a proper handbrake. At first blush, the main array of switches in the center stack looks dense, maybe even slightly intimidating. In fact, with a little familiarity, the TSX layout proves to be one of the better meldings of hard buttons and point-an-click joysticks currently available. 

    With either the base sound system or the optional Technology Package, the TSX presents one of the more intuitively arranged switch packages we've seen, with large, finger-friendly buttons and a fairly easy-to-learn multi-function knob for the multi-layered information/map screen. There's a hard button for all frequently adjusted climate and audio functions, so you don't have to use the joystick to change a radio station or air-flow direction. 

    The audio switches and joystick are located at the top of the stack, just below the display screen, with the climate controls below. The premium audio upgrade does put the CD changer down into the bowels of the stack, where it's not as easily accessed as the CD slot for the base system. 

    A Grammy winner helped tune the TSX's optional sound system. Rather than the kilowatt of power some high-end systems use, the Acura/ELS stereo uses a more modest 415 watts of amplification (or 460 in the wagon), 10 speakers and DVD-audio capability to deliver detailed sound that could very well be the next best thing to being there. It also features Song By Voice audio selection. The easy-to-load hard drive will store 15 gigabytes of music, or about 3,500 songs. TSX owners can leave their CDs at home. 

    The navigation system is more than competitive. Its graphics are outstanding so it's very easy to read, and it works more quickly than before. The Real-Time Weather feature is particularly effective, though it only works if the owner subscribes to XM. It provides forecasts that are very local, and even shows the local storm radar. 

    Interior storage is adequate. The front doors have a molded-in space for a water bottle and good size bins at the bottom. The glove box has a partitioned nook for the owner's manual and associated booklets, leaving the rest for smallish flat items. The front center console hosts a bi-level storage bin and two cup holders. There's also a bin in the front footwells on each side of what once was called the transmission hump. 

    The rear seat is more like a bench than twin buckets, and tall passenger might find space for the lower extremities snug. Those of average height should stay comfortable for at least a couple of hours. 

    Feature-wise, there is nothing terribly fancy in back, though the 2011 improvements include adjustable air vents on the back of the center console. The drop-down center armrest has two cup holders, but storage space is limited: pull-out pockets on the front seatbacks and small bins at the bottom of the doors. Rear head restraints adjust for height, which is a plus for rear-seat occupants, though even at their lowest position they limit visibility out the back window. 

    The trunk offers 14 cubic feet of space for the sedan. That's at least a cubic foot more than the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class or Lexus IF. Only the center section is flat, however, as the sides are shaped to accommodate the rear suspension components. The liftover height is low, but the opening itself isn't particularly commodious. Space is easily expanded by dropping the rear seatbacks with pull-levers in the trunk. 

    The TSX Sport Wagon provides 25.8 cubic feet of stowage space behind the rear seat. With the seatbacks lowered, the space expands to 60.5 cubic feet: more than comparable wagons like the 3 Series or Audi A4, and close to small SUV/crossovers such as Acura's own RDX (61.8 cubic feet) or the boxy Ford Escape (66.3). 

    The wagon's cargo area is nicely finished and easily accessible, through the side doors or hatch. The lift-over height is about 24 inches, and the opening fits a box or object with at least one dimension of 28 inches or less. With the rear seatback folded, there's nearly 70 inches of length. That makes room for bicycles or several golf bags. 

    The wagon's load floor is covered with velvety, low-pile carpet and equipped with multiple tie-downs to secure stowed items. There are four separate covered compartments in back of the TSX wagon, including one under the load floor that's about four inches deep. Its plastic tub works great for wet clothing or dripping containers. A window shade-type cargo cover comes standard, and the Technology Package includes a power-operated liftgate. 

    Driving Impression

    The Acura TSX is easy to live with, regardless of the model, and it's generally an enjoyable car to drive. Both the four- and six-cylinder engines rev freely, encouraging a heavy foot on the accelerator. All models deliver good fuel economy, a good compromise on the comfort/performance continuum, and good feel to the operating controls. 

    For 2011, the TSX gets mechanical updates across the line, matching those of the new TSX Sport Wagon. The automatic transmission is now equipped with a fluid warmer that ensures smooth shifting for owners in the coldest climates, while all owners benefit from internal friction reductions inside the engines. That translates to lower fuel consumption. TSX mileage numbers, already among the best in its category, increase 1 mpg city and highway. The four-cylinder models deliver up to 22 mpg city, 31 highway, according to the EPA. 

    What keeps the TSX off many enthusiast drivers' shopping list is its front-wheel-drive layout. While generally good for packaging and fuel efficiency, and the next best thing to all-wheel drive for winter traction, front-wheel drive doesn't offer the handling characteristics, agility or feel of a rear-wheel-drive car, nor an all-wheel-drive car biased to behave like rear-wheel drive, as is the Audi A4 quattro. 

    That said, the Acura TSX is about as crisp, and as much fun, as front-drive, near-luxury sedans get. It's a bit more deliberate than it once was, thanks to a 2009 redesign that made it larger, more luxurious and heavier. Yet both the V6 and four-cylinder models deliver good response, with composure that makes for an ideal everyday transport. The ride is quite comfortable, but the comfort doesn't come at the expense of mushy reflexes or rowboat wallow. The steering is accurate, and to most drivers it will feel quite racy. With its wider tires on larger rims, the V6 sticks to the pavement a bit more tenaciously, but the lighter, spryer four-cylinder is more fun charging down a winding mountain road. 

    With 201 horsepower and as little as 170 lb-ft of torque, the TSX's 2.4-liter four-cylinder has its work cut out when it comes to hauling around 3600 pounds of car and driver. This engine is willing and happy to do the job, and rejoices at rpm where others sound stressed. With nice easy clutch action and a crisp shifter, the 6-speed manual transmission is the enthusiast's choice, and it gets the most from the four-cylinder. Figure on 0-60 acceleration in the low seven-second range, and a lot of fun stirring the TSX's rev-happy engine with the manual. 

    The automatic, we're not so fond of. It has just five forward speeds, where others in this class typically have six or more, and that limits its flexibility and responsiveness somewhat. Even with the electronics in sport mode, the automatic can be slow to react to the driver's demand for more acceleration with the gas pedal. The only way to ensure quick shifts is to undertake them manually, in which case you might as well choose the 6-speed manual transmission. Most drivers will grow accustomed to the automatic's behavior, but the four-cylinder TSX just does not have enough power to exhilarate with this transmission. It's not something we'd look forward to driving, and Acuras are supposed to make us want to get behind the wheel. 

    The 3.5-liter V6 significantly changes the TSX's character, not least by adding 70 horses and 84 lb-ft of torque and knocking about 1.5 seconds off that 0-60 sprint. Acura's V6 is smooth and linear, and at higher revs it expresses itself with a very pleasant growl. Yet even here the automatic transmission can mute the engine's goodness. It doesn't generate the exhilaration or the involvement factor of the 6-speed manual, which isn't offered with the V6. The V6 model also adds 210 pounds of weight, all over the front wheels, knocking 3 mpg off EPA city and highway ratings. And it needs an extra 15 inches of space for a U-turn. 

    The brakes are stout in all models, stopping the TSX in short order, with solid pedal feel and an ABS system that virtually eliminates skips and jitters. It takes some fairly heavy abuse before the brakes begin to heat up and stopping distances increase. 

    Outward visibility is excellent from the driver's seat, especially forward and to the sides. The rear view is slightly hindered by rear headrests, a problem not unique to the TSX. The larger wheels and lower profile tires on the V6 add almost nothing to the minimal road noise that finds its way into the cabin. Wind noise is better muted than ever at highway speeds, and the most prominent noise inside the TSX is the mostly pleasant sound of the engines spinning at high revs. Noise, vibration and harshness control in the TSX surpasses the class standard. 

    The Sport Wagon? Essentially the same as the sedan in every respect, though buyers will have to be comfortable with the four-cylinder/automatic package, because it's the only combination offered. There is no increase in flex or shimmy in the wagon's body structure and no increase in noise, even as a slight boom in the expanse of space to the driver's rear. And the wagon's extra utility compared to the sedan is hard to beat. 

    Summary

    The Acura TSX is one of the brand's best sellers, and its appeal is easy to understand. The TSX is comfortable, stylish and economical to operate with either the four- or six-cylinder engine. For 2011, the TSX is available as a five-door TSX Sport Wagon with as much cargo volume as a small SUV. The front-wheel-drive TSX doesn't qualify as a classic sports sedan. Yet for buyers seeking a well-equipped, easy-living sedan or wagon with sporty flair and a luxury-brand dealership experience, the TSX is hard to beat. And it's been improved for 2011. Among the sedans, our favorite is the base four-cylinder model with 6-speed manual gearbox. 

    NewCarTestDrive.com correspondents J.P. Vettraino in Detroit, G.R. Whale in Los Angeles, and Tom Lankard in San Diego contributed to this report. 

    Model Lineup

    Acura TSX sedan ($29,610); TSX Sport Wagon ($30,690); TSX V6 sedan ($35,150). 

    Assembled In

    Sayama, Japan. 

    Options As Tested

    Technology Package ($3,650) includes navigation system with real-time weather, traffic reporting and voice recognition, 460-watt ELS surround audio with 10 speakers, six-disc changer, XM satellite radio receiver, Bluetooth connection, USB port and 15-GB hard drive, back-up camera and power rear liftgate. 

    Model Tested

    Acura TSX Sport Wagon ($30,960). 

    *The data and content on this web site is subject to change without notice. Neither AOL nor any of its data or content providers shall be liable for errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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