March 14, 2012
Whether a sport sedan works as such depends mightily on its suspension tuning. The TSX is not head-of-the-class for handling or steering feel, but it does have what I consider the best ride comfort of any wannabe-sporty car I’ve tested in a long time. This is a car that works best at seven-tenths, street-legal driving.
2012 Acura TSX V6-Tech. Click image to enlarge
The TSX’s interior environment is typical of a modern Honda product, in lacking the smart-and-simple dashboard layouts the company used to be known for. Still, this centre stack is lighter on buttons than other Acura models and is pretty easy to get used to within a day or so behind the wheel. Kudos to Acura for sticking with toggle switches for the heated front seats that, for one thing, can be left in the ‘on’ position for the next cold start. I fail to understand Japanese cars’ hesitancy in adopting one-touch, three-flash turn signals. This handy feature – you don’t realize just how much so till you’ve used it – originated in higher-end European cars but has migrated to really basic cars like Kia Rios and Hyundai Accents and Chevrolet Sonics. Honda, Nissan, Toyota, I ask you, where’s the beef?
The front seats are supportive and well-bolstered and seemingly perfectly tailored to my small frame. Wider riders will find themselves sitting on the bolsters instead of between them. Climb into the back seat and you discover why Honda doesn’t simply import this car to sell as the North American Accord as well. This is by no means a tiny space, but bigger-is-better North American tastes dictate something larger for the mainstream market. Nonetheless, only tall-in-the-torso passengers will find their crania getting close to the headliner.
The 400-litre trunk is oddly shaped, as is the case in most of the TSX’s Japanese competitors. (I still contend that German sedan trunks are a model of cargo-carrying ability that should be the envy of the world.) The rear seats fold, not quite flat, to open up a so-so-sized pass-through into the passenger compartment.
TSX pricing starts at $31,890 for the base model, which comes with powered front seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, fog lights and a sunroof. Six-cylinder power is only an option once you’ve anted up for the Technology Package of six-CD changer, back-up camera, navigation and 60-GB hard drive; as such, my tester carried a price-tag of $41,890 before freight and taxes.
That’s a solid price for what this car can do and comes with, but you can spend a little more money to get the kind of features we’ve been taught to expect in this class of car. An Infiniti G37x costs $2,500 more and includes two key items – all-wheel drive and ‘intelligent’ keyless entry with pushbutton start – that have practically become de rigueur – at least as options – in entry-level luxury sedans. Many of the items conspicuous here by their absence are becoming desirable even among economy car shoppers.
Taken on its own, the TSX is a very nice car and would probably make great sense if it had some more personality – say, a snarkier exhaust note or that turbocharged engine. As it stands, though, this is an average luxury sport sedan notable mostly for the luxury car features it doesn’t have.
Pricing: 2012 Acura TSX
Crash test results