2012 Acura TSX Tech
2012 Acura TSX Tech. Click image to enlarge

More Acura TSX reviews at Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Acura Canada

Review and photos by Michael Schlee

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2012 Acura TSX

“Less is more” is one of those overused phrases loosely applied to just about anything to help someone lazily prove a point.  It is right up there with “think outside the box,” “git ‘er done” and “my two cents.” But, in the case of the TSX, try as I may, I can’t think of any better phrase to sum up the TSX other than “less is more.”  With the less-powerful, less-expensive four-cylinder engine, the TSX is the more engaging vehicle to drive.  Save a few more hard-earned dollars by opting for the manual transmission and driver pleasure increases exponentially. To be truthful, that last comment is pure speculation based on the previous generation TSX as I have yet to test the latest six-speed manual TSX.

Instead, the test vehicle featured here is the 2012 Acura TSX Tech Package equipped with Acura’s fabulous 2.4-litre 201 hp 4-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.  Chris Chase reviewed an almost-identical TSX Tech Package a few weeks ago, though equipped with the 3.5-litre V6 engine, so I will skim the back history and option listing of this vehicle and focus more on day-to-day driving impressions and usability.

2012 Acura TSX Tech
2012 Acura TSX Tech
2012 Acura TSX Tech. Click image to enlarge

Over the past three decades, Acura has established itself as maker of sporty, great-handling front-wheel-drive vehicles.  Along with the base versions of the TL, the TSX is left carrying the FWD torch for Acura until the new ILX bows next year.   Many question how Acura can remain a player in this segment when most of its competition offer rear- or all-wheel drive in their mid-size luxury offerings.  The reason is simple: Acura makes it work.  I am not a huge fan of FWD vehicles and am not going to pretend that this vehicle can race around a track with a proper RWD sports car. However, for a car whose front wheels are burdened with both driving and steering duties, it simply holds on in corners with surprising poise.

For the most part, the TSX offers a smooth, compliant ride that only hints at its true capabilities.  Push the car hard into some sweeping bends, though, and it really comes alive.  The more you load up the suspension, the more responsive it becomes; very reminiscent of the Mazda RX-8’s dual-suspension personality.  Fact is, the TSX grips through tight bends like no mid-size FWD sedan should.  It may just be the perfect vehicle for all the teenagers who grew up on Acura Integras and RSXs and now want something a little more refined and practical without giving up what made them love their former Acuras.

Speaking of grip, it is a sure sign summer is just around the corner as the TSX was the first vehicle in 2012 I tested with all-season tires; hallelujah!  The 17-inch rims wrapped in 225/50R17 tires didn’t exude any wow-factor style-wise, but did tie in nicely with TSX’s overall understated look (grille notwithstanding).  Okay, now that the elephant in the room has been brought up, let’s deal with it.  The grille on the TSX still looks like a beak, and still needs to go.  However, it is one of the more understated applications of this corporate grille in the Acura lineup.

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