New & Used Acura TSX: In Depth
2012 Acura TSX Wagon - Driven, July 2012Enlarge Photo
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The Acura TSX is available as either a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback, and it’s the most engaging model that Honda currently produces. Since the ILX is the smallest car in the Acura range, the TSX won’t stick around for much longer.
With the TSX, Acura realized the premium segment was getting smaller. In 2004, the brand began importing the European version of the Honda Accord, reskinned with Acura details, to sell as the TSX. The trim TSX already had the larger Acura TL and RL sedans offering V-6 engines, so Honda decided the smallest Acura four-door would be fine with a four-cylinder only in that first generation, from 2004-2008. Enthusiasts loved the package. The 200-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox and routed power to the front wheels.
Though it looked a bit anodyne and basic, this TSX handled very well and accelerated nearly as quickly as the larger V-6-powered TL, thanks to its lower curb weight. Inside, the TSX had somewhat tight interior dimensions, but a raft of luxury add-ons included satellite radio, leather seating and a sunroof--which you could also get with the somewhat less expensive, and more roomy, American-market Honda Accord. The TSX remained almost a cult car through this first generation, earning good reviews and good crash-test results for frontal impacts, too, but side-impact crash protection didn't score quite as well. Over time, the engine found 5 horsepower for a total of 205 hp, and Bluetooth became standard.
The 2009 Acura TSX brought with it a heavier, bigger body and to many admirers, the best interpretation of Acura's shield-style grille. The four-cylinder engine carried over with a new power rating of 201 hp, and the gearboxes were carried over, along with nimble front-drive handling and a firm, absorbent ride. The TSX added more features, such as a USB audio interface and a premium audio system, and improved its safety performance to earn a "Top Safety Pick" designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety--an accolade maintained for most of the following years. Rear-seat room remained at a premium, however.
In the 2010 model year, the TSX carried over its four-cylinder powertrain while it added a new V-6 engine option. The V-6 makes 280 hp and comes only with the automatic transmission. Handling remains reasonably sharp--though the price of the V-6 TSX soared to the upper 30s, fully loaded.
Acura had planned to offer a 2.2-liter turbodiesel in the TSX for the 2010 model year, but has since scrubbed those plans.
The TSX saw few other changes for 2011 and 2012, but a new TSX Wagon model was sold beginning in the 2011 model year. The wagon's sole drivetrain teams the four-cylinder and five-speed automatic. Both the wagon and sedan return for the 2013 model year unchanged.