- Refined and responsive four-cylinder
- Very strong, smooth V-6
- Overall handling and responsiveness
- Tight back seat
- Odd beak
- No spare tire (Wagon)
For nearly all compact-sedan shoppers except serious enthusiasts or green-car fanatics, the 2013 Acura TSX strikes an agreeable compromise between sport-sedan attitude and premium-car practicality.
The Acura TSX is, for lack of a better term, a 'tweener,' in multiple ways, and while that might make it hard to cross-shop against other premium sedans, that's also what adds to its appeal as a sporty sedan that stands out in the market.
It doesn't quite fit in as compact in the U.S., yet it's not mid-size either; it's more sprightly and less conservative compared to some other entry-luxury models, yet it's not quite a full-fledged sport sedan. Altogether, the TSX hits the right mark for the type who want the premium look, a more nimble driving feel, and some added comfort and practicality that you may end up giving up with traditional sport sedans like the BMW 3-Series or Infiniti G37.
The TSX remains based on the European-market Honda Accord, but its style is nowhere near as pedestrian as the U.S. model of the same name. The TSX is aesthetically very appealing inside and out--particularly in wagon form--though it does have its low points. An odd "bionic beaver" snout still feels like an odd introduction from the front to what's otherwise a crisply styled yet understated form. Inside, with gentle arcs, a clean design, and mostly high-quality materials, the cabin's more overtly handsome.
The 2013 Acura TSX isn't quite a performance car, or a sport sedan by a broad enthusiasts' definition (it has front-wheel drive), but it does offer a sportier driving personality than most other compact to mid-size luxury sedans. While a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is a tempting option in the TSX, the 201-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder has enough pep to satisfy most drivers, whether they go with the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. The Sport Wagon comes only with the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Steering and ride are very European in feel, tuned to be on the taut side though not punishing.
Although a step smaller than the TL sedan, the TSX somehow fits in an interior that feels almost like that of a true mid-size car. And with excellent seats, a good driving position, reasonable cargo space, and good ride quality, the TSX proves itself to be more useful than a number of dedicated sport sedans that are around the same exterior size. There's plenty of space for cargo as well. The trunk in sedans is surprisingly roomy, and the Sport Wagon models have more space and a low flat floor that does come with one sacrifice: There's no spare tire on that model (just a repair kit).
The TSX has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and it has all the indications of a very safe sedan choice; we only wish that the TSX would offer some of the more innovative active-safety features that are available further up the Acura lineup--like a blind-spot warning system, for example. A USB port, Bluetooth, XM, and leather seating with heated, powered front buckets are all on the standard-feature list, while we like the Tech Package and especially its upgraded surround-sound audio. The TSX Special Edition model that adds (for four-cylinder sedans only) a more aggressive front-end appearance, side sills, and five-spoke polished-finish alloys, is carried over to 2013.