The Occupy Movement holds court in locations throughout the country. Protesters are trying to get their message heard by those they have serious issues with. Hoisting signs, talking with the media, and holding court in major metropolitan areas is the manner in which the angry 99 percent have chosen to air their ideals.
As an automotive enthusiast, I too have something to protest about. I want more wagons in my life.
Acura is listening to enthusiasts in this regard. The 2012 Acura TSX wagon is the result of our collective enthusiast bitching, moaning, crying (I get emotional sometimes), and general wailing that we all want more wagons. Acura heard the cries, and produced a wagon for our longroof consumption. Now, Acura gets to listen to the bitching, moaning, crying (it’s the little things), and general wailing from a large portion of those same enthusiasts and hand raisers, because the car doesn’t meet their requirements.
Who’s right here? Are self-proclaimed wagon lovers overlooking the TSX wagon simply because they have issues with the shiny schnozz, or are there greater problems at hand?
They may be right… they may be crazy. But this just might be the entry-level luxury longroof that they’re looking for.
Acura has taken a healthy heaping of hits the last few years due to questionable exterior styling elements. The TSX is the most subtle member of the A-badge family, yet it still suffers from a few perceived missteps. For the 2012 wagon, Acura has keep most of the lines stylishly sharp, which is the preferred flavor of understated luxury. Problems arise for most, however, when viewing the front end of the TSX wagon.
The shiny, sharp nose turns off many who look at it.
I may be looking at something different than the rest of you though, or perhaps it’s time for laser eye surgery, because this item is a non-issue for me. My eyes and brain don’t recoil in horror the way that others do, at least when spouting their opinions to those who will listen on the internet (Irony alert detected). The satiny beak serves to break up the flat nasal valley between the sharply cut headlamps, and it does so in a manner toned down from prior, more aggressive versions of the same front end. If you really hate it that much, simply paint it and move on… otherwise you’re missing out on a pretty damn good wagon.
The rest of the exterior lines flow wonderfully from the face to the delightfully fat rear end. The stance is sporty, and the TSX wagon rests with muted aggression on its 17-inch alloy wheels. Everything moves rearward like a linebacker that happens to be a trained ballet dancer. Visually, the TSX wagon is strong, yet graceful.
If Acura still has folks raising pitch forks over its exterior aesthetics, they should have them spend a moment in the cabin. One thing Acura has always done well is to produce a seating area that is not just comfortable, but inviting as well. The seats of the TSX wagon are no exception, and if I had a long haul in front of me, I would opt for the driver’s seat found in any Acura product. Support and comfort come together in a way that other automakers are still trying to figure out.
Alongside comfort, technology also has its grasp upon the TSX wagon cabin space. It should, considering the model presented before is called the 2012 Acura TSX wagon Tech. Voice recognition, real-time traffic and weather, and an integrated Zagat guide are all welcome company alongside the 10 speaker ELS surround-sound audio system. Thanks to the available Bluetooth system, I don’t just leave my phone in my pocket for calls, I also leave it there for my music choices. Bluetooth audio connects to my phone and plays the music I have stored on there. It connects as soon as I twist the key, and the picks up the track where I left it off should I exit and re-enter the car.
There are a few tech elements missing, however, especially considering this TSX wagon has TECH in its name. Keyless entry and a push-button start system should have my leaving the key in my pocket, alongside my phone. This isn’t the stuff of luxury cars anymore, as even entry-level offerings from all automakers are beginning to offer such gear. If I am paying $35,695 for the wagon you see here, I certainly would hope Acura could fit it with technology found in your average Nissan, Kia, or Ford.
The sort of tech we prefer talking about at Hooniverse lies under the hood. On paper, the 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder sounds like it’s in over its head as the appropriate powerplant for the TSX wagon. Paper occasionally lies. The mighty four-banger pushes this 3,599-pound wagon down the road with a surprising amount of get-up-and-go. The listed 0-60 times see the wagon running in the mid eight-second range, which means we feel faster than we actually are. Still, it’s a convincing trick, and the TSX wagon gets out of its own way more than easily enough.
Acura has paired the four-cylinder mill with a five-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel help kick things up (or down) a notch when needed. Shifts are smooth when the computer is doing the work, and happen quick enough when I’m making the decisions. There’s clearly no twin-clutch wizardry at work, but I was never left waiting for gear changes to occur.
Still, I’ve driven the TSX sedan with it’s available manual transmission. It would do wonders to woo the enthusiast crowd. Problem is that enthusiasts make up but a tiny fraction of the car-buying public. The take rate on the manual-equipped sedan? About three percent. Acura needs to make money, and producing a manual-transmission-equipped wagon would mean seeing dealers with inventory gathering dust in the showroom.
We can understand the lack of the manual gearbox. One item we can’t understand, however, is the lack of an optional V6 engine. Acura already stuffs its 3.5-liter V6 under the hood of the TSX sedan, and we think that 280-horsepower mill would prove to be a perfect match for the wagon.
If all Acura can offer up is the four-banger, I can live with that. It feels quicker than expected, is rated at 30 miles per gallon the highway, and is coupled with a car that provides an enjoyable driving experience. Just like the TSX sedan, the wagon is a pleasure to drive. The steering is responsive, tight, and direct. There is no sense of artificiality felt through the tiller, just honest feedback, and body roll is kept to a comfortable minimum.
To compliment the sporty handling, I would have to upgrade the brakes a bit. The pedal feel and braking force is consistent, but stopping power could be upped a few notches. Additionally, the nose does it’s best Greg Louganis impression under heavy braking. You won’t hit the diving board and bloody your face, but you will be pushing a bit harder than you expected.
The 2012 Acura TSX wagon blends a touch of sportiness with a dash of luxury. As enthusiasts, we welcome wagons into the new-car arena. There’s not a lot to choose from unfortunately, but the options are growing. BMW still brings its 328 Touring to the stateside market, and Cadillac has us cooing over the CTS wagon. Still, both of those options start nearly six and eight thousand dollars higher than a base TSX wagon. The German and the American longroof have more power, but the Acura can keep up on twisty roads.
It’s not just about performance when discussing wagons, of course. Part of the appeal of such a vehicle is the cargo area. The total cargo area of the BMW is 48.9 cubic-feet, while the Cadillac comes in with 58 cu-ft. The Acura crushes them both with 66.2 cubic-feet of grocery, golf club, surfboard, dog, bratty kid cargo space.
Enthusiast friends, lend me your ears. We all want more wagons in our world, right? It’s time we start an Occupy Movement of our own. We need our new-car buying friends to ditch their SUVs and crossovers, and they often turn to us for help. Steer them in the direction of a wagon. It’s useful, good looking, and fun to drive. Plus, it’s better on gas than the average super soccer mom mobile. Put a wagon on your friends shopping list.
Should the TSX wagon be on that list? There’s no question that it should. It does everything one could want in the entry-level luxury segment, but it also does more by offering up all that extra space in the back.
Now think of all the years you tried to, find a wagon to satisfy you.
It might be as crazy as you say.
If it’s crazy then it’s true, that you truly love longroofs.
Then it’s all because of you, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
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[Disclosure: Acura handed over the keys to this TSX wagon, and threw in a tank of gas. A trunk full of groceries was expected, but was not included unfortunately.]