The comfortable, classy and refined TSX represents a luxury vehicle at a non-luxury price. The TSX's value proposition soars even higher when considering the model's reliability record and laudable fuel economy.
You'll Like The 2012 Acura TSX If...
If you are looking for a well-appointed premium luxury vehicle that delivers ample fuel economy, a simple pricing structure and an envious reliability record, the 2012 Acura TSX is a smart choice.
You May Not Like The 2012 Acura TSX If...
If you live in an area where inclement weather is the norm, the TSX's lack of an available all-wheel drive system (AWD) may constitute a closer look at the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class or Audi A4.
The 2012 Acura TSX sedan adds a new Special Edition Package consisting of several exterior design upgrades, unique red interior illumination, and microfiber seat inserts with red stitching. The TSX Sport Wagon replaces its spare tire with a tire repair kit, greatly increasing its under-floor storage capacity.
With precise fit and finish and a warm, upscale ambiance, the cabin of the TSX is as comfortable as it is attractive. The contemporary layout is awash with high-quality materials and supple leather-trimmed seating surfaces. The available navigation system takes some getting used to, but elsewhere, the control surfaces are intuitive and clearly displayed. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split design for cargo flexibility while the TSX Sport Wagon features a class-leading 66.2 cubic feet of cargo space - comparable to most compact SUVs. Thanks to its larger interior dimensions, the TSX provides generous rear-seat legroom and head room.
The 2012 Acura TSX's exterior is sleek and stylish, with defined wheel arches, honed body lines and a creased waistline. The face is distinguished by angular projector-beam headlights and Acura's signature, yet controversial, shield-style stain chrome grille. The available 18-inch alloy wheels complement the TSX's athletic design while dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets for both 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder models convey a sporty sense of symmetry.
When it comes to all-around driving fun, we could hardly ask for a better balance of enthusiasm and comfort. We like the optional 6-speed manual's precise shifting action and the 5-speed automatic's aggressive Sport mode, the latter being especially welcome on the automatic-only V6 model. The 2012 Acura TSX encourages a quicker pace when the road begins to meander, and adequately absorbs surface irregularities and external roars when cruising. If there's a fly in the TSX ointment, it can be found with Acura's efficiency-enhancing electromechanical power steering system. A lack of feel that sometimes borders on numbness (depending on which KBB editor you ask), the TSX is no match for competitors such as the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series when it comes to accurate steering feedback. While most vehicles require subtle steering input when traveling straight down the highway, the TSX seems to require constant, unnatural-feeling corrections.
The 4-cylinder TSX starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $30,000 and tops out at about $33,500 with the Technology Package. The V6 models start around $36,000 and can reach close to $40,000 when loaded. To get a better idea of what people in your area are paying for their TSXs, check out Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price in the "What should I pay for my new car?" section on our homepage. Factoring sticker price, equipment levels and residual value, the 2012 Acura TSX may be the smartest buy in the entry-premium arena. It's one of a handful of premium-branded cars that starts at $30,000, it's loaded with the most modern of conveniences, and its projected resale values best those of competitors like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Volvo S40, and even mirror those of its corporate stablemate and industry resale benchmark, the Honda Accord.
The 2012 Acura TSX boasts a long list of standard equipment that includes xenon headlights (up to three times brighter than traditional halogen headlights), Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack for MP3/WMA players, steering-wheel-mounted controls, leather seating with driver-position memory, moonroof and dual-zone climate control. The V6 TSX adds 18-inch alloy wheels, 1-touch ignition key start and Acura's new Active Sound Control system, which works by eliminating exterior sound entering the cabin. All the safety gear is included, such as six airbags and Acura's ACE body structure for enhanced energy dissipation during a crash.
Every bit of optional equipment available on the 2012 Acura TSX is wrapped up into one mouth-watering Technology Package, the highlights of which include a world-class DVD-Audio Surround Sound system and a comprehensive advanced HDD navigation system, both of which are detailed in the "Favorite Features" section of this review.
Surround Sound System
Audiophiles will have to have this comprehensive premium sound system. Included in the Technology Package, the 5.1 DVD-Audio Surround Sound is so utterly clear and clean, it puts all other stock systems to shame.
Feature-Packed Navigation System
The 2012 Acura TSX offers a sophisticated navigation system with a high-resolution 8-inch display featuring sharp LED backlighting. Gracenote software helps you find music via voice commands, and voice activation for the navigation that allows for voice input of city and street names, Zagat restaurant information, weather conditions and real-time traffic information and rerouting. A rear backup camera is also part of the package.
Under the Hood
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is coupled with either a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic that features a manual shifting mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. As with so many Honda and Acura vehicles, the TSX's i-VTEC engine is at its best when pushed hardest. Those seeking better low-end performance should look at the 3.5-liter V6. With 280 horsepower on tap it's sure to be a scintillating ride, although without a manual transmission, probably not as much fun as the base car.
201 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
172 (manual), 170 (automatic) lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (manual), 22/31mpg (automatic)
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
254 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
In a class defined by prestige, opulence and sticker prices exceeding the $60,000 mark, the 2012 Acura TSX will appeal to anyone looking for a luxury midsize sedan or wagon at a non-luxury price. Often overlooked, the TSX offers classy styling and appointments that reflect the high levels of comfort, refinement and convenience that have become hallmarks of the Acura brand. And while not as much fun as something like a BMW 3 Series, the Acura TSX nevertheless offers a supremely comfortable ride and perhaps the best value in the segment.