Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2013 Acura TSX will appeal to anyone looking for a luxury mid-size car at a non-luxury price. It has classy styling and appointments that reflect the high levels of comfort, refinement and convenience we have come to expect from the Acura brand. The TSX rides comfortably, feels responsive and is one of the best values in the segment.
You'll Like The 2013 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 2013 Acura TSX certainly qualifies.
You May Not Like The 2013 Acura TSX If...
If you live in an area where inclement weather is the norm and you just won’t be comfortable without all-wheel drive, you’ll have to look at the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Audi A4 instead.
The Acura TSX was thoroughly redesigned just two years ago and heads into 2013 with no real changes. The V6 model is now available only with the Technology Package (no more base V6) since most were being purchased that way anyway.
With precise fit and finish and a warm, upscale ambiance, the cabin of the TSX is as comfortable as it is attractive. The contemporary design is executed in high-quality materials including supple leather-trimmed seating surfaces. The available navigation system takes some getting used to but, in general, the control operations are intuitive and clearly displayed. The rear seats feature a 60/40-split folding design for cargo flexibility, while the TSX Sport Wagon has a class-leading 66.2 cubic feet of cargo space – comparable to most compact SUVs. The TSX provides generous rear-seat legroom and head room.
The 2013 Acura TSX’s body is sleek, clean 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, if controversial, shield-style (some say, beak-style) 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.
It’s hard to find a better balance of dynamics and comfort than what the 2013 Acura TSX delivers. The 6-speed manual gearbox, a no-cost option on the Special Edition, has light, precise shifting action. The 5-speed automatic is inevitably less involving but it does have paddle shifters and a Sport mode that makes it feel a little more aggressive. The 2013 Acura TSX encourages a quicker pace when the road begins to meander, feeling refined and striking a lovely balance between stability and maneuverability. When cruising along on the freeway, it adequately absorbs surface irregularities and mutes running noise. If there’s anything to complain about, it’s Acura’s electromechanical power steering system; it makes its contribution to fuel efficiency but doesn’t have the feel and feedback of its German competitors. The car feels quicker but oddly less involving with the stronger, smoother, heavier V6.
The 4-cylinder TSX sedan starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of under $31,500 and is around $34,500 with the Technology Package. Special Editions, with their tasteful interior color and trim accents, are just under $32,500 with either transmission. The V6 model, automatic-only and now including the Technology Package, is a little over $40,000. The station wagon model, available only with the 4-cylinder and automatic, is under $33,000, or under $36,500 with the Technology Package. To get a good idea of what people in your area are paying for the TSX, check out kbb.com’s Fair Purchase Price. Considering the price of entry, equipment levels and residual value, the 2013 Acura TSX makes a particularly smart buy in the entry-premium category. It’s one of a handful of premium-branded cars that start around $30,000, it’s loaded with modern conveniences and its projected resale values surpass those of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Volvo S40.
The 2013 Acura TSX’s standard equipment includes xenon headlights, Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, iPod integration, 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 limits sound entering the cabin. All the safety gear is there, including six airbags. The sporty Special Edition package includes black suede seats with red trim, metal pedals, dark-finish wheels and either automatic or manual transmission (it’s now the only way to get the manual).
Almost all the optional equipment available on the 2013 Acura TSX is wrapped up into one Technology Package. This includes 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. Available accessories include two aero-look sport packages with front and rear spoilers and rocker-panel extensions. There are also 18-inch wheels available in a choice of finishes.
SURROUND SOUND SYSTEMAudiophiles 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 other stock systems to shame.FEATURE-PACKED NAVIGATION SYSTEMThe 2013 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 there’s also voice activation for city and street input, Zagat restaurant information, weather conditions and more. A rearview camera is also included.
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 paddle shifters. As with so many Honda and Acura products, the TSX’s i-VTEC engine loves to rev and is at its best when pushed hard – which happens a lot, as it isn’t actually all that powerful, but you won’t usually mind. The bigger 3.5-liter V6, of course, has more power and a broader spread of torque, but the 2.4 is not the embarrassment some base engines are. Also, the V6 comes only with the automatic, and adds some weight to the nose of the car, so it’s less entertaining to drive than the 4-cylinder.2.4-liter inline-4201 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm172 (manual), 170 (automatic) lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (manual), 22/31 mpg (automatic, sedan), 22/30 mpg (automatic, wagon)3.5-liter V6280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm254 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
The 2013 Acura TSX will appeal to anyone looking for a luxury mid-size car at a non-luxury price. Often overlooked, the TSX has classy styling and appointments that reflect the high levels of comfort, refinement and convenience we have come to expect from the Acura brand. The lineup is simple but still manages to offer good variety: Sedan and wagon models, inline 4-cylinder and V6 engines, manual and automatic transmissions, a sporty Special Edition and all the options rolled into one Technology Package. While not as much pure fun to drive as a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4, the Acura TSX nevertheless feels responsive, rides comfortably and is one of the best values in the segment.