In a market where all the talk about family transportation revolves around the ubiquitous crossover, it’s a breath of fresh air and a surprise to see Acura trot out the TSX Sport Wagon. The reality is that it wasn’t a huge stretch for Acura to make it happen. The TSX, which is actually the European Honda Accord, already had a station wagon, so why not? Acura knows this is a limited market, and has realistically set modest sales goals, but face it-what other Asian manufacturer offers a premium station wagon here? None. There’s the BMW 328i wagon and Audi A4 Avant, but those cars start thousands more than the Acura. So what makes this unique TSX tick? Read on…
The TSX has always been a handsome little sedan, but an evolutionary approach in its design when it came time for a new model has made the car almost anonymous in appearance these days. The Sport Wagon, while hardly outrageous, changes that. The name ‘sport’ is quite fitting, as I find the wagon a sportier design than the sedan. The pronounced fenders and strong character line rising and arcing over the rear fender is beautiful. Acura’s controversial pointed beak nose is more toned down than other models in the Acura family, and looks all the better for it. There’s a ‘just right’ amount of chrome on the car to remind you this is a premium ride. In sum, I’d argue this is the best looking Acura available today.
The interior is a lovely place to spend time-comfortable and airy, but there’s little in the way of a ‘sport vibe’ to be found here. In typical Acura fashion, it is extremely well built, but at the end of the day, it was obvious that I was driving a topped out Accord wagon. It’s the Acura badge that makes one expect just a little more. A bland band of grey plastic was about as exciting the interior got. It also shocked me that a car starting at $30k had a plastic handbrake-come on Acura, you know better. Critics complain that the TSX’s center stack is overloaded with buttons, but in truth it really isn’t that bad. The rear seat is acceptable, but not especially roomy, but in the rear there is loads of space on a level floor. Trips to IKEA would be a cinch in this car.
While the TSX sedan is available with both four and six cylinder engines, the Sport Wagon is offered only with the 2.4L four, rated at 201hp. And unlike the sedan, which is available with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, the Sport Wagon can only be had with the auto. A disappointment, indeed. A five-speed automatic sounds a bit behind the times, but the tranny worked flawlessly. And while 201hp sounds pathetic, the engine is a pleasant surprise. No, you will not be winning a lot of drag races, but this baby is sewing machine smooth and loves to rev. Passing power is more than adequate. Honda engines are happier the higher the revs, but even so, the TSX is a quiet and relaxed cruiser as well. As for ride and handling? Near perfect. Sure-go ahead and road test a crossover, and drive like you mean it, then hop in the TSX Sport Wagon, and tell me which is more fun.
Acura has a reputation for keeping it simple with models and option packages. The TSX Sport Wagon comes in one flavor only, with a couple option packages to pick from. Our test car had the Tech Package, which gave us an as delivered price of $35,495USD. All TSX’s are well-equipped, but the Tech Package adds Navigation with voice recognition, rear view camera, RealTime traffic and weather, 10 speaker surround sound stereo, dual zone auto climate control and a power tailgate. Fairly well-loaded, but I couldn’t help but think that for less money I’ve driven Kias with panoramic sunroofs, pushbutton start and ventilated seats. I know it seems minor, but turning a key in a premium car these days feels antiquated.
So, it’s not as luxe as I would have liked, and I long for the option of the six-speed manual, but the TSX Sport Wagon has a lot going for it. It’s unfortunate that because it is a station wagon many buyers will overlook it. As such it will likely remain a hidden gem in the Honda/Acura family. I’d call the TSX a good buy compared to its German rivals. But perhaps the most interesting comparison of the TSX Sport Wagon is within the family-the Honda Crosstour. They both cost the same, but consider this-the TSX Sport Wagon has more cargo capacity than its behemoth crossover cousin, gets better fuel economy, and will bury it in the twisties. I’m not even going to talk about styling. Before joining the herd and running to the nearest crossover you can find, the Acura TSX Sport Wagon deserves a good hard look.