By Derek Mau
- Adept handling for a wagon
- Powertrain provides nice balance of power and economy
- Comfortable cabin
- A luxury car with lots of cargo room
- Optional Acura/ELS surround sound system
- 5-speed transmission automatic transmission
- No V6 or 6-speed manual option for North American market
- Navigation system needs to catch up to the competition
- Backseat legroom is tight for taller passengers
Since the SUV started dominating car sales, the station wagon has fallen in status somewhere between the microcar (e.g. Smart car) and the minivan. In the era of the Ford Country Squire your parents appreciated them. Nowadays, auto journalists and Europeans are the select few who fully appreciate their form and function, but nobody buys them here. It’s that last trait that’s led to the near extinction of the family wagon.
As the model name suggests, this car is based on Acura’s TSX sedan, which uses the same engine and cabin tech. But Acura added the wagon format to the model line, keeping its five-seat capacity but adding a spacious cargo area. Fold down the rear seats, and the cargo area gains considerable length.
In creating the rear hatchback, Acura designers did an excellent job seamlessly blending it with the sedan front, and adding some attractive curvature along the roofline. The wagon’s well-tapered profile gives the TSX a visual boost, while chrome roof rails, attractive 17-inch wheels and body-color moldings give this middle-management hauler a touch of class.
Unlike the TSX sedan, the TSX Sport Wagon is available with only one powertrain, the 2.4-liter, 201-horsepower, 172 pound-foot twin-cam inline four mated to a five-speed automatic with paddle shifters. EPA fuel economy is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 30 mpg on the highway. Observed fuel economy after a week with the CarReview team and a lot of traversing across the San Francisco bay area was 26 mpg. Performance from the 2.4-cylinder engine was smooth and provided enough power to scoot up to speed on the freeway without any drama. Although passing power is marginal, especially with a heavy load.
The TSX is fantastic to drive, with a quick, perfectly weighted steering rack attached to a thick, leather-covered wheel. The transmission still has only five forward gears, but it makes good use of the ratios, happily revving the snot out of the engine when needed. Handling is quite good; the wagon weighs only 130 pounds more than the sedan, and its springs are slightly stiffer to boost carrying capacity. The result is great grip and minimal body roll accompanied by excellent steering feel.
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