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  • 2012 Acura TSX Technology

    Posted on January 10th, 2012 ninarussin

    Sport sedan adds spice to the daily commute

    By Nina Russin

    2012 Acura TSX

    The TSX is the entry luxury offering in Acura’s lineup, competing against the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS and Infiniti G series. Buyers can choose between an inline four or V-6 engines, with a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox.  The V-6 engine is available only for the sedan. Acura’s TSX sport wagon comes with the inline four-cylinder engine.

    Shift paddles on the steering wheel gives the driver the option of selecting gears manually for more aggressive performance. A sport mode holds onto gears longer to keep the engine in its power band.

    An available technology package adds an upgraded surround-sound audio system, hard-drive navigation with real-time weather and traffic updates, and dual-zone climate control. Base price for the four-cylinder TSX sedan with technology is $32,910. An $885 destination charge brings the price as tested to $33,795.

    Sports car performance with room for four passengers

    2012 Acura TSX

    Readers unfamiliar with Acura might mistakenly assume that the TSX is a bland car, simply because the exterior styling is subdued. I would highly recommend that shoppers who bypass Acura for this reason take a second look. While the TSX is first and foremost a practical package for drivers who need the versatility of a four-door sedan, performance is on par with the best Europe has to offer.

    For everyday driving, using the fully-automatic mode extends gas mileage, up to 31 mpg on the highway. The TSX fills all of the other boxes commuters in congested urban areas need: good low-end acceleration, excellent visibility around the perimeter, firm, linear braking and a quiet interior. Standard high-intensity discharge headlamps provide beams of light which are longer and closer to daylight than halogen to enhance nighttime visibility.

    When the driver shifts the transmission into sport mode, the sedan’s personality changes dramatically. Off comes the suit and tie, and on go the driving gloves. While the shift paddles will change gears manually in both regular and sport modes, it will only maintain the manual gear selections in sport.

    Shifting the transmission at about 4000 rpm keeps the engine in its sweet spot. Enhancements to throttle response including direct injection, drive-by-wire and variable valve timing enable the driver to derive maximum performance.

    Although the automatic transmission makes the sedan slightly more nose-heavy than the manual gearbox, the fully-independent suspension with stabilizer bars on both axles keeps the chassis pancake flat in the corners. The compact double wishbone suspension design enables engineers to maximize the sedan’s passenger space and cargo room.

    Variable assist rack-and-pinion steering requires more effort at high speeds to maintain positive on-center response. A small-diameter steering wheel is similar to a race car in feel, and much more comfortable for smaller-framed drivers.

    The four-cylinder sedan comes with 17-inch wheels, as opposed to 18-inch rims on the V-6. I found the smaller wheels to have an ample footprint for aggressive driving on what I consider to be a challenging two-lane road.

    A 36.7-foot turning circle makes it easy to perform U-turns on most roads, or slip into small parking slots on the street.

    Versatile interior

    Acura TSX Interior

    The TSX sedan’s versatile interior holds up to four passengers, and provides all of the accouterments today’s tech-savvy drivers crave. Honda’s hard-drive navigation system is one of the best available because of its simplicity to use, and the speed with which it can recalculate routes.  A mouse device controls the navigation functions, eliminating unnecessary clutter in the center stack.

    Real-time traffic updates can be a lifesaver for drivers who commute through rush-hour traffic on a regular basis. Weather updates have always seemed kind of silly to me, since drivers will see changes out the window as fast as they might receive them from a remote source, but I suppose it’s a handy feature on longer road trips.

    Both the gauge cluster and navigation screen are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. When the driver shifts into reverse, the navigation screen projects the image from the rearview camera. Lines superimposed over the image show the car’s trajectory according to steering inputs.

    A digital display at the top of the center stack shows audio settings. Because there is no hood over the display, it can be hard to decipher in bright sunlight.

    Sport seats in front provide ample lower lumbar support for longer road trips. Heated front seats are standard on all TSX models, keeping front passengers comfortable on cold winter days. Redundant controls on the steering wheel enable the driver to use the Bluetooth interface, change audio channels or engage cruise control with minimal distraction.

    Access and egress to second-row seats is good. Passengers in the two outboard positions have plenty of leg, head and hip room. The sedan’s high floor tunnel virtually eliminates legroom in the center position. Vents behind the center console circulate air through the back of the cabin.

    All four passengers have ample access to cupholders, bottle holders in the doors, and 12-volt power points for recharging portable electronic devices. Reading lamps over both doors and ambient lighting in the driver’s foot well illuminate the interior at night.

    The rear seats fold flat to extend the cargo floor for long items. With the seats in place the trunk has plenty of room for luggage and groceries. The pass-through creates enough room for skis, snowboards and surf boards. Cyclists will be better served by the TSX sport wagon.

    Standard safety

    The Acura TSX comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock braking, vehicle stability control and daytime running lamps. Acura builds the TSX at its assembly plant in Sayama, Saitama Japan.

    Likes: A versatile sport sedan which has all of the safety and technical features urban commuters need, with performance which will make driving enthusiasts smile.

    Dislikes: None

    Quick facts:

    Make: Acura
    Model: TSX Sedan with Technology
    Year: 2012
    Base price: $32,910
    As tested: $33,795
    Horsepower: 201 Hp @ 7000 rpm
    Torque: 170 lbs.-ft. @ 4300 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Towing: No
    Off-road: No
    Fuel economy: 22/31 mpg city/highway
    Comment: Acura recommends the use of 91 octane premium unleaded gasoline.


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