Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon: A Luxurious Alternative to Minivans and Crossovers

Highlight: This is Acura’s first station wagon to join the line up.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $35, 495 (Base price starts at $31,845)

Major Standard Features: 17-inch Michelin tires/wheels; Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission - with Grade Logic Control, Shift Hold Control and racing-inspired steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; Xenon HID (High Intensity Discharge) Headlights; dual-zone ventilation system; cargo cover; manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power moonroof; power heated (front) leather seats; driver’s memory seat; and rear 50/50 split seats with a center armrest

Standard Audio System: 7-speaker AM/FM tuner, in-dash CD/MP3/WMA player, Radio Data System (RDS), speed-sensitive volume control with 8-inch subwoofer and 360-watt amplifier

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/201-hp

Standard Fuel Mileage: 22-city/30-hwy

What’s New: For the 2011 model year, Acura decided to expand the TSX line, adding an all-new luxurious wagon.

Pros: The Acura Sport Wagon is available in two trim packages: base and a base with a Tech Package added. Surprisingly, we really enjoyed the week spent cruising around in the luxurious TSX even though it was a wagon (or as Acura would like to refer to as a Sport Wagon). In fact, we found the driver’s seat to be both supportive and comfortable. It was as if the seats were designed just for us. In our opinion, the seats in the TSX sport wagon should be the new standard for all luxury automobile seat designs.

Also unlike in the upgraded 2011 TSX sedan, the wagon provides loads of utility, offering up to 60.5 cubic feet of rear cargo when the second-row was folded down. Furthermore, in the rear of the wagon Acura has strategically placed four out-of-sight storage areas to hide items.

Besides the additional cargo space one would expect from a wagon, buyers looking for the latest technology can step-up to the top-of-the-line model with the Tech Package, which was included in the vehicle we reviewed. The Tech Package not only included a power-operated liftgate for opening (and closing), a back-up camera, a voice-activated navigation system, which also included real-time traffic data, but it was also equipped with a crystal-clear sounding -clear 10-speaker, 460-watt audio system with Satellite radio too. Unlike most audio systems, this one included a 60-GB hard disc drive memory and a media storage system with the ability to hold up to 3,500 songs, eliminating the need to carry bulky CDs.

Cons: The 201-hp, four-cylinder engine just didn’t seem appropriate for this vehicle. Just like in the TSX sedan, Acura should also offer a six-cylinder engine in the Sport Wagon, too or drop the name Sport and just refer to this as a wagon.

Also the vehicle lacked blind-spot electronic mirrors, which automatically warns the driver of objects in his blind-spot area(s) before switching lanes.

The Verdict: We’re almost embarrassed to say that we wouldn’t mind owning a wagon, if they were all like this one. If you’re not ready for a minivan or a crossover, which is a car-based utility vehicle, the all-new TSX Sport Wagon could be the perfect luxury alternative people-mover for you. In fact, we found this vehicle to be so luxurious it should have been badge with the TL name as opposed the name of the entry-level TSX.

Moreover, we must honestly say besides this vehicle being a wagon, this is one of the best products we’ve ever driven from Acura. Yes, this vehicle has all of the amenities we’ve come to expect in an Acura, except in this case .. the vehicle just happens to be disguised as a station wagon (or a Sport Wagon).

Furtherore, this wagon has the right design appeal that doesn’t make one ashame to drive -- whether it is with or without the family.

Competition: Audi’s A4 Avant, BMW’s 3-series wagon, Subaru’s Outback Limited Wagon and Volvo’s XC70

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