The 2011 Acura TSX ranks near the middle of the upscale, small car class. With a new sport wagon for the model year, the TSX gets good marks for luxury, but fails to make the grade on performance. Offered in an MSRP range of $29,610 to $38,250, the TSX returns 21 mpg city and 29 highway.
To shop the competition, take a test spin in the Volkswagen GTI, which is about $7,000 cheaper with better fuel efficiency, more cargo room, and higher performance. The Volvo C30 should also be on the list of models to consider for a good-looking exterior with a handsome glass hatch. Cargo space is skimpy, however, at just 12.9 cubic feet. The Audi A3 wagon is $3,700 cheaper, with good power and fuel efficiency and a superior interior.
The TSX certainly isn’t a bad car, but it tends to under steer and, with the base four-cylinder engine option (201 hp), its sluggish. Much better to go with the optional 2.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 hp with 254 lb. ft. of torque; it literally transforms the TSX into a different car. For one thing, it packs on enough weight that handling is vastly improved. Paired with good brakes for shorter, more controlled stops, the V6 is really the only way to go on this sedan.
Outside there’s not a lot to say one way or the other about the TSX looks. It’s a little boring, but not ugly. Just not eye-catching. Inside, taller and larger passengers will feel cramped in the TSX and test drivers are universal in their contention that the controls are confusing. Material quality, however, is exceptional with good standard features (including steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, and a moon roof) and great options like a nav unit and a back-up camera. Cargo space in the trunk is a little skimpy at 12.6 cubic feet. (Go for the new TSX Sport Wagon if you want to stay in this model line and also haul stuff.)
Neither the federal government nor the insurance industry tested the 2011 Acura TSX, but the 2010 was a “Top Safety Pick.” Standard safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability assist, and tire pressure monitoring. The advanced compatibility engineered body protects occupants during a crash, and there’s a six-unit array of airbags.
All in all, this is a sedan that sits it he middle of the upscale small car class because it’s rather middling. It doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t look great. The interior isn’t the best, but it’s well finished. The engine performance off the lot is sub-par, but there’s an option for great handling. Some people like middle of the road, and that’s pretty much what you’re going to get with the 2011 Acura TSX.