By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
In a class defined by prestige, opulence and sticker prices exceeding the $60,000 mark, the 2012 Acura TSX will appeal to anyone looking for a luxury midsize sedan or wagon at a non-luxury price. Often overlooked, the TSX offers classy styling and appointments that reflect the high levels of comfort, refinement and convenience that have become hallmarks of the Acura brand. And while not as much fun as something like a BMW 3 Series, the Acura TSX nevertheless offers a supremely comfortable ride and perhaps the best value in the segment.
If you are looking for a well-appointed premium luxury vehicle that delivers ample fuel economy, a simple pricing structure and an envious reliability record, the 2012 Acura TSX is a smart choice.
If you live in an area where inclement weather is the norm, the TSX's lack of an available all-wheel drive system (AWD) may constitute a closer look at the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class or Audi A4.
The 2012 Acura TSX sedan adds a new Special Edition Package consisting of several exterior design upgrades, unique red interior illumination, and microfiber seat inserts with red stitching. The TSX Sport Wagon replaces its spare tire with a tire repair kit, greatly increasing its under-floor storage capacity.
Driving Impressions When it comes to all-around driving fun, we could hardly ask for a better balance of enthusiasm and comfort. We like the optional 6-speed manual's precise shifting action and the...5-speed automatic's aggressive Sport mode, the latter being especially welcome on the automatic-only V6 model. The 2012 Acura TSX encourages a quicker pace when the road begins to meander, and adequately absorbs surface irregularities and external roars when cruising. If there's a fly in the TSX ointment, it can be found with Acura's efficiency-enhancing electromechanical power steering system. A lack of feel that sometimes borders on numbness (depending on which KBB editor you ask), the TSX is no match for competitors such as the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series when it comes to accurate steering feedback. While most vehicles require subtle steering input when traveling straight down the highway, the TSX seems to require constant, unnatural-feeling corrections.
Surround Sound System
Audiophiles will have to have this comprehensive premium sound system. Included in the Technology Package, the 5.1 DVD-Audio Surround Sound is so utterly clear and clean, it puts all other stock systems to shame.
Feature-Packed Navigation System
The 2012 Acura TSX offers a sophisticated navigation system with a high-resolution 8-inch display featuring sharp LED backlighting. Gracenote software helps you find music via voice commands, and voice activation for the navigation that allows for voice input of city and street names, Zagat restaurant information, weather conditions and real-time traffic information and rerouting. A rear backup camera is also part of the package.
With precise fit and finish and a warm, upscale ambiance, the cabin of the TSX is as comfortable as it is attractive. The contemporary layout is awash with high-quality materials and supple leather-trimmed seating surfaces. The available navigation system takes some getting used to, but elsewhere, the control surfaces are intuitive and clearly displayed. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split design for cargo flexibility while the TSX Sport Wagon features a class-leading 66.2 cubic feet of cargo space - comparable to most compact SUVs. Thanks to its larger interior dimensions, the TSX provides generous rear-seat legroom and head room.Exterior
The 2012 Acura TSX's exterior is sleek and stylish, with defined wheel arches, honed body lines and a creased waistline. The face is distinguished by angular projector-beam headlights and Acura's signature, yet controversial, shield-style stain chrome grille. The available 18-inch alloy wheels complement the TSX's athletic design while dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets for both 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder models convey a sporty sense of symmetry.
The 2012 Acura TSX boasts a long list of standard equipment that includes xenon headlights (up to three times brighter than traditional halogen headlights), Bluetooth hands-free phone capability, iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack for MP3/WMA players, steering-wheel-mounted controls, leather seating with driver-position memory, moonroof and dual-zone climate control. The V6 TSX adds 18-inch alloy wheels, 1-touch ignition key start and Acura's new Active Sound Control system, which works by eliminating exterior sound entering the cabin. All the safety gear is included, such as six airbags and Acura's ACE body structure for enhanced energy dissipation during a crash.
Every bit of optional equipment available on the 2012 Acura TSX is wrapped up into one mouth-watering Technology Package, the highlights of which include a world-class DVD-Audio Surround Sound system and a comprehensive advanced HDD navigation system, both of which are detailed in the "Favorite Features" section of this review.
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is coupled with either a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic that features a manual shifting mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. As with so many Honda and Acura vehicles, the TSX's i-VTEC engine is at its best when pushed hardest. Those seeking better low-end performance should look at the 3.5-liter V6. With 280 horsepower on tap it's sure to be a scintillating ride, although without a manual transmission, probably not as much fun as the base car.
201 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
172 (manual), 170 (automatic) lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (manual), 22/31mpg (automatic)
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
254 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg
The 4-cylinder TSX starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $30,000 and tops out at about $33,500 with the Technology Package. The V6 models start around $36,000 and can reach close to $40,000 when loaded. To get a better idea of what people in your area are paying for their TSXs, check out Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price in the "What should I pay for my new car?" section on our homepage. Factoring sticker price, equipment levels and residual value, the 2012 Acura TSX may be the smartest buy in the entry-premium arena. It's one of a handful of premium-branded cars that starts at $30,000, it's loaded with the most modern of conveniences, and its projected resale values best those of competitors like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Volvo S40, and even mirror those of its corporate stablemate and industry resale benchmark, the Honda Accord.
By VA Gator (VA) on Thursday, May 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, MPG, Comfortable, Solid build, practical"
Cons: "AWD would be nice w/out sacrificing MPG"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My 2nd TSX,the first was a 2010 TSX Sedan. The wagon is great, plenty of room for day /weekend trips with the family, or to keep your gear stored away for spontaneous day excursions. I added aftermarket Thule racks which are very helpful, bikes on top gear in the cargo area. I do not do much day/city driving working from home office, but will take regional business trips where I am on the highway for 5-8 hours and the car drives great, is comfortable, and I regularly get 33+ MPG on the highway. The paddle shifters are fun, and help get you in and out when you need to. Also, I find that many who own this car never use the [S] Sport mode. This is simply just geared down but makes a bit more fun to drive. Typical driving is a bit underpowered but sufficient. Living in the mountains I do yearn for AWD at times but considering the reduced MPG most AWD get I don't miss it the rest of the year. I might opt for the Tech package if I did it again, but the standard package is practical, allows for direct USB plug into for iPod with dash controls, includes Bluetooth, steering controls, and has solid sound. If you need more space than a sedan but still want MPG (vs SUV), a few luxury comforts (the seats are great), and reliability of Acura this is a great car. Good value, solid build, great MPG; I am debating buying out my lease at the end and keeping this car."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Blu Scarab (AZ) on Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, loaded with features, best looking"
Cons: "road noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We purchased the 2010 4-cyl model for my son after he graduated from college and we are constantly fighting over who gets to use it. We also own a BMW 3 and a Audi A5 (traded in our Lexus IS). The TSX is hands down much more fun to drive - even more fun than the V6 model because its a harder challenge to keep its performance high. But the TSX 4-cyl has a highly torqued gearing, a high rpm engine and a very fast paddle shift system that - if used properly - will allow you to abuse the road and accelerate to pass like a Kawasaki. We do not baby this car. Yet it holds up well to wear and tear - requiring only a brake pad and air filter change with regular oil service as indicated on dash with some cryptic code that your local Acrura service rep will interpret for you. (Our BMW required a tranny job already). Its sound system is killer - equipped with full separates on doors rear deck, and a dedicated subwoofer - besting anything we heard and test drove. Its also the best looking car on the road till today - the only better looking ones being borderline exotic like the Jaguar and Audi A8. Bluetooth system pairs flawlessly to any cellphone, is voice activated, and controls all music files from the steering wheel. Hellooooo BMW..... Driver seat has memory settings and mine are programmed to move backwards when I open the door - allowing easy entry/exit. Gas cover and trunk are push activated onsite so you don't need to go back into the dam car if you forgot to push the gas/trunk release and the keyfob is still in the ignition. Turning radius excellent - can reverse park from extremely tight angles. Passenger mirror turns down so you can see how close you are to the curb! Lastly, the TSX has the brightest headlights of all vehicles - standard and exotic - ejecting a pure white corona on the road aimed perfectly so it doesn't dazzle the vision of oncoming traffic. (It just spell-binds them). They also stay on when you turn off the engine and exit the car at night so that you're not fumbling around in a suddenly dark garage - helllooo Audi and Benz...."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Krrish (WA) on Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, great drive, great look and feel"
Cons: "not that I am aware of ;)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I got a 2013 Acura TSX. I know its too early to call out this is the greatest car that I had ever driven, But so far this car has given me the utmost pleasure in look and feel compared to my previous car. This car is absolutely flaw less I would highly recommend this car, the features of this car are way more than what we get for other cars with same affordable price."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By big bob (IN) on Monday, February 11, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car and great value"
Cons: "Road noise could be lower."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"40000 miles and absolutely zero problems, zero rattles, zero complaints since day 1. Great mileage and fun to drive."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Chuck G (GA) on Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good looks, great ride, reliability, and resale"
Cons: "Ride is not as sporty as previous model"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I owned a 2007 TSX and loved it. When the new car fever came I looked at several other cars but bought a 2011 TSX. I do love this car. The 2011 model feels roomier inside and due to the change in the body style you do feel like it is wider. The ride is quieter and smoother than the 2007 model. So overall I am pleased. Now that I have owned by car for 15 months I will say that the 2007 model was more fun to drive. Maybe the smooth ride in the 2011 model has diminished my feel for the road. That is my only negative comment on the 2011 TSX. I get 1-2 MPG more than I did with my 2007 in city driving. Highway MPG is about the same. Having owned a TSX since 2007 I will say that I have never had to have any repairs done. I have regular maintenance done and there was one very minor recall on my 2007 model that Acura fixed very quickly. Overall this is a high quality car that drives nice and looks good. In a few years I might even buy another TSX."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By AcuraNewbie (GA) on Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,593overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Seats are comfortable; good cargo room & MPG."
Cons: "Too many to list."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Disclaimer (my own) - I have owned many American, Japanese and German cars over the years, and I have a particular fondness for the German engineering, so bear this in mind when reading my review that follows. Where do I begin? First, there is very little "sport" to this sport wagon. Steering is less than communicative, and handling is so-so. Sportwagon is a minomer in this case. The interior materials are, unfortunately, typical Honda, i.e., look nice from a distance and feel good at first touch, but much lower quality than is appropriate for this price point. The leather on the driver's seat is already showing abnormal wear, and I'm by no means overweight. The door panel material is too soft/sueded, so it has developed a glaring shiny spot where you typically rest your elbow. The outside temperature guage seems to be confused, as one day it's telling me the temp is 74 (when it was actually 60), and another it's 10 degreees cooler than actual outside temp. I should point out this is NOT at startup, but after the car has been running/driven a good 15-20 minutes. The car has 201 hp and a 5-sp automatic, and it's just not a good pairing for a car this size. There have been more than a few times when merging w/highway traffic was a little exciting, and not in a fun way. Of course, with torque of only 175 bhp, I'm not sure how a 5-speed could do anything useful with so little power. This brings me to the transmission; with only 5 gears and a NON-turbo 4-banger, the engine noise of this car gets seriously irritating above 65 mph. Getting this car to track straight was a joke for the first 6k miles, although that could have had something to do with the tires not having been broken in; but seriously, other auto makers seem to be able to account for that, so why can't Acura? And then how about added options? Well, seat heaters are great when they work well - but they don't in this car. They take forever to heat up (compared to Audi, BMW, and even GM vehicles), and then once they do I swear you can feel every heating element wire as it coils through the seat - it's a targeted "hot wire" feeling, like an old heating pad with a worn-out cover, not a nice, overall enveloping warmth that you'll find on the other vehicles mentioned. The toggle switches for the seat heaters are mindlessly placed on the horizontal surface next to the gear selector, where they can easily be switched "on" without realizing it. Any idea how much fun that was on an August day in Georgia? It ain't pretty... I say all of this as a cautionary tale: if you have ever driven anything with a sporting flair- or anything German- and enjoyed the experience, then you will NOT be happy with this car. If, however, you are accustomed to Honda or Toyota vehicles and are a fan (and I'm not knocking those that do - there are folks who prefer Japanese engineering over German, and vice versa), then this may be a worthy addition to your home. But when the service advisors at the local dealership point out that this car really wasn't well thought-out by Acura, what can you infer from such statements?"
15 people out of 33 found this review helpful