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Car Tech Video: 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon
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Car Tech Video: 2011 Acura TSX Sport Wagon

7:06 /

The Honda Accord wagon by another name.

-I'll tell you upfront, I miss the Honda Accord Wagon. So when the Acura TSX Wagon hit our garage, I was delighted, which may be the problem. This isn't supposed to be a Honda. Let's drive the 2011 Acura TSX Wagon with all the toys and check the tech. Let's dissect a TSX Wagon. From here at the schnoz all the way to the B pillar, it's just a TSX. No difference. Then from here to the back, it's where it becomes a TSX Wagon. This is all the different sheet metal to the rear. You taper two ways back here. You can see you've got a pretty racy little fastback on the hatch and the body tapers this way and rounds off. As a result, the cargo space inside is-- it's more of an urban city wagon than a true capacity station wagon. I imagine advertising will show somebody in this on Fifth Avenue loading up their Shih Tzu at the groomer, not someone going to IKEA and buying for book cases. And part of the problem is you've got big intrusion at the wheel wells here in the cargo bag. Now, our TSX is very familiar inside if you are used to the most recent Hondas and that's good news because that is the new interface, the new head unit, not dramatically rethought, but a whole lot more finished. As you can see right away if I go to the map, that's actually decent resolution. I can read everything. It's not hard on my eyes. It's a nice-looking screen. The obvious choice is enter an address and you got the same four buckets you've had before, but again, everything moves faster. It looks better. Under destination menu 2, you've also got some interesting stuff. You can do this [unk] thing which only Honda Acura offers. You can also look up a place by phone number to decide to drive there. Now, I've got a CD in here now. This will also play DVD audio, but not DVD video. Good looking. Richly displayed. You see the record icon there? This has got a hard drive in it. Here are my hard drive specs. As you can see, I've got 15 gigabytes total space available on this dude. Your sound options are pretty good; your usual balance, treble, fader, and such. And you've got your center channel. Not a lot of cars give you center channel level, subwoofer. You've got your speed volume control. Dolby PL2 can be on or off to synthetically create surround sound. That sounds a pretty good job. Live traffic and live weather in the sky through Acura link. Traffic is shown in the map, which you can also get into a list here. And again, notice how readable all this stuff is. Here's my forecast from the current position. On that screen also is where you get your back-up camera. Fairly basic by today's standards. Notice, there's no trajectory. I've got no different views for whether I'm parking or whatever I'm doing. I just have my basic distance markers. Even those are all in yellow; not the usual yellow, red, green that some other cars do. And if you want rear backup sensors, also, those are optional, ala carte; about the only ala carte tech option on this guy and they're dealer installed on top of that. And that by the way is the extent of your driver assistance tech in this guy. No blind spot warning or intervention technology. No lane departure warning or intervention is available. No forward collision stuff. I mean, this is, you know, pretty low down on the Acura range. It replaces the old Integra sort of kinda. So, they don't offer all the bells and whistles on this guy. One thing that they still do on this car that's a carryover is lots and lots of buttons here, here, and then I've got this information screen deal here where I can change the monochrome LCD to different displays there. You get two connectors in here; USB and analog AUX. This USB can be a USB thumb drive or in my case, I've got an iPad Touch in there and of course the AUX as your backup. No matter what you've got, it'll play through there with the pigtail. Okay. Now, we come to our part of the show called the agony and the ecstasy. You see, you could get a V6 and the TSX, you just can't get a V6 and a TSX Wagon. That bothers me. You get this 2.4-L Four. It's a nice Four, but it's a Four lugging around a fairly good sized car. You've got 2 and 1 horsepower and a fairly anemic 170 foot pounds of torque. It will get this guy up to 60 and 8.8 seconds. MPG is not bad. It's a Four after all, 22.3, but if you get the V6 in this guy, at least give us the choice and/or the 6 speed manual available elsewhere in the line. I'd like that a lot more. Acura has a tough time shedding stale transmissions and this car is the example of that. It has a 5-speed automatic, which even the unloved RL recently escaped. But here, it soldiers on adequately, if not thrillingly. It works tightly enough, but compared to today's 6, 7, and 8 speeds, you start to notice the big ungainly hops between gears. It paddles on the wheel. No shifting gait on the console. On the road, I must admit the sum of this car does much to overcome the lackluster appearance of its 4 cylinder and 5 speed on paper. It is snappy and ready to run in real-world driving maneuvers with little, if any, of the thinking delay that plague so many modern cars with automatics and too may computers. With that said, the engine does run out of breath rather early and the lack of a couple of extra cogs doesn't help it catch it. The engine notes a little rough, not what you normally associate with Honda Motors. But overall, this Wagon drives light, tight, and alright. Have you noticed how many times I've used the Honda in this video about an Acura? That's telling. Infiniti, Lexus, even Scion are more differentiated from their parent brands that this Acura. I like Hondas. I just expect an Acura to be a lot more than one. This one falls a little too close to the tree. Okay. Let's place a TSX Wagon. You're in it about 31.7, 31.8 with destination, but you've gotta add a chunky package; the technology package for 36.50 that goes CNET style. That includes a lot of stuff including the navigation system which looks really good now. That's knob controlled as we saw, the Acura controller. You get the built-in traffic and the weather information. You also get everything hard drive based, 15 gig available for your media. The 10-speaker Elliot Shiner didn't blow me away. The bluetooth gets upgraded to have phonebook ability. You get the rear camera, GPS alteration of the climate settings, and a power lift gate. A lot of things in there. Pretty good value for what you get. Unfortunately, nothing's gonna get you a V6. That's the big omission.

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