New Car Review
2014 Acura TSX: New Car Review
The 2014 Acura TSX is slightly smaller than such well-known names as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, but it's also priced well below these midsize luxury sedans. With a base price starting just over $31,000, Acura loads the TSX with a bounty of standard features and offers only a handful of options. The result is a well-equipped, nimble and fun-to-drive luxury sedan brimming with Acura quality and resale value.
Although it arrives unchanged from the previous model year, the 2014 Acura TSX includes a Special Edition version that brings sportier touches inside and out, as well as a wagon variant. Though only available in a front-wheel-drive, 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission setup, the TSX Sport Wagon extends 5-door versatility to the TSX model line.
What's New for 2014?
There are no major changes for 2014.
What We Like
Sporty acceleration; superior interior quality; exceptional reliability
What We Don't
Tight rear-passenger legroom; no manual offered with the V6; missing cutting-edge accident-avoidance systems found on other luxury brands
The 2014 Acura TSX sedan is available with a choice of two engine and transmission options. First, a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder is mated to either a 5-speed automatic or, with the Special Edition package, a 6-speed manual transmission. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that, with the automatic, the TSX is capable of 22 miles per gallon city/31 mpg hwy. The larger and more powerful 3.5-liter V6 is mated exclusively to a 5-speed automatic. With the V6, the TSX achieves an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.
The TSX Sport Wagon, on the other hand, is available only with one drivetrain setup: 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder and a 5-speed automatic transmission. According to EPA, it returns fuel economy of 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Acura TSX is offered in three trims: Base, Special Edition and Sport Wagon.
The base TSX ($31,530) comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights with auto on/off, heated side mirrors with driver's side reverse tilt down feature, perforated leather seating, 8-way power driver's seat with lumbar support and memory feature, 4-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a 360-watt 7-speaker premium audio with 8-in subwoofer, USB/iPod integration and auxiliary input, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with touch controls for audio and cruise control, a power glass moonroof and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Special Edition ($32,530) adds sporty interior and exterior styling tweaks, such as unique 17-in wheels, a more aggressive front fascia, a rear spoiler, aluminum pedals and Luxe Suede seat inserts with red stitching. A 6-speed manual is a no-cost option.
The Sport Wagon ($32,880) includes all the features of the TSX sedan plus a rear cargo cover and under-floor storage.
A Technology Package is offered on both the sedan ($34,630) and wagon ($36,530) and brings a 415-watt, 10-speaker ELS audio system with DVD audio, HD radio and 15-GB hard-drive memory storage for music. Voice-active navigation with rear backup camera is also part of the package, as is a power rear tailgate for the TSX wagon.
A V6 engine is optional but only on the sedan and only with the Technology Package ($40,170). Eighteen-inch wheels are also standard on the TSX V6 sedan.
All TSX models feature a broad range of passive safety technologies, including six airbags. Head restraints are provided for all seats, and the front seats employ an active headrest-restraint system, limiting whiplash. Three-point seat belts are provided for all seating positions, along with seat-belt load limiters with an integrated automatic tensioning system for the driver and front-passenger seat belts.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash-tested the TSX. However, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the TSX top marks in the frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests, and lists the TSX as a Top Safety Pick for 2013.
Behind the Wheel
No matter which drivetrain customers choose, each is peppy and exhilarating. For customers more interested in a thrilling driving experience, the 2.4-liter with the 6-speed manual is ideal. Customers who wish to simply harness a wave of power with a flick of the accelerator will prefer the 3.5-liter V6 with the 5-speed automatic transmission.
In fact, the 3.5-liter V6, producing 280 horsepower, is nearly overkill for the front-wheel-drive TSX. Put the transmission into Sport mode and hammer the throttle, and the TSX rockets forward. The sensation is certainly fun, but the engine's power proves too much for the front wheels, which quickly lose their grip. Traction control engages to keep wheelspin in check.
Once the tires regain traction, the TSX is easy and pleasurable to drive in the city, on the highway or on country back roads. Steering is light, acceleration is highly responsive, the transmission shifts smoothly and the cabin is quiet. Like most Acuras, the suspension is on the stiff side. But the firmer, sporty suspension suits the TSX well.
Other Cars to Consider
Kia Optima -- The Optima is newer, cheaper and bigger than the TSX, but it's not as composed in the corners. If driving dynamics isn't number one on your list, the Optima has sharp looks, plenty of amenities and an impressive warranty.
Volkswagen Passat -- The Passat is certainly more family friendly than the TSX, with softer suspension and a roomier interior. What it lacks in driving excitement, it easily makes up for with frugality. The Passat is big, relatively inexpensive and fuel efficient.
Buick Regal -- The Regal's styling is more dramatic than the TSX, and it offers the option of all-wheel drive. The Regal GS can be equipped with a powerful turbocharged engine and a manual transmission.
Customers looking at the TSX will most likely be attracted to its sporting nature. Although the V6 is by far the fastest of the TSX variants, we suggest customers save their cash and stick with the base 201-hp 4-cylinder engine. Not only does the smaller engine save weight (which improves handling), but it also knocks more than $5,000 off the sticker price.