The TSX has long been one of Acura’s most popular models. As an all-new, clean sheet design for 2009, the automotive media was immediately impressed and Acura TSX sales were strong. Thanks to a great mix of styling, sporty performance, luxury appointments, good fuel efficiency and outstanding value, the TSX has remained the volume leader within its segment according to Global Insight. Rather than resting on their laurels, Acura engineers have made major updates to the 2011 TSX.
While the Acura TSX sedan receives significant updates for 2011, the big news is an all-new TSX variant – the TSX Sport Wagon. With crisp styling and added utility, the TSX Sport Wagon is a smart alternative for those considering a compact SUV. Besides offering better fuel economy, the TSX Sport Wagon provides cargo area comparable to that of many CUVs. Plus, the TSX Sport Wagon offers an available power actuated tailgate, a multi-configurable rear cargo area (with numerous hidden storage areas) and a low lift-over height allowing for easy loading. In today’s tough economic environment, the time is perfect to offer a smarter choice for buyers – one without sacrifice or that is a compromise for the needs of today’s savvy buyer.
The combination of value, fuel efficiency and technology that make the Acura TSX a smart luxury choice have given the TSX the largest percentage of buyers under 30 among all luxury sedans. The TSX Sport Wagon now offers a smarter choice for young families and those with active lifestyles, wanting added space for utility without having to pay the penalty of the increased size and reduced fuel economy that is common with many SUVs.
30 years ago station wagons ruled the road for hauling the family. For 2011 the wagon returns to again rule the road, but in a smarter package that prioritizes sporty driving and excellent fuel efficiency. Smart luxury – it’s a key element in every Acura model, and it is perfectly illustrated in the all-new TSX Sport Wagon.
However, the Sport Wagon isn’t the only thing new, as the 2011 Acura TSX sedan receives a wide array of new features, options, and technology – with particular attention being paid to further improving quality and reducing noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH). Furthermore, the Acura TSX sedan receives an updated exterior look as well. In short, the best entry luxury car just got better.
On the outside, the 2011 Acura TSX receives a new front fascia and an updated grill that team with new underbody panels to improve aerodynamics. The standard 17-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels for the I-4 models are more cutting edge as they now incorporate a machined lip on the spokes, and split 5-spoke 18-inch aluminum wheels remain standard for the V-6 model. At the rear, a new garnish around license plate area and revised taillights deliver added visual punch for the 2011 TSX.
Inside, the 2011 Acura TSX receives a host of visual upgrades in the form of revised styling for the center console, darker trim pieces, brightly finished door handles, an updated parking brake handle, new steering wheel garnishes along with contrasting-color stitching for the leather seats, door armrests and center console. Rear seat occupants will enjoy added comfort thanks to the addition of heating/cooling vents mounted at the rear of the center console. The 2011 also makes use of even more LED lighting now including the front footwells.
Acura is known for its outstanding array of user relevant technology, and the 2011 TSX further expands on this concept. New for 2011, the TSX with available Technology Package now includes an LED backlit full VGA navigation screen (that generates 400-percent higher resolution than before), Song By Voice™ (SBV) user interface, a 60-gigabyte hard disk drive (HDD), and the ability to download 15-gigabytes of personal music to the HDD. With the ability to store more than 3,500 songs, there is no longer any need to haul around a stash of bulky CDs.
Acura has always put much emphasis on building an interior that is exceptionally quiet, and for 2011 the TSX has even less noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) thanks to items such as a new acoustic glass front windshield, even thicker side glass, increased use of sound-deadening insulation, thicker floor mats and new underfloor covers.
The 2011 TSX remains fun to drive thanks to two powerful engine choices; a spirited 2.4L inline four cylinder available on Acura TSX Sedan and Sport Wagon and a torquey 3.5L V-6 available on TSX Sedan. For 2011, both engines receive numerous improvements to reduce internal operating friction which help improve fuel economy. As a result, the friction reduction measures are a significant element to improve fuel economy as (for example) there are improvements in city, highway and combined fuel economy for both the 2.4L I-4 and the 3.5L V-6 for the 2011 TSX models.
Helping maximize the engine output, new automatic transmission programming allows for Shift Hold Control during cornering along with “smart shift” functionality that allows for semi-manual operation when in Drive – not just when in Sport Mode. In addition, the Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission now features a fluid warmer that helps improve shift quality and engine fuel economy for Acura TSX owners who live in colder climates.
THE ENTRY PREMIUM MARKET
With a price point typically in the high $20,000 to mid $30,000 range, the “entry premium” segment represents the gateway to luxury for over a dozen automakers. Customers will find the Acura TSX positioned alongside the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Infiniti G, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Saab 9-3. With the entry to a luxury brand comes high expectations, and the TSX – together with the award-winning Acura dealership experience – is ready to meet all of them. For 2011, the TSX further raises the performance bar for those looking for additional cargo space and utility while still maintaining ample sportiness. While the Acura TSX sedan with 2.4L I-4 competes with vehicles such as the A4 2.0T, 328i, IS 250, C300 and the new G25, the TSX V-6 targets even more performance minded entry luxury sedans. The TSX V-6 is a strong consideration for customers who will shop the BMW 335i, Lexus IS 350 and Mercedes C350. And now with the availability of the new Sport Wagon, the TSX also competes with the Audi A3 and A4 Avant, BMW 328i Sports Wagon, Saab 9-3 SportCombi and Volvo V50.
The 2011 TSX is designed to appeal to young professionals who are previous TSX owners, conquests from other luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Lexus, as well as to customers whose income and tastes are moving upscale. Demographically, TSX buyers are expected to range in age from 28 to 34 years old and hold a college degree. These customers are split nearly evenly between male and female, and slightly less than half are married. They are image seekers and will appreciate the styling, technical allure and total performance that the TSX offers – while also valuing the outstanding customer treatment that owners have come to enjoy at Acura dealerships.
The buyer for the TSX V-6 is expected to be older (approximately 38 years old) than the TSX buyer, 80-percent male, 60-percent married, with a household income of about $110,000. Remaining the same is that the TSX V-6 buyer will be extremely brand conscious and eclectic in their tastes and interests.
Buyers for the all-new TSX Sport Wagon are expected to be Gen X individuals, slightly older than Acura TSX Sedan owners who have young families. A secondary buyer for the TSX Sport Wagon will likely be active lifestyle empty nesters.
ENGINE & POWERTRAIN
With the availability of a V-6 powered TSX, Acura filled a niche in its lineup between the four-cylinder TSX sport sedan and the TL performance luxury sedan.
First available in 2010, the Acura TSX could be ordered with a 3.5L SOHC V-6 that develops 280 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 features VTEC® valvetrain control, a high 11.2:1 compression ratio and a dual-stage induction system contained within a lightweight magnesium intake manifold. For TSX use, the V-6 is tuned to deliver a more linear torque curve with emphasis on the rpm range most commonly used for day-to-day driving.
The 3.5L V-6 meets California’s stringent CARB LEV II ULEV emissions certification and delivers an EPA estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in city driving and 28 mpg on the highway – an increase of 1 mpg in both city and highway driving for the 2011 TSX.
Sporty performance, good fuel efficiency and low emissions are the hallmarks of the TSX’s all-aluminum DOHC i-VTEC® inline four-cylinder engine. Displacing 2.4 liters and producing 201 hp and 172 lb-ft of torque (6MT), the inline engine produces its useable power across a wide rpm range, while a broad torque curve further strengthens the engine’s pulling power at middle rpm levels. This allows the 2011 TSX to be responsive off the line, out of corners and when overtaking other vehicles.
The performance and flexibility of the 2.4L I-4 is credited to a high compression ratio, precise valve timing, and a high flow intake and exhaust system. Further credit also goes to the TSX’s i-VTEC® “intelligent” valve control system. Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) combines with Variable Timing Control™ (VTC™) to deliver excellent power. Likewise, a rear-mounted exhaust manifold layout, a close-coupled catalytic converter design and a Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system that team to substantially reduce emissions levels, enabling the 2011 TSX to meet the EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standards. Thanks in great part to the new friction reducing upgrades to the 2011 I-4 engine, both the city and highway fuel economy improve by 1 mpg with city/highway combined fuel economy improving by 2 mph versus the 2010 TSX’s I-4 engine.
TSX customers who choose the spirited four-cylinder engine have a choice of two transmission styles as standard equipment – a 6-speed close-ratio manual or a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic. The manual transmission features a short-throw shifter with a precise, light action that makes it highly rewarding to use. The manual transmission uses an aluminum case to reduce vehicle mass thus improving all-around performance and efficiency.
For TSX drivers who prefer a more relaxed driving experience, available is a sophisticated Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission that can be operated manually via steering wheel mounted racing inspired paddle shifters. The smooth shifting automatic is also fitted with intelligent features such as Grade Logic Control and Shift Hold Control, which make driving the TSX on hilly or winding roads more enjoyable.
BODY & CHASSIS
The 2011 TSX features a wide and muscular body which translates into outstanding handling and performance. A wide body (72.4 inches), long wheelbase (106.5 inches) and overall length (185.6 inches) give the Acura TSX sedan excellent ride quality and ample interior space for passengers. The TSX Sport Wagon features a slightly longer overall length (189.2 inches) and taller height (57.9 inches), but still retains the sporty driving characteristics of the Acura TSX sedan.
The TSX uses Showa dual-mode suspension dampers, which provide superior suspension damping characteristics at both lower and higher damper speeds. The TSX employs Electric Power Steering (EPS) that delivers precise input during performance driving, with slightly different tuning for the Sport Wagon model.
Advanced techniques in body design and construction, such as the use of cross-braced roof structure and a strong rear bulkhead, yield a very rigid and vibration-resistant structure. Aerodynamic tailoring included the use of inside frame rails, comprehensive aerodynamic tailoring underneath the car, and the use of A, B and C-pillar separators – all of which give the TSX a quiet cabin even when on rough roads or at high speeds. The TSX’s slippery aerodynamics also helps fuel efficiency as well as high-speed stability, all while lowering emissions.
Functionality and refinement, luxury and style converge in the interior of the 2011 Acura TSX. Featuring a blend of sweeping shapes, a high level of standard comfort and convenience features, widespread use of premium materials and an available Technology Package, the TSX sports sedan offers an upscale, modern interior that customers have come to expect from Acura. For 2011, the interior features numerous improvements including revised styling for the center console, darker trim pieces, brightly finished door handles, an updated parking brake handle, new steering wheel garnishes along with contrasting-color stitching for the leather seats, door armrests and center console. Rear seat occupants will enjoy added comfort thanks to the addition of heating/cooling vents mounted at the rear of the center console. Plus, the 2011 makes use of even more LED lighting now including the front footwells.
First impressions are powerful, and an initial look inside the TSX reveals much about its character. From the precision crafted metal door sills to the satin-metal finish accents, from the leather-covered seats to the steering-wheel mounted controls, and from the premium 7-speaker audio system to the dual-zone automatic climate control, the TSX represents a merge of intelligent design and innovation. Bluetooth® connectivity is standard and includes HandsFreeLink® cellular telephone interface that makes communications easier while en route. The TSX’s Keen-Edgedesign blends perfectly with its range of electronic features in a way that makes the driving experience more satisfying.
Adding to the already impressive list of TSX standard equipment is the available Technology Package, which bristles with leading-edge electronics that make driving that much more efficient and enjoyable. The Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™, and the highly useful AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System are the centerpieces of the Technology Package. Also part of the Technology Package is a rear view camera that now includes the availability of showing gridlines (driver can turn off function if desired) that help with alignment when backing up.
The navigation system features continuously updated traffic maps covering 109 major metropolitan areas within the United States (three metropolitan markets within Canada), and offers Traffic Rerouting™ to help navigate around slow-downs. New for 2011 is a 60-gigabyte hard disk drive (HDD) for the navigation and audio systems. Besides offering impressive response time (much faster than the 2010 system), the HDD offers the ability to download 15-gigabytes of personal music.
Also part of the available Technology Package is a 10-speaker premium audio system tuned by legendary recording engineer and producer Elliot Scheiner. The Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Audio System includes a Note function for XM® Radio that makes it easy to identify songs to recall at a later date. With push of a button, the Note function can capture 10 seconds each of up to 30 songs, along with text indicating song title, artist name and XM® Radio channel. New for 2011 is Song by Voice™ (SBV) that allows the driver to select audio choices via voice activation, rather than having to remove a hand from the steering wheel.
Another benefit of the new HDD navigation system is expanded Bluetooth functionality including more actions that can be made via interface dial rather than just using voice commands.
A TSX Sport Wagon with the available Technology Package is fitted with a power actuated tailgate that can be electronically activated using the key fob, by pressing a button on the driver’s door panel, or by pressing a button mounted on the bottom edge of the tailgate.
Providing an array of advanced safety features is among the highest priorities of the 2011 Acura TSX. Leading the way is the TSX’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. ACE™ improves the dispersal of frontal crash energy via load-bearing frame structures that also better match the TSX with other vehicles of different sizes and with different bumper heights. In doing so, ACE™ helps reduce the frontal crash forces before they reach the passenger compartment.
Contributing to the safety performance of the 2011 TSX is a broad range of passive safety features, including six airbags (dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, dual-chamber front seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags for outboard seating positions).
TSX driver and front passenger are further protected thanks to active front head restraints and front seatbelts with an integrated automatic tensioning system and load limiters. The rear seat features a Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system with built-in lower anchors and ready-to-use tether attachment points that allow compatible child safety seats to be installed without using the vehicle’s seat belt system.
Exterior features designed to further improve safety include daytime running lights (DRL) along with pedestrian injury mitigation technologies such as a deformable hood panel, hood hinges and windshield-wiper pivots.